Here’s What 4 Sustainable Fashion Brands Are Saying About Ethical Fashion

Many consumers, especially Gen Z, are shifting their shopping habits. Consumers are growing more aware of the effects their habits have on the environment and how small changes can positively affect the world around them – this includes shopping sustainably. Sites like Poshmark have seen revenue growth of upwards of 28% in just the past year, and thrifting has become the more mainstream way to shop. However, thrifting is not the only way to support the movement towards sustainable habits. Instead, there is a growing market of sustainably focused brands and small businesses worthy of every shopper’s support. 

Each year the fashion industry sees more and more brands tapping into the world of sustainability and ethical fashion. Whether these brands are already established and pivoting their business practices or are newly launched with close ties to sustainability in their mission, the movement towards lessening the fashion industry’s impact on the environment is gaining more followers.

This shift towards sustainability is growing in part due to the mindset change that many designers and founders have towards the fashion industry’s effect on the environment. The definition of “sustainability” varies from brand to brand, but it all boils down to the growing desire to generate a positive impact on the environment. 

To close out Sustainability Week at FashionComesFirst, we had the honour of speaking with four sustainable fashion brand founders & CEOs to learn first hand how fashion brands are practicing sustainability, and what it means to them. Take a closer look down below to see how the fashion industry is changing its ways. 

Noize // George Batchoun, Founder

How is your brand practicing sustainable/ethical fashion?

George Batchoun: Noize is committed to doing no harm—and that includes the environment. Being cruelty-free and PETA certified we refuse to use animal-derived materials, which pollute the planet, create animal suffering and endanger the health of workers. All of our winter coats are filled with recycled-water bottles and our lounge is made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. We are constantly finding new ways to reduce waste and innovate. Our scrunchies were developed from the offcuts of our outerwear collection.  

How is your brand keeping up and staying relevant with competition as ethical/sustainable fashion becomes more popular in the fashion industry?

 G.B. By being 100% vegan, we must be innovative and resourceful in finding new ways to incorporate alternative materials within each collection. Winter jackets do not need down, leather, or fur to be warm and fashionable, in fact by dedicating ourselves to this mission we have been able to provide vegan alternatives that do not compromise on style, quality & warmth. 

What does sustainable/ethical fashion mean to you?

G.B. Sustainability and ethics are at the very heart of our mission—we refuse to have this as an after-thought. With each design and product, we are constantly considering their impact on the planet.

Arrow + Phoenix Swimwear // Founder, Kayla Bell 

How is your brand practicing sustainable/ethical fashion?

Kayla Bell: Our brand practices ethical fashion in a multitude of ways! Our swimwear and activewear are made from recycled water bottles. We’re a zero-waste company as all pieces are made to order, so we don’t have an excess amount of stock we have on hand. Our packaging is also recycled, as are the jars we package our skincare products in.

How is your brand keeping up and staying relevant with competition as ethical/sustainable fashion becomes more popular in the fashion industry?

K.B. Our brand, thus far, has stayed relevant by staying true to who we are. We have the best customers by far who are so supportive and we are always so excited to present them with new styles and colorways.

What does sustainable/ethical fashion mean to you?

K.B. Sustainable fashion means everything to us, especially as a swimwear brand because of global warming. Being a conscious brand is so important to us because we strive to do our part to help the earth and help people as well.

Kaleidoscope Beauty // Umutoni Thuku-Benzinge, Founder + Director

How is your brand practicing sustainable/ethical fashion?

Umutoni Thuku-Benzinge: Kaleidoscope Beauty practices ethical/sustainable fashion in a number of ways. First, with a focus on our supply chain; our unique pieces are hand-made by Kenyan artisans determined to turn their lives around. From young mothers to reformed criminals and street boys, faced with the burden of multigenerational poverty, lack of sanitation, and the harsh realities of living in the slums. Given the right tools, and an opportunity for a career, our artisans are trained to create; through beadwork and brass-work, which in turn creates job opportunities for them, and provides a sustainable source of income. Currently, we work with artisans in two main slums; Kibera, which is the largest urban slum on the African continent, and Baba Dogo, which is located on the fringes of Nairobi.

In addition to that, we incorporated materials, which are upcycled and recycled further contributing to our goal of sustainability.

How is your brand keeping up and staying relevant with competition as ethical/sustainable fashion becomes more popular in the fashion industry?

U.T. I believe as an industry within jewelry and fashion, sustainability is a journey and one of the biggest opportunities is through manufacturing practices. As a brand, sustainability has been central to the brand since our inception, as we’ve always aimed to empower, work with and enrich the communities we work with. Having said that, I do believe it is a journey and there is always room for improvement. Regarding competition, I love to see how other brands are innovating and take inspiration from all around the world. Collectively, I believe our industry within fashion and jewelry can be a real agent for social change and I strive to push Kaleidoscope Beauty to be at the forefront of that narrative.

What does sustainable/ethical fashion mean to you personally?

U.T. To me, it’s good business across the board. I’ve seen some brands push for ethical/sustainable packaging, which is a great start but neglect ethical/ sustainable manufacturing practices. 

When I started Kaleidoscope Beauty, It was important to me to start with the manufacturing practices, which is why our philanthropic mission is so cored to the brand. Kaleidoscope Beauty is a contemporary jewelry brand that empowers disenfranchised communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, starting with one of my countries of origin, Kenya. 

Having said that, there is always room to grow and improve and I see the journey as a learning curve. 

Womsh // Gianni Dalla Mora, CEO

How is your brand practicing sustainable/ethical fashion?

Gianni Dalla Mora: We produce in Italy in certified companies and we do it only after the orders of our clients in order to avoid any kind of overproduction or generation of waste. Our workers operate in safe and healthy conditions and are paid according to Italian laws that far exceed the minimum vital established by law.

How is your brand keeping up and staying relevant with competition as ethical/sustainable fashion becomes more popular in the fashion industry?

G.D.M. We try to produce high-design, good-quality footwear, to communicate our values, to respect the environment by offsetting the CO2 produced and reducing our environmental impact. Above all, by mixing sustainability and fashion in equal measure.

What does sustainable/ethical fashion mean to you personally?

 G.D.M. It means finding a new way to interest consumers with fascinating and quality products while respecting the entire supply chain, the environment and sharing the results achieved with society.

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