AS FEATURED BY NIKI BRUCE
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Well, it looks like my focus is becoming almost exclusively about sustainable and ethical fashion brands. As I have ranted before, however, the definition of a brand shouldn’t really have to include these tags – all fashion brands should be sustainably and ethically produced just on principle. Sustainability shouldn’t have to be a definition; it should just be an automatic part of any fashion brand’s production.
That’s the dream, right? So, until sustainable and ethical production becomes the norm, I still feel the need to highlight the emerging fashion brands that ARE doing something about it.
One stop for sustainable fashion, accessories & beauty
Here are three relatively new brands I discovered after reaching out to Susannah Jaffer, the founder of Asia-based online fashion store Zerrin.
The Zerrin concept is an interesting one, especially in this age of too much stuff, available too easily. The online store offers a list of brands that are “tried, tested and vetted” before being added to the inventory of clothing, accessories and skincare products for sale.
Apart from the retail component, the site is also focused on spreading awareness about sustainable and ethical fashion and accessory brands.
“We want to make sustainable fashion uncomplicated and be your guide to building a more mindful, meaningful wardrobe,” states a line on the website.
To do this, the site offers more than just shopping, but also handy information like guides to understanding the different aspects of sustainable production, including interviews with industry insiders and breakdowns of various terms to make understanding buying sustainable fashion more accessible.
Zerrin also has a growing directory of smaller and emerging fashion brands – particularly from around Asia – that have sustainable and ethical credentials, describing them as #BetterBrands, that can help you source your fashion buys.
The #BetterBrand mark is based on a comprehensive rating system designed by the Zerrin team that takes into account a brand’s performance based on five key factors – “people, planet, product, packaging and principles”.
Three new brands to look out for …
WHISPERS & ANARCHY
With an aesthetic that fits into the currently hot #cottagecore trend, Whispers & Anarchy has a mixed origin – born in Spain, designed in Singapore, and made in Bali. Based around the Slow Fashion Movement of limited handmade production and natural fabrics, there is also consideration for those of us on a budget with lower prices than comparable products.
The garments are made in Bali, which despite being one of the more expensive places to manufacture in Asia, does have a strong sustainability focus. The brand uses a family workshop that provides living wages, safe conditions and complies with internationally accepted working hours.
Natural fibres like BCI certified cotton and rayon voile made from wood pulp and other agricultural products, are used to make the clothes, and they are handmade and hand-dyed on site with non-toxic dyes. The cuts are such as to create as little wasted fabric as possible, and the trims and labels are locally sourced to reduce the carbon footprint. The brand also has a ‘made to measure’ service, and only uses biodegradable packaging.
If that’s not enough, Whispers & Anarchy also have a tree planted for every one of their compostable mailer orders in collaboration with the non-profit organisation One Tree Planted.
Shop Whispers & Anarchy online at whispersandanarchy.com
HIDE THE LABEL
Based in London, Hide was launched by siblings Shereen and Ryan Barrett, with the goal to produce “effortless silhouettes that fit well, last longer and can be worn by every woman, every season for every occasion”.
Another brand that comes with a bit of a #cottagecore vibe, Hide features strong prints and classic, soft feminine cuts. The draped and floaty effect comes from the use of recycled polyester fabric made of post-consumer waste which is woven in the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) Certified fabrics.
Using recycled polyester fabrics not only keeps plastic waste out of landfills, but also reduces water use in production and has a lower carbon footprint. Hide also uses viscose fabrics which are semi-synthetic plant based materials made of wood pulp from regenerative trees. The prints are created using a system that doesn’t create water waste or surplus ink.
Like many sustainable brands, Hide uses recycled paper and bio-compostable materials for its shipping and packaging too.
The brand will be available on Zerrin at the end of August, launching with its new collection made with ECONYL, which is a nylon fabric made from recycled synthetic waste like industrial plastic, waste fabric and ocean fishing nets.
STEP OF GRACE
An Indonesian brand based in Jakarta, Step of Grace creates garments from natural fibres, mostly 100% pure linen, GOTS certified cotton and bamboo fibres, as well as from recycled fabrics like rayon and tencel. Many of the garments are undyed and those that are use non-toxic natural dyes.
The brand also offers cool slip-on handmade leather slides and slip-on shoes that are made in Jakarta by small scale Javanese artisans using traditional skills passed down the generations in family businesses.
Step of Grace has a very laid-back, boho vibe with loose cuts and light neutral colours. The pieces have a hippy minimalist feel with simple, unadorned shapes like loose tees, baggy shorts, soft wide-leg pants and voluminous wrap tops. This is very much a brand of separates; perfect for throwing on in super hot weather.
Step of Grace will be launching on Zerrin at the end of August 2020, but you can also shop it on their own website. The brand also plants a tree for every product sold.