Mar 17th, 2021, 07:20 AM

Sustainable is Fashionable

By Sarah Affonso
Image credit: Unsplash/Jess Harper
Here are five sustainable brands you should be shopping from.

The fashion industry produces nearly 92 million tonnes of waste every year. Alarmingly, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles is either burned or thrown into landfills globally. Humans are generating rapidly growing amounts of waste, and the fashion industry is one of the largest contributors. It is because of reasons like this that more and more brands are choosing to take the sustainable route. When a brand claims to be 'sustainable', it can range anywhere from its approach to recycled materials to the use of vegan leather.

Being a self-proclaimed fashionista, I absolutely love to dress up and stay up to date with the current trends in the fashion world. However, my adoration for the environment is stronger, and for this reason, I choose to shop for the majority of my clothes from sustainable brands. Being a student, however, I often find environmentally conscious brands to be slightly more expensive than your average 'H and M' or 'Zara'.  This is why I have created a shortlist of five fashionable, sustainable, and budget-friendly brands I, as a student, choose to shop on. 

  • Tentree

Image credit: Unsplash/Arnaud Mesureur

'Tentree' aims to make a better future and a healthier planet. The brand plants ten trees for every purchase that is made with the aim to show the world, "the lasting impact a small choice can have." Planting trees is one of the best ways to create a more sustainable future, however, their journey does not end there. The brand is constantly finding new ways to be sustainable and claims that a 'Tentree' sweatshirt uses on, "average 75% less water" to make in comparison to the other sweatshirts in one's closet. Moreover, 'Tentree' products are made with the smallest environmental footprint possible, and their ethical environments sure that the products are created in fair and safe working environments. With an amazing 53, 532,787 trees having already been planted as of 2021, it is my hope that this brand gets more attention and the number of trees it plants multiplies rapidly in the years to come. 

  • VEJA

Image credit: Unsplash/Sarah Mason

'Veja' is a French brand that promotes transparency, organic materials, and fair trade. Using eco-friendly materials, and organic cotton, 'Veja' is on a mission to reduce its climate impact. Their commitment as a brand to remain 'transparent' means that customers have access to all kinds of information on their official website from how the shoes are made to how much the workers are paid. We have access to their complete results on CO2 emissions as the company pays close attention to their production line. One of their basic pillars of business is fair trade. They aim to create a "balanced and dignified trade exchange" by purchasing cotton and rubber directly from Brazilian and Peruvian producers and signing one-year contracts with set prices uncorrelated from that of the market. 'Veja' shoes are made of materials like plastic bottles, recycled cotton from the textile industry, and recycled polyester being "the first basketball brand to use a fabric made entirely from recycled plastic bottles: B-Mesh". Last but not least, 'Veja' emphasized that when it comes to the leather they use in their shoes they, "know where it comes from" and, "what is in it".

  • Outerknown 

Image credit: Unsplash/Nick Fewings 

'Outerknown' is another sustainable and ethically conscious brand with the goal of, "proving that you don't have to compromise on sustainability or style". For them, "sustainability is not a marketing slogan," but who they are. Practicing relentless sustainability, the brand states the 90% of its fabrics are organic, recycled,  or regenerated, 100% of its trunks are made from recycled or renewable fibers, and through fair trade, they continue to invest in the livelihoods of over 5,000 workers. With a strong approach towards quality, material, and consciousness, 'Outerknown' is definitely a brand high up on my list when it comes to sustainable clothing. 

  • Mate the Label 

Image credit: Unsplash/Anna Auza

'Mate' is a Los Angeles based brand providing you with clean essentials, made of organic cotton and low-impact dyes. Organic cotton is known to, "use 87% less water than conventional cotton and emits 45% less greenhouse gases." With ratings like these, it is irresistible to use brands like 'Mate' that promote the use of purely organic materials. The brand relies on a system of circularity which means once you are 'done' with or 'over' a piece of clothing, you have the chance to return your product so the people at 'Mate' can, "recycle them and turn them into a new product," however, staying sustainable doe not stop with their clothing. The brand uses 100% recycled materials for all its shipping mailers and boxes. 'Mate' takes a rather holistic approach towards sustainability, offering, "women everywhere a clean product that is just as beautiful as it is sustainable." 

  • No Nasties 

Image credit: Unsplash/Francisco Arnela

'No Nasties' is a clothing brand based in India that believes in organic, fair trade and vegan materials. Being Indian myself, I am proud to see more individuals taking advantage of the skills of the average Indian farmer and tailor. Working with a farmer's co-operative and a fair trade factory they produce, "100% organic cotton products." With the goal of making products that make a difference, the brand is one of the first in India to have vegan clothing. A term that often leaves customers baffled, vegan clothing refers to their clothes being free from any animal products and animal testing. Purely focused on plant-based products, when buying from 'No Nasties' you can be sure you are investing in products that are against the killing, hurting, or abusing of animals. Finally, similar to brands earlier, 'No Nasties' has zero plastic packaging which simply makes the entire experience of shopping with them that much more enjoyable. 

Special Mention: 'Good on You' 

A vital tool that helped me write this article was a website called 'Good on You'. This is your one-stop for all you need to know on current and upcoming ethical and sustainable brands. The website allows you to stay up to date on current fashion trends while also reminding you about the ethical and environmental impacts of your purchases. With a quick and easy search, one can instantly look up any store on the website's database which gives you a rating of the brand in terms of how ethical it is ranging from 1 (We avoid) to 5 (Great). So next time you want to shop from a brand but are not sure about how ethically and sustainably mindful they are, head over to 'Good on You'. 

Happy sustainable and ethical shopping!