© RCARLOS IDUN-TAWIAH;
By Raye Mocioiu
The latest fashion trend isn’t a seasonal colour or a must-have accessory—it’s the impact you make with what you wear.
There was a time when sustainable and ethical fashion was decidedly un-trendy and unflattering, but those days are long gone. Now, sustainable fashion is all about timeless, transitional pieces that can take you from one season, or even one year, to the next, with ease. The rise of vintage shops and slow fashion take this ‘trend’ one step further, asking shoppers to consider how long their purchases will last them and what kind of impact they make on the planet.
While it’s true that in one way or another, all garments have at least some negative impact on the environment, it’s also true that there are brands working diligently to help make a difference. Ethical fashion refers to clothing that is made in a way that values worker rights and social welfare. Today’s consumers are becoming more and more aware of what goes into making the items we buy and how we can use the power of purchasing to support brands that inspire positive change.
From giving back to community initiatives to recycling consumer waste, these seven brands are taking a much-needed interest in improving our world. It’s fashion that you can feel good about!
Photos © Willyverse
Bôhten Eyewear’s vision is simple: shift cultural paradigms and optimize the eyewear experience while enforcing sustainability efforts to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. Each of their frames is made from recycled materials sourced from West Africa and inspired by the beauty of Ghana’s landscapes. Co-creators Nana Boateng & Nana Kwadwo spent their formative years in the UK, Ghana, and New York and saw first-hand the impact of culture and travel on how people relate to each other. It’s no surprise that Bôhten represents contrasting identities, shifting cultural paradigms, and challenging the status quo. Bôhten’s pledge to sustainability and philanthropy is at the core of what they do—so much so, that they partnered with a Kenyan non-profit to plant a variety of trees in local schools while educating children on habits that can make a positive impact on the environment. And to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Bôhten supported their community by donating face masks to homeless shelters in Canada. Join the movement—in style. For more information, visit bohten.com
ecologyst is building the world’s most sustainable apparel company. Born out of a love for nature, and a need for functional apparel that doesn’t harm people or the planet, ecologyst works to reduce emissions and minimize waste by producing in small batches.
ecologyst wares are made from all-natural fibres that are abundant with functional qualities that harmful, petroleum-based synthetics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon try to replicate. You’ll find superiorly soft merino wool, organic cotton, Tencel (a textile made from trees), and some new innovative fibres in the works. These fibres are biodegradable, don’t shed microplastics into our eco-systems, and need to be washed far less frequently.
ecologyst is unashamedly For Nature, proving planet and profit can co-exist by scrapping the business status-quo. They also love community and storytelling: creating films that tell local environmental and inspirational stories, putting on eco-focused events, and donating proceeds to nonprofits.
Discover textiles made from trees in the ecologyst Tencel collection. Reject greenwashing and shop truly sustainable, ethical apparel at ecologyst.com
Photos © Joy Webster
Awai Swim is an eco-friendly swimwear line specializing in made-to-order pieces.
By combining conscious efforts of using biodegradable shipping bags, recycled fabric and minimizing overall waste, Awai Swim is proud to call itself a sustainable brand.
Awai Swim uses eco-friendly fabrics made from ECONYL regenerated nylon. ECONYL takes pre-and-post-consumer waste that would otherwise be destined for the landfill, such as fabric scraps, carpets and abandoned fishing nets found in our oceans. These materials are broken down and regenerated into their beautiful swimwear material.
Awai Swim’s bikinis are minimal, sleek, and offered in a wide assortment of colours and styles. Awai Swim also prides itself on being size-inclusive. If you don’t fall between their XS-XL sizing range, simply send them your measurements, and they’ll be happy to create a handmade bikini just for you! The best part that is this option comes at no extra cost.
Peace Collective is a Canadian apparel brand specializing in quality loungewear and fan apparel that looks good and does good. As a brand, Peace Collective is committed to giving back and supporting the causes their community believes in.
What started with meal donations to the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank has grown into so much more. Today, via various product lines, Peace Collective supports Canadians in need through their nationwide food bank partners, supports mental health research via the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and provides resources to refugees via UNHCR Canada. Their goal is to raise $1 million for these causes by the year 2030. Join the collective and shop at peace-collective.com
Make a fashion statement and a social impact through intricately beaded clothing with fully legible braille.
Aille Design (pronounced: eye) is an emerging designer brand that is changing the way people think about inclusive design. By working with a diverse group of blind, visually impaired, and sighted individuals, Aille Design creates inclusive, fashion-forward products that work towards destigmatizing disability.
Handmade in North America with premium materials, their designs feature Swarovski Crystal Pearls that form phrases in braille to communicate clothing characteristics (colour, textile, fit, wash instructions) or feature inclusive statements, such as “fashion is for everyone.” Customers can even personalize their products by selecting their own custom text.
5% of all Aille Design t-shirt sales are donated to blind and visually impaired organizations. Their goal is to create a new standard of inclusion and make fashion more accessible to all.
Shop the collection at ailledesign.com and support their mission by following @ailledesign on Instagram.
Vancouver-based Arraei Collective is on a mission to create garments that are made to last a lifetime. The small studio team works to produce with only the highest-quality, all-natural materials, from fabrics certified with either GOTS or OEKO-TEX, to packaging made from 100% recycled paper and plant biodegradable plastics.
One of Arraei’s core philosophies is Giving Back. In 2020, Arraei Collective donated over $26000 worth of masks through their Buy One, Give One campaign. The masks were created in their studio Vancouver studio and donated to local communities in need. The masks were made from fabric scraps in true zero-waste slow fashion style. With the success of the mask campaign, they used all of their fabric waste and have since shifted to buying sustainable fabrics to produce their masks.
Arraei Collective considers their impact on the environment and the economy with every garment they produce. That’s why they use sustainable fabrics that not only support ethical business practices but will biodegrade in 1-5 months, from the earth and back to the earth, causing no harm in the process.
Shop stylish slow fashion at arraeicollective.com
Photo © Sara Gustavsson / Photo © David Karnezos
Since day one, Londre has been committed to making the most flattering and high-quality pieces with the lowest possible impact on the planet. So far, they’ve taken over 200,000 plastic bottles from beaches and streets to create their swimwear, with a minimum of six recycled plastic bottles in every swimsuit. All water used in Londre’s process is able to be reused, and at the end of your suit’s long life, is able to be recycled into new materials. Londre knows that you can’t take care of the planet without taking care of its people—that’s why their factories are all based in Vancouver, BC, and their sewers are all paid well above living wage. With the help of their community, Londre has donated over tens of thousands of dollars to environmental and women’s health initiatives, including Amazon Watch and The Ocean Clean Up Project.
Shop mindfully at londrebodywear.com
Photos © Courtesy of Londre Bodywear