written by Venissa Deol Pais
edited by Gauri Bhatiya
Fast fashion refers to low-cost, fashionable and mass-produced clothing that has a major negative environmental impact. With the increasing popularity of fast fashion, we need to pause and consider its impact on both the environment and people. To produce clothing for fast fashion firms, not only is the environment left in total havoc but also, many workers are taken advantage of.
This industry is one of the top five most polluting industries on the planet. The worst case of fashion pollution took place in Ghana, where mountains of unwanted clothing created an environmental disaster. Over 65 million tonnes of clothing had been dumped in Ghana, affecting not only the land and its workers, but also ended up polluting the ocean. Even if most of the clothing is not sold and is abandoned in open spaces, Western countries utilize Ghana as a disposal site while they sleep peacefully believing that they are helping the underprivileged in Africa.
However, the apparel business is seeing a paradigm transition, and firms are embracing it by using natural textiles and dyes, paying workers properly, and launched other initiatives to comply with sustainability. Today, quality is not sacrificed when producing eco-friendly apparel. In addition to being fashionable and sturdy, they are also reasonably priced. To lessen the harm already done and to make up for it, ethical fashion is the way to go.
Read on to learn about the sustainable clothing brands that you cannot afford to miss:
- Mother of Pearl: Mother of Pearl has mastered the craft of ethical design by creating modern, wearable pieces. Their proudest piece is the Jacquard fabric, which is the most sustainable material in the world. The cotton comes from socially conscious, certified organic farms in Egypt, while the wool is sourced from South American farms that do not engage in mule-shearing. It is woven at an Austrian mill where the fabric is softened using steam rather than chemicals. It is no surprise that the midi tunic dresses, pearl-embellished jeans, and vibrantly printed shirts are timeless essentials you will wear for years rather than flashy one-offs that follow trends.
- Oshadi: This brand has held to its name. As the name suggests, Essence of Nature, Oshadi has been in the sustainable game since 2016. Oshadi’s founder’s sense of initiative is undoubtedly demonstrated by the method by which the company has entirely altered the paradigms of the textile value chain in favor of a rural, sustainable solution. To ensure fair income distribution and decent working conditions, they directly employ locals on their terms and have established a self-sufficient system.
- Grassroot by Anita Dongre: The House of Anita Dongre is one of the largest female-led couture lines in India which has a solid foundation in traditional Indian crafts. Apart from being a sustainable brand that promotes artisanship and keeps traditions alive, their main goal is to include rural women, supply opportunities, and give them an equal voice. Grassroot displays a wide range of products from carefully handcrafted jewelry pieces to traditionally inspired hand-loomed lehengas to a well-cut jacket, perfect wear for your special occasions.
- BITE Studios: A sustainable, luxury fashion brand based in Stockholm and the UK that strives to create a sustainable universe through the language of haute couture. A fan of mix-and-match? The outfits from all their collections complement and go well with each other. Long, slender silhouettes, asymmetrically draped skirts, and the more frivolous strapless tops, board shorts, and fitted trousers all come together so well. In addition, their minimalistic designs are made using organic fibers that are perfect for any occasion, be it a professional meeting or a fun hangout with your friends.
- The Summer House: The Summer House is a must-have in any black book of sustainable brands. Their summer line keeps you cool even in the wildest heat while keeping you très chic. They connect the worlds between contemporary clothing and traditional Indian culture. They collaborate closely with local artisans to create the most distinctive items from each state and turn them into garments. The yarns are made from top-quality organic cotton which is then hand-woven into the most beautiful khadi or the sturdiest denim.
- Aeshaane: Want to go for a more sustainable alternative? Well, look no further, because Aeshaane creates fashionable works of art from vegan silk. This, combined with the skills of the tribal artisans who have preserved traditions over the generations, results in the most intricate and sophisticated designs that make you feel like the best dressed person in the room. These pieces would surely add unseen value to your wardrobe.
- The Terra Tribe: Drawn from the Latin word meaning ‘Earth’, the Terra tribe has stood its ground in supplying the best quality of sustainable clothes in a wide assortment of earthy tones which is perfect for any season. A variety of classically designed womenswear styles can be explored. To make sure their carbon footprint is still minimal, all their products are organic, including their plant-based dyes made from madder wines, natural indigo, iron vinegar, and leaves.
- B-Label: There might not be a planet -B but there sure could be a Plan B and here at B-Label they believe that by small steps we can revolutionize fashion. Their products made purely from ecological products speak for themselves. They strive to offer the highest quality clothing with simple yet complex designs at an affordable price. What sets B-Label apart from other brands is that their clothing is made of hemp. They create the strongest natural fiber all while being very eco-friendly. Wanna be the best dressed in your university? Want to save the planet while you are at it? Then B-Label is exactly the brand that you are searching for.
In the past few years, especially during the pandemic, there has been a rise in thrifting and sustainable fashion. Coming from the UAE, all I could find were fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, and Max. Although they produce the trendiest clothes at cheap rates, their carbon footprint is substantial. To find an eco-friendlier option, one must go to stores like Brands for Less or Day to Day. Thrifting is the way to go!
Major stars like Bella Hadid have been the face of promoting sustainable fashion, openly supporting small businesses and thrift stores, but nothing beats desi families who are the most sustainable people on this planet. A beautiful garment will be passed down through generations, becoming hand-me-downs in a family.
But sustainability does not mean re-wearing the same clothes; by lowering your wardrobe’s carbon footprint, supporting the green fashion movement, thrifting, and avoiding bulk purchases from fast fashion outlets, you can help make the planet more habitable for future gens.
Change does begin from your wardrobe. How do you think the sustainable fashion industry will evolve over the years? Will it be the way of life or will it have run its course?