Fashion has never been as accessible as it is right now in 2016. And I’m not just talking or referencing accessibility of price point or enhanced technology: Companies have also realized and bought into the benefit of doing good while helping their customers look even better in the process. So whether you’re a fuss-free minimalist, T-shirt obsessive, or prints aficionado, there’s a brand out there that fits your personal style that is transparent enough to share their fabric-sourcing practices, working conditions, and philanthropic initiatives. Read on for 11 of our favorites and you’ll see why we had trouble picking just one! By: Michael Jones. Feature Image by: Gypsy Stone
1. MATE The Label
Why You’ll Love Them: To ensure the brand adheres to safe and ethical practices, MATE, who’s earned a loyal following thanks to a casual-cool collection of can’t-believe-they’re-so-soft T-shirts, produces its designs literally minutes away from its corporate offices in Los Angeles.
Why You’ll Love Them: From wrap dresses and slouchy sweatshirts to style when you’re off duty to leggings and tank-tops to throw on to work out in, this label’s products aren’t only easy to wear, but made from 100 percent cotton. Plus, they collaborate with suppliers in India (where three-fourths of all organic cotton is made) to make sure the practices used are ethical.
Why You’ll Love Them: Known as one of the first companies to use recycled material to make their products, this 43-year-old outdoor-gear specialist strives to connect us to nature. With its beginnings deeply rooted in the “silent sports” of surfing and climbing, this brand has only expanded with pieces such as dresses and skirts. Their love and dedication to wild and beautiful places encourages them to help save the current environmental state the world is in, using recycled polyester in many of their clothes.
Why You’ll Love Them: Based in the UK, Mayamiko empowers artists and designers from disadvantaged communities in Malawi to create pieces using chitenje, a bold traditional African printed cotton from the local market. There’s more: The label offers job training and resources to disadvantaged women affected by HIV/AIDS.
Why You’ll Love Them: This leader in the sustainable fashion space offers employees a living wage, provides social security, paid vacation, medical insurance and free schooling for children of employees. The brand’s website is also full of intel on the issues facing production workers, including pesticide poisoning and a multitude of additional health problems.
6. Naja Lingerie
Why You’ll Love Them: While this underwear brand’s “Nude For All” campaign is worth researching, another one to take note of is the Underwear for Hope program too. The initiative trains and employs single mothers in Colombia to sew products and provides them with financial resources and technical skills.
Why You’ll Love Them: Designed in New York City, Elegantees’ incredibly soft tees and dresses are created by Nepali female sex-trafficking survivors, who are provided income, purpose and technical skills to boot.
8. Brother Vellies
Why You’ll Love Them: Aurora James, the founder of this New York-based footwear label, had one simple mission: To bring her favorite African-inspired shoes—made from sustainable leathers, dyes, beads and knits—to the masses. And in the process, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund recipient has created several artisanal jobs in countries including South Africa, Kenya and Morocco.
Image via Vogue.com
Why You’ll Love Them: “Radical transparency” is what this editor-approved brand says it’s all about. And Everlane practices what it preaches. They spend months in search of the best factories with the highest integrity. And since the brand is online-only, they’re able to cut costs and offer high-quality clothes at a fraction of designer prices.
Why You’ll Love Them: Guess what? Luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. Look no further than Maiyet for proof. Headquartered in New York, the label fuses impeccable details with globally sourced and locally made fabrics to create intricate designs. And to further support Maiyet’s cause, they collaborate with NEST, an independent nonprofit organization, which provides training and development for artisan businesses.
Why You’ll Love Them: This contemporary African fashion brand works to ensure its clothes are produced in above-standard working conditions, their suppliers and production partners are financially rewarded in fair and honest ways, and works to provide opportunities to women.