May 23, 2024

Whoiscloak

Unique & Classy

17 Sustainable Fashion Brands to Know and Shop 2024, According to Experts

11 min read

It’s a common experience: In an effort to be a more eco-conscious consumer, you start researching sustainable fashion brands. You find a clothing company that uses all the buzzwords you know are important—clean, circular, transparent—and buy an item that catches your eye. But it’s itchy and rough on the skin when it arrives a few days later. You inspect the tag and find a confusing list of polyester blends, none of which align with the organic, earth-friendly vision initially advertised. It hits you that the brand likely isn’t as sustainable as it promised. You’ve been greenwashed.

Marina Testino, a sustainability strategist who works with brands like Stella McCartney and Gucci and organizations like Greenpeace and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, developed a comprehensive checklist to help people avoid the faux-eco pitfall.

Testino calls it the “Five Pillars of Conscious Fashion:” To assess a brand’s environmental impact, look for sustainably sourced materials, either “recycled, organic, upcycled, or biodegradable;” a responsible production process (how many collections the brand offers a year, if pieces are made to order); transparency on “where fabrics are sourced and by whom garments are made;” carbon emissions management (zero-waste processes, re-purposing textiles, etc.); and the brand’s social responsibility, including fair labor operations and community involvement.

Maria McManus, a New York-based label offering contemporary heirlooms, is a brand Testino spotlights for its legitimate sustainable strides.

(Image credit: Maria McManus)

A clothing label doesn’t need to tick every single box on Testino’s list to qualify as sustainable. “If a brand is making an effort with at least two of the five pillars, that signals a genuine commitment to conscious values and solutions,” she says. It’s more important that the brand is genuine with its mission and has proof to substantiate its efforts. “No brand is perfect, but if you see a claim without any evidence, that’s a red flag,” says Alyssa Hardy, journalist and author of Worn Out: How Our Clothes Cover Up Fashion’s Sins. “Do they provide supplier information or certifications? It can’t hurt to ask before you buy,” the writer shares.

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