Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

With consumers increasingly rejecting “fast fashion,” buying quality over quantity and making eco friendly purchases, the fashion industry is trying to act more responsibly for the sake of the planet and future generations. Every brand talks about “sustainability” with many actually making significant changes. And for international fashion showcases like Oslo Runway, sustainability is the core focus. CEO Elin Carlsen says “as a national display platform, we have a commitment to contribute and shape new mindsets and practices for a more sustainable industry.”

Sustainable fashion brands use materials from natural or recycled fabrics that require less or even no chemical treatment, less water and energy. And linen, hemp, organic cotton and tencel (made from wood) are biodegradable. But sustainability isn’t just about materials. It’s about changing the ways of thinking and practices of design, production, communication, wearing and enjoying fashion. Here are some of the clever fashion brands embracing sustainability with actions not just words.

1.Recycling

Using recycled materials (think ocean plastic) continues to be a hot trend and good news for the environment as clothing has the fourth largest environmental impact (after housing, transport and food), according to not for profit UK organisation, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Plan). Over 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in UK landfills annually.

Fitflop’s brilliant new sneaker The Vitamin, sleek and super-light, is not only bio-mechanically engineered for exercise and walking, it’s made from recycled polyester yarn from plastic waste and reprocessed foam recovered from factory waste.

Designed and manufactured in Italy, soon to be launched Balena slides are the first in the world to be made entirely of BioCir™, a unique material developed to enable the creation of fully compostable and biodegradable fashion items. Products made of BioCir™ reach their end of life responsibly including full decomposition and biodegradation of the material back to the ground safely. And they smell good too as the natural colorant in the slides is cinnamon.

Faldan, a luxury eco handbag brand was founded by former UN climate negotiator Laura Hanning. The signature bag is the world’s first ethical luxury, fully-foldable bag. Smart, geometric markings in the fabric create a unique pattern and, crucially, allow the bag to fold down seamlessly into an iPhone-sized wallet.The brand only uses leather that is a by-product of the meat industry, thus having a smaller environmental footprint than newly made materials. And they’ve just launched a vegan-friendly, recycled nylon bag.

New handbag company Naru Studios creates luxury products from renewable, recycled and biodegradable materials. Designed in Oxford, the bags are handcrafted by leather artisans in London.

LuederStudio, a brand that showed at this month’s London Fashion Week, uses recycled ocean plastic in a colorful array of unisex nylon jackets, each with lots of handy pockets.

Sportwear brand ArmedAngels produces garments made from 100% recycled polyamide and 58% recycled elastane.They also offer stylish, comfortable shirts made from wood (tencel).

2.Sustainable luxury jewelry

Well aware that real diamonds, gold and other precious materials used in jewelry can be mined with slave and child labor, online retailer Friendly Diamonds claim to offer the same quality with their laboratory grown diamonds as natural diamonds – at a fraction of the cost (up to 75% less) and without putting any human lives at risk. The company’s aim is to to inspire a more transparent and eco-friendly jewelry industry. In an industry that has had a reputation for irresponsible mining practices, Friendly Diamonds’ vision is to minimize its impact on the environment and its ecosystems with diamonds manufactured in laboratories that run on renewable energy. They work closely with leading diamond producers from countries like USA, Belgium and India, allowing them to offer some of the most competitive prices in the industry. Once sourced, the brand processes the diamonds to craft jewelry in their in-house manufacturing centre in Manhattan, New York. It’s there that each diamond, setting and the final piece goes through three rounds of quality checks.

Although laboratory-grown diamonds are growing in popularity and are considered a viable choice when shopping for a diamond engagement ring, they are sometimes met with skepticism. A diamond that is professionally grown in a laboratory may not be regarded as “romantic” or high quality. Consumers have long bought into the idea of a natural diamond as best. However, scientists can create diamonds that optically look like earth-mined diamonds, contain the same chemical and physical attributes and even receive certification through the Gemological Institute of America and International Gemological Institute. Lab grown diamonds are just as real as natural diamonds that are mined from the earth with the same shapes, size, color and clarity grades. Most importantly, lab and natural diamonds are visually the same with the same hardness level and durability. The American Federal Trade Commission has recognized lab diamonds as real since 2018.

3: Rental or Secondhand

With the massive amount of wearable clothes thrown away each year, it’s heartening to see the dramatic rise in popularity of online rental platforms like Rent the Runway, Hurr Collective and MyWardrobeHQ. And for consumers keen to wear eco-friendly fashion, a new subscription service has just launched. The Devout is a sustainable fashion rental platform that offers everyday and special occasion wear from £39 per month.You can rent three items per month for under £40, or try their luxe ten-item package for £99 per month.

Buying secondhand clothing is not a new idea but as a fashion trend its skyrocketing popularity is astounding. According to US online thrift store Thredup, the secondhand clothing market is expected to grow 127% by 2026, three times faster than the global apparel market overall.

Sign of the Times combines 45 years of experience buying and selling pre-owned luxury via both Sign of the Times in London and Timpanys in Berkshire. They are experts in authentication and valuation of designer goods and they’ve been selling online internationally since 2015. The online store lists each item’s original price so you can see how much you’ve saved by buying secondhand. They also point out that compared to buying new, one pre-owned purchase is said to save on average 1kg of waste, 3,040 litres of water (that’s the equivalent of taking 60 baths) and 22kg of CO2. A gorgeous blue sleeveless halter-neck jumpsuit by Roksanda is listed for £230.00 with an estimated value of £1390. A pair of black Kenzo sneakers with an embroidered yellow tiger are £76 instead of £180 new.

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