Sustainability in fashion has never been more of a talking point, and there are a whole host of new and established brands who are turning their hands to tackling eco issues, without compromising on trend aesthetics. The Idle Man takes a look at the top 7 brands you need to know about to look cool while saving the planet.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that the planet is pretty much broken because of human consumption level. With some of the world's leaders (cough, Donald Trump, cough) denying that climate change even exists, its never been more important for the fashion industry to try and right some of it's many wrongs. And actually, in the last few years sustainable fashion has moved leaps and bounds away from the hippy, hemp-wearing types that might come to mind.
There are undoubtedly designers out there jumping on the sustainable brands bandwagon because, lets face it, it makes them look good. But there's a whole host of new brands coming through, that are experimenting with new manufacturing techniques and designs to push and challenge the way we see sustainability.
Well-established brands are also turning their heads to eco issues a lot more often, as it becomes even more clear that these new techniques will eventually become the norm if we still want to live a cushty lifestyle. We take a look at the top 7 brands who are leading the way for sustainable fashion brands - and guess what, their designs are actually cool.
Noah should definitely already be on your fashion radar, not only for their contemporary streetwear aesthetics, but probably because it was founded by former Supreme creative director Brendon Babenzien. Far from being associated with the green fingered, hippy stereotype, Noah's roots lie very much in the countercultures of skateboarding, punk and nautical culture, making the brand pretty unique.
Through Noah, Babenzien pushes his environmental values, extensively highlighting human damage to the world's oceans across their brand and constantly working to ensure they produce their products using the most sustainable practices. They even feature a care label on every Noah garment, featuring a fact about ocean pollution - recently informing that there are over 500 "dead zones" in the world's oceans.
The effortless, minimal, quintessentially Scandinavian design of Nudie Jeans pretty much screams sustainability - plus, seeing as Scandinavia dominates the table of most sustainable countries in the world, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the majority of brands coming out of the region are almost completely sustainable.
Nudie Jeans manufacture all their denim using 100% organic cotton, which uses 91% less water than the traditional methods. They also make sure that all their workers are paid a fair living wage and even recycle and resell worn out and second hand jeans, while offering a free repair service - so not only do you save yourself a pretty penny, but you're also helping to save the planet. Win win!
Patagonia has become synonymous with all things outdoorsy, and is one of the top clothes brands in terms of technical wear that doesn't compromise in style. Being so involved with the great outdoors, it's only natural for the brand to take an interest sustainable fashion to preserve the environment.
Patagonia hasn't always been the most ethical of brands, but they've fully changed their ways, making sure all of their products are ethically produced by revising their whole production chain. They're even encouraging customers to bring in their garments for a bit of a spruce-up, with their Worn Wear initiative. Who doesn't love a freebie when it's this selfless?
Luckily it's not all doom and gloom coming out of the States at the moment, with Oregon-based ethical clothing brand Nau designing casual outdoors wear, all produced to the highest sustainable standards. Pretty much every element in their garments has been deeply considered, from the well being of workers in the production chain, to the lifespan of the clothes themselves - all without compromising their clean aesthetics.
Nau makes a point of partnering with other sustainable organisations to make sure they're doing all they can do to help the planet, as well as donating 2% of every sale to global fund raising initiatives like People for Bikes and Mercy Crops.
You might better know Kelly Slater as 11-time world surfing champion, but his sustainable clothing brand Outerknown also deserves a bit of recognition, not only for their cool streetwear aesthetics. Not dissimilar from Supreme, Outerknown calls upon skate and surf culture as inspiration, but for a slightly more mature, put-together look. With such a connection to the beach scene, it's no wonder that looking after the planet is a bit of a priority.
Outerknown have a strict brand code of conduct when it comes to the ethical production of their garments, and only use 100% organic cotton from fair trade suppliers. They have even turned disused fishing nets into nylon board shorts - all without compromising great looking menswear.
Denim is arguably one of the most detrimental fabrics to the environment in terms of its production. But Levi's has always made a point of striving for sustainability in their denim garments. And lets face it, as one of the most well known denim brands in the world, they definitely have a big responsibility on their shoulders.
Levi's keep a keen eye on the ethicality of the production line, but their real push is in changing the mindsets of customers away from disposable fashion, and working on the quality of their products to ensure that a pair of their jeans lasts a lifetime.
Another brand that's born out of a love of skateboarding culture, South London brand Satta creates everything from skate decks, to t-shirts and rather delightful incense - all with a heavy focus on sustainability and organics. What more could you want? Satta was quickly picked up by the likes of Goodhood and Slam City Skates, so it's definitely one to watch. But it's the ethical brand's penchant for spirituality and wellbeing that sets it apart from other skate-style brands. With a holistic approach to design, Satta focuses on small-scale production to reconnect simplicity and functionality with the natural world.
On That Note
Okay, so ethical clothing companies might not have previously instilled excitement in you, but times have changed. No longer does 'sustainable' mean wearing all things hemp, and you don't have to be a tree-hugging hippy to get on board. These days sustainable clothing brands create some of the coolest garments around, and having a strong ethical stance is pretty much an expected in fashion. More and more brands are bound to jump on the bandwagon, if not just to make themselves look good, but these guys have already nailed it - go check them out.