The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. It’s also wildly unethical. From the 8,000 gallons of water it takes to make a single pair of denim jeans, to the abuse and financial burden that garment workers face daily, the clothes we wear are more than a harmless form of expression of self. Luckily for us, there are designers looking to make the world a greener, more ethical, and more fashionable place.
We’ve compiled five innovative sustainable fashion designers who regularly push the boundaries when it comes to making clothes. While you might not be able to buy these designer pieces at your local mall, their methods and materials are a testament to how clothing can be kinder to the world.
1. SS Daley
This British design has mastered the art of upcycling. In one interview with Vogue, SS Daley said: “Working in confinement gave me time to think about the equipment and resources I had available.” One of these resources being tablecloths, which he transformed into boxy shirts and wide trousers. There is a bit of whimsy that comes with her designs. Each piece alludes to the familiar (like the embroidered floral trim on a tablecloth), but is then flipped and made modern and youthful, yet undeniably classic.
2. Alexandra Sipa
Romanian design Alexandra Sipa does amazing things with yarn. She sources yarn from Facebook Marketplace and then works her magic, turning them into lace. At first glance, one might think that clothes are made from yarn. The threads are so beautifully woven that it’s only after a second or third look that you realize what you’re looking at. Her work is delicate, intricate and cleverly uses color to add dimension. We could watch his work for hours appreciating the craftsmanship.
3. Katie Jones
This British designer is known for her over-the-top knits full of funky colors and patterns. Katie JonesThe newest collection is the Make-It-Yourself collection which encourages the consumer to try their hand at crocheting as part of their #sofasnotsweatshops mantra. The brand’s sustainable practices explain how harmful overconsumption is and that “making something beautiful out of nothing” is the best way to do it.
4. Mara Hoffman
Using pre- and post-consumer waste, this New York-based designer merges sustainability and fashion seamlessly. It’s easy to see clothes as cheap disposables, and Hoffman tries to rework that relationship with pieces you’d want to wear every day. However, unlike the classic “basics”, her clothes are eye-catching and special. The designs paired with carefully chosen textiles are breathtaking.
Mara Hoffman uses compostable packaging, digital printing technology and provides safe working conditions and fair wages for its workers through transparent relationships with suppliers and factories.
5. Emily AdamsBode
This American designer uses old fabrics to create fabulously unique designs. Each piece is recycled, zero waste, handmade and made in a limited edition to minimize waste. Predict continued to hire artisans in India, Peru and New York during the pandemic. His designs include beautifully tailored striped pants, eye-catching prints, wonderfully artistic t-shirts that will make you laugh, and cute shorts that look like they belong on Wes Anderson. Moonrise Kingdom. Everything is dreamy and easy to wear.
How to participate in the sustainable fashion revolution?
These five fashion designers are part of an important conversation about the right and wrong ways to source and manufacture clothes, but you don’t have to buy high-end designer pieces to be sustainable. Ultimately, shop less and wear what you already own in the best way to contribute to a sustainable fashion environment. Recycling or recycling clothes to ensure clothes don’t end up in a landfill is a manageable yet important way to reduce your own waste. Holding of large companies that do not do respect for the environment and their employees is also crucial, as placing all the blame on the consumer will only hold us back as a society as we try to heal the world of our destructive capitalist schemes.
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