Remember when ‘sustainable fashion’ meant loose, multicoloured hippy pants and scratchy sweaters? Those days are well and truly over, as designers across the fashion industry are taking the leap to produce eco-friendlier and sustainability conscious clothes. Their luxury factor is found in their commitment to create beautiful styles constructed from the most exquisite of natural materials such as vicuña, peace silk and Orange Fiber, all assembled by fairly paid, highly skilled artisans.
Zero + Maria Cornejo
Talk about girl power! Zero + Maria Cornejo is a company owned and run by women. Chilean born Maria Cornejo founded the brand in 1998 by turning a space in New York city into a personal atelier. From its inception, the brand aimed at developing special collaborations with women artisans from around the world and it worked. Not only does the brand empower women, 70% of its garments are produced in the heart of New York’s garment district while the rest is produced in independently owned factories in Italy. Zero+ Maria Cornejo is a self-professed fabric geek and uses ecological and sustainable fabrics like cotton and voiles.
Maiyet draws from some of the rarest skills and traditions in garment making to create fashion like no other. One of its signature garment making techniques is applique, a textile embellishment skill mastered in various regions of India.
The label partners with global artisans and works with NEST, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing artisan businesses. The brand has a real dedication to true craftsmanship, design and excellent service.
Merging classic silhouettes with vintage-inspired details, Margu delivers a range of luxury fashion that plays with both femininity and quiet sophistication. All fabrics, notions and trims are sustainably sourced, and each individual garment is handmade in a tiny studio belonging to designer and creator Emily DeLong in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Margu’s FW17 collection borrows a touch of the glamour from 1930’s fashion with a bold colour palette, dramatic lines and subtle motifs and will showcase brand new fabrics, including organic cottons, hand-dyed silks and a vintage-inspired custom floral print.
Stella McCartney is a shining example of how a high-end luxury fashion brand can successfully build an empire based on ethical practices. As the first 100% vegetarian fashion company committed to 0% animal cruelty, the brand has spent years coming up with the best leather alternatives and has done a great job incorporating these into its collections.
Stella herself is inspired by a realistic approach to sustainable luxury fashion and understands how achieving full sustainability is a continuous journey that will eventually envelop all aspects of its supply chain.
Cienne’s minimalistic, universally flattering styles are created from globally sourced, all natural materials. Championed by Nicole Heim, the brand works with artisans from around the world and ethically assembles its collections at the heart of New York’s garment district.
Nicole is known to travel the world to meet and learn from the artisans her brand works with. For example, a trip to Bolivia to unearthed the secrets of the country’s locally sourced alpaca, as well as traditional Bolivian weaving practices.