Little did I know when I made my “better quality” pledge earlier this year, it would land me knee deep in research on sustainable fashion labels that continues each day. Because my list is so long, this post is one in a series of sustainable blog posts. Last month, I shared sustainable denim labels. You can find the post here.
This month I’m sharing brands with which I have personal experience with their products. Before we get to my list, however, I am sharing two lists of sustainable brands created by different blogs. The first is from The Good Trade here and the other is from Sustainably Chic here. I am attempting not to repeat any companies from these lists, so do check these out.
Without further ado, here’s my list of sustainable brands to support.
Billy Reid, a modern southern studio
Billy Reid landed on my radar 10+ years ago when they had a store in NorthPark (it left for a while, and now it is back at NorthPark). They make things built to last. I can attest to this as I have a pair of their trousers that I bought at least 7 years ago that are still my favorites. They believe in creating fewer, better things. In this way, they balance sustainability and artisanship. They elevate wardrobe staples with unexpected, high-quality detailing. They do this very well. Take a look at their website, and also take a peek at this men’s linen button down from Nordstrom. Peruse the Billy Reid website here.
Everlane, modern basics
Everlane stands for radical transparency and products that are ethically made and designed to last. On their website, they provide the true cost of everything they make next to the retail price (radical transparency). They also provide a look inside of all of their factories and visit their factories often. Everlane personally connects with the owners, looking at fair wages, reasonable hours and the environment. Their aim is for every factory to score 90 or above. I own a pair of Everlane clogs, which gave my fall wardrobe a boost of something different. Since it’s summertime, I’m sharing their ReNew Transit Bag, which is great for travel. Visit their website here.
Marine Layer, tees from trees
Marine Layer began with the quest to make the softest t-shirt like an old favorite. Their signature fabric is MicroModal, made from recycled beechwood. Many of their pieces are made in California, while more technical styles are made overseas in ethical and sustainable factories. They recycle your old t-shirts and give you store credit for each one you donate. Most of their styles are basic and easy-going. I owned a pair of their cropped cords for a couple of winters and enjoyed them. Many of their ladies’ tops are cropped. If you wear high waist bottoms, this works. This cropped sweatshirt from Nordstrom is fun. See all of their offerings here.
MILLE, for women by women
MILLE is a brick and mortar store in Minneapolis, which was founded by Austin native Michelle LeBlanc. They have a partnership with a family-owned factory in Jaipur, India where their pieces are hand block printed. MILLE creates pieces in limited quantities based on demand. Sometimes when you look at an item, it will say “ships in August,” for example. This is a much more responsible way to produce fashion, and I’m on board. I own two pairs of their Ines cotton pants and a block printed pair of cotton pajamas, which is no longer available. You can view the print of my PJs here. My Shop Mille pieces are some of my favorites, and I’m eyeing a few more things: these lemon-printed PJs, this printed dress and this printed top, which has just dropped. Visit the MILLE website here.
Zero+Maria Cornejo, a company owned and run by women
Zero+Maria Cornejo was one of the first “designer” sustainable companies. Their pieces are designed and made in New York, while continually developing collaborations with women artisans around the world. They call themselves luxury fashion with a conscience with a strong belief in creating pieces that are uncompromising in their respect for quality and value. My first exposure to this label was at Barneys New York (remember them?). I bought one of their dresses, which I still own and wear 8+ years later. Last fall, I purchased another Zero+Marian Cornejo dress from TheRealReal. She has a special way with draping, and this Issa dress is similar to mine (except it is black). Visit their website here.
Stella McCartney, the sustainable matriarch
I consider Stella McCartney the grandmother of ethical design and sustainable practices. McCartney is a life-long vegetarian who has never used leather or fur in her designs since the launch of her label in 2001, long before it was cool to not use these materials. They call themselves a responsible, honest and modern company. They strive to create beautiful, desirable products that have the least impact on the environment, and they are on the front lines of exploring new materials that push fashion towards circularity.
I own two Stella McCartney pieces that are old but remain in my closet for their enduring style and high quality. McCartney does shoes and bags very well. If you’re going to drop big money, I say do it with shoes and bags. I quite like these funky platform wedge sandals from Neiman Marcus and this hobo bag. This white sneaker is subtle with a bit of detailing on the back. Visit her website here.
Athleta, using business as a force for good
Athleta is certified B Corporation, which means they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. I have friends who have been Athleta devotees for years; however, they did not land on my radar until the pandemic. I have been enjoying their Cabo linen joggers (I recommend the black ones over the white), and my daughter loves her Athelta Girl swimsuit: bottoms and top. I’m thinking of trying their Brooklyn joggers, and I’ve heard good things about their skorts. Visit the Athleta website to see more.
Nike, move to zero
Even some of our largest companies like Nike are making moves toward being more sustainable. Vivien recently chose pair of red running shoes from Nike’s “move to zero” campaign. In this effort, Nike is working toward zero carbon and zero waste to protect the future of the sport. Learn more about it here. Vivien’s shoes are made with 20% recycled content. If you’d like a pair from their move to zero, consider this pair of Nike Air Force 1 Crater FlyKnit shoes. The white is nice, but I dig the lavender and pink combo. I also like this pair of Nike Crater Impact. I am partial to the neon yellow and orange color combo on the far right. Shop all of the “move to zero” choices here.
Madewell, timeless designs that put you at ease
I featured Madewell in my sustainable denim blog post last month (Everlane, too). Read more about the company in that post. As their head designer, Joyce Lee, said, “Madewell is for denim lovers—or basically anyone who appreciates timeless designs that put you at ease.” I can attest to the quality of their Medium Transport Tote. I have the “English saddle” color. I love the bag’s simplicity and versatility. As I shared in last month’s post, I also love their Perfect Vintage jeans that are presently on sale! Yay!
Next month, I will share companies who create sustainable bags and accessories, along with the rest of my lengthy sustainable brands list!
Which are your favorite sustainable labels and brands? Please share in the comments!
Please message me if I can help you shop, edit and make sense of your style and wardrobe. I’d be delighted to assist you. Otherwise, let me know what you like from this post. Happy responsible shopping!