Mrembo Africa is a Nairobi-based ethical fashion brand that seeks to build hope and create sustainable economic empowerment for its women artisans. The brand uses vibrant African motifs to uniquely enhance modern designs, allowing traditional artistry and skills to be channeled into new markets. Mrembo Africa employs both local Kenyan and refugee women aiming to strengthen their sewing and tailoring skills so that they are able to support themselves and their families.
Accessory brand Bravelets creates items that are meant to represent hope, strength, and courage. Founded on the idea that there are times in our lives when we must be especially brave, the Austin, Texas based company creates products that seek to inspire. Additionally, Bravelets believes in both transparency and making a difference, so for each purchase you make, $10 is donated toward a cause of your choice. Personally, I use my Bravelets purchases to support Free the Slaves, an organization fighting modern day slavery, but Bravelets has hundreds of organizations and causes from which you can choose.
As a socially responsible brand, Della is committed to supporting the talented Ghanaian artisans who create their handbags and accessories. Della provides these men and women with more than just employment: health care, social security, literacy classes, money-management training, child care, athletic events, and sewing classes are just some of the benefits offered by the brand. To learn more about the Della team and their work, check out the video below!
Kuyichi is a Dutch denim brand that is both socially and environmentally responsible. The brand works with factories that guarantee their workers fair wages in safe and healthy work environments. Additionally, the brand is a champion of recycled and organic materials; in fact, in 2013 their entire collection was made from 100% organic or recycled cotton, hemp, linen, polyester, and tencel®.
Wabi Sabi, and eco-fashion brand, produces shoes, jewelry, accessories, and clothing. The brand classifies all of their products into four categories of sustainability: natural, recycled, organic, and handmade. In addition, Wabi Sabi is careful to use certified ecological materials and only works with suppliers who comply to fair trade regulations.
Mata Traders is a fair trade brand that produces clothing, jewelry, and accessories made by cooperatives in India. As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Mata Traders is dedicated to the creation of opportunities for economically and socially marginalized workers; the brand ensures safe working conditions, protects the rights of children, and respects the cultural identities of all of their employees. In addition, Mata Traders is also dedicated to cultivating environmental stewardship. To learn more about the brand's production process, watch the video below:
Nomads is a UK-based clothing line that has been committed to producing fair trade items for over twenty years. The brand works with Indian handicraft artisans to create one of a kind pieces. In addition to their commitment to fair trade practices, the brand is also environmentally conscious.
Khunu is a brand committed to creating positive social change through their business. The brand's garments are made of yak wool from the Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia. Khunu works with local nomadic people groups in these regions to provide greater economic opportunity and stability among rural communities. Additionally, the brand is dedicated to environmental responsibility through all stages of their production processes.
Raven and Lily is a clothing, accessory, and jewelry brand dedicated to artisan empowerment, fair trade, and environmental responsibility. The brand currently carries five collections made by female artisans from Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, Kenya, and the US. They are a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum's current 10 Founding Source Partners and are certified by Green America. To learn more about how the brand began, watch the promo video below.
FAIRE Collection produces jewelery and accessories, handmade by artisans in Ecuador, Vietnam, and Swaziland. The company works to bring their artisans out of poverty through the development of productive skills, the promotion of family health and education, and increased income levels. Furthermore, the brand's products are made with a variety of natural materials, sustainably sourced from all over the world.
Rags 2 Riches, or RIIR, is a brand striving to create a "stylish social statement." The brand partners with artisans from all over the 7,107 islands of the Philippines to create conscientious products. RIIR believes that the entire production process - from raw material to finished product - should be dignified, empowered, and enriched.
Levi's, which is part of the Levi Strauss & Co. apparel company, is a clothing company that specializes in denim. Their products are made with four key values in mind: empathy, integrity, originality, and courage. For years, the brand has been committed to fair labor standards and workers rights. Today, their Made of Progress campaign exemplifies their current mission - doing more with less while caring for people worldwide. To learn a little bit more about the spirit behind the Made of Progress campaign, check out the video below.
Country Road is an Australian brand dedicated to ethical fashion practices. Their corporate social responsibility model focuses on four key components: their people, their communities, the environment, and ethical trade. The brand is a big supporter of the Australian wool industry, but their products are exclusively sourced from non-mulesed wool. Additionally, they have developed an Environmental Code of Practice, which they require all their suppliers to sign.
Rapanui is an eco-friendly brand dedicated to making sustainable fashion "cool." The UK-based brand is known for its radical transparency and use of organic textiles. For Rapanui, ethical fashion begins with their design practices and continues through every stage of the production process.
Connected in Hope is a scarf brand committed to empowering the Ethiopian women they work with to rise above poverty through sustainable income development. All proceeds from sales go to either providing income to the women or are invested in holistic programs (training, preschool/daycare, and healthcare) for the women and their families. The company operates under the principles and best practices established by the World Fair Trade Organization and the Fair Trade Federation. To learn more about the company's approach, click here.
Hiptipico is both a brand and online boutique dedicated to raising up Guatemalan artisans while preserving Mayan culture and customs. By reinvesting their profits into women's cooperatives, family shops, and Mayan handicrafters, Hiptipico has been able to stimulate local economies through their work. The brand's practices revolve around five core values: fair wages, economic development, authenticity, empowerment, and sustainability.
JOYN is a handbag and accessory business that seeks to connect artisans in Northern India with the world of fashion. All of their cotton is hand-cleaned, hand-spun, handwoven, hand-dyed, and hand-stitched, allowing for an ethical process of production. Not only does such a process produce beautiful pieces, like this Gold Diamond Handbag, but it also helps bring the Indian artisans out of poverty and provides them with a stable, sustainable livelihood.
APOCCAS (which stands for "Ancient Power on Cashmere, Cotton, And Silk") is a business committed to ethically producing fair trade, hand-woven textiles and handmade bracelets. All materials come from Thailand and are produced by Thai artisans. For instance, their UPCY scarf (left) is hand-made by village cooperative weavers in Mukdahan, Thailand. The scarf is crafted out of 100% silk with botanical dyes and made through a process of up-cycling rejected Eri silk cocoons, which would otherwise go to waste. Additionally, the above brown labradorite bracelet, AGNI, is made from semi-precious and precious stones through processes that uphold the companies philosophy.
4 All Humanity is an online private label that offers women's apparel (like this fair trade, 100% organic cotton Hi-Lo Henley Dress) made by a cooperative in northern Uganda. The brand also produces accessories, which are made from recycled materials, silver, vintage fabrics, leather, and semi-precious stones by co-ops in India, Thailand, Mexico, and South Africa. 4 All Humanity ethically sources every one of their products, believing that in doing so they can not only change the futures of the artisans they work with, but also transform the apparel industry's current model of sourcing.
The eyewear brand, Warby Parker, is founded on the belief that it is possible to create high quality glasses at a revolutionary price point. All of their glasses, like this Marva Cobalt Leaf pair, are handcrafted using the finest custom materials. Furthermore, Warby Parker believes that everyone has the right to see, so for every pair of glasses purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need.
Steven Alan is a New York based designer committed to creating classic, timeless pieces of clothing. His garments are handmade from high-quality raw materials. Most of the manufacturing is done in New York (seventy percent, in fact), and the small amount of production done in China takes place in small factories that do not partake in mass-production. This allows the brand to be proud of their product as well as their process.
31 Bits produces jewelry and accessories (like this Tiered Symphony necklace) that are absolutely stunning, but what makes this company special is the fact that they are "using fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty." 99% of the materials used in a 31 Bits product come from East Africa, and every bead is handmade out of recycled paper. 31 Bits creates fashionable, quality products all while enabling their Ugandan beneficiaries to earn an income and support their families. To learn more about their work in Uganda, watch the 31 Bits Identity Video below.
Nau (pronounced "now") is a Portland-based company dedicated to social, material, and aesthetic sustainability. They create beautiful pieces out of natural, renewable, recycled, and salvaged materials and donate 2% of every sale to their humanitarian and environmental Partners for Change, (which include Ashoka, Breakthrough Institute, Mercy Corps, People for Bikes, and Ecotrust). Nau is known for their modern take on urban and outdoor apparel like this rain poncho, made from recycled polyester and organic cotton.
Known for their "super-soft" quality and simplistic designs, Alternative Apparel's products are both comfortable to wear and lovely to look at. Through their work, Alternative aims to promote purposeful causes, connect people, inspire creativity and catalyze change.
This Alpaca Cropped Poncho is made from sustainably sourced baby alpaca wool in partnership with the Sustainable Alpaca Network, Pacomarca. This wool comes from the rural highlands of Peru, where Alternative has partnered with local experts in the trade to create a sustainable textile industry. To learn more about the company's work in Peru, check out their video "Made in Peru: Alpaca Wool" below.
Allie Gardner is a DC-based nonprofit professional working to eradicate human trafficking. She holds a Master's in Public Anthropology from American University.
Products and Causes