According to Eccocult, the fashion industry is the third-largest polluter in the world when it comes to carbon emissions. The industry also consumes a massive amount of water. Fashion is also responsible for 92-million tons of solid waste per year globally, representing four-percent of the 2.12 billion tons of waste dumped globally each year.
While the numbers are imposing, they aren’t set in stone. Looking to improve the relationship between the fashion industry and the environment, some visionary entrepreneurs have started their own sustainable brands. With this branch of fashion becoming increasingly popular, we’ve put together five brands whose practices are putting the industry on a brighter path. Check them out below.
1. Arielle: Every Inch Is Sustainable
Described as “simple clothes for beautiful people,” Brooklyn-based Arielle not only sells beautiful sustainable apparel, but also provides tips on how individuals themselves can practice a more sustainable lifestyle. Their production is based in New York’s Garment District, the company is committed to “organic, recycled and zero-waste fabrics, local manufacturing, fair-trade supply chain and plastic-free packaging and production.” Website: shop.arielle.com.
2. SiiZu: Affordable Is Possible
Pushing back against the common misconception that sustainable merchandise has to be expensive, New York-based accessory and apparel label SiiZu offers pricing ranging from $8 for a crochet market bag up to $150 for a potato pearl bag strap. Keeping an eye on its carbon footprint, the website states, “Sustainability is not merely a promise, it’s a driving force behind every decision made inside of SiiZU. When deciding on our manufacturing logistics, our sourcing team intentionally keep the fabric manufacturers and garment factories close to each other in order to minimize the carbon footprint from shipping our materials.” Website: siizu.com.
3. CHNGE: Eco-Friendly Activism
CHNGE is popular among young people who are concerned about their impact in the world, both socially and ecologically. The company’s unisex t-shirts offered in a wide range of sizes often feature powerful messages addressing current social issues. On Instagram, the brand frequently provides information on how to help people in need. On its website, the brand takes a deeper dive on pertinent topics through its CHNGE.TV platform. Currently, the brand is offering a choose-your-saving sales for which customers can pick the percentage off on the garment. Providing extreme transparency, the brand describes what costs each percentage off enables it to cover. Website: chnge.com.
4. GRAMMAR: Enlightened Minimalism
New York-based GRAMMAR is known for its chic approach with minimalist garments made from 100-percent organic cotton, which is Global Organic Textile Standard certified and sourced from an ethical producer in India. Clothing is produced in small batches in an effort to minimize supply chain impact and to maintain high quality standards. Emphasizing a classic approach, these are the kind of white shirts and dresses you will have in your closet forever. Website: grammarnyc.com.
5. Petite Studio: Small and Slow Wins the Day
The team at Petite Studio makes a commitment to the smaller-sized customer with production emphasizing slow production, the antithesis of the waste that’s inevitable with fast fashion. Rather than chasing the cheapest factory possible, the company works with a single factory located in Jiangshan, China, where founder Jenny Wang was born. Employees at the factory are provided with heath insurance, vacation, 40-hour work weeks, hour-long lunches and a 30-minute midday nap.