It starts with awareness of which designers are leading sustainable fashion
Taylor Swift appeared on the January 2020 cover of British Vogue wearing a fifteen year old Chanel jacket “in order to bring attention to the conversation around sustainability.” It was a significant statement considering mainstream fashion publications are in the business of promoting new items and collections, not vintage ones.
Sustainable fashion is a huge topic even outside of fashion circles because the global apparel industry is a significant contributor to the problem. But, sustainable fashion also has the potential to make huge strides in creating clothing, shoes, and accessories that are stylish, desirable, and environmentally-friendly. Some are even fully recyclable and/or made from 100% recycled material.
To stop buying (consuming) completely isn’t practical. We all still need clothes to wear, and want to express our unique style through fashion. To collectively be more sustainable, it’s a matter of focusing on reducing our individual footprints, seeking out designers and retailers that set aggressive sustainability goals, and more broadly focusing on fewer, high-quality garments (that will last) instead of a greater quantity of low-quality garments (that won’t last).
While most brands and designers are making adjustments to their sourcing to address sustainability, we’re proud to carry several luxury fashion brands and designers that are leading the conversation on sustainable fashion:
Stella McCartney may be the most well-known icon of sustainable fashion, having committed from the beginning (c. 2001) to be 100% animal-free (cattle production is a major contributor to greenhouse gases). That commitment translates to no fur and no leather, even on products traditionally made with leather like handbags and shoes. Instead, the designer uses a material called “alter-nappa,” which is made from polyester and polyurethane and has a recycled polyester backing. The outer alter-nappa coating is made with at least 50% vegetable oil, which is a renewable, natural resource.
The now-iconic Falabella line of handbags is perhaps the best example of alter-nappa in production, though it appears on many other accessories and shoes from the brand. Elsewhere in the womens, mens, and kids Stella McCartney collections, renewable, sustainable, or otherwise innovative materials abound: re-engineered cashmere, responsibly-sourced viscose, organic cotton, recycled nylon and polyester, and animal-free silk, and wool, which is already one of the most sustainable fibers for use in apparel.
The brand’s next innovation may be items that are plant-based and fully biodegradable. In partnership with Italian denim brand Candiani, Stella McCartney recently announced a line of denim made with organic, plant-based yarns that are wrapped around natural rubber, giving them the modern element of stretch without the use of synthetics like elastane.
You can find Stella McCartney’s collaboration with Adidas on a vegan Stan Smith sneaker right now: for women and men.
Danish label Ganni doesn’t self-identify as a sustainable fashion brand, but it does acknowledge the facts about our collective situation. To do its part, its collections are as “circular” as possible, meaning much of the fabrics and materials it uses are recycled rather than brand new. For the current Ganni Spring Summer 2020 collection, nearly a third of all items will have a certified sustainable element: all swimwear will be made from recycled materials and other categories will use a mix of organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled polyamide, linen and a more renewable alternative to traditional viscose called EcoVero.
This French company headquartered in Portugal is also on the leading edge of fashion sustainability. Veja produces high-quality casual footwear for women, men, and kids using materials gleaned from organic farming and non-toxic dyeing processes. The brand prides itself on the ethical aspect of the brand, from design to delivery, and has recently grown in popularity across the world.
Sustainable Fashion by Recycling
GMBH is a German menswear brand that was founded by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby in 2016 and Christopher Raeburn is the London designer who launched his eponymous label in 2008. Both lines are boldly conceptual, imaginative, and committed to rethinking the conventional fashion model.
Both GMBH and Christopher Raeburn build collections around deadstock, repurposed, or otherwise unused fabrics from European factories that would otherwise trash them. Raeburn’s ethos is “remade, reduced, and recycled” in an attempt to show that beautiful, luxurious, meticulously-designed apparel and accessories can be made from otherwise imperfect or preexisting material.
Even well-known luxury labels are experimenting with recycled materials: both Burberry and Etro have utilized ECONYL regenerated nylon in their sportswear collections.
We’re Doing Our Part
At italist, we’re aware of our carbon footprint, which is why all our orders are packaged in 100% recycled cardboard boxes and shipped with minimal additional stuffing, wrapping, or printed material. We’re always working on new ways to offset our impact and operate more sustainably.
Sustainability is more top of mind than ever before because the environmental impact of all human activities—consumption of physical goods especially—is more apparent than ever. From transportation to farming, sustainability is driving innovation in every sector to reduce waste, reduce carbon emissions, and create more circularity in the world’s economies, including luxury and designer fashion.
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