Photo by © People of Leisure

By Raye Mocioiu

The latest fashion trend isn’t a seasonal color or a must-have accessory—it’s the impact you make with what you wear.

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. The rise of vintage shops and slow fashion ask shoppers to consider how long their purchases will last them and what kind of impact they make on the planet.

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 purchasing power to support brands that inspire positive change.

From giving back to community initiatives to recycling consumer waste, these five brands are taking a much-needed interest in improving our world. It’s fashion that you can feel good about!

GUNAS

GUNAS is America’s first 100% vegan fashion brand dedicated to ending animal cruelty in the name of fashion. Launched in 2009 by Designer Sugandh G. Agrawal, GUNAS handbags are ethically made from the best of vegan materials, recycled metal hardware, and recycled plastic bottle lining fabrics by artisans in Korea. Animal, human, and environmental welfare is at the heart of what GUNAS does, driving their advocacy and support for animal welfare groups and sanctuaries, including the Wild Tomorrow Fund, The Jane Goodall Institute, 100ForAll, and so many more. The go-to brand for environmentally conscious fashion stylists and celebrities, GUNAS customers can be found in nearly 40 countries globally. Winner of the Best Green Handbag Award by InStyle magazine and winner of the Best Independent Handbag Brand by Macy’s, GUNAS handbags are winning the hearts of fashionistas, magazine editors, and conscious shoppers around the world.

To find out more and shop the best of cruelty-free fashion, visit GUNAS at gunasthebrand.com

ACCOMPANY

Accompany is making things better by making better things. In a commercial world, traditional crafts are being lost every day. When you shop at Accompany, you can feel good knowing that your purchase supports small villages and Indigenous communities—from the Penan women in Borneo who weave sustainable handbags from upcycled PVC, to the Wayuu, Colombia’s largest Indigenous community, where learning to weave is a sacred rite of passage. By bringing work to these local artisans, your purchase helps communities thrive.

Their collection of fashion-forward accessories and home goods are beautifully made and imbued with meaning that makes them even more obsession-worthy. Each piece in Accompany’s collection offers a modern spin on a centuries-old craft, bringing new economic opportunities to artisans worldwide.

As you reconnect with friends and family again this fall, opt for a statement piece that has the power to brighten someone’s day.

Shop handmade, limited-edition pieces at accompanyus.com

WARBY PARKER

Alleviating the problem of impaired vision is at the heart of the Warby Parker brand—and they do it with style.

Since their launch 11 years ago, Warby Parker has distributed over 8 million pairs of glasses through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Warby Parker temporarily shifted distribution efforts to focus on public health and safety, prioritizing the need to protect healthcare workers and slow COVID-19 transmission in high-risk communities where they work, principally in India, Bangladesh, and sub-Saharan Africa.

As of April 2020, Warby Parker joined VisionSpring, the brand’s longest-standing partner, to temporarily pivot the distribution of glasses to personal protective equipment and prevention supplies to distribute to people in need around the world.

By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

See the power of a good pair for yourself at WarbyParker.com

CATBIRD NYC

Who says special jewelry has to be reserved for special occasions? Catbird, the ultimate destination in Brooklyn for gifts and jewelry, is on a mission to make beautiful, sparkling jewelry that will bring you joy every day, now through forever.

In addition to working with some of the world’s most exciting jewelry designers, Catbird designs and manufactures its own Catbird line using ethical metals and stones. Catbird is a proud member of the CFDA, is certified Made in New York™, and is a member of No Dirty Gold.

Year-round, The Catbird Giving Fund partners with nonprofits aligned with our core belief of equality and helping others, donating at least 1% of all sales. To date, Catbird has raised over $1M for partners that include NAACP, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Citizens Climate Education.

Shop recycled gold and conflict-free stones at catbirdnyc.com

PEOPLE OF LEISURE

For People Of Leisure, slow fashion is a way of thinking about, choosing, and wearing clothes that bring meaning, value, and joy. What began as the moral and ethical standard for fair treatment of the people who make their clothing has now turned into a fierce passion for honoring the earth.

People and the planet are intrinsically connected. People of Leisure honors both by creating timeless pieces that are better for the wearer and the earth, using organic cotton, hemp, and plant dyes. Their #ZeroSweat policy focuses on higher wages, responsible production practices, and honoring artisans above all else, so every piece is made ethically, with love.

Join the revolt at peopleofleisure.co

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