Nowadays, sustainability is at the center of most conversations, whether we talk environment, business or fashion. The next generation leaders will be part of Generation Z (born in the late 1990s) and they are currently the ones trying to make a change, especially when it comes to the environment and the climate. Therefore, sustainability is a very important topic and fashion, being a big industry, needs to move towards a sustainable future.
Being sustainable represents the ability to exist without interruption, it’s thinking of the future instead of purely focusing on the present (eco cult, 2018). Thanks to this, it is possible to prevent, for example, environmental damages.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil, which is not surprising. The main issues regarding fashion are:
- Overproduction of (cheap) clothing, known as fast fashion
- The use of synthetic fabrics
- The harm made to animals and humans in the process of making clothes
Fashion seems to be the enemy of sustainability, especially when it comes to being environmentally sustainable. However, the fashion industry is changing for the better. This article highlights four sustainable fashion brands from around the globe to prove how small fashion companies are fighting to preserve the environment.
This article could have presented more than a hundred fashion brands if we were to name them all. Indeed, this is a very positive thing, it is important that consumers realize the damage they are doing to the planet by buying fast fashion or from unethical and non-sustainable fashion brands. To give an example, fast fashion releases 1.2 billion of CO2 per year (7billionfor7seas, 2019). This is a proof of the huge fast fashion issue we are currently facing and how important it is to do business while thinking sustainable.
Hopefully, this article will encourage you to switch your current habits, discover promising sustainable fashion brands and perhaps, take a step towards a better more sustainable future. The change is in your hands.
1. REFORMATION – The Millennials Favorite Sustainable Fashion Brand
Reformation is an American womenswear brand, more precisely from Los Angeles, created by Yael Aflalo. The brand has grown a lot since it first launched in 2009, now counting about 1.5 million followers on Instagram (new yorker, 2019). Reformation has a few stores but mainly operates online, through e-commerce.
The fashion brand claims putting sustainability at the core of their activities.
As an example, Reformation uses recycled synthetics instead of synthetic materials made of plastic. However, the brand is currently trying to completely stop the use of synthetics, recycled or not. Fortunately, most of their clothing is made of natural and plant-based fibers, such as organic cotton, linen and TENCEL, to name a few.
Another positive fact is that they care about their employees, making sure gender equality is respected and the minimum wage is met for every worker.
In addition to all above-stated initiatives, Reformation published on their website the sustainability-related goals they have for the next five years. These goals include using better natural fibers for their clothing, decreasing their CO2 footprint and being transparent on every aspect of the company. The brand is taking sustainable fashion to the next level!
You may ask: can sustainable fashion be fashionable or trendy? In my opinion, and after seeing how many followers Reformation have gathered on their multiple social media platforms, it is clear the brand is extremely popular, and women are happy with what they offer.
2. SLOWEAR – The Classic and Timeless Italian Designs
SLOWEAR is an Italian family business that serves as an umbrella brand to various smaller fashion brands. SLOWEAR counts six sustainable Italian menswear brands. The whole philosophy of SLOWEAR is to follow a sustainable and ethical business model.
With thirty stores in the world and an e-commerce, the fashion brand is growing and embracing the idea of slow fashion, which stands for the contrary of fast fashion.
If we dive into the six brands SLOWEAR offers, we find Incotex, Zanone, Montedoro, Glanshirt, Officina Slowear and Nanamica. Let’s have a look at these brands.
Incotex is a brand specialized in trousers and uses innovative technologies and cutting-edge manufacturing, making sure their designs are good-quality and wearable for a long time.
Zanone is focused on knitwear created using high-quality raw materials. Zanone often underlines their timeless and elegant brand identity.
Montedoro is an outerwear brand; jackets and coats are all made using the latest technologies to ensure a high-quality garment that is promised to last for a (very) long time.
Glanshirt is all about the wardrobe staples: shirts, as simple as this. Made of natural materials and meant to be durable, Glanshirt shirts are a perfect match to the wardrobe.
Officina Slowear is a recent brand in the SLOWEAR family. Officina Slowear focuses on belts and shoes, made by Italian craftsmen. Their practices are ethical and promote the Italian craftsmanship well.
Finally, Nanamica is where Japan meets Italy. This brand is for a younger target and focuses on the functionality of clothing. Here again, the high quality of clothes is at the center of it all (Slowear, 2019).
The umbrella brand really focuses on slow wear and encourages the use of high-quality clothes over cheap fast fashion.
The style is not compromised, the brand constantly underlining the importance of elegance and timeless designs. Italian style is definitely a big influence on SLOWEAR, meaning the Italian elegance is present in all the brands they have.
3. SANIKAI – The Swiss Effortless Vegan Brand
Sanikai is a Swiss brand, yes Swiss! In fact, it is tough to find fashion in Switzerland, sustainable or not because brands do not appear as fast as in other countries. However, Sanikai is one of the few small sustainable brands born in Switzerland.
Since the Sustainability Management School (SUMAS) has its main campus not far from Geneva, it is utterly important to mention a sustainable Swiss fashion brand. After all, Switzerland has access to many resources, so it makes sense to find sustainable fashion brands around the country!
Sanikai is a vegan and ethical womenswear and menswear brand. It was founded in Zürich, in 2015 and focuses on natural as well as recycled materials such as Swiss organic cotton, linen and regenerated nylon. Even the buttons are made of natural materials, such as coconut shells and wood and the dyes are all vegan. Everything is also produced in Switzerland.
When it comes to style, Sanikai is Swiss, which means that it will be effortless, comfortable yet put together. The style is different to the one of Reformation and SLOWEAR, which are more romantic, modern and elegant.
Sanikai is completely transparent with its practices and materials and delivers timeless and effortless designs (Sanikai, 2019).
4. KA SHA – Vibrant Colors and Innovative Designs From India
When it comes to sustainable fashion brands, the internet is flooded with the USA- based brands. However, it is very promising and positive to find sustainable fashion brands appearing and growing all over the world.
Ka sha is an Indian sustainable womenswear brand, that was created by the designer Ka sha Khan. This brand is against waste and therefore only produces on order (livemint, 2018).
Ka sha also reuses materials to create new clothing items, which is not only sustainable but very eco-friendly, promoting circular economy. Circular economy is an economic system that tries to eliminate waste. However, what is truly incredible is how innovative the designs are, knowing the materials are mostly recycled or natural. In fact, Ka sha mainly uses silk and cotton, with extra attention to the quality of materials.
As if this was not enough, Ka sha is a modern brand. As mentioned, its innovative designs catch the eye. In addition to being incredibly innovative, the designer also made sure her garments are reversible, creating two clothing items in one.
Its vibrant colors underline the luminous country where Ka sha was born.
Ka sha was also present at the Indian Fashion Week, which shows how powerful the brand already is.
After seeing these four sustainable brands, we can say that the future of sustainable fashion is promising. As previously mentioned, this list could be much longer, but this is only a « mise en bouche » (appetizer). There’s plenty of alternatives to fast fashion brands and therefore, there should not be any need to purchase from brands that harm animals, the environment or humans.
This is exactly why SUMAS offers a new course on Sustainable Fashion Management, you cannot do fashion business without sustainability. Learn more about how you can be the leader of tomorrow and change the fashion industry for the better! In addition to this course, SUMAS gives the possibility to learn at their campus in Switzerland and at their newest campus in Milan, Italy (and what better place to learn fashion than Milan?)
It is never too late to change your habits, clear up your wardrobe and learn more about sustainable fashion!