What's the first thing you think of when you see the words sustainable fashion? Boring? Expensive? Green coloured? If so, it's time to expand your thinking. Fast fashion is out, slow fashion is in, and whoever still thinks that style has to be sacrificed in the name of sustainability needs to crawl on out of that antiquated rock and into 2020 where more and more fashion brands and companies are taking new measures to become more sustainable and ethical. It might be the case that some brands are taking such measures just to be part of the sustainability trend, otherwise known as greenwashing. But here's the thing those brands should understand: sustainability isn't a trend. It's the new normal, and it's here to stay.
If you need help dipping your toes into the world of sustainable fashion that is just waiting with environmentally friendly open arms to welcome you, you've come to the right place. We've researched and curated a list of the best independent sustainable fashion brands to have on your radar so that if you feel the warm and familiar yet dark and twisted call of the high street, you'll know where to look for your fashion fix.
From her 2016 graduate collection 'The Girl Who Wore Tracksuit to Prom' to her spring/summer 2020 collection, young designer Lydia Bolton has been committed to using re-purposed dead-stock fabrics and recycled materials to create her collections. With an impressive creative flair strong enough to make something as basic as a tracksuit into a couture-like piece of art, we can't wait to see what she comes out with next. lydiabolton.co.uk
Named after the 27 people who helped to launch the business, New Zealand based Twenty-Seven Names use ethically made fabrics and put full disclosures of each product on it's respective product page. Shop them for fun prints, coordinates and easy-to-wear blouses. Twentysevennames.co.nz
With their 'For Good' initiative, fashion brand Arela ensures their processes are as ethical and sustainable as they can be. The initiative is split into design, garment care, high quality materials used, recycling garments and recyclable packaging. The aim is to make sure garments last as long as possible and that waste is vastly reduced; Arela re-uses materials from their products to make new ones and mend old ones. Arelastudio.com
Men's fashion brand Basic Rights specialises in classic wardrobe staples, such as camel chinos and long sleeve striped t-shirts. British guitarist Freddie Cowan of The Vaccines launched the brand to add something to the menswear fashion market that hardly exists: comfortable, durable basics made by an environmentally conscious design team. Basic Rights use 'ecologically sound fabrics from limited, end or roll supplies from the production line of top-end luxury brands'. They've also partnered with Trees for the Future to counteract their carbon footprint. Basicrights.com
A lot of brands and companies donate partial profits to charity, but none quite so generously as Origin, a brand started by a husband and wife duo who donate 100% of their profits back to the African tribe where their organic cotton originates from. The garment makers and suppliers are artisans part of the sustainable cycle Origin has created, one that uses said businesses, then sends profits back to them, creating more jobs and helping to sustain not only Origin's own business, but sustainable community-led businesses across Africa. Originafrica.co.uk
Long known as spear-headers of the sustainable fashion movement, People Tree's clothes are all made from environmentally friendly materials. Shop their vast selection without a hint of a doubt your purchase is a positive one. Peopletree.co.uk
Know The Origin
The organic, ethical alternative to Primark. Allow Know The Origin, with their reasonably priced fair-trade minimalist pieces for both men and women, to be your new go-to brand for basics such as plain T-shirts, leggings, and camis. Knowtheorigin.com
Shop Beaumont Organics' floaty summer dresses and quality cotton outerwear via Young British Designers. They commit to using fair-trade materials and reducing waste wherever possible with each seasonal collection. Beaumontorganic.com
Founded by Kitx Willow in 2015 with the aim of combining her love of creating and being transparent, kind and working with integrity, Kitx's eponymous label was launched with a single capsule collection. Now, you can shop a stylish collection of jackets, dresses, tops and so much more, with each garment's positive impact outlined and explained in a simple manner. Kitx.com.au
Belize uses the 100% biodegradable fabric Khadi, which along with their other efforts to be a sustainable slow-fashion brand means their carbon footprint is reduced by 30%. Belizeofficiel.com
Made in the UK, Somerville is inspired by British spirit and sells in small collections to minimise waste. Their packaging is recyclable and they also use digital printing which decreases water waste. Somervillelondon.com
‘Through the power of skilled craft, exemplary business ethics and conscious consumption’, Beulah not only sells sustainably made clothing but prides itself on being a truly ethical brand. Their supply chain is transparent and the brand employs women who have overcome and been freed from slavery and sex trafficking, teaching them skills and helping them to sustain better lives for themselves and for their families. Beulahlondon.com