33 Eco-Fashion Brands We’re Obsessed With
Eco-friendly clothing has come a long way from those foggy, hippie-dippie days. You know, the ones filled with crunchy, hemp sandals and patchouli-smelling maxis. In fact, it’s stepped into prime time. Thanks to brands like Kowtow and Amour Vert that focus on style as much as sustainability.
In honor of Earth Month, we’re sharing our 33 favorite sustainable fashion brands that get it right, from ready-to-wear and handbags to jewelry and shoes. We’re talking flirty floral blouses, statement earrings and classic kicks. Because, let’s face it, we are what we wear.
FOUNDERS: Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur
AESTHETIC: Vintage Levi’s, recut (and sometimes dyed) to look ugly-chic, along with "redone" leather jackets and Hanes tees. In other words, vintage basics at their best.
FUN FACT: In addition to repurposing denim and leather, Barron and Mazur source all materials within 15 miles of their Los Angeles factory.
LABEL: Jesse Kamm
FOUNDER: Jesse Kamm
AESTHETIC: Minimal, clean, classic pieces designed “to last until you are old, grey and still very chic.”
FUN FACT: Jesse Kamm is Jesse Kamm. The designer does all her own sales and PR and personally delivers her collections to the stores that carry her brand. If you shoot the company an email, she's the one who responds.
LABEL: Shaina Mote
FOUNDER: Shaina Mote
AESTHETIC: Deceptively simplistic clothing with a strong emphasis on construction. Done in light materials and neutral palettes, the pieces combine Californian ease with Lower East Side edge.
FUN FACT: The entire design and production process is done in Mote's native Los Angeles, thus promoting domestic apparel manufacturing.
FOUNDERS: Viljo Ratia, Armi Ratia and Riitta Immonen
AESTHETIC: Quintessentially Scandinavian, modestly cut pieces in an abundance of bold patterns, prints and colors.
FUN FACT: Jackie O. was a Marrimekko fan. In 1960, when JFK was campaigning for election as POTUS, the soon-to-be First Lady bought seven dresses from the Finnish print company.
FOUNDERS: Matthew Scanlan and Diederik Rijsemus
AESTHETIC: Romantic, beautifully crafted knitwear, all made at a mill in Italy. Shop here for classic wardrobe essentials with fun details like cut-outs, slits and pops of color.
FUN FACT: After a trip to Mongolia, Scanlan and Rijsemus, finance guys at the time, decided to start a business supporting nomadic herders in the Gobi Desert. That business ultimately became Naadam.
LABEL: Brother Vellies
FOUNDER: Aurora James
AESTHETIC: Fresh takes on traditional African footwear with some trendier options mixed in. There's also a full line of plush, statement-making handbags.
FUN FACT: Brother Vellies was handpicked by Marvel to participate in its “Welcome to Wakanda” charity auction event, for which James (a former CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner) designed a $12,000 pair of Black Panther-inspired tan boots made of sisal hairs from Haiti — some curly, some straightened — as a critique of the beauty standards surrounding black women and hair.
FOUNDERS: Marie-Louise Mogensen and Blandine de Verdelhan
AESTHETIC: Basic apparel and knitwear defined by clean, laid-back silhouettes; underwear, loungewear and swimsuits that toe the line between sexy and sporty.
FUN FACT: Before they joined forces to start Baserange (in 2012), Mogensen and de Verdelhan each worked for separate children's lines.
LABEL: H&M Conscious
CREATIVE ADVISOR: Ann-Sofie Johansson
AESTHETIC: Trendy, modern wares, from bridal gowns to day dresses.
FUN FACT: Christy Turlington was recently the face of the brand's Conscious Exclusive collection, the first to use Econyl fabric. For those not familiar, Econyl is a nylon fiber made from discarded fishing nets, which make up a huge chunk of ocean waste and are responsible for the needless death of many a marine animal.
FOUNDER: Carolyn Yim
AESTHETIC: Elegant, uncomplicated knitwear and sportswear made from high-grade, responsibly-sourced wool and offered in a range of plys.
FUN FACT: Knitwear has long been the Yim family business. Yim's grandmother, a couture seamstress for Christian Dior, taught her progeny all that she knew. These days, all Ply-Knits pieces are knit by Yim's family-owned manufacturers.
FOUNDER: Yael Aflalo
AESTHETIC: Fashion-forward, feminine designs created with vintage clothes, sustainable fabrics and deadstock fabrics from fashion houses that over-ordered.
FUN FACT: Reformation has arguably become the fashion set's top eco-friendly clothing destination. (Karlie Kloss, Taylor Swift, Emily Ratajkowski and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are big fans of the brand.) It's also one of the more mainstream brands to have featured an out transgender model in its campaign imagery.
FOUNDERS: Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite
AESTHETIC: Chic, moisture-resistant pointy or round-toe flats, often in geometric patterns.
FUN FACT: San Francisco residents Martin and Hawthornthwaite, a design gallery director and a financier, respectively, developed the shoes in response to the city's "flip-flop and sneaker epidemic."
FOUNDER: Shivam Punjya
AESTHETIC: Saddle bags, totes and clutches made with recycled and upcycled ingredients.
FUN FACT: Each behno collection is produced at MSA Ethos, an ethical garment factory in Gujarat, India built and maintained by behno and its partner, local rural health nonprofit Muni Seva Ashram.
FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Rogan Gregory
AESTHETIC: Sporty wardrobe essentials, like hoodies and tees.
FUN FACT: Everything is made from 100-percent certifiable organic cotton, sourced from farmers who refrain from using chemical pesticides and fertilizers in exchange for natural, safer methods.
FOUNDER: Sandra Correia
AESTHETIC: Contemporary accessory designs and housewares made entirely from cork skin.
FUN FACT: The Portuguese brand harvests cork from trees in the country's oak forests. It takes 20 to 25 years before the first cork can be harvested from an oak tree and after the first extraction, cork can be removed every nine years. Because of small color variations in the cork, no two Pelcor pieces are alike.
LABEL: Melissa Joy Manning
DESIGNER: Melissa Joy Manning
AESTHETIC: Elegant, nature-inspired jewelry for women with a bohemian spirit.
STREET CRED: Manning founded and co-chaired the CFDA Sustainability Committee and won the 2012 CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge. Also, she made her first piece of jewelry at age 4.
LABEL: Amour Vert
FOUNDERS: Linda Balti and Christoph Frehsee
AESTHETIC: Ultra feminine separates that aren't afraid of patterns or a splash of color.
FUN FACT: With every purchase of an Amour Vert T-shirt, the brand plants a tree in North America. Thus far, the company (with the help of its partner American Forests, one of the oldest nonprofit conservation agencies in the US) has planted over 337,000 trees.
LABEL: K/LLER COLLECTION
DESIGNERS: Katie Deguzman and Michael Miller
AESTHETIC: Chic, part gothy, part bohemian jewelry for biker chicks (or dudes) who live downtown.
FUN FACT: The co-founders, both of whom studied furniture design at Parsons, met in a very apropos manner: Deguzman bought a bracelet off Miller to hide a tattoo from her mom and a friendship (and, ultimately, creative partnership) was born.
FOUNDERS: François-Ghislain Morillion and Sébastien Kopp
AESTHETIC: Sleek, nostalgic trainers and tennis shoes. In other words, sustainable sneakers for the Seinfeld-identifying set.
FUN FACT: The brand is a favorite of stars like Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, Mélanie Laurent and Marion Cotillard.