Supporting Sustainable Shopping - 5 Purchases Reviewed
The fashion industry has a significant impact on climate change, and it must play a part in addressing this over the coming years.
I've tried to cut back on impulse shopping in recent years, not only due to climate change but also because of the tiny amount of space in the apartments I lived in! Even with the recent growth in sustainable fashion, I still find it hard to maintain a sustainable shopping regime. This is due to both budget and the choice of clothing on offer from sustainable brands. The majority of sustainable clothing I find is pricey and focuses on active and casual wear. It can be difficult to find dressy and sophisticated eco-friendly brands.
Sustainable brands tend to be more expensive because they require more time and love in creating and sourcing the right materials. Though I feel everyone's pain with the extra cost, we need to concentrate on the fact that instead of investing in throwaway clothes, we are investing in the environment...and this is what should make us happy! Instead of buying several workout clothes from fast fashion brands, I would now prefer to invest in just one, well made, sustainable workout item. Let's continue this move to sustainable fashion together, and this will assist in enabling environmentally-friendly fashion companies to grow, evolve, and expand in the variety of clothes they offer. I am hopeful that with the extra support, pricing will start to decrease too!
While it may not be possible for me to go all the way to sustainable shopping only for the time being, I do endeavor to search by a sustainable brand first. If I am unable to source something that I want in a more environmentally friendly way, I will then revert to another brand. In the meantime, I would be delighted if anyone could recommend some more sustainable fashion brands with me!
1. LUCY & YAK
Lucy and Yak have a great start-up story; from selling vintage clothes in the back of a van (called 'Yak') to working out of one of their parents' basements...to where they are now with their own warehouse and manufacturer! Lucy and Yak started off with a single pair of dungarees, and their dungarees are still a staple of the company. Not only very comfortable, but I also love how colorful, playful, and energetic their clothes are too! Lucy and Yak continue to grow, offering more and more products, and they recently opened a walk-in store. It is exciting times for this growing brand, and I can't wait to see what they do next! The Guardian included Lucy and Yak as one of the 10 coolest ethical brands (click here to read the article)! Check out their Instagram page for more information.
Genre / Diversity
I love how diverse their Instagram page is with models of different shapes, sizes, and racial groups. Even though they create fun and colorful clothing that appears to be aimed at youthful buyers, they don't ignore the fact that older people can love to experiment in this way too. I have spotted some very colorful older ladies pop up on their pages!
I bought the 'Addison' High Waisted Organic Cotton Twill Jeans in Jade', and not only do I love the color, but I also love the fit and how comfortable they are too! They are probably the most comfortable jeans that I have ever owned! I am usually a size 8, and I bought the W28 L30. They cost €62.95, however, the postage was €9.21 on top of this too...which I thought was a bit pricey. Their range of jeans is quite expensive, but bear in mind that most non fast-fashion jeans tend to be a similar cost to this too. Their website offers a variety of pricing with, for example, many of their t-shirts selling at circa €20.
Lucy and Yak's website outlines the sustainability factors involved in creating their clothing and details on how they source their products. Click here to read more about this. Some of these factors are listed below:
* All cotton, hemp and linen we use must be certified organic to ensure that we maintain a
transparent supply chain
* Elastane should only be added if necessary for garment performance
* Any polyester and other man-made fibres used must be recycled with a valid GRS (global
recycled standard) certificate
* No rayon or viscose is to be used, only branded Tencel or equivalent for cellulose"
2. GIRLFRIEND COLLECTIVE
I love Girlfriend Collective! These guys take ethical activewear to the next level. Not only do they have a great selection of colors, ranging from dark and rich tones to pretty pastels and bright pops of color too, but they are also extremely comfortable to wear. I found them to fit like a second skin and are very flexible to workout in. I must admit that the orange color was my least favorite in their range. However, I was unable to purchase the size and color that I wanted because it was out of stock. They tend to limit their stock availability quantity for a good reason. This reason is to enforce the health of the planet and only stock items as they require them. You do have the option to go on an online waitlist and receive an email when the desired item is available. Unfortunately, their website does not ship to Ireland (as well as many other countries) so I couldn't avail of this. Their website provides a list of retailers who stock their clothing line; click here for the stocklist. It is worth noting that The Guardian also included Girlfriend as one of the 10 coolest ethical brands (click here to read the article)! Check out their Instagram page for more information.
Genre / Diversity
Girlfriend Collective is an activewear line (including underwear and socks). They have a beautiful variety of colors, and I love the fact that the brand is so inclusive and celebrates all body shapes, sizes, and racial groups. Their Instagram page feels like a community and a movement.
Pricing / Discount
Girlfriend Collective is quite pricey when compared to fast fashion activewear - but you need to remember that they are not throw-away items and that they are built to last. Girlfriend is similarly priced to established sports brands, and I would purchase from them again due to the great quality of the shorts that I received. They offer payment options too! I bought the High Waisted Bike Short - Daybreak - XS, with a shipping cost of £5.09, coming to a total of £43.08 / €49.71. I bought them through Sports Edit. Use the discount code, Anita Kenna, at the online checkout to receive 15% off of your first order with Sports Edit!
Girlfriend Collective impressed me quite a lot by their dedication to ethical and sustainable clothing. They turn old water bottles into clothes, and each of their clothing descriptions provides sustainability reports on the recycling details of the product. The report lists how many water bottles are diverted from landfills, the CO2 amount prevented, and the number of gallons of water saved. So cool! See below for some more facts from their website around their sustainability factors (click here to read more):
*Our packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable, so don’t throw it away!
*Compressive Leggings + Bras: Made from 79% recycled polyester (or RPET) and 21%
spandex, our leggings are made from 25 recycled post-consumer bottles and our bras are made
* LITE Leggings: Made from recycled fishing nets and other waste using ECONYL® yarn, our
LITE fabric is made up of 83% recycled nylon and 17% spandex.
* Cupro: Our tees and tanks are 100% cupro, a delicate fiber made from waste the cotton industry
leaves behind. Our yarn is made in a zero-waste, zero-emission facility in Japan, then constructed
at our SA8000-certified factory in Hanoi."
If Boden is good enough for Kate Middleton then they are definitely good enough for me! Kate Middleton has been spotted in several outfits from Boden, including a shirt dress, a wrap dress, and one of their coats. Boden stock a range of clothing for women, men, children, and babies. Not only do they stock clothing, but they also stock bags, accessories, and shoes. Check out their Instagram page for more information.
Genre / Diversity
I would say that the genre of women who would love Boden is more in the over 30's age range. They stock elegant clothing that would be great for work, afternoon tea, and dinner parties. However, don't get me wrong - I think that a lot of younger women would love some of these clothes too. It is more a case that the brand wouldn't be seen as stocking clothes that make a brave fashion statement of which younger age groups may prefer. I like that they use a diverse range of models, including older models and models of different racial groups. However, I would say that Lucy and Yak and Girlfriend Collective have more of an impressive diversity of shapes and sizes of models on their Instagram pages.
Pricing / Discount
Compared to fast fashion, Boden can be pricey (though not out of reach!). You must remember that you are paying for a product that is made to last, and that supports the environment. Boden pride themselves on their dedication to being "obsessed with making things exceptionally well" and making "designs to live on in your wardrobe and stay out of landfill". Also, you can get some great deals on their sale items...which often offer up to 60% off! I bought the Pevensie Pencil Wrap Skirt-Forest, and it had 40% off when I purchased it! I thus paid £30 (with £6 shipping). I love the color of this skirt, and it is evident that the dress is made to a high standard, so it should last a lot longer than fast fashion brands. One thing that may be worth noting is that the dress has a bit of a silky look to it in some of the photos, however, it is not made from a silk material (I expected this from reading the description but thought it was worth highlighting this to you too!). Use the discount code, Anita Kenna, at the online checkout to receive £20 off of your first order with Boden!!
Boden makes a promise on its website about the quality of their products. Their website provides much detail on who makes their clothes, how their workers are protected, the charities they support, and information on 'HERproject'. The HERproject is something that was set up that "empowers, educates and supports women working in supply chains". Furthermore, their website lists several measurements and ways of how they are dedicated to reducing their environmental impact, these include but are not limited to;
* 100% sustainable viscose by 2025
* 100% of their cotton from more sustainable sources by 2025
* their swimwear to be 100% regenerated or recylced by 2025
* 100% Lenzing verified Tencel(TM) Model by 2025
* their denim to be 100% of material sourced sustainably by mid 2020
I think anyone reading this is familiar with Levis Strauss & Co.! Founded in 1853, they have become quite a symbol of American culture...though they are also loved throughout the world. Many may not realize that they have made a strong commitment to sustainable denim production. Levi's is renowned for its denim wear - especially their jeans. They also create t-shirts, jackets, shorts, skirts, dresses, and jumpsuits, to name a few.
Genre / Diversity
Unfortunately, diversity is not their strongest point. I didn't see much variety in the age group or, the shapes and sizes of the models on their website/Instagram page. While their official website shows some different sized models, their Instagram page seems to be lacking this. In relation to the representation of black people in their company, Levi's recently released a statement saying that "At first glance, Levi Strauss & Co. is a very diverse company. Women make up 57% of the workforce and are well-represented at every level, and fewer than 40% of our employees are white. But the vast majority of our Black employees work in our retail stores, distribution centers, or non-management positions. Only 5% of corporate employees are Black. Racial diversity declines as the corporate ladder ascends". The statement continues with a list of ways in which they are committed to changing this. Although this is disappointing, I am happy that they released a statement addressing it...now we need to keep on eye on them and hold them responsible for actioning these promises.
I bought my last pair of Levi's in Woodbury Common Shopping Outlet (just outside of NYC), so I bought them discounted. I think I paid circa $60 at the time. I had only bought cheap/fast fashion jeans over the few years prior to this, and so, the fit and quality of Levi's jeans stood out so much for me! You can buy directly from their online website or, you can also find many discount outlets for Levi's in many major cities around the USA, and throughout the world. Here in Ireland, you can find their discount store at Kildare Village. To buy from their website, the women's jeans section currently sells between €70 - €140.
As mentioned, Levi's have made commitments to becoming an even more sustainable brand. Some ways in which they planned to achieve this have already come to fruition. Their website lists how they are using a new innovative hemp yarn instead of cotton, how they teamed up with Re:newcell (who developed a recycling technology that would help them make new jeans from old denim), and how they came up with their WELLTHREAD™ range. The WellThread range is their most sustainable pair of jeans to date. Levi's also pride themselves on how their jeans are made to last. Some more methods they use to achieve a more environmentally friendly brand are listed below (click here to read more about these on their website):
"As part of our mission to minimize our environmental impact, we want to make it easy for you to do
the same. Visit Levi’s® Tailor Shop and talk to an expert who can help extend the life of your
clothes, customize them or upcycle them into something new and recycle it all when the time finally
"We rolled out Levi’s® Water<Less® innovations in 2011. Since then, we’ve saved more than 3.5
billion liters of water from the finishing process (that’s enough to fill 12 Olympic-size pools!) and
recycled over 5 billion more (you do the math). And by 2021, at least 80% of Levi’s® jeans will be
finished with Water<Less® techniques."
I hope to continue with this blog series on sustainable fashion over the next few months. Some more sustainable brands that I plan to try out include:
discount on your first purchase when you sign up to their newsletter. I also found a 10%
discount code for Kotn through a web search. These discount codes frequently change
so I suggest that you do a web search to see if you can find a current one!
Olly Olly & Co Try these guys out if you want to support an Irish brand! They are
another activewear brand and they just launched in March 2020. Their products are
made from Regenerated Ocean Plastic.
H&M: Conscious Collection Yes, fast fashion is trying to become more sustainable
too! It's nice to see that H&M launched a Conscious Collection line in Spring 2019.
Pangaia Very casual wear with pops of bright colors (hoody, track pants, sweatshirts,
Nu-in Fashion Casual wear.
Pact Casual wear.
Columbia Outerwear, sportswear, sports/outdoor gear, and footwear.
Monsoon Sustainable collection Dressy and casual wear.
Manduka Yoga clothing, mats, towels, and gear.
People Tree Variety in their range of clothing including dresses, underwear, nightwear,
activewear, jewelry, and accessories.
One thing you will notice throughout my post is the lack of dressy and formal wear. Most brands that are championing sustainable clothing are active and casual wear brands (or any that I could find anyways!). I would love it if you could drop any comments for some dressier brands for me to try out too!
Also, please let me know if you agree/disagree with my list and if you have tried out any of them and how you found them!
Thanks for reading,