As fashion’s focus continues to shift in favor of sustainability and ethical design practices, the challenge for buyers is becoming clear: What even is sustainable fashion? How do we know if pieces marketed as ‘sustainable’ are really kinder for the environment? What are the main benefits of buying from sustainable brands?
Upcycling old garments (look to Levi’s denim) and repurposing fabrics are just two ways brands can save on waste, water usage and their impact on the environment. Reformation began by selling vintage clothing out of a small Los Angeles storefront in 2009 – now the label creates its own designs and is 100% carbon neutral. To prove its commitment to the cause, they introduced RefScale, an internal lifecycle tool that can track the environmental impact that any of their creations has on the environment. Want to know how much CO2, water and waste you’ve saved by shopping a specific piece? They can tell you.
The real trailblazer in the quest for a sustainable fashion industry (well, at least as sustainable as possible while still being able to exist), is of course, Stella McCartney. Her aim? A wholesale change of operations; a new approach that will transform a linear economy – produce, consume, dispose – into a circular one which regenerates itself in diverse, non-damaging ways. Young designers like Marine Serre and Matty Bovan are already experimenting with upcycled, DIY creations but a veritable fashion system revolution would require vast monetary and planning investments from enlightened governments. McCartney is convinced it can be done if the design fuels desire.
We may not know what this summer holds for us but if a vacation is on the cards and you’re looking for one or two buys to spruce up a capsule of longtime favorites, then why not make them sustainable? We’ve rounded up 15 chic summer-ready pieces – from denim shorts to chic beach bags – by brands that live and breathe sustainability…