Looking ahead to some of the sustainable brands that you must check out in 2021
It goes without saying: 2020 was a year like no other. Even though this unforgettable year is behind us, looking back reveals that even in the midst of a global pandemic – and in some ways because of it – a lot of emphasis has become placed on sustainability. This was especially apparent in some industries like fashion, which had been slowly focusing more on being ethical and environmentally-friendly until this point.
The progression of sustainable fashion from a niche industry to a dominant force has been a long time in the making, but this past year really pushed sustainability issues to the forefront. Now, small, startup brands need to be sustainable just to be competitive because of the changing consumer preferences – and most, if not all, major brands have at least made an attempt at appearing to be more sustainable.
These aren’t just opinions, they are backed by data. The value of the ethical clothing market increased by more than 20% from 2018 to 2020, and over 60% of millennials say they want to shop more sustainably. Furthermore, nearly 15% of global fashion companies have pledged to make changes to their process in favor of adopting more sustainable practices in 2020.
Whether most of this is simply for “green points” or out of genuine concern for the environment depends on the company, and it’s usually easy to tell if you take a good look. Regardless of intent, implementing policies to make the fashion industry more sustainable is good for the planet – and good for conscious consumers that want more ethical and eco-friendly options.
On that note, we have compiled a list of some of the best companies to check out during the next year and beyond. Read on to see some of the best sustainable fashion brands to buy from in 2021.
By embracing personal style over status-quo trends, Cariuma empowers conscious consumers to buy quality over quantity, which is really the only true path to sustainability. This brand responsibly sources all their materials and maintains certified ethical factories complete with a strict code of conduct for day-to-day operations.
They also believe in giving back to the conscious fashion community and fellow eco-friendly organizations. That’s about as 2021 as it gets.
This ethical denim brand began with an important mission: create jeans that can be a source of good in the world. Indeed, founder James Bartle developed a model of sustainable production that allowed him to impart his seamstresses with the ability to change their future and escape the cycle of poverty through fair wages, educational programs, and reliable employment.
Outland Denim breaks the typical production process by using only suppliers that meet their strict criteria for sustainability. Outland uses only 100% organic cotton and vegetable-derived dyes and their production uses the newest technology for reducing water and carbon emissions in their stand-alone production house. In fact, they evaluate every step of their supply chain to make sure that it meets the same zero exploration standards.
This is one thorough brand that covers a lot of aspects of sustainable production.
I Love Bad, better known as iLoveBad, is a stylish underwear and undergarment brand that does a lot of good. All fabrics that this brand uses are ECOCERT certified by their Organic Content Standard (OCS). Additionally, iLoveBad manufactures all of their items locally in Southern California, so you can rest assured they provide their partners a living wage.
We loved Arvin Goods in 2020 – and nothing about our admiration for this incredible sock brand has changed for 2021. They understand that socks are typically terrible for the environment, with the average pair using 50+ gallons of freshwater for production, only to have 85% of them to end up in landfills only a few years later. And that’s why they decided to make the world’s first really good socks.
Arvin Goods socks not only look good and feel good to wear – they also do good for the environment. Their reasoning for this is pretty simple: your favorite socks shouldn’t be jerks to the environment—and your favorite socks shouldn’t take away from your desire to do good.
Harvest & Mill founded their brand on the belief that there is a better way to make clothing – a path that supports local communities and the Earth we call home. Since 2012, they have been rebuilding localized supply chains in the USA through clean, ethical and innovative practices.
In 2021, this process has become a tried and true method for decreasing their environmental impact while creating lasting positive changes in the community.
Coalatree designs eco-minded gear and apparel for the adventurer in everyone, from athletes and photographers to average city folks and weekend warriors. They strive to bring elements of the outdoors and city life together, which is evidenced from their unique beginning. This sustainable clothing brand began as a self-sustaining organic farm in Colorado. The farm-focused around a “reap what you sow” mentality and integrated sustainable practices with quality products. Wanting to create their own workwear, they first launched a line of clothing in 2010, and have continued on to the outdoor industry into the 2020s, all while maintaining deep roots in sustainably produced goods.
This sunglasses brand truly believes they can help improve the way in which we interact with our planet. So far, they are doing a great job. Karun makes high-quality eyewear that serves as a symbol of a different way of looking at the world. Their frames and lenses are made under a very different logic, using linear and extractive processes to build an entire value chain under a circular and regenerative model. Not to mention, they have some very stylish offerings.
Organic Basics puts sustainable thinking at the center of everything they do, much like their brand name implies. They only choose fabrics that care for our environment and they only ever partner with factories that care about their impact, too. This is a brand that truly cares about sustainability. It is a part of their core mission and is apparent in all areas of their sourcing, production, and delivery. Organic Basics should definitely be on your radar for 2021.
The Terra Thread Earth Collection is a line of premium bags made using family grown Organic Cotton and fair labor practices. Every aspect of Terra Thread is created with the Earth and its people at the forefront. Terra Thread products are made using Fairtrade Certified Organic Cotton. Fairtrade Organic cotton ensures that farmers have access to safe working environments, gender equality, are paid a fair price for their cotton, and a Fairtrade Premium, among other benefits. Organic cotton is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards. It is free of toxic chemicals and is also free from GMOs – and its production sustains soil health, ecosystem preservation, wildlife health, and the wellbeing of people everywhere.
Vustra is a fashion brand designed in California by a team of design and tech professionals that truly care about the wellbeing of our planet. Their production teams are involved in the social-economic development of garment makers and the communities around them by working on initiatives such as women empowerment and sponsoring the education of garment maker’s children.
They make it known that they believe fashionable clothing should be more than an item on a hanger – it’s about connecting with the stories of who made your clothes and where they come from. This seems extra fitting in 2021.
Bleed loves nature, and they strive to provide alternative products that harm our planet as little as possible in production, use, and disposal – all while looking bloody good.
This brand aims to treat people, animals, and nature fair by implementing the highest social standards in production using ecological materials and completely vegan products. Expect to see a lot more from them over the upcoming year.
Now that you’ve glimpsed some of the many brands that have been putting sustainability at the forefront, you’re ready to make a difference with your purchases in 2021. We hope we can help you make them wisely.
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