Getting the balance right is never easy, and being an ethical and sustainable brand is undoubtedly a challenge. We research each and every brand that we welcome into the store and are always blown away with the innovation and courage each shows in making steps towards protecting our future on this place we call home whilst allowing nature to do it's thing with minimal disturbance. We wanted to give shine some light on the front runners taking good care this Earth Day, so we broke down exactly why some of the brands we stock are having a positive impact on our planet and the incredible ways that fashion can do good. Get reading, get inspired.
Anyone else feel good when they look at Kowtow's imagery? They don't just look good though, the New Zealand based brand is second to none for ticking all the boxes from ethical and fair production, to fashion led designs we actually want to wear every single season, to the steps they take to ensure their impact on our planet is kept as low as possible. As a modern label committed to creating positive change, they use only renewable and sustainable fibres throughout their manufacturing. Each collection is made from organic, renewable, biodegradable and regenerated fibres.
'As designers, we are accountable for the entire lifetime of a garment. We are committed to designing beautiful ethical and sustainable collections, and will continue to find ways in which we can develop and innovate our clothing without costing the earth.'
A big part of their collection (including their incredible knits) is achieved through companion planting, crop rotations and on-site green waste composting, which helps to preserve entire ecosystems. Crops are exclusively rain-fed and hand picked several times during the season. The cotton Kowtow use is grown from non-genetically modified seeds, organically farmed without harmful chemicals, and then dyed with GOTS approved inks which are free from chlorine bleach, toxic heavy metals and solvents. Plus they use Tencel - wood cellulose sourced from FSC certified forests - from a closed loop system meaning no waste. Big words, big impact for the better.
Thinking Mu is a sustainable clothing with an edge. Based in Barcelona, the brand uses biodegradable colours and materials such as organic cotton or recycled polyester. They've pioneered the use of hemp as a cool fabric, giving us easy wear pieces in one of the most sustainable, light and breathable fabrics around, often blending with organic cotton for extra softness. No compromise on how clothes feel here. Started 10 years ago as an idea between four friends Thinking Mu shares their way of enjoying life by creating honest, sustainable and comfortable clothing.
Using organically sourced fabrics, including polyester made out of recycled bottles and chrome-free leather, Thinking Mu favours using traditional crafts, such as hand-screen printing, block printing and hand embroidery. The care this brand takes knows no bounds, protecting the farmers that produce their crops, using water-based printing to minimise harmful chemicals, and with many of their pieces using cotton that uses 70% less water and reduces each item's carbon footprint by 22% compared to conventional cotton. Now that's our kind of maths.
Girlfriend Collective produce activewear that looks good, feels good and does good. They believe in ethical manufacturing, recycled materials and being super transparent. With each product is made using recycled water bottles and fishing nets, they are obsessed with the planet and taking action to look after it. This is a brand who don't just talk the talk, they actually make it look strange for any brand not to be as sustainable as they are. Pretty much the jackpot when you can be this functional, this good looking and this kind to the environment, right?
'We believe good things come to those who don't waste. We believe in ethical manufacturing and recycled materials. Because old water bottles and fishing nets look better on you than they do clogging landfills and polluting oceans.'
From top to tail, Girlfriend Collective think of and consider everything. Their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable, their bestselling Compressive Leggings and Bras are made from 79% recycled polyester and 21% spandex. Each pair of leggings is made from 25 recycled post-consumer bottles and each bra reuses 11. Incredible to actually visualise what each piece has stopped from being wasted. With almost all synthetic activewear normally made from plastic, the brand instead make theirs with materials that would otherwise clog landfills and pollute the earth.
Embassy of Bricks and Logs are an urban outerwear brand with high aesthetic and ethical standards. Their design lead designs not only look good, but also do good. Another brand that knows the value in reusing otherwise wasted materials, Embassy take a stand against commonplace practices and lazy production methods and instead get right outside of the box, run away from it and shout loudly from the other side.
'Our number one goal is to make a great product that wins people over. For the next step, we’re set on making this product as sustainable as possible, but without compromising on quality.'
For the padding of their nothing short of incredible puffers (we should know, they were easily our quickest selling brand of last year!) they use faux down fillings. The brand prides themselves in doing their homework, and make researching new options a priority. The mesh-lining in Embassy coats is eco-tex certified with their other linings made of 100% recycled polyester. Oh, and let's talk about packaging - an area that often has the harshest impact on our environment. The boxes they use for shipping, all packaging and accompanying postcards and envelopes are made of 100% recycled materials and they proudly ship carbon-neutral. Our website even runs on servers powered by renewable energy sources! Innovators at their core.
Let's leave things on the best note possible, with Good News. This sustainable sneaker brand have a simple goal; to create a platform to promote a healthy planet. They are always striving to improve the environmental and social sustainability of their products by decreasing their carbon footprint, chemical and water footprint, whilst caring for the people who make their shoes.
'Currently, 95 per cent of the 20 billion pairs of shoes produced globally each year end up in landfill sites. We have a commitment to challenge a fast-paced fashion industry that creates vast wastage.'
Want to take it from the top? The uppers on their trainers are made up from organic cotton, using no toxins, pesticidesm chemical fertilizers or GMO seeds. Better for the soil, better for nature. Each footbed is made from an environmentally friendly formulation; Airfoam ECO 20. It contains bio- oil as an alternative to the petroleum traditionally used in Polyurethane foams. Instead the brand substitutes this with bio-oil made from Castor beans. And the soles you can walk guilt-free on? They are recycled rubber. Made using recycled rubber pellets ground down from car tyres and old rubber shoes (cool!) this material is both non-toxic and made to endure.
A killer wardrobe without killing the planet? Does exactly what it says on the tin. Want to find out even more about what our brands get up to, or just fancy a chat about sustainability? Here to chat as always and would love to hear your thoughts. Just drop us an email or message us on Instagram with anything that is on your mind.