These days, it is not enough for labels to simply be fashionable. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with which brands meet their sustainability and ethics standards when deciding where to shop. The ethics and sustainability of a brand is determined by practices ranging from the sourcing of its materials to the employers’ treatment towards their employees. I argue that it is extremely important to educate yourself about which companies strive to fulfill all aspects of sustainability and ultimately deserve our business. Here are 5 companies that will allow you to feel good about looking good:
Patagonia is a pioneer in sustainable and ethical business practices in the fashion industry. The brand’s mission statement, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” is reflected in every level of its supply chain. The level of transparency that Patagonia provides to its customers sets it apart from most other competitor companies, where issues concerning ethics often occur behind the scenes and are actively concealed from consumers. For example, the brand publicly discloses its factory list and publishes “The Footprint Chronicles,” which includes all the information a consumer would want to know about the environmental resources used in the production of Patagonia clothing. The company also prides itself on the benefits it provides to its employees. Patagonia was even invited to present its work on efforts to prevent human trafficking in factory mills to the White House Forum on Combating Human Trafficking in Supply Chains in 2015.
Reformation has become a household brand in recent years, largely due to its environmentally sustainable practices. Unlike many brands who utilize third party contractors, Reformation supervises the production of all of its garments at its own factory here in the United States. Furthermore, the environmental footprint of each garment is disclosed in its tag, measured by the “RefScale,” which includes the amount of CO2 emitted, gallons of water used, and pounds of waste produced. Reformation provides tangible facts about its sustainable practices and the specificity of this information simultaneously helps educate customers about what exactly to look for in other brands when considering how environmentally conscious they are.
3. P.i.C. Style
While this London based brand may not be as familiar to U.S. consumers, it should be. P.i.C. Style does sustainability in a unique way that allows you to get more bang for your buck. The brand’s philosophy is that consumers should buy less and know more about the origin of the pieces they own. Its collection of eight pieces are all manufactured in London from locally sourced, organic products and are never mass-produced. The collection presents fifty versatile and interchangeable looks that can be tailored to your vibe that day. For example, P.i.C offers a jumpsuit with a detachable top, allowing the piece to transform into wide leg pants.
4. H&M Conscious Collection
H&M is a go-t0 brand for consumers trying to spend a little less money, but the company as a whole is not entirely sustainable. The majority of the materials that the company uses in its clothing is not eco-friendly. That being said, the brand hopes to make all of its clothing sustainable by 2030. Until this goal is reached, opt for the brand’s Conscious Collection, which uses primarily organic and recycled materials. The collection includes everything from undergarments to dresses, all which allow you to feel good about your purchase and avoid breaking your bank. Regardless of whether you buy from this collection, always choose H&M over its competitor Forever21, which received an overall score of D+ from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report and lost a major lawsuit from employees working in its garment factories.
5. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney has recently made headways as a leader in sustainability in the luxury goods industry. In January, the brand garnered attention for the launch of its project “The World of Sustainability,” which, according to the brand’s website, provides “a platform entirely dedicated to telling you about our sustainable practices and our journey to operating as a modern and responsible business.” Stella’s “World of Sustainability” prides itself on respect for nature, respect for people, respect for animals, and circular solutions to fashion sustainability, providing a complete picture of ethical sustainability. For example, to honor its commitment to respecting animals, the brand is completely vegetarian. This means that they do not use any leather, skin, fur, or feathers, a rare feat in the luxury goods world. The next time you splurge, choose Stella McCartney to minimize the guilt of the price tag with knowing that you are supporting an ethical and sustainable brand.