As a new season approaches, it’s easy to be tempted into buying a whole new wardrobe of clothes that you’ll undoubtedly like for a few months before discarding when winter comes about. Trends are short-lived and it’s hard not to buy into them, especially when prices are often low and the Zara window display is just too good. But with fast fashion and our consumption of clothes becoming such a problem for the environment and those who work to make them, we have a duty (where possible) to be conscious consumers and make an effort to put our money where our mouth is. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of a few sustainable brands so if you’re looking to do some retail therapy in this busy time, you could perhaps consider instead of the usual ASOS.
Lisa Says Gah is an American brand, born and made in San Francisco, that aim to create an ‘anti-shop’ kind of shop. Instead of churning out thousands of pieces at a low cost to keep up with micro-trends, they work with independent small businesses to produce a limited stock that is made to last. Not only do they ensure the standards of their factories are more than fair, but they aim to minimise environmental damage by using natural fabrics and predominantly biodegradable packaging. From cute prints to floral dresses, the Lisa Says Gah brand embodies the laid back, Californian vibe and has been a favourite of bloggers everywhere. Although their clothing comes with a hefty price tag, these are pieces that will last a lifetime and are wearable through all seasons and trends.
You’ve probably seen their iconic overalls everywhere, but now Lucy and Yak have expanded into jeans, tops and jackets too. As an independent, handmade, sustainable brand, they believe we can have the clothes we want without the exploitation of the workforce in the process. All of their garments are either organic or recycled and they state their transparency in the way they manufacture their stock. As a brand concerned with social justice and the issues facing our planet, they are committed to size inclusivity and active anti-racism – which just shows how brands are far more than just the clothes they sell. So, if you’re looking for a brand that you can trust with your bucks, Lucy and Yak is a pretty good start.
Hara the Label is an Australian woman’s brand that is aiming to ‘bring change and awareness to the human and environmental issues within the fashion industry while creating sustainable soft dreamy bamboo underwear that’s both rejuvenating and 'empowering’. Using all-natural dyes and fair clothing production, this small business has turned into a brand of positivity and empowerment. You only need to go to their Instagram (@hara_thelabel) to see their commitment to showing a diverse range of women in their clothing – because that is reality. From soft flares to bodysuits, Hara the Label has a small range of items that are flattering on all body types and is so clearly made with women in mind.
This is an up and coming brand started by two friends who ‘find beauty in unique objects and saving the planet’. As a pathway to change, NiiPPY Studios are working toward a goal of complete sustainability – a big goal for a small business starting out – and provide a detailed breakdown of their supply chain for each collection. Releasing small batches of individual collections, they minimise waste and maximize quality. At the moment, their collection consists of tote bags, hoodies, sweatshirts and t-shirts, and undoubtedly this will be expanding in the future. By supporting small brands like NiiPPY, as consumers, we can help in the move to a more sustainable industry away from the confines of fast fashion.
Charity shops / Depop / eBay
Although sustainable brands are amazing and they’re definitely a step in the right direction, to be completely honest, buying fewer clothes is the best solution. Cutting down our consumption is ideal and something I’m working on. However, we’re all human, and sometimes we need new clothes, and it is entirely possible to find some absolute gems second hand. Charity shops, Depop and eBay are just a few ways we can save waste and cut consumption, and also are often far cheaper than sustainable clothing brands. We’re so blessed in Nottingham to have so many charity and second-hand shops – if you haven’t been to one of the many White Roses in the city, you need to – and this is often our best way to be sustainable if we fancy a new outfit.
These are just a few of many sustainable brands out there, but just remember as the weather changes and you start perusing on ASOS, if you knew exactly who made that item of clothing, how much they were paid, and how that order might impact the environment, would you still buy it? It’s all about being a conscious shopper, and although no one’s perfect, we can all make an effort to do our bit and save the planet in any way we can.