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Ethical and cute: 5 fashionable brands that promote sustainability

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JUNE 04, 2019

With global warming and climate change becoming a greater threat to the world, more retail brands than ever before have switched to a model of sustainability in response to the newest wave of fashion. In the past, there might have been a stronger emphasis among consumers on finding in-trend apparel with a complete disregard of manufacturing processes, but the culture of 2019 shows the greatest support for businesses that demonstrate a harmony of fashion and environmental consciousness. The days of extolling fast fashion retailers have been replaced by a rallying demand for companies that are straightforward about their factories. Here are five fashion companies for both men and women that prove that being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive with style.


Ever feel like you have no clue where your clothes come from or how much they actually cost to make? Conveniently based in San Francisco, Everlane is a sustainable clothing company that exudes what it coins as “radical transparency,” which allows shoppers to know the exact cost breakdown of their clothes. Each of their factories strives to maintain fair wages and work hours for its employees. Sometimes sustainable fashion gets a bad reputation for coming off as unaffordable and overpriced, but with Everlane, there’s the option to “choose what you pay” on select items such as jeans, jackets and shoes.


To pair nicely with your newly sustainable wardrobe, Nisolo is an ethical brand that specializes in dainty jewelry, sturdy bags and sleek shoes for everyone’s sense of style. If you’re looking for a backpack for the forthcoming semester or a gift for your mom’s birthday, you’ll find exactly what you need on the brand’s website. With three factories based in Peru, Mexico and Kenya, Nisolo allows consumers to inform themselves on where its products are sourced from. In its main factory in Peru, the average pay for Nisolo producers is 27 percent higher than the fair trade wage requirement, allowing consumers to take pride in purchasing from a company that upholds ethical labor practices.


Pact does undergarments and loungewear like you’ve never seen before. The brand’s long-staple cotton makes their products feel incredibly soft on the skin, and on its website, you can find its promise to omit “toxic dyes, pesticides and bad attitudes” in the making of your clothes. When it comes to what we wear beneath our garments, we often ignore researching the precise ingredients that go into their production. Pact shines a light on the importance of clean and safe materials to ensure that your first layer of defense, the skin, never has to submit to wearing items ridden with toxins.


A brand name like Kotn really makes you wonder where its staple fabric ingredient comes from. Kotn works directly with farmers in the Nile Delta to source their Egyptian cotton while helping to increase the standard of living for the local industry by providing a fair wage and partnering with pro-literacy groups in the area. Kotn shows that its chief concern is more than just clothes. It’s a company that truly cares about the people who make their products, unlike larger corporations that are in a constant battle for the cheapest options imaginable.

Your local thrift store

Thrifting from shops within your neighborhood is a tried-and-true way of being sustainable without spending tons of money in the process. With so many thrift stores in the Berkeley vicinity, there’s thousands of garments for you to scour through and give a much-needed second home to. Plus, you’ll be able to reuse some incredibly unique pieces that no one else around you can find.

When we reform our fashion habits, the initiative for sustainable practices continually grows stronger. Although purchasing one pair of ethically made pants may not singlehandedly reverse the ingrained effects of global warming, the fact that the five eco-friendly alternatives mentioned in this article are among the thousands that are out there already demonstrates a shift in the way people approach the garment industry.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .

JUNE 04, 2019