Many people will buy food just because it says “organic” on the label, but when you read the fine print, it’s not really 100% organic. Same with fashion!
So what makes a fashion brand actually sustainable? To help you spot the difference between an ethical fashion brand versus a shady manipulator, we’re sharing with you the 4 steps to sustainable fashion, as well as some of our favourite sustainable fashion designers you can check out.
What is sustainable fashion?
The fashion industry is still debating on what sustainable fashion really is. Yet,, most sustainable fashion designers agree that sustainable fashion respects three key areas:
1. Nature: Using renewable and sustainable materials when making clothing. These need to be from traceable sources.
2. People: Everyone involved in creating the clothing is treated fairly and ethically. This means fair working conditions and pay for everyone from those who grow or harvest the raw material, to the people to create the garments, to those who market and sell the line.
3. Animals: This ensures that animals and wildlife (and their habitat) are not negatively affected,, by the process to make the products.
Sustainable fashion designers consider the implications of their products and their company operations as a whole. This can mean minimizing packaging and/or using more eco-friendly materials for product labels, packaging, and even shipping.
Waste management is also a consideration in a sustainable fashion brand. These brands look for ways to minimize all types of waste when creating their products. This may include using upcycled materials to create a form of sustainable fashion called “Slow Fashion.”
Examples of sustainable materials
There are many raw materials that are generally considered to be sustainable, the most popular being:
- Recycled or organic cotton: This material can be very problematic because it requires a lot of water and pesticides to grow. Using recycled or organic cotton that is made more sustainably grown is a better choice.
- Organic hemp: It’s been used for hundreds of years as a fabric and can be grown globally, requires little water or pesticides to grow. It’s also known for naturally fertilizing the soil.
- Organic linen: Organic linen is made from the flax plant and is known for its versatility and can even grow in poor quality soil.
Sustainable designers to follow
Here are some of the sustainable fashion brands we love to follow:
- People Tree: This UK-based brand has been a pioneer in sustainable fashion since 1991. They sell clothing and accessories that are made with the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish.
- Honeybea: This Toronto-based company aims to help shape the world for the better, spread love, ignite connection, and disarm boundaries within our communities.
- Neoteny Apparel: Another Toronto-based brand, this fashion label is defined by its sustainable production and unique personal style that bridges the gap in how current clothing is marketed based on gender.
- Ellemairco: Every piece in this sustainable fashion collection is handmade. They believe that we can love fashion without sacrificing our planet, animals, or people.
Sustainable streetwear fashion brands
Streetwear is a casual clothing style that popped up in the 90s and it’s still quite popular today. It combines hip-hop fashion, sportswear, punk, and Japanese street fashion. Its style is both casual and comfortable.
There are many streetwear brands that feature sustainable fashions too. Here are a few that come to mind for us:
- Lu La Loop: This brand fuses music culture, with playful and optimistic elements. They boast that their clothes can take you from the streets and into the nightlife.
- Indyana: This young fashion designer from Germany handmakes every piece in her collection and her fashions can be found in shops around the world.
- Bellatoni: Bellatoni is on a mission to dress you well while being kind to animals, people, and the planet. From her home in Vancouver, Canada, Bianca Bellantoni creates business casual pieces for women that can be dressed up or down.
Sustainable fashion initiatives
At Ushi Mart, we wholeheartedly follow several sustainable fashion initiatives:
This is Vancouver’s only non-profit textile recycling initiative. They take donations of textiles and supplies from the film industry, theatre, manufacturing, and estate sales and helps them get into the hands of local designers and creatives so they don’t end up in the landfills.
This non-profit is about education, awareness and collaboration to support the advance of sustainable fashion. Their mission is to do their part to move the needle on sustainability.
This global fashion movement is working to shift thinking, mindsets, and practices around fashion to make people more aware of their choices. It is based around 8 impacts: design, community and craft, fabric, production, logistics, retail, consumption, and disposal.
Why choose sustainable fashion?
The world may seem like a chaotic place right now, but the style you choose is something you can control. You can choose more eco-friendly material, clothes, and accessories and do your part to contribute to a greener earth.
When you choose sustainable fashion you are telling the world, and yourself, that you can make a difference and that you care about protecting our planet for future generations.
If you’re looking to add some new sustainable fashion pieces to your closet, we suggest you check out the fashions from the collective of artists at Ushi Mart. At Ushi Mart, we’re on a mission to rebuild the art of fashion with sustainable, ethical, and one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories that you’ll love to wear.