11 brands to put on your radar that are redefining sustainable fashion

22 January 2019

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

If your New Year’s resolution is to make more sustainable choices, you’ll want to read this.

When Kanye tweeted, ‘I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be re­spon­si­ble for this wa­ter bot­tle’, he was mercilessly mocked. And while it was deeply ironic for the rapper to feel guilt-stricken about his single-use plastic consumption while soaring through the sky in an aero­plane, he neatly surmised the cross hairs our world is in. How, in 2019, when choice and consumption is available on every corner, do we make sustainable choices?

If you’ve resolved to dress more like Meghan Markle (i.e. eco-con­sciously) in 2019, then you’re not alone. Lyst re­ported that 47 per cent more shop­pers were look­ing for clothes with eth­i­cal creden­tials.

Al­though shop­pers spent £3.5bn (approx. NZD $6.7b) on Christ­mas party clothes last year (eight mil­lion of which will find its way into land­fill), it’s never been eas­ier to find styl­ish con­sciously-pro­duced cloth­ing. Stella Mc­Cart­ney and Edun may have opened the world’s eyes to re­spon­si­bly made fash­ion that was­n’t hemp-y and beige, but they are no longer alone.

Here are just 11 lit­tle-known la­bels that are re­defin­ing the look of sus­tain­able fash­ion in 2019.


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Soft to the touch. And to the face. #weareallbirds

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1. Allbirds

Soft, wash­able, warm train­ers you can wear with­out socks ex­ist and they are made by Cal­i­forn­ian la­bel All­birds founded by NZ native Tim Brown and business partner Joey Zwillinger. Dubbed ‘the world’s most com­fort­able shoes’, they don’t just play lip ser­vice to sus­tain­abil­ity as they are made from a new tech­ni­cal woollen fab­ri­ca­tion and a sim­pli­fied con­struc­tion that re­lies on all nat­ural ma­te­ri­als.


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Almeida Striped Merino Wool Dress @theofficialselfridges #gabrielahearst

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2. Gabriela Hearst

The founder, Gabriela, has coined the phrase ‘hon­est lux­u­ry’ to de­scribe her brand of thought­ful tai­lor­ing and must-have bags. With 99 per cent of the fab­rics, the brand uses sus­tain­able and all pack­ag­ing re­cy­clable pack­ag­ing, sus­tain­able is more than just green­wash­ing for this la­bel.


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SS18 suit in @pusspussmag styled by @nikesofiaamorina photographed by @suzor

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3. Rave Review

The hype around Rave Re­view, who show dur­ing Paris Fash­ion Week, has been build­ing each sea­son. The Scandi la­bel con­tin­ues to de­velop their brand of up­cy­cled cou­ture, which re­works pre-exist­ing tex­tiles into imag­i­na­tive new sil­hou­ettes.



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Friday’s are for the Girlfriend tee

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4. Misha Nonoo

If you’ve seen a pic­ture of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sus­sex, likely you have seen a Misha Nonoo de­sign be­fore. The founder, Misha Nonoo, a close friend of the royal has won a CFDA award for her no-waster fash­ion brand. Work­ing to a made-to-or­der busi­ness model, the brand is able to de­crease waste.


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We just can’t get enough of this perfect fit. With spring comes the Cropped Mimi ✌🏻

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5. Mud Jeans

Mud Jeans take a two-pronged ap­proach to re­duc­ing waste. Firstly, they only pro­duce or­ganic cot­ton denim with washes cre­ated with­out chem­i­cals or wa­ter and that make use of up­cy­cled textiles. Sec­ondly, they lease out their pieces for a guilt-free shop­ping so­lu­tion.

6. Kitx

With their marigold and jack­fruit dyed dresses, the Aus­tralian la­bel Kitx proves that sus­tain­able evening­wear does­n’t need to look hemp-y or scratchy. Founder Kit Wil­low (formerly of the beautiful and oh-so-covetable Willow brand) holds a Mas­ters de­gree in drap­ing from Paris and its put to good use with her ro­man­tic de­signs.

7. Rêve En Vert

The multi-brand re­tailer stocks la­bels that ei­ther re-use ma­te­ri­als or source low-en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact fab­rics and pro­duce pieces lo­cally and fairly. The end re­sult is a range of un­der­stated and typ­i­cally French fash­ion, home­ware and cos­met­ics.


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THE SIMPLE SANDAL — a timeless shoe, made in sunny LA one by one just for you #veganfashion #losangeles

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9. Rafa

There is a team of 20 spe­cial­ist shoe­mak­ers work­ing in LA to cre­ate Rafa’s lux­ury made-to-or­der footwear, which uses eco­log­i­cally-friendly ma­te­ri­als.


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Sigh, is it only Tuesday? Console yourself with a chunky Merino knit (with chic contrast side panels) #dressbetter #ethicalfashion

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10. Ninety Percent

The Lon­don-based pre­mium ba­sics brand Ninety Per­cent think of sus­tain­abil­ity well be­yond the con­struc­tion and con­sump­tion of their clothes. Not only are ma­te­ri­als and man­u­fac­tur­ing thought­fully con­sid­ered with eco and so­cial sen­si­tiv­ity but the la­bel also promises to do­nate 90 per cent of its prof­its to a range of char­i­ties.

11. Veja

Maybe you re­mem­ber when Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex wore her Veja train­ers on her tour of Aus­trala­sia and they sold out in­stantly… She’s not the only celebrity (oth­ers in­clude Emma Wat­son and Lucy Williams) that loves the French brand’s ve­gan train­ers, which are pro­duced with­out chem­i­cals or pol­lu­tants.

Words: Lucy Morris
Photos: Supplied

This article originally appeared on Grazia.

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