7 Fashion Brands That Prioritize Sustainability, Not Greenwash

For days

For Days is a closed-loop fashion brand that rewards customers with store credit for returning their clothes when they’re done with them. All materials are then fully recycled, recycled or reused.

Not only does For Days take responsibility for its own apparel, but the company also accepts any second-hand apparel of any brand in any condition in exchange for store credit through its Take back the bag. Already, this radical approach has enabled For Days to divert more than 1.2 million pounds of clothing from landfills and collectively save more than 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 1.3 billion gallons of water.

“After a long career in the fashion industry and 10 years in the field of sustainability, I became passionately convinced that the industry needed a circular business model that could change the relationship of customers with things, eliminate apparel waste and drive better business results,” says the founder. Kristy Caylor. “At For Days, we design in circularity from the start.”

Caylor offers this advice to aspiring changemakers. “The ability to chart new territory and think outside the box to create is a gift. However, there is no perfect equation. All progress is amazing and the improvement is constant, so keep going!

Kindly

Kindly manufactures the first-ever plant-based bra cups made from over 80% sugar cane, as well as a line of underwear made from recycled yarns and fabrics. The brand is sold exclusively at Walmart stores in the United States and online at Walmart.com. What makes Kindly’s intimate apparel products truly stand out is that they’re not only durable, but also affordable, with items retailing for less than $20.

Eve Bastug is the Product Manager of the parent company of Kindly Gelmart International. She has worked in the fashion industry for over 38 years. Over time, she became very concerned about the environmental impacts of factories and dyehouses in China and India, which she visited frequently. “It’s this world of waste and harmful effects on workers all blanketed in thick, gray air that made me think there has to be a better way,” she says.

When it came to the sugar cane cutting project for Kindly, Bastug felt relentless pressure to get things done as quickly as possible. She soaked up knowledge of sustainability and merged it with her technical knowledge of lingerie to generate creative solutions. She considers the development of Kindly bras to be the biggest challenge of her career.

“Trust in the power of failure,” Bastug advises aspiring changemakers. “Like in life, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, learn. The ‘failures’ I have faced have always become obstacles that have become opportunities.”

The simple people

Abigail Brown and Jamie Morea first launched The Simple Folk with a line of minimalist, all-natural, non-toxic, ethical and comfortable children’s clothing that became an instant hit. Recently, the company has pivoted to include women’s clothing. This decision was prompted “by the sheer volume of requests we had to produce children’s clothing in adult sizes – and our own desire to dress as comfortably as our children,” Brown says.

However, the two co-founders were also driven by a desire to not only celebrate the wonderful bodies of women, but also to embrace the changes that most of us experience throughout our lives: pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause. included. Thus, the garments are made almost exclusively with elasticated waists, adjustable straps and ties, and flowing, loose shapes that allow women to continue wearing the items throughout their lives.

“As mothers ourselves, it was essential for us to create from a place of reverence for the changes our own bodies have gone through,” says Brown. In particular, she was shocked to find a significant lack of truly sustainable maternity clothing options – most items aren’t designed to last beyond a few months! “Giving people space to change a size or two allows them to keep clothes for a very long time. Adaptability is at the heart of The Simple Folk’s notion of sustainable fashion.

Brown and Morea have been thrilled to see the conversation about fast fashion harms come to the fore in recent years, impacting even the biggest mainstream brands. Consumers demand environmental awareness. Brown warns, however, that many brands are also guilty of greenwashing. “Be sure to educate yourself on sustainability practices before making a purchase,” she advises. “Truly pioneering brands are leading the way to make the fashion industry a circular economy, and not just using organic cotton.”

Currently, The Simple Folk is going one step further by striving to make its children’s and women’s clothing collections available on rental platforms. They also collaborate with resale platforms so that the company’s clothes can be worn and re-worn by many people for many years, exactly as intended.

Assistance

Helpsy is a certified B-Corp and the only vertically integrated used clothing dealer in the United States. The company is on a mission to radically change the way we think about, eliminate and buy second-hand clothing. Founded by Dan Green, Alex Husted and Dave Milliner, Helpsy has raised over £29million worth of clothing in the last year alone.

The Helpsy Shop site aims to facilitate the purchase of second-hand clothes. Helpsy Collect works with partners large and small to manage clothing collection containers, excess inventory, returned clothing, curbside pickups, textile collections and more.

“Deep down, I want my children to inherit a planet that is better off than the one I inherited,” Husted says. “Helpsy is working towards this goal by keeping millions of pounds of clothing out of the trash.”

For aspiring changemakers, Husted offers this advice. “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. The best ways to tackle a huge problem, like textile waste, are rarely the first ones you think of. Be prepared to rotate several times.

Green Love

Amour Vert is one of the first sustainable fashion brands. The brand pioneered the use of new eco-friendly fabrics like modal, plant seed fibers and ethical wool in 2010. The company has always produced items in small batches instead of investing in trends that inevitably lead to the fashion industry’s notorious problem. Additionally, Amour Vert supports a resale marketplace called ReAmour, where customers can buy and sell high-quality pre-loved styles at lower prices.

VP of Design and Sustainability Aylin Beyce has joined her life’s purpose working for Amour Vert because she has always found more joy in “unexpected treasures at the flea market than curated store selections.” conventional”. She connects with second-hand items and loves the way flea markets create community.

“Amour Vert is the first and one of the only brands where every team member has the freedom to make tough choices that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices over profit,” says Beyce. “Connecting with our factories and factories and the people who actually create products has been a life-changing experience. I can no longer work for a brand that does not put people and the planet first. Being part of the evolution of the fashion industry has helped me live with my eco-anxiety because I feel like I’m part of the solution.

Beyce urges aspiring change-makers not to aspire to be perfect. “Instead, be prepared to hold yourself accountable and open to feedback. Understand the urgency of the change the world needs, but prioritize taking care of yourself so you can be healthy enough to be part of that change.

Dara Hamarneh

Dara Hamarneh launched her line of sustainable handbags in the fall of 2019. Her goal was to create a curated selection of handbags that would stand the test of time. The company wastes no fabric in the production process and the new 925 collection is made entirely from surplus materials. Because the brand produces in small quantities, it does not generate excess stock – as most fashion companies do.

The leather used by Dara Hamarneh is certified gold standard by the Leather Working Group, which demands the highest standards for water conservation, energy use, traceability and chemical management. Additionally, the company adopts fair business practices, with all factory workers being paid above average wages.

Originally from Amman, Jordan, Hamarneh grew up all over the Middle East, studied fashion in Italy and started working in the industry in London. Through her brand, she hopes to create bridges between Europe and the Middle East.

As soon as she heard about the emerging sustainability efforts in the fashion industry, Hamarneh focused on building an eco-friendly business. “I can’t imagine a world where everything is disposable,” she says. “I’m happy to be part of something that’s reshaping the way people think, even subtly.”

Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover, co-founded in 2013 by Melissa Mash, Deepa Gandhi and Jessy Dover, has been passionately committed to environmentally and socially responsible business practices from its inception. The company makes bags, backpacks and wallets from mostly vegan products, avoiding chemicals and toxic waste. Several product lines are made entirely from Repreve, a material made from recycled plastic bottles.

Recently, Dagne Dover added a glasses case and a jewelry case to its offerings. Both are carefully crafted with Repreve. The glasses case, which can hold up to three pairs of glasses, has a loop for hanging and an interior pocket for wipes. The jewelry case offers padded loops, straps and slots to securely store your jewelry for travel.

“Don’t compare yourself to others,” the founders tell other aspiring changemakers. “Invest time and energy to pursue things that enlighten you.”

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