Sustainable Wears: 12 High Quality, Slow Fashion Brands

I want my closet to be an externalization of my internal beliefs. If you don’t believe in child labour and poor working conditions, if you fight for social justice in your country, how can you justify wearing a brand that exploits people in other countries? If you use a metal straw and are a diligent recycler, how can you shop at a store that abuses the environment through unsustainable practices?

I decided to start voting and speaking with my dollars several years ago and no longer patronize fast fashion brands. I haven’t shopped at H&M, ASOS, etc in years and I honestly don’t remember the last time I was in a Target or Walmart. These fast fashion superhouses have a revolving door of new trends, a concept in itself that I am not a fan of. The thought of these places gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’ve studied the ethics of fast fashion several times over, personally and in an academic setting. I’ve read and written papers about the harms of fast fashion brands since 2008. My college senior thesis was entitled The Importance of Authentic Interaction with Nature and over 40 of its pages were dedicated to dismantling the fast fashion companies we, as a society, seem to adore.

When researching chic and minimal brands in the early 2010s, Everlane came into my world like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t know there were brands out there actually doing what Everlane was doing, transparent pricing and a responsible business model. For several years I was naïve to any other brands with similar models. However, since then, I’ve met several other brands with high ethical values and am sharing them below.

 


 

Everlane

{California, USA based; they reveal their true cost to consumers and share detailed production information, including an option to view the factory}

Ethics utilizes radical transparency and ethical production processes
Product Line men’s & women’s attire, outerwear, accessories,  shoes
Size Range XXS–XL
Investment $$

 

Vetta

{made in the USA; utilizes a capsule wardrobe structure made of five pieces that translate into a month+ worth of looks}

Ethics utilizes deadstock or eco textiles (including buttons & elastic); ships in recycled packaging; ethical production practices
Product Line women’s attire, outwear
Size Range XS–XL
Investment $$

 

Christy Dawn

{Los Angeles, USA based; crafted from a woman’s perspective}

Ethics utilizes deadstock textiles; handmade pieces made in small batches
Product Line women’s attire, outerwear, maternity, bridal
Size Range XS–XL
Investment $$$

 

ABLE

{Tennesee, USA based company with production transpiring all over the world; ABLE hires women who have overcome extraordinary circumstances and ensure they are fairly paid}

Ethics B-Corp; Fair-Labour practices
Product Line women’s attire, accessories, shoes
Size Range XS–XL
Investment $-$$

 

United By Blue

{Pennsylvania, USA based; for each product sold United By Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans & waterways}

Ethics B-Corp; uses recycled & organic materials; champions environmental preservation
Product Line men’s & women’s attire, children’s attire, outerwear, accessories, pet accessories
Size Range XS–XL
Investment $$

 

Patagonia

{California, USA based; dedicated toward ethical production and created a denim production process that uses 84% less water, 30% less energy and emit 25% less CO2}

Ethics Fair Trade Certified; organic cotton; champions environmental sustainability
Product Line men’s & women’s attire, children’s attire; outwear, swimwear
Size Range XXS–XXL
Investment $$

 

Nisolo

{provides fair wages & full-time employment to their artisans; high-quality shoes that will last years, if not decades; also has an ethical marketplace that showcases other like-minded ethical brands}

Ethics Fair Trade Certified; transparent production practices
Product Line women’s & men’s shoes, accessories
Size Range women’s 6–10, men’s 8–13
Investment $$–$$$

 

Elizabeth Suzann

{Tennesee, USA based; minimalist styles with timeless silhouettes; a true embodiment of slow fashion}

Ethics made in USA; utilizes natural fibers; inclusive sizing
Product Line women’s
Size Range XXS-4X; offers petite & plus sizes
Investment $$$

 

Eileen Fisher

{New York, USA based; working toward 100% organic cotton & linen fibers, environmentally responsible dyes, carbon positive operations, and no-waste facilities by 2020; an industry leader in sustainable fashion}

Ethics Fair Trade Certified; utilizes sustainable materials & practices; inclusive sizing
Product Line women’s attire, accessories, shoes
Size Range XXS-3X; offers petite & plus sizes
Investment $$$

 

Hackwith Design House

{Minnesota, USA based; many products are made-to-order and intended to be year-round basics; perfect minimalist investment pieces}

Ethics made in USA; made to order; inclusive sizing
Product Line women’s attire, swimwear, accessories
Size Range XS–4X; offers plus sizes
Investment $$$

 

Reformation

{upcycled materials produced in a fair wage environment; each product comes with an outline of its environmental footprint; mainstream and trendier styles}

Ethics utilizes sustainable fabrics, offsets carbon emissions, pays living wages
Product Line women’s attire, outerwear, bridal
Size Range XXS-3X; offers plus sizes
Investment $$$

 

People Tree

{London, UK based; a pioneer in sustainable fashion and in the business for over 20 years; offering everything from work-wear to yoga-wear}

Ethics Fair Trade Certified; utilizes organic cotton and biodegradable materials
Product Line women’s attire, accessories
Size Range US 2-14
Investment $-$$

Tiny Closet: only buying from sustainable brands

 

Several weeks ago I wrote this post, highlighting my favorite slow fashion brands.  I’ve shopped at many of these brands for years, particularly Everlane, but only lately have I made sustainable brands my only clothing option. Up until now, I’ve still occasionally purchased and worn secondhand products from other brands, justifying it with the idea that I wasn’t directly supporting the brands if I wasn’t buying directly from them.

However, in looking down at my outfit right now, I’m finding that more and more I’m only wearing sustainable brands. Not only are these slow fashion brands filled with good karma, but they also are built to last. They are employing artisans around the world with responsible production practices, and they are worth my financial investment. I’m also finding that this shift in purchasing has led to a shift in style. In the frighteningly cold NYC winter I’m gravitating toward my cozy babaà knits, handknit bandana scarf, and wool fisherman’s cap inherited from my granddad. Each piece is meaningful to me, intrinsically special. Each piece is also timeless: the sweater is nearly 10 years old, the bandana knit in the late 90s, and the cap purchased in Greece while my granddad was in the Navy in the 1950s.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the consumeristic world we live in,  particularly with the glamorous fashion bloggers that post an outfit daily,  dressed head to toe in brand new pieces. But what I’m working on is the ability to shop my closet and be to be flexible in the look I’m going for. Those two skills,  once cultivated, will keep me on the journey started about a month ago.

Personal Note: ethical brand relationships & more life

 

It was a nice slow day here at ASH (Akhlaghi-Shephard Home). Yesterday was a Wednesday that felt like a Sunday and today was a Thursday that felt like a Friday — must be a combination of short winter days and yesterday’s squall.

I took advantage of a slightly lighter workday (unheard of in Q4) and low-grade fever to indulge in a little “me time”. The blog got a major aesthetic update yesterday and I’ve been thinking more and more about its content, design, longevity, and where I want to go with it. Several months ago I decided that I was going to play out the brand contracts I had and focus on keeping all future contracts within my guidelines of ethical and representative companies. I’ve never wanted the blog to be simply a soapbox for myself, but rather a connection piece for advice, new ideas, and even material goods that are high-quality and consciously consumed.

The more I consider bringing more “lifestyle” into the blog, the more I’m realizing that I need to share more of my own life to do so. I’m naturally introverted and slightly more private about my goals and day to day life, but in the next chapter of WM I really want to bring you all with me.

Another goal of mine is to expand into more spaces and platforms. I gave Youtube a go (rip) and found that it wasn’t the right platform as I move forward. Maybe someday I’ll be a vlogger, today is not that day. However, I like the idea of having a space to share all my little favorite bits and bobs. A place where my day to day ideas, interests, and thoughts are reflected. Returning to my old Pinterest (which has been sitting unused since 2016) was a trip down memory lane. Reorganizing was a joy.

 

 

They have so many new features since the last time I was on (the “Sections” attribute really spoke to my Type A personality) and I had so much fun building little Boards and Sections and pinning away. I see why it’s catchy. This recipe, in particular, is calling my name but may have to wait. I have been patiently and methodically feeding my sourdough starter for nearly two weeks now to get it matured and flavorful and this weekend it is finally going to be time to bake this puppy into delicious loaves. I honestly cannot wait. I’ve completely shifted into soup mode — Seinfeld reference anyone? — and am looking for anything to dip my sourdough into.

That’s all for this little check-in. Admittedly this felt awkward to write, but I anticipate that’s the result of covering new terrain.

Best Deals From EVERLANE’s NYE Sale!

Every year, twice a year, Everlane unleashes the BEST sale ever. Choose What You Pay is one of the best times to collect a few classic pieces from one of my favorite brands. Here are a few TON of my favorites from their sale this year. TRUST ME, prepare to have a very full shopping cart!

 

SHOES

 

TOPS

 

BOTTOMS

 

ETC

 

Thrifted Favorites

Mid-summer, mid-year, is a great time to revise your closet and bring in a few new pieces while donating any you end up removing.

I always feel that thrift stores carry tons of hidden gems and every time I walk into one I’m taken back to when I first started thrifting almost a decade ago. It’s easy to love brand new, fresh off the rack pieces, but sometimes I feel like I leave my thrifted faves out in the cold.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite thrifted pieces who deserve a little time in the spotlight.

White Fur Coat

 

Vintage Menswear Vest, 1980s

 

Vintage Denim Mini-Skirt, 1980s & Silver Earrings, 1990s

 

Black Jumpsuit & Dooney & Burke belt bag

Sustainable Wears: EVERLANE

Timeless, high quality, modern pieces that last through trends and tons of wear. Founded on the principles of quality, ethics, and transparency Everlane is showing that in the world of “fast fashion” investing in your wardrobe can be the right move.

 

At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt. That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Modern Boyfriend Jean | $68

 

The Denim Skirt | $58

 

The Modern Loafer | $168

 

The High-Rise Skinny Jean (Ankle) | $68

 

 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EVERLANE.COM