Recently, there has been a widespread movement from fast fashion to shopping more sustainably. This includes shopping at charity shops, vintage shops, and online second-hand shops such as eBay and Depop. The phrase “buy less, buy better” seems to have become prevalent within the last couple of years as people are coming to understand how fast fashion impacts the planet and its workers.
We have curated a list of just some of the places you can shop to be more sustainable and ethical with your fashion choices.
Since 2014, Maria Pearl altered her own denim pieces and then decided to set up ‘RZR Denim’. Each piece is one-off and unique; reworked and hand-made from vintage denim. Available are a variety of jeans, jackets, and sets.
REMIX By ATIKA
Available: atika-london.co.uk, ATIKA London (55-59 Hanbury Street)
REMIX By ATIKA are based in East London and specialise in reworking vintage pieces. Manufactoring occurs in the ATIKA store and in their North London factory. Vintage garments are reworked to make them more trendy and wearable; giving them a new lease of life and saving them from landfill.
Available: ATIKA (55-59 Hanbury Street)
In 2018, ATIKA Studio was born in order to bring REMIX’s style to a different generation. Vintage garments are reworked to create a more upscale and fashion forward collection. This collection is available in ATIKA London (55-59 Hanbury Street).
Baby Girl By BF
Available: ATIKA (55-59 Hanbury Street)
Baby Girl by BF was created by Bex in February 2017 after someone asked her to paint a jacket for their London Fashion Week outfit. Since then, others have been highly interested in her work which led to the beginning of her brand. Her illustrations unapologetically embrace the female form onto vintage garments. The collection ranges from cute handbags to vintage Levi’s jeans; each piece is unique and of high-quality.
People Tree was founded by Safia Minney in 1991 in order to bring awareness about sustainability and ethics within the fashion industry. Many of the items are created from organic cotton using traditional artisan skills such as hand weaving, hand knitting, hand embroidery, and hand block printing. They sell a wide range of items from underwear to activewear. One of their most popular collections is their collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum which sells out quickly.
Sourcing durable and sustainable materials to create long-lasting and high-quality garments is at the heart of Arket’s ethos. Their website describes in detail how to take care of each material in order for the customer to get the most out of each piece they buy. This places emphasis on the importance of making clothes last. They sell a range of womenswear, menswear, children’s clothing, and homeware.
TOAST started in 1997 in West Wales as a small company only selling loungerwear and nightwear, since then they have grown and now sell a wide range of items. Their goal is to create simple, functional, and long-lasting items whilst being as sustainable and ethical as they can. Emphasis is placed on the fact that they are a slow fashion business rather than fast fashion. A description of each material and where it is sourced is detailed on their website which is reassuring.
“Wear something honest, or wear nothing at all”! Nude Ethics have branded themselves as an affordable ethical and sustainable brand. Their Illustrated range uses organic cotton and a fair trade production in order to reduce their carbon foot print as much as they can. Their Vintage Collection contains curated timeless vintage items made of high-quality material. Alongside their own clothing, they also sell items from a few sustainable and ethical independent brands including OffOn, A R C A Jewellery, and Daily Nue.
Lucy & Yak
Lucy and Yak are dedicated to paying all of their workers the ‘Living Wage’, they keep their factories clean and air-conditioned, and they use organic and recycled material. Their infamous unisex dungarees come in a variety of sizes and designs; from rainbow dungarees to simple black dungarees in order to appeal to a wide audience. Alongside these are shirts, dresses, boilersuits, tops, trousers, and more. They have also recently opened a shop in Brighton which is worth a visit.
Available: https://www.adidas.co.uk/, JD Sports, Sports Direct, ASOS
Good on You Rating: Good
Adidas began in 1949 by Adolf Dassler and have since grown to be the second largest activewear brand in the world. Recently, they partnered with Parley for the Oceans (an ocean conservation group) to create a collection from recycled waste from the sea.
Stella McCartney has perfected sustainable luxury fashion. Her brand is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, they partner with PETA for various projects, and they use a lot of eco-friendly materials within their clothing including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and regenerated cashmere.
Available: Depop.com, App Store
In 2011, Depop was created to offer a younger generation an online marketplace to buy and sell their clothing to one another. The items range from highstreet items to designer pieces. Since it began, the app has grown to support over 10 million users. This gives second-hand items a new meaning and a new life.
Available: patagonia.com, ATIKA (55-59 Hanbury Street), Amazon
Goon on You Rating: Good
Patagonia began as a small company selling equipment for climbers; this still remains at the core of the company, but their growth as a business has given them a bigger voice for issues concerning the environment. To further reduce their own impact as a company, Patagonia are dedicated to creating high-quality pieces that are durable. They continually work on improving their methods and materials they use as they are conscious of the entire lifecycle of each garment.
In 1960 Ake Nordin, an adventurer, was unsatisfied with the equipment that existed which led to him desiging his own backpack. Nordin’s commitment to the natural world still remains at the core of his business. Their efforts to be sustainable began in 1994, when arctic foxes (also the English translation of Fjällräven) were critically endangered. They partnered up with the EU and invested money into supporting research to save these foxes. These ethical and sustainable efforts can still be seen in the business today with the start of their recent line: the “Re-Kånken” backpacks, made from 11 recycled plastic water bottles.
Wool and the Gang
Wool and the Gang present a way for customers to love and cherish their items even more; by making the pieces by hand. One is able to buy the wool to create a beloved new knitwear item or buy it handmade on a small scale rather than mass produced. Making knitting cool for the younger generation. All items are made from wool - a natural and biodegradable material. Any fashion waste is then repurposed into new yarn to reduce the amount that goes into landfill.
Instagram: @ren.london, Henri (Store in London), Ottowin (Store in Bristol)
Ren London are a mindful fashion company that aim to create sustainable items without compromising on style. All of their items are made on a small scale using 100% natural fibre fabrics. They have selected a few stockists who co-operate within their own ethical practices; Henri and Ottowin.
Available: henri.london, 274 Hackney Road (Wed-Sun)
Henrietta began Henri in 2016 to create clean and tailored shirts with a care-free element. They use 100% organic cotton, the majority of which is GOTS Certified. Henrietta is committed to creating the perfect shirt; she tests the designs herself and makes adjustments where needed. The suppliers they work with promote decentralised production which supports local weaving villages.
Available: https://helprefugees.org/choose-love/ https://donate.helprefugees.org/campaigns/choose-love-x-pride-2018/
Katharine Hemnett designed the ‘Choose Love’ t-shirts to help spread the message of hope and love whilst raising money for partner projects supporting refugees. Follow helprefugessuk and the hashtag ‘chooselove’ to keep updated on the latest news. There has recently been a new campaign called “Choose Love X Pride 2018” which supports LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers specifically with the money raised from the t-shirts.
Know the Origin
Know The Origin stock items from ethical and sustainable brands that align to their own standard. Their website highlights the positives of each item in categories; those made from certified organic material, eco-friendly materials, vegan material, if the brand is ‘cause driven’, and Fairtrade brands.
The-Acey put the lives of their customers at the forefront of their brand. The details are essential and they consider every aspect from the packaging to the buttons they use. Overproduction is a massive issue within the fast fashion industry, The-Acey pride themselves on being a slow fashion brand that produce only on demand. To further benefit their customers and their environment, a lot of thought is put into their materials which is why they only use natural fabrics made from one single fibre.
Available: toms.co.uk, schuh.co.uk, asos.com
Toms have created a “One for One” system which allows for each purchase of a pair of Toms to also provide shoes, sight, water, and safe birth services to those in need across the globe. Since 2006, this programme has provided 86 million pairs of shoes, restored sight to 600,000 people, and provided 600,000 weeks’ worth of safe water to communities.
Luva Huva are an ethical lingerie and loungewear company handmade in Brighton; they are available online and ship worldwide. They began twelve years as a small company at Portebello market. They recently created a vintage lingerie collection to save material from landfill. Joanna Ketterer is the brand designer and her main focus is creating lingerie made from ethically sourced fabric which celebrates a feminine and elegant style.
Doen are very open about their ethics and sustainability on their website. They globally source their high-quality materials based on the availability of the raw materials, responsible factories, and regional technqiues. For example, they import their handknit alpaca sweaters from Peru. Their focus is on the quality of the item and maintaining long-term partnerships with factories that are owned and run by women. This provides and slower and more sustainable approach to fashion.
Available: ilovelowie.com, 115 Dulwich Road (Herne Hill), Cystal Palace
Bronwyn Lowenthal created the brand in 2002, keeping sustainability close to their heart with every collection. They keep production small in order to ensure that their workers are paid a fair amount and also that their pieces are unique and limited edition. They are inspited by the natural fibres they use to create timeless pieces as well as bright and bold items.
Available: brightonlace.com, etsy.com/brightonlace
Brighton Lace is made up of a team of three women; Lou and her two seamstresses. Lace sourcing, dyeing, and creating is all made in England. Each piece is unique and limited edition as they buy vintage lace and there are no lace manufacturers lefts in the UK. They pay their workers a fair wage and are a part of the Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign. They aim to empower women and are therefore very open and responsive to feedback about their products.
”We’re rubbish. Literally” is their moto; placing emphasis on their swimsuits being made from 100% recycled material. Since they started, they have recycled approximately 220,000 plastic bottles in weight. They are a small independent company based on the North West coast of England; after volunteering on their local beach to clean up plastic, they quickly realised the magnitude of the plastic problem. Their designs are fun and colourful which transforms the plastic waste that was heading for landfill or the oceans into something that is more enjoyable.
Made are a small company that handcraft their jewellery in Kenya using traditional methods to create positive change to the creators, the customers, and the planet. Each piece of jewellery carries a story as the traditional methods used are passed down through the generations of the artisans. People are at the centre of their business allowing for their workers to learn new skills in a safe working environment.
Sand & Palm
Sand & Palm have broken down the materials they use and where they come from; 100% of their lycra comes from regenerated nylon, their packaging is either recycled or organic material, and their clothing is made from organic hemp. Each item is made to order by Vicki in her studio in order to reduce waste and over-production.
Tide and Seek
Available: tideandseek.com and ASOS Marketplace
At Tide and Seek, they care a lot about the oceans which is why they decided to make all of their swimwear from 100% recycled plastic bottles. This helps reduce the amount of plastic bottles that end up either in the ocean or in landfills.
Vildnis are committed to making sustainable fashion the status quo. Their four commitments consist of using the most environmentally friendly resources and production methods available, having a transparent supply chain who all adhere to their code of conduct, they don’t use angora, fur, or non-certified wool, and being an honest company who respond to customer feedback to help them improve.