The Ethics of SLOW Fashion: Minimal Waste Brands We Love
There are many emerging fashion brands that are focused on providing beautiful and unique pieces without negatively impacting the environment. These companies are defining what it means to be an ethical fashion brand in an industry that has been historically synonymous with waste.
Some designers are bucking the trend by minimizing waste, recycling when possible, and using either organic or recycled fabrics. These efforts can have a great impact on our environment as well as the natural resources that are required to create our clothes. While it may be easier for smaller brands to produce less waste as their runs are limited, it’s important to recognize that there are many steps brands can (and should) take to be more environmentally friendly.
At Printfresh, we care deeply about our environment and the people who make our clothing and stationery. We manufacture our products in India, partnering with socially and environmentally conscious vendors who do beautiful, hand-crafted work. Most of our stationery and accessories are produced in the Delhi area, and our colorful sleepwear is hand-screen printed and sewn in Jaipur, a region known for its long history of blockprint and silkscreen artisans.
Some of Amy’s favorite minimal waste brands include:
Mara Hoffman says “The aim is to design and manufacture our garments with greater care, to reduce our impact, and generate awareness.” In 2015 she began learning about alternative fabrics and how to manufacture clothing more responsibly. Over the last 6 years, her approach has shifted to what we see now, beautiful clothes made from fabric that does not harm the environment.
Industry veteran Eileen Fisher has a vision of a future without waste. Since 2010 they have reclaimed over 1.4 million pieces of clothing that have been resold or remade into new pieces. Eileen’s vision is of a clothing industry that actually helps to restore the planet. To that end, her sourcing, manufacturing and even recycling practices reflect the change she wants to see in the industry.
Alice Alexander is a Philadelphia brand that has really challenged the traditional fashion industry. Mary Alice and her team create gorgeous clothes that are ethically made (no sweatshops) and waste as little as possible. She chooses materials that are the most sustainable she can find and her production team maintains a plastic-free production lifestyle. Her designs come in a wide range of sizes to make anyone, with any body type feel great in her clothes.
Want to learn more about ethical fashion brands?
Good on You is a website that does a lot of evaluation around transparency to help you decide if brands are eco. It’s one of my favorite ways to learn about brands I’m not familiar with. The site is nicely designed too, which I consider a huge bonus.
The True Cost is a great movie about the fashion industry. Some of the information they share is not necessarily 100% accurate, but I think it can be very illuminating for anyone looking to have a deeper understanding of apparel manufacturing or manufacturing in general.
Next on my reading list is Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. This book explores the “peculiar forces that drove Americans away from quality, durability, and craftsmanship and towards quantity, quantity, and more quantity, Ellen Ruppel Shell traces the rise of the bargain through our current big-box profusion to expose the astronomically high cost of cheap.”
If you are looking for an easy way to add ethical fashion to your wardrobe today, consider a set of Printfresh pajamas or a new robe.