Trends are fun to play around with, but by nature they go out as quickly as they came in. That said, we don’t see any slowing down with the recent shift for shoppers to start stocking their closets with more sustainably made pieces. Whether it be in the form of small, local production, the use of recycled materials, or a number of other factors throughout the manufacturing process, many labels are making it their mission to reduce the massive carbon footprint the fashion business—and fast fashion in particular—is notorious for.
If you’ve ever assumed that eco-friendly is synonymous with frumpy, then you haven’t been keeping up with the latest sustainable brands. But we’re here to tell you that the fashion insiders are. A few big names like Stella McCartney and even H&M have created conscious collections, but there’s also a slew of cool, emerging brands that are committed to making their pieces more mindfully. If you’re trying to be more kind to the environment, we’ve rounded up some labels that will make you feel good about where you’re spending you hard-earned cash.
If your veganism extends to what you put on your body (not just in it) buying shoes can be tougher for you than the average shopper. But RAFA’s cool, slightly 90s-inspired collection of strappy sandals, boots, clogs, and Maryjanes are made with luxurious but cruelty-free materials, which also means a reduced environmental impact.
More proof that the most luxe textiles don’t have to come from animals, this LA-based line utilizes plant-based materials (like hemp silk) and dyes in creating its beautifully feminine bias-cut slip dresses, camis, and skirts.
Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid are among the A-list fans of this brand, which specializes in modernizing the fits of vintage Levis, Hanes tees, and Champion sweats. Because RE/DONE is essentially upcycling existing clothing, it’s saving a tremendous amount of waste.
Reformation’s name is practically synonymous with sustainability: the blogger beloved brand produces small collections domestically in a factory outfitted with energy-saving tools, makes pieces using sustainable textiles, and utilizes super minimal packing when shipping customer orders. Ref is also notorious for making fun, flirty, and totally flattering dresses—including bridal options.
This NYC-based jewelry brand—designed by a RISD vet who studied sculpture—has been sported by stars like Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, and Emma Watson, who is notorious for her commitment to sustainable fashion. WWAKE and its more sculptural sister brand Closer by WWAKE is created with recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds.
Perhaps the best-fitting, most flattering yoga pants we’ve ever worn (thanks to a compressive design), the Seattle-based activewear brand’s best-selling leggings are made of recycled plastic water bottles from Taiwan (a country with a massive waste problem). Girlfriend Collective is totally transparent about its manufacturing process, including detailing its ethical production practices in Vietnam. Besides that, you can get all their cool, minimalist pieces from sizes XXS to XXXL; not a sustainable aspect, just a really awesome one
Vrai & Oro
Lovers of simple, chic fine jewelry should look to this direct-to-customer brand, which keeps costs low by cutting out the middle man. In terms of sustainability, Vrai & Oro’s dainty, minimalist rings (including engagement and wedding options), necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are made domestically and its diamonds are sustainably grown, so they’re totally conflict-free.
Day Space Night
The artsy, It-girl faved brand (Jenny Slate and Lena Dunham are big fans) creates and prints its vibrant patterns digitally in its Chinatown, Los Angeles studio and creates super limited collections to keep waste minimized. As a result, the easy-to-wear silhouettes (kimonos, roomy slip dresses, and wrap skirts) sell out fast—making them even more in demand with the cool crowd.