It’s no secret that the future of fashion is trending green. Brands are jostling to position themselves as environmentally-friendly, whether that’s through revamping their production or by investing in ecological projects and charities. Eco-friendly brands aren’t exactly new—they’ve existed for decades—but what is new is the place that so-called green brands have within the streetwear and fashion realm. What was once a main concern for outdoor brands has become a hot topic for brands showing on European runways or stocked in the world’s premium boutiques.

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Lead image courtesy of Luis Parejo

What is Sustainable Fashion?

Generally speaking, sustainable fashion is defined as garments that are designed, produced, marketed and sold in most sustainable or renewable way possible. Every part of an item’s life cycle, from creation to recycling and reuse, is considered with a focus to leave as little environmental impact as possible.

Clothing production is well-documented as one of the most environmentally detrimental industries on Earth. From non-bio-degradable textiles to harmful chemical dyes, the issue goes far beyond pointing the finger at the oft-maligned “fast fashion” giants (see: H&M and Zara). While brands across the spectrum are addressing the need for sustainable production, there’s a few labels we love that we think have baked environmental awareness into their brand ethos.

Four Points of Sustainable Fashion

Each sustainability-focused brand isn’t exactly the same as any other, but there’s a few things that brands tend to focus on:

1. Textiles and Farming

From organic cotton to ethical farming practices, sustainable brands place an emphasis on not just sourcing their textiles in a responsible way, they’ll actively work with partners who avoid using pesticides and chemicals that could actively damage the ecosystems where the materials are grown.

2. Water Use

With water scarcity a genuine concern, it can be shocking how much water goes into clothing production—from growing crops to dyeing. Brand’s like Levi’s have incorporated a Water<Less initiative, which aims to save 50 billion liters of water while increasing the amount or Levi’s products that use reduced water waste practices.

3. Waste and Garment Recycling

There’s two main facets of this topic. At the beginning of a product lifecycle—as the garment is being designed and manufactured—brands will incorporate recycled textiles or repurpose older garments as they create the “new” piece for consumers. At the end of the lifecycle—as the consumer is moving to stop wearing and dispose of the item—brands either rework and refurbish their own items. Beyond that, brands may request that their consumers recycle their own garments by discarding them in an ethical way, repairing them if possible or reintroducing them to consumers via peer-to-peer marketplaces like...well, Grailed.

With these details out of the way, these are some of the brands that have excelled at toeing the line between sustainability and aesthetics—representing what the future of fashion holds.

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