5 Affordable Sustainable Brands
Many people assume that to shop sustainably – it will not only cost a small fortune but it will also have to be made abroad – meaning that we are increasing our carbon footprint within shipping. This however is not the case. Locally sourced materials and production can be found right here in the U.K, it is just about knowing where to find them and knowing what ‘sustainable’ means to that company. At the bottom of this post I have included a quick vocabulary of sustainable terminology to help understand what brands actually mean when they use words such as ‘Fairtrade’ and ‘Organic’. Here are five websites from the UK and USA which I believe are going the extra mile to create a more affordable, sustainable and ethical way of shopping.
Know The Origin
‘Know The Origin’ is a website much like House of Frazer or Selfridges where it stocks numerous suppliers and brands in both men and women’s clothing. Stocking over 30 brands ‘Know The Origin’ covers all areas of sustainability from Fair trade to Vegan products to supply chain development. ‘Know The Origin’ believe thefashion industry is rife with secrecy. Therefore, only sell products which are made by brands that have nothing to hide.
Matt & Nat
The idea behind MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE originally comes from Montreal. They are passionate and in awe of the world that surrounds us.Their values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. They are inspired by the textures and hues of nature and, to better protect it and aim to constantly better their ways. From the start, they have been committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials. Each season, they continue to explore new innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly. Over the years, they’ve been experimenting with different recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork and since 2007, we’ve been committed to using linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. We have also recently introduced recycled bicycle tires into their collections. MATT & NAT collections can now be found in boutiques across Canada, the United States, the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia.
‘Pact’ promise to do no harm. Only comfort. They source 100% organic cotton only. They only seek out Fair Trade Certified™ factories and they only use eco-friendly materials and practices everywhere humanly possible. They endlessly search for ways to keep improving because they believe comfort should never come at the cost of other people or the planet. Toxic dyes, pesticides and bad attitudes have no place in your clothes, therefore all their ingredients are clean and ethical.
Threads for Thought
‘Threads for thought’ mission is to improve the planet through a sustainable lifestyle in it’s commitment to giving back. They are partners with the International Rescue Committee in efforts to create better production and quality of clothing made around the world. With factories in China, India, Haiti and Kenya. ‘Threads for Thought’ aims to create ethical working experiences and a sustainable environment.
‘Birdsong’, UK sell everything from coats to underwear and shoes to skincare and they know all the makers of their products personally. All workers are paid above the London Living Wage and all items are made in London through programs which employ elderly women and low-income migrant workers. ‘Birdsong’ want to revolutionise the way you dress. They work under the promise of no sweatshop and no photoshop. ‘Birdsong’ have also been seen in Refinery29, TeenVogue, BBC & Harpers Bazaar. ‘Birdsong’ also offer £5 off your first order.
Fair Working Conditions
With the majority of garment manufacture concentrated in some of the poorest parts of the world, the fashion industry represents an enormous opportunity to create sustainable livelihoods and to lift communities out of poverty. These products are made by brands that have demonstrated fair working conditions in the supply chain that comply with local standards to ensure well-being of all employees.
These products are made by a Fairtrade certified brand. Fairtrade isn’t just about paying a minimum fair price and having safe working conditions. It’s about creating long term partnerships based on transparency and respect to help create sustainable employment opportunities that have the power to help some of world’s most marginalized communities escape poverty.
These products are made by brands that actively create producers jobs as a form of sustainable development. When people earn a fair wage, they can support themselves with dignity and don’t often need the support of charity.
World Health Organization claim that 3 million workers in developing countries every year are severely poisoned by chemicals used in farming, 20,000 of these poisonings result in people’s death. These organic products are made by farming and production methods without the use of genetically modified seeds and are never sprayed with chemical herbicides or pesticides.
Some of the cruellest practices happen to animals in factory farming. These vegan products are made without the use of any animal, animal by-products or animal testing.
These products are made with traceable fabrics because we believe you can’t claim something is sustainable unless you know where it comes from. Using deadstock fabric is reducing waste but we think that traceable natural fabrics such as organic cotton, modal, tencel, hemp and soy are the future. There are plenty of eco friendly fabric alternatives, but be aware that some can require longer, more toxic processing such as Bamboo.
These products are positively changing the world. They were made by brands that were started with a specific purposeful social or environmental cause behind them.