Years ago, if you were to research ethical or sustainable fashion, what would you find? White organic cotton T-shirts, scratchy hemp skirts, everything taupe and handcrafted ponchos. The focus of eco fashion in the early days was simply on the use of natural fibres without pesticides. Today, however, the movement has grown both in artistry, popularity and scope of environmental concern. When you do a Google image search, what you now get is the image at the top. Sustainable fashion has moved beyond "hippie-chic" to catwalk statement pieces and luxury, yet commercial, apparel. In 1990, Vogue Magazine first introduced the topic to many of their readers who, we can only assume, had never considered who made their clothes or how. Since then, eco fashion weeks have popped up all over the world and major brands like Stella McCartney are placing environmental concerns at the center of their brand strategy. The movement itself has moved beyond the focus on fibre. Water conservation, natural dyes, carbon emission resulting from manufacturing and workers' rights are just some of the focuses we're seeing come to the forefront of the industry. Here, we take a look at some emerging designers we've profiled who are putting their focus on creating a better fashion industry.
Agata Della Torre shows that small-batch production and hand crafted details can produce impressive results. The label is conceptual yet accessible to the average consumer. They use luxurious natural materials to marry art and architecture with fashion.
Alexandra Groover uses exclusively organic cotton jersey in her collections. She works with a local supplier who knits the fabric, reducing the mileage and thus the carbon emission from transporting the textile. For her Autumn Winter 2016 collection, she has also worked with an innovative leather alternative made from pineapple! Usually, alternatives to leather are made from petroleum-based products, so working with an organic material that can further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is amazing.
Bav Tailor was the first label we had ever heard of to use fish skin as a fabric. This innovation turns what would become waste from the food industry into beautiful garments, reducing what goes to our landfills. Tanning fish "leather" also produces less pollutants to flow into our water and no poisonous gasses released into our air.
Umasan was a label we wrote about after seeing their collection in Paris. We are always pleasantly surprised to see such wearable attire made with conscience. Impressive tailoring met with innovative vegan and eco friendly fabrics show this label can have a widespread appeal.
Murky is a jewellery brand which makes use mainly of recycled silver, diminishing the need to pull more of this natural resource out of the ground. The oxidation process which gives the silver it's dark colour normally uses chemicals which can have a negative impact on our water systems. Murky, however, is taking advantage of age old techniques using organic materials to oxidise their pieces. You can see some Murky pieces in The Shop.