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.
A few years ago, Tracey Krause and her family moved from Canada to Ecuador to pursue their passions for fair trade and rainforest preservation. Today, they run Artisans in the Andes, a handmade goods brand that is committed to producing sustainable, eco-friendly products through a fair trade model. The brand works with local artisans in Ecuador to create jewelry out of organic seeds and nuts found in the Amazon rainforest. This work allows Artisans in the Andes to contribute to the economic development of local communities through a sustainable use of the rainforest’s resources.
Eternal Creation is an Australian retailer of fair trade fashion that creates something for everyone in the family! The brand's skilled tailors, of which there are over 70, create garments for men, women, children, and babies in their Himalayan Tailoring Centre. Many of these tailors are Tibetan refugees who have found economic stability through working for Eternal Creation. The brand not only provides them with a fair wage, but also offers social support through services like English classes and paid paternity leave. To learn more about Eternal Creation, check out the video below:
The Base Project is a brand that seeks to connect Namibian artisans to the international fashion market. The brand's influence extends beyond economic impact, as they also work to invest in community development projects. In addition, environment lovers can rejoice over the fact that the brand produces all of their bracelets by upcycling discarded plastic pipes.
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!
Bourgeois Boheme is an eco-friendly, animal-friendly, cruelty free, vegan brand. The brand produces unique and comfortable footwear for both men and women. As proponents of the "slow fashion" movement, Bourgeois Boheme uses timeless designs to create shoes that are built to last. Additionally, the brand is extremely committed to transparency, and provides their customers with ample information about where and how each product was made.
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®.
Haikure's products are what you get when you mix the quality of Italian tailoring with eco and ethical fashion practices. The brand, which emphasizes the importance of traceability, believes that the consumer should have access to information on each product's production processes. Additionally, Haikure is on a mission to inspire a new lifestyle in which sustainability and fashion can coexist through the promotion of respect for both people and the planet.
Alchemist is a brand striving to mix high fashion with ethical fashion. Currently, 92% of Alchemist's production takes place in Europe, a decision the brand made to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure the protection of their workers' rights. Alchemist is also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to improve labor conditions in the fashion industry.
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:
PrAna is a socially responsible apparel brand committed to sustainability. The belief that "a brand should give much more than it takes from the world" is what drives PrAna's business and production practices. Not only does the brand use resources and labor in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, but it is also on a mission to "inspire, integrate, and socialize a more caring and proactive approach to the world around us."
The Baand, a brand centered on the production of timeless fashion basics, is committed to improving environmental and social conditions within the fashion industry. The brand uses 100% organic cotton and alpaca wool in their garments, which they source from small, family owned companies in Peru.
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.
Slowers is a Spain-based brand that specializes in producing modern versions of traditional espadrilles. Based on respect, honesty, and enjoyment, this brand is dedicated to creating ethical pieces of fashion. All Slowers items are hand-made in Spain from organic and raw Spanish materials, so as to reinvest in local communities, as well as minimize the company's transport footprint.
As both an environmentally and socially responsible brand, The Green 3 works to produce both modern and classic garments from recycled, organic, and reclaimed materials here in the United States. The brand uses only biodegradable detergents and low-impact reactive dyes. Additionally, the company works with organizations such as Aspiro to provide jobs and life skills training for adults with cognitive disabilities.
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.
Matter is a socially motivated brand that specializes in producing comfortable, versatile pants. By connecting Indian artisans with designers around the world, the brand seeks to provide economic growth and stability in the rural communities of their craft collaborators. Additionally, the brand is deeply committed to supply chain transparency, environmental impact sensitivity, and the creation of long term production partnerships.
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.
Reveal is a sustainable tech accessory and handbag brand that uses recycled fabrics, bamboo, cork, vegan leather, linen, and recycled zippers in their products. Additionally, the brand sponsors various projects that give back to the environment, such as Project Wildlife (which benefits the International Fund for Animal Welfare) and Project Replant (in which they plant a tree for every item sold from their Nature Tech collection). Their 4R Philosophy is shown below:
All shoes from Julie Bee's are made with the environment in mind. The brand create eco-chic shoes by way of sustainable processes - vegetable dyes, no harsh chemicals, recycled materials, vintage upcycling, etc. Each pair of shoes is handcrafted in the USA, "reducing carbon emissions and supporting an employee friendly working environment."
Sinerji is a brand striving to "change the fashion industry for the better, one thread at a time." This Australia-based brand exclusively engages in fair trade and sweat-shop free production. Additionally, their products are made from certified organic cotton and bamboo jersey and are dyed with organic vegetable dyes, making the clothing eco-friendly in multiple ways.
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.
Allie Gardner is a DC-based nonprofit professional working to eradicate human trafficking. She holds a Master's in Public Anthropology from American University.
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