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.
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.
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.
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.
Article 22 is a jewelry brand dedicated to producing handmade collections from modern artifacts. Their first collection, peaceBOMB, is comprised of jewelry made from Vietnam War era bombs. Laotian artisans repurpose the weapon fragments that pollute their lands into beautiful statements of peace. The proceeds from each peaceBOMB product sold go to demining the bomb littered land. To learn more about Article 22's work, and this collection in particular, watch the video below:
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.
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.
Hovey Lee is a Los Angeles based eco jewelry brand. All of their jewelry is made in LA out of 100% recycled metals and fair trade gemstones. The company is committed to providing safe socially and environmentally responsible jewelry to their customers while promoting fair trade, human dignity, and environmental sustainability.
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.
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