The Eco Has Landed
If ethical fashion sounds like a proposition championed by Birkenstocks-wearing, Bohemian hipster-vegans who swear by hand-spun alpaca wool ponchos that are itchy yet cost a fortune, it's time to bin that misconception.
Fashion and ethics are not incompatible. In fact, they can share the same wardrobe space. As green slowly but surely becomes the new black, legions of brands, especially smaller independent ones, are already taking baby steps on this road less travelled.
Modern textile house-cum-menswear brand Neuba works with master hand-weavers in India, while Sophie Anderson's accessories are handmade by the Wayuu people in Columbia. Both actively aim to preserve artisanal craftsmanship and introduce the human touch in an age of modern machinery.
Elsewhere, others such as Anglo-Moroccan bag brand En Shalla, Thai menswear marque SSAP and Italian label Rebello, are using natural, organic, plant-based and chemical-free raw materials to lessen the harmful impact on the environment.
By advocating Responsible Fashion, Lebanese brand Sarah's Bag meanwhile supports local communities and economies through a rehabilitation programme which has since trained more than 200 women at risk in traditional crafts like hand beading, embroidery and crocheting.
The sterling showcase of ethical fashion is, of course, Stella McCartney. A champion of eco-friendly fashion long before the concept went mainstream, the British designer and committed vegetarian has pledged that her brand will recycle and incorporate sustainable practices as much as possible, and not use leather, fur or skins in her collections for men and women. In 2008, for her singular vision and dedication to the green movement, she was named Green Designer of the Year by the Accessories Council Excellence awards in New York.
On her stand, she once said it is better to do something than nothing.“I believe in creating pieces that aren’t going to get burnt, that aren’t going to landfills, that aren’t going to damage the environment. For every piece in every collection I am always asking what have we done to make this garment more sustainable and what else can we do. It is a constant effort to improve.”
Together with these designers, make a difference this Earth Day.