When most of us think of industries that harm our world, oil, mining, and meat production are usually at the top of the list. BUT, what a lot of us don’t know is that the fashion industry is the SECOND largest contributor to world pollution. That’s why we wanted to share some of our favourite brands that are striving to change the way we choose our clothes. Eco and ethical brands often get a bad rep for compromising style in the name of remaining ethical. However, all the brands we’ve chosen do not sacrifice fashion, but they also do not let others sacrifice in the name of fashion.
Do you ever think about where all those t-shirts in your closet came from or who made them? Let’s be real, most of us don’t. But behind all the pretty clothing, there’s a story.
Currently, the textile industry is the SECOND largest contributor to the toxic waste on our planet. Nicole Bridger is working to change the way we see our clothing by encouraging consumers to ask questions and be conscious about the clothes we buy. Focusing on socially conscious, environmentally friendly, and ethically sourced materials, Nicole Bridger is doing fashion right. The majority of their stunning pieces are created using biodegradable fabrics and alternative materials that treat our planet with #respect! Most of their products are made right in Vancouver, and a small portion of each collection is made overseas in fair trade factories that practice the same ethics that Nicole Bridger is all about. By maintaining their relationships with fair trade factories, Nicole Bridger is able to provide economic opportunities to overseas workers- all while creating some pretty sweet clothing!
Nettle’s Tale loves “six-packs, stretch marks, pears, petites and plentiful busts”. We love that they take an item like a swimsuit that makes about 99.9% of us self- conscious and turn it into a celebration of our bodies no matter what we look like. These super cool swimsuits are locally made in Vancouver and each swimsuit is inspired and modelled by local women from the Pacific Northwest. What’s even cooler is that each woman who inspires a new swimsuit gets to choose a charity and 10% of the profit made from that suit gets donated right there! Check out their Indiegogo video here to learn more!
Project Change International has the cosiest scarves, and with winter approaching, nothing beats being cozy. The scarves made by Project Change International are not only beautiful but they are also perfect for year-round coziness. Project Change International is a 100% non-profit social enterprise that works to provide disadvantaged Cambodian women and youth the opportunity to exit the poverty cycle independently. Their three pillars of Employment, Education, and Skills Training & Rehabilitation are used to empower and rehabilitate women and youth who have been subjected to abuse and/or exploitation. These women are taught valuable skills and business strategies to help them become financially independent. All the remaining profits from the scarves are used to provide full high school and university scholarships to each of their students. We think that’s pretty cool. Empowering women and youth through these three pillars nips the poverty cycle at the bud!
When you’re browsing through a store and something catches your eye, the first two questions you ask are probably 1) “How much does it cost?!” and 2) “Is it my size?!”. Zady is trying to create a new standard of clothing production so questions added to that list are along the lines of “Where was it made?”, “Was it ethically sourced?”. Amidst the pretty clothes, it’s hard to know what exactly the effect the fashion industry is having on our environment and the people living in it. So check out Zady’s super handy guide.
We learnt from Zady’s guide that 70-100 million trees are cut down each year in order to produce the amount of rayon we use in our clothes-that’s crazy! Zady is working to change the way we think about our clothes by creating a more transparent view on the way they are made. All their products are made with organic materials to help keep our planet beautiful! Zady is a strong believer that the fashion industry has the power to change our climate. So, it’s time to start changing it for the better! #treatyoself and your world a little better.
5. MATT & NAT
Our founder is currently saving up for a briefcase and our marketing director brings her Matt & Nat clutch with her everywhere. It’s safe to say that we are in love with Matt & Nat bags. Matt & Nat focus on sustainable, ecological, and environmentally responsible fashion. All their products are made from 100% vegan material! Matt & Nat loves to think outside the box by using a variety of eco-friendly materials to create their products. We are also huge fan girls over their encouragement of up cycling. The up cycling process takes worn out bags and uses them to create new products that are more environmentally valuable-how cool is that?! Take a look here to find out more about how Matt & Nat are making a difference!
6. Warby Parker
Warby Parker finally lets us get cool designer sunglasses without stealing our entire pay cheque. They specialize in selling affordable, designer sunglasses and eyewear that truly have the power to change lives. Approximately one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, preventing them from being able to work and learn effectively. Warby Parker is committed to changing this. For every pair of glasses sold, one pair is donated to someone in need. By partnering with nonprofit organizations, Warby Parker is working to make vision accessible to those who can't afford it. Check out a TED Talk about how they started here.
Naja is an eco-conscious brand that works to empower women by altering the way women are portrayed by the lingerie industry. Naja employs single mothers who are female heads of households, and who often have to choose between employment and taking care of their families. All their employees are paid fair wages and provided with health care benefits. They also pays for books, school supplies and uniforms for all of their employee’s children to help ensure that they receive the education they deserve! Naja are the real MVPs, to say the least. To top it off, their “Underwear for Hope” teaches marginalized women in slums how to make lingerie bags that are given with every Naja purchase. In addition, 2% of all profits are invested right back into local charities, so that they can continue to contribute to improving the lives of women. Check out more of the amazing ways Naja is making a difference here!
Know of some other fashion brands that make a difference? Shoot us a message- we love discovering new brands!
Summer 2016 Volunteer Intern at the7dayringproject