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    News — Ethical Fashion

    10 Influencers of Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

     

    Last few years have seen a wide range of ethical brands emerging around the world, betting against fast fashion, and taking on responsibilities for people and our planet.

    Led by the impactful Who Made My Clothes campaign, consumers realize more of the detrimental effect of fast fashion industry, and start to care about the story behind their wardrobes.

    If the tragedy in Bangladesh was the catalyst for this ethical fashion movement, then these 10 ethical fashion influencers we have interviewed are the key players in energizing and empowering this ongoing movement. They are dedicated to increase the conscious consumer base and facilitate ethical and sustainable fashion choices.

     

    Jennifer Nini - Eco Warrior Princess

    Based In | Australia

    Ethics | Helping people become more mindful, and mindful businesses reach more people

    Biggest accomplishment | Living in a tent for four months in regional Australia with no solid plan but only sense of freedom. My awakening began at that point.

    The trigger for Jennifer to start promoting ethical fashion was her experience in late 2008, when she traveled to China on a mission to start a fashion label with her business partner. The eye opening moment was what she saw in the factories. “The sadness of the people's eyes as they worked, the robotic nature of the environment, the female toilet with no working light, the blatant lack of quality assurance, the sad piles of garments on the floor. The factory owners telling us that we were not allowed to take photos… These memories are burned into my brain. I cannot undo them now.”

    Upon return to Australia on a mission to share what she saw, Jennifer started investigating how fashion could be done better. “I did not want to be a part of a shallow and superficial industry that made huge profits by selling customers on cool, trendy, beautiful lifestyles, without showing them the rest of it; the truth of it.” This experience led Jennifer to start Eco Warrior Princess in 2010.

    3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

    • Do your homework about the brands and their products before making any fashion purchases.
    • Always purchase the best quality, responsibly produced item you can afford.
    • Pay the knowledge forward. Talk to your friends and family about what you're learning so that you may positively influence their choices.

     

    Alden Wicker - EcoCult

    Based In | USA

    Ethics | Promote sustainable and ethical fashion, non-toxic beauty, local and organic food, eco-friendly home design, and conscious NYC events.

    Biggest accomplishment | All the times somebody has told me that because of me, they chose a sustainable or ethical purchase over a conventional one!

      After graduating from college in 2010, Alden was learning about the importance of sustainable food, and wondered if the concept can be applied to fashion. She then started buying clothing and accessories that reflect her values - non-polluting, renewable resources, low waste - just like how she buys groceries and meals.

      From Alden’s perspective the biggest challenge ethical and sustainable fashion is facing is the uneven playing field and overabundance of information. There needs to be a governing body that certifies ethical and sustainable fashion so consumers can easily make a choice on the spot, instead of having to get a master's degree in textile science. She is adding that it would be great if there are more legislation, taxes, and tariffs that make it prohibitively expensive to produce and sell exploitative and polluting fashion. 

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Get to know your own style and the type of clothing that flatters you
      • Decide what is important to you. Vegan and cruelty-free? Sustainably made? Ethically made? Produced locally? Handmade by artisans?
      • Next time you are looking for something new to add to your wardrobe, check out my Shopping Guide

       

      AmyAnn Cadwell - The Good Trade

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Online publication providing resources for ethically minded consumers through consumer guides and editorial features of social impact companies.

      Biggest accomplishment | Guide to Ethical & Fair Trade Clothing Brands has been read nearly 2 million times by conscious consumers all over the world.

      Documentaries like The True Cost reveal how fast fashion is depleting the earth's resources and leveraging slave labor to pass a cheap cost to the end consumers. Like many of us, AmyAnn was deeply disturbed by the story behind fast fashion industries, but very often we don't know where to start to change our lifestyles or spending habits. She thinks that we have the responsibilities to question the status quo and support companies that align with our values.

      ''It's really difficult for sustainable fashion brand to compete with fast fashion in terms of price and convenience. What ethical fashion companies need is to pioneer a message: minimalism and quality over quantity.'' She believes it's time to reinvent the standard of how much stuff we are supposed to have. ''Ethical consumption is not only about buying more conscious products, but is also about buying less things in general and making the few purchases that really count in terms of quality, ethics and durability.”

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Buy less
      • Buy for quality
      • Research everything

       

      Natalie Kay Smith - Sustainably Chic

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Social entrepreneur who helps conscious consumers find sustainable alternatives to purchasing fashion.

      Biggest accomplishment | I’m proud of what I’ve created, and having a job I really love is pretty amazing.

      Natalie never thought that blogging was going to become her full-time job, but she knew she wanted to make an impact in fashion. Five years ago when in college, she came across a few articles about the unethical treatment & waste within the fashion industry. It was from that point that she started looking into her own purchasing habits and felt compelled to be a part of the slow fashion movement.

      Sustainably Chic is a place where you can find everything you need to make your purchases smarter and meaningful. “All the brands listed on my site are ones I know very well. I know they are quality, ethical and responsible. While I make a living being a blogger, I never promote anything unless I’m confident about it.”

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Figure out what you need and what you don’t by going through what you already have
      • Second, follow blogs - like Sustainably Chic ;)
      • Tell your friends! We forget how powerful our own voices are. The conversation can never stop.

       

      Greta Eagan - Fashion me Green

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Resource for aligning the world of mainstream fashion with a conscious and ethical approach. 

      Biggest accomplishment | Publishing the book Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe.

      Greta dedicated her dissertation to sustainability in fashion while she was in school. That's when she discovered so many awesome and stylish brands and she wanted to share in a visible way. And that was perfect reason to start a blog featuring eco fashion with very high style standards.

      She strives to provide content that is inspiring and helps to bridge the gap between mainstream style and ethical/eco-living. ''My goal is to be a go-to resource for women to find the 'eco alternatives' for fashion, beauty and lifestyle without sacrificing an iota of style.''

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Wash your clothes less
      • Invest in quality, not quantity
      • Hold onto things

       

      Cristina Palacios - FairChanges

      Based In | Spain

      Ethics | Designer for social change

      Biggest accomplishment | Gathering together 300 sustainable brands with over 2800 products with positive impact.

      Cristina agrees that as time goes people are recognizing the importance of sustainability in fashion, but it is neither an easy nor quick process. “Nowadays advanced societies do care about adjacent implications of what they buy. Aspects such as child labor, slavery, pollution have to be removed.”

      And the way to do it in the cases in which there is no law that protects human rights or resources is through conscious living. As Anna Lappè said: "Every time we spend money, we're casting a vote for the kind of world we want.''

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Buy less
      • Choose well
      • Make it last (in Vivienne Westwood's words)

        

      Hannah Theisen - Life+Style+Justice

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Sustainable and ethical lifestyle advocate, blogger and development consultant per day.

      Biggest accomplishment | Not to a zero waste point yet, but taking steps towards it

      Hannah believes that transparency is one of the most important element when it comes to ethical and sustainable fashion. Companies need to provide information about their products, where they are coming from and how they come to our hands. It doesn't need to be perfect as long as it its transparent.

      “People have a right to know where their clothes, shoes, and household goods come from.'' Hannah raised an inspiring question: ''if tobacco industry needs to put a label on their products saying smoking is bad for your health, how come clothes don't include such information on whether it is harmful to our planet or people?'' Being transparent and honest can only build trust between consumer and company, and it can make a difference.

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion 

      • Buy less, buy smarter
      • Practice mindfulness and look for your options
      • Focus not only on the labor impact but also environmental impact. It affects people too.

       

      Jacqui Palhegiy - Birds of a Thread

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Communications manager by day, who loves to sew, up cycle, and scope out new ethical fashion brands in my spare time.

      Biggest accomplishment | Featured on Colette Patterns' Seam work podcast

      An advocat for making bigger impact to the environment then we can imagine, Jacqui believes that it all starts with consuming less, and reevaluating our relationship with stuff. “I'm not a minimalist per se, but I do try to ask myself a series of questions before making new purchases. Namely: 1) Do I really need it? 2) Can I make it? 3) Can I buy it secondhand? 4) If not, how will the materials used to make it affect the environment?”

      Jacqui suggests put pressure on brands by writing to them directly, or tagging them in your social posts on Fashion Revolution Day, and asking "who made my clothes?" or "what is your company doing to protect the environment?" 

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Check your wardrobe inventory before you go shopping
      • Find 2-3 ethical brands you love
      • Learn to sew or repair your own clothing

       

      Kasi Martin - The Peahen

      Based In | USA

      Ethics | Ethical fashion writer or journalist, making ethical fashion go mainstream

      Biggest accomplishment | Giving TEDx talk about ethical fashion

      Kasi tends to bring intellect back to the fashion. In her words, she thinks that today we treat fashion the same way we treat food. “The important thing is telling people to slow down a bit. People are just checking fashion off of their lists. We buy for clothes the same way we buy fast food. And that’s not the way it should be it should be more aligned to how we shop for the furniture. It should be built to last.”

      She is aware that in her circles ethical fashion sounds trendier than it actually is and that the reality is underwhelming. ''The positive side is that small niche brands are taking off, and it’s happening slowly. What the industry needs now is formal regulation.''

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Pick one cause – human rights, environment or animals
      • Figure out your personal sense of style
      • Set checks and balances for shopping

       

      Jan Brownile - Tartan Brunette

      Based In | UK

      Ethics | Reformed fast fashion addict, trying to create a more ethical wardrobe while sharing my experiences.

      Biggest accomplishment | Living with a smaller wardrobe has been a pretty big accomplishment and being named as one of the 50 most influential blogs in the Go Slow Awards 2016.

      Being a regular shopaholic girl became a past for Jan when she watched the documentary The True Cost. She perceives fast fashion as skewing our understanding of cost and value. “It has now become normal to pick up a t-shirt for less than £5. So when you look at the prices of ethical brands, they seem to be overpriced when in reality that is the true cost of producing a t-shirt. We need to change this viewpoint and return to valuing our clothes and paying a fair price.”

      After realizing the real value of clothing and other possessions, Jan started testing the concept of capsule wardrobes. It has been a successful experience for her, and now she 's dedicated to sharing her approach with those who also want to make a change to their shopping habits.

      3 steps people can start to use to participate in ethical and sustainable fashion

      • Educate yourself
      • Try a capsule wardrobe
      • Ask yourself will I wear this 30 times when shopping

       

      Here are some ethical and sustainable brands recommended by the bloggers:

      Stella Mccartney, Miranda Bennett, The Acey, The Sway. Svilu and Isabel de Hillerin ,Amour Vert and Everlane, Suno and Mayiet, Krochet Kids, Everlane, Reformation, People Tree, Zady, Reformation, Titania Inglis, Maiyet, Synergy organic clothing, Saico design, Abrazo style, Eva Cassis, Organic by John Patrick, KowTow Clothing, COSSAC, Svilu and Mina + Olya, Scottish Design Exchange, ASOS Eco Edit, People Tree