The world of fast fashion is plagued by waste – both during the production of clothing and even after from unsold garments. Pollution caused by non-local production and carbon emissions from factory farming also contributes to an unconscionable eco-footprint.
In order to cut back on fast fashion’s estimated 150 billion garments per year, we must ultimately buy less and keep our clothes longer, extending the “product life-cycle” of our pieces. We can also do our part by supporting the sustainable fashion retailers that have built eco-consciousness into their business models.
Fashion and beauty are in the midst of a necessary, long-needed eco-revolution. The clean living movement has never been bigger, and consumers are beginning to merge their need for self-care with care for the planet. This has brought the issue of sustainability to the fore of social consciousness, as both the beauty and fashion industries are beginning to reflect. “Today, people are more aware of the environmental and social consequences of overproduction,” explains Bronwyn Seier, Content Coordinator at Fashion Revolution. “Consumers want to know who makes their clothing, and want brands to take responsibility for their ecological footprints.”
The beauty industry doesn’t fare much better – with plastic waste at an all-time high. Teen Vogue reported that beauty’s plastic footprint in 2017 was an estimated 76.8 billion plastic packaging units. Of that, an estimated 70 percent is dumped into landfills, which then makes its way into our oceans. Needless to say, it’s a worthy endeavor to partake in the no-waste beauty trend and shop from brands that emphasize recycling and biodegradability.
The good news: According to Forbes, 88 percent of consumers are looking for brands that help them make a difference, and we know that demand drives change. So for all the times you’ve been told to “honor thy mother” (mother earth, that is), now is officially your chance. To research on your own, you can look up brands’ responsibility in Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index. In the meantime, we’ve made some chic selects of sustainable fashion and beauty brands that are making a real effort.
1 Dauntless Moto Quilted Vegan Leather Biker ($240; shopvoke.com)
Voke is a luxury vegan retailer that carries handbags, footwear, apparel, and beauty products from brands that have been vetted specifically for their sustainability practices. For example: this vegan leather jacket by Dauntless. On the whole, vegan leather yields only one-third of the environmental footprint that animal leather does – so vegan fashion is worth it. Also, how chic is this moto jacket?
2 Bathing Culture Mind and Body Wash ($20; goop.com)
The organic, cruelty-free (mind and) body wash is biodegradable and made from wild-harvested, Rainforest Alliance-certified ingredients. Plus, the company plants one native plant or tree for every five gallons of soap made, making a genuine effort to offset their environmental impact.
3 Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid ($60; sephora.com)
The Aussie skin care company takes eco-friendly production seriously. Their on-site production facility utilizes 195 solar panels to produce their cult favorite, cruelty-free exfoliant, Liquid Gold. Their packaging, which is made of 40 percent recycled plastic, is fully recyclable, too.
4 Friday By JW Pei Mini Flap Bag ($49; fridaybyjwpei.com)
If you are looking for a super-stylish and sustainable bag brand, look no further. Friday By JW Pei is a brand that is dedicated to creating elegant (just look at that faux snakeskin bag!) and affordable products that don’t compromise on ethics. While their specialty is vegan leather, they also use certified fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to invest in their bags, you’ll be delighted to know that JW Pei donates a portion of profits to animal sanctuaries around the world.
5 Ethique The Guardian ($18; amazon.com)
Ethique is all about eliminating plastic waste and conserving water. Their filler-free products come in bar form to eliminate excess packaging and water used in the formula. To date, the brand has prevented the production of over 5 million plastic bottles (which would otherwise end up in landfills) and they aim to get to 50 million by the year 2025. This conditioner is for normal-dry hair (though the brand offers other varieties too), and its bar-format is not only eco-friendly, but travel-friendly too (goodbye, liquids).
6 Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil ($72; nordstrom.com)
Le Prunier’s business model is upcycling at its finest – the brand creates a luxury facial from the plum kernel – which otherwise goes to waste. Their farm is herbicide-free, organic, sustainable, and also uses a revolutionary water preservation system. Plus, your skin will love the delicious smell and mega protective antioxidants.
7 Amour Vert Francoise Long Sleeve Stripe Tee ($58; amourvert.com)
Amour Vert, which literally translates from French to “green love,” stocks conscious brands like VEJA sneakers that share the same values. They also produce their in-house line in limited quantities and opt for more sustainably manufactured textiles, such as Tencel, whenever possible. They also plant a tree for every t-shirt sold – with over 220,000 trees planted so far.
8 Aether Beauty Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Eyeshadow Palette ($58; sephora.com)
These amethyst crystal-infused eye shadows are incorporate skin-loving ingredients like organic sea buckthorn and lavender oils in the world’s first zero-waste, fully recyclable beauty palette. (It’s made from paper!) The brand’s sustainability-minded founder is on a mission to reduce the plastic footprint in beauty, and the company also offsets its footprint by donating a portion of profits to environmental charities including The Water Project.
9 Reformation York Coat ($328; nordstrom.com)
Los Angeles’ beloved brand calculates the environmental footprint for every garment – down to carbon dioxide, water, and waste – and shares how their practices have helped preserve resources via the RefScale. In addition to being carbon neutral since 2015, they are committed to transparency and invest a portion of profits into environmental groups benefiting the Amazon and water conservation. Customers are given the opportunity to participate, too – you can purchase “carbon credits” from their website through their partner, Native Energy.
10 Everlane The ReCashmere Stroopwafel Crew ($150; everlane.com)
“Radical transparency” is the name of the game at millennial-beloved, direct-to-consumer clothier, Everlane. From sourcing high-quality materials that lengthen the life-cycle of garments, to spelling out every item’s cost markup, Everlane makes an effort to help shoppers buy fewer clothes that they can keep for years. Their new ultra-soft ReCashmere sweaters are made out of 60 percent recycled cashmere, which results in only half the environmental impact.
11 Yellow Willow Yoga Yoga Mat Blush Leopard ($98; yellowwillowyoga.com)
Calling all yogis! The opportunity to practice self-care has never been more eco-friendly than with these vegan, biodegradable yoga mats made from eco-rubber. Namaste.