Fashion Conscious, Conscious Fashion: Sustainable style is a thing

Foundry Fox
Junior-editor
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London Fashion Week 2018 symbolised a monumental shift towards a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.

The fashion industry is the second largest cause of environmental pollution worldwide, after the oil industry, and brands are starting to respond.

25% of the worlds pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton for textiles and it takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce enough cotton for one t.shirt and one pair of jeans, with 60% of clothing being produced in developing countries with varying degrees of human rights.

Californian brand ESPRIT championed ethical fashion as far back as the 1960’s. This year designers VIN & OMI, a favourite of Michelle Obama described themselves as ‘having a message’ at fashion week, focusing on developing ‘eco-textiles’ including chestnut skin ‘leathers’, and surprisingly soft wool-like fabrics made from plastic bottles.

Italian fashion giants Gucci announced their historic decision to go fur free by Spring/Summer 2018 while the London College of Fashion collaborated with investment company Kering to launch the world’s first open-access digital course in sustainable luxury fashion.

The course, entitled ‘Fashion & Sustainability: Understanding Fashion in a Changing World’, teaches both members of the fashion industry and the public about sustainability and the clothing industry.  

Of all the green fashion moments of this year’s Fashion Week, the premier of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange has to be the most momentous.

Created by the founder of Eco-Age Livia Firth (wife of Colin) and partnered with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM, the Exchange brings together local artisans and giants of the fashion world from all 53 member countries including Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh and Stella McCartney for the UK.

Designers and artisans used materials like recycled mosquito nets, coconut shells and dye made out of locally grown turmeric.

The designs are now on display to the public until March 6th in an exhibition at Australia House, admission is free. This is a fashion first that will undoubtedly set a precedent for the future of the industry, check it out before it leaves for New York next week.

Being ethically conscious when it comes to fashion can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. ‘Good On You’ is an ethical shopping app that compares over 1,200 brands allowing you to find brands that not only fit your style preferences, but also your ethical values and concerns.

Now you can shop comfortably knowing that no person, plant or animal is suffering for your wardrobe.

Here are some of our favourite sustainable brands.

Lemlem

Lemlem

Inspired after a trip to her native Ethiopia, supermodel Liya Kebede (Gucci, Victoria’s Secret) created Lemlem, meaning to ‘bloom and flourish’ in the local language.

Available on Net-a-Porter, the core collection is made from handwoven natural cotton and creates beautiful flowing garments, all made in Africa with a focus on providing jobs and improving conditions for local communities.

The Lemlem Foundation also works to educate and support women in rural communities. A truly inspirational brand. Shop the collection at net-a-porter.

Finisterre

Finisterre

Born out of humble beginnings in the early 2000’s, British brand Finisterre create beautiful clothes that represent a love of the sea and respect for nature, using cruelty free wool, organic cotton and recycled polyester.

Durable, beautiful, ethical clothing weaved with the essence of the outdoors, and with a commitment to eradicate single use plastic by the end of 2018, what’s not to love. Shop their new spring collection now. See the collection at finisterre.com.

Veja Trainers

@Lucywilliams02 wearing Veja

Loved by Emma Watson and hoards of Parisians to the Left Bank, Veja trainers have made an ethical dent in the mainstream fashion world.

Creators and friends Sebastien Kopp and Francois-Ghislain Morillion use only organic cotton, paying their farmers twice the market rate, and pay their natural rubber farmers a premium so they don’t have to destroy the environment to grow additional crops.

Veja uses animal and vegan leather combined with recycled materials such as uppers made from recycled plastic bottles. Available at Liberty and shopstyle.co.uk.

Veja, Vincent Desailly

Gather & See

Kowtow at Gather & See

Shop smarter with ethical online retailer Gather & See, founded by Steph Hogg and Alicia Taylor.

Inspired by the artisan handmade products they saw while travelling in their twenties, every brand on their website is either fairtrade, organic, recycled, eco-friendly, hand-made, or small scale production.

Shop brands like Beaumont Organic and organic sportswear brand Satva, safe in the knowledge you’re being good to the world.

On the high street

Zara

Brands are starting to adapt to demand, Swedish brand Lindex are committed to sustainability, their goal for 80% of their products to be sustainable by 2020.

Zara has also committed to the sustainable movement with their spring/summer 2018 collection that uses materials like Tencel, a fabric regenerated from wood cellulose, similar to bamboo, and also producing clothes made from at least 25% recycled polyester produced by using recycled plastic bottles.

H&M continue adding more lines to their Conscious collection. While new to the high street, H&M’s big sister Arket and our new favourite states exactly where products were made and the name of the supplier when you visit online.

Sportswear

Adidas has joined forces with Parley for the Ocean for the third time to create the new Ultra Boost Mid trainers, turning ‘the threat in to thread’.  

Adidas x Parley

Spun from plastic pulled from the ocean, the Ultra Boost Mid will come in a clean white with a turquoise heel.

Previously, Parley and Adidas have collaborated to make the Ultra Boost, Ultra Boost Uncaged, Ultra Boost X and the EQT Support ADV. To be released soon, retail price £159.95. 

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