Pledging allegiance or a vague amount of money to a charity is no longer enough for brands. Ethically-minded consumers are no longer a small handful — they’re now in big numbers and everyday, more people want to know both the social and environmental effect of their purchase decision.
Whether it’s a piece of footwear that has been deftly put together by artisans in a sweatshop-free labour conditions, or a piece of clothing that has been made which makes sure that neither the environment nor the workers were harmed, we’re here for ethical fashion and these brands are paving the way.
Xiao Wang Jewelry
New York-based designer Xiao Wang uses reclaimed gold, that in turn save mining waste, and natural, untreated gemstones and diamonds that have been responsibly mined and entirely conflict free. Her creations are kitschy, ethereal and definitely one-of-its-kind that will remain heirlooms forever. Definitely worthy of your year-end splurge.
Founded by Aurora James who had the desire to introduce the world to her favourite traditional African footwear, while at the same time developing and sustaining artisan careers in Africa.
The result, a footwear line, entirely handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco and have styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts. Most of the leather shoes have been made using Kudu leather, an animal byproduct that has resulted from a government-mandated culling due to overpopulation. The meat is sold at local markets or donated. Scrap leather that they cannot use in their adult shoes have been saved for Brother Minis, the brand’s line of kids’ shoes.
Icelandic jewellery label Twin Within works with the FOCOLARE organisation in Tagaytay, Philippines, where mothers-in-need produce their collections on a fair trade basis. Their pieces are simple, but elegant, crafted from raw materials like sturdy shipping rope, coloured rubber tubes and silver or brass.
Just about everybody wears Reformation — including (forever our) First Lady Michelle Obama. They make their pieces using sustainable materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. Plus, on top of making clothing for petite women, they’ve also added an extended sizes collection that goes up to size 22. Hurray for size inclusivity!
You can’t run away from athleisure and we’ll keep wearing leggings as pants for as long as we can, especially if they’re sustainable. Launched by husband-and-wife duo Quang and Ellie Dinh, Girlfriend Collective makes size-inclusive women’s workout apparel with recycled, post-consumer materials.
The result? Sleek, simple workout wear in a variety of colours that change seasonally, worn by women of diverse sizing and skin tones. How cool is it to say that your leggings are made of recycled plastic bottles? Too cool.