Fashion is a big part of life. In a world of fast-paced consumers, we get an enormous amount of fashion-related information thrown at us on a daily basis. Some of us are overwhelmed and still try to figure out the best and smartest way to spend money.
New York Fashion Week is right around the corner, and it`s our chance to learn how to spend responsibly, how to make our wardrobe better and longer lasting, how to mix the colors of the future season, and which fashion brands are worthy of an investment.
The first step to figuring out which companies are worthy of an investment is knowing which created with the well-being of the planet in mind. This important piece of information will decide if the designer is sustainable or not.
Sustainability is not just about designing collections with eco-friendly and recycled materials. Yes, these artists are excellent for being considerate, keeping a healthier planet and allowing us to do the same, but there`s more to being a sustainable shopper and you`re about to find out!
Now, it’s surprising to see how few designers presenting at NYFW make an effort to use sustainable, cruelty-free or ethical practices, -at least publicly. Those that create fashion for a (smart) shopper to invest in and feel good about will be highlighted here! Please find out more below and celebrate them with us!
Gabriela Hearst (link to https://www.gabrielahearst.com/)
Gabriela`s favorite quote: “To move freely, you must be deeply rooted.” – Bella Lewitt (Dance Choreographer)
Born in Uruguay, Gabriela Hearst grew up on her family’s ranch surrounded by horses and cattle. Gabriela attended the British School in Montevideo and studied Communications at the O.R.T. University of Uruguay.After more than a decade spent in design in New York, Gabriela honored her family’s heritage through the launch of her eponymous label in Fall 2015, as well as taking over the operations of her father’s ranch in Uruguay.
Gabriela wanted to create a brand that reflects a slower pace and process: where things are made with care and detail, where tradition is more important than a trend, where there is a purpose to every piece.
Gabriela’s commitment is to make a strong and modern collection without compromising her ethics and key values, taking into consideration where materials come from and who is making them: luxury with a conscience or in other words, “honest luxury”.
Each garment is an item into which Gabriela can pour her desire— made with impeccable construction and uncompromising, noble materials. Together, they tell a story of the places she loves that made her who she is: Uruguay and New York. Combining the utilitarian and the beautiful, she wanted to design long-lasting garments that hold memories for the woman who wears them. She is a real woman, alluring and powerful, but there is much action in her life and these clothes are her uniform, her armor.
Gabriela is the winner of the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize for womenswear. In March 2017, Gabriela was nominated for the CFDA Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Gabriela Hearst SS18 Runway Show will take place on September 12th, 2017 in New York City.
Gabriela Hearst is not the only designer answering the call for a more sustainable industry. The brother-sister duo of Nicholas K’s priority is preservation. They are dedicated to creating products that promote sustainability and make sure that every product they produce is made in an eco-friendly manner, yet still, creating with durability.
Nicholas K (http://nicholask.com)
Set against the backdrop of Arizona’s expansive wilderness, Nicholas and Christopher Kunz’s formative years were spent exploring the barren deserts and rugged canyons of the Rockies. Coexisting with nature at the foothills of the Santa Catalina’s, the brother/sister duo acquired an affinity for the outdoors, consumed by exploration and a deep-rooted desire for conservation. Born to a Russian-Chinese mother and German-Irish father, the rich blending of cultures fostered an appreciation for diversity, insatiable hunger for travel, and inherent sense of wanderlust.
Their collections showcase timeless and versatile pieces that tell the story of a harmonious partnership between luxury and sustainability.
“If you’re making responsible decisions for fashion, in the end it’s a responsible decision for society,” Nicholas said.
In 2003, Nicholas and Christopher reconnected in New York City, enticed by the idea of launching a collection in tandem. Ultimately striving for unconscious sustainability, they endeavored to create products that mirrored their purist lifestyle while simultaneously embraced the energy of the city. Tailored for the urban nomad, they envisioned versatile, seasonless silhouettes, each collection seamlessly building upon the next. The antithesis of ever-ephemeral fast fashion, their progressive designs utilize sustainable textiles, employ ethical practices, and promote supply chain transparency advocating a deep connection to the earth.
Based in Tribeca, Nicholas K has opened IMG Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week the past ten seasons. A member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2009, Nicholas and Christopher are a part of the CFDA + Lexus Eco Initiative, championing conscious living, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
Some designers see that you don’t have to compromise quality over destroying the planet. They also understand that helping those in need (in countries where jobs are scarce, or where they are exploited), is a growing epidemic. Fast-fashion has contributed towards a snowball of negativity, causing a massive growth of oil-based synthetic fibers. Not only it has contributed to an exploited labor force, but it also produces a vast amount of pollutants on our planet. These brands that are making a conscious change create new ways in how their collections are sourced, made and produced; starting with clean production that does not harm the environment, and fair, accessible prices for consumers. They are creating conditions that are fair for producers, and a footprint for the future of fashion and a better planet.
Edun is another international fashion brand that is creating sustainable footsteps. With their promise to promote long-term, sustainable growth opportunities in Africa, the brand supports green infrastructure, manufacturers, and community building initiatives. The aim of the company is to contribute to the increase of trade throughout Africa.
In respect of its mission to source production and encourage trade in Africa, EDUN mixes its modern designer vision with the richness and positivity of this fast-growing continent.
EDUN is building long-term, sustainable growth opportunities by supporting manufacturers, community-based initiatives and partnering with African artists and artisans.
Mara Hoffman (https://www.marahoffman.com)
Mara Hoffman founded her eponymous label in the year 2000, directly after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Privately owned since then, the lifestyle brand encompasses Women’s Ready to Wear and Swimwear.
Historically known for her signature prints and silhouettes, Hoffman’s compass today points toward simpler, textural pieces that accentuate the human form, highlighting powerful feminine aesthetics. Hoffman, both the company’s President and Creative Director, is a true, living embodiment of her designs, taking inspiration from her own travels around the world as well as the beauty in everyday experiences. Headquartered in New York City with her close-knit team, Hoffman strongly believes in mindful and conscious practices, which are at the crux of the company’s ethos.
After realizing the negative impact her original practices were making in the world, Mara Hoffman grew and became aware, so she changed her principles of manufacturing. The designer has vowed to continue to set goals to become more sustainable. Some of the ways Hoffman has changed gears in manufacturing practices are being more focused on using more eco-conscious and sustainable materials such as ECONYL®, which is 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from fishnets and other nylon waste. She also works in partnership with artisans in India with an effort to create sustainable employment that is socially and environmentally-responsible, along with a focus on women. It is also vital that each person that produces the brand’s clothes are treated fairly. Therefore, they make regular factory in-person visits and audits.
Hoffman is also a proud member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and joined the movement to create a universal assessment (HIGG) that will be used industry-wide across the world.
ÖHLIN/D is a contemporary women’s Ready-To-Wear brand founded in September 2013. The ÖHLIN/D woman approaches everything with a clear mind. She never thinks too hard about what she wants to wear and loves effortless, cool, and lasting fashion.
The brand supports being part of a socially and environmentally conscious market by placing emphasis on sourcing high-quality materials from vendors that adhere to positive, “do no harm” environmental and animal cruelty-free standards.
Monzlapur is a New York based women’s ready-to-wear line celebrating femininity, androgyny, and attention to detail.
Monzlapur LLC was founded in 2015 by Mona Hamid, a biochemistry graduate who had undergone a fashion designer metamorphism. Mona is of Sudanese origin, born and grew up in Abu Dhabi and went to college in London and Boston. Her design aesthetic is detail-oriented and is stimulated by questioning the fundamentals that define attire – such as “mature” vs “younger” style or the details that define “menswear” vs “womenswear” and enjoys creating new effortless, timeless perspectives, of a “playful adulthood”. Mona does everything she can to ensure minimal production waste while keeping her practice local in NYC`s Garment District.
Elena Rudenko (elenarudenko.com)
Elena Rudenko is a fashion designer with attention to womenswear. Designer’s collections have the abundance of details, folds, and drapes, packed in simplistic visual shapes, the play of textures, patterns, and proportions. Comfort and femininity are the core of Elena’s designs. She pays lots of attention as to quality fabrics as well as to finishings of garments. The woman of the brand has to be strong, confident and independent as the public wants to see her while she is fragile and feminine inside. She is a woman as she is.
Elena is remaining true to the idea of slow fashion and produces her pieces with sustainable fabrics, using organic cotton, naturally processed wool and natural dyes.
Ryan Roche (www.ryan-roche.com)
Ready to wear designer, Ryan Roche is perennially inspired by her dreamy, vibrant childhood beneath the wild Idaho skies. Roche has a deft yet delicate hand with knitwear and is known for her harmonious relationship to color; her world a subtle spectrum of muted hues. She is committed to supporting responsible manufacturing via sustainable, low-impact production and has worked with a women’s cooperative in Nepal for the last decade, whilst also supporting American manufacturing.
Roche’s modern and minimal vision of luxury has been embraced by Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jaime King, Kendall Jenner and Solange Knowles and is available at Barneys, Matches, Collette, TNT, Tsum, Opening Ceremony and Elyse Walker as well as over sixty specialty stores worldwide.
Ryan reduces the impact of her luxury knitwear label on the planet by opting for eco-friendly dyes and using a water recycling filtration system during the dying process. This great label is striving to be even more sustainable and is in the process of searching for recycled cotton and silks. The future collections are expected to be a mix of fabulous and sustainable! We`re extremely excited for her future collections!
Collina Strada (www.collinastrada.com)
Launched in the Fall of 2009 by fashion designer Hillary Taymour, Collina Strada is a boutique brand stocked worldwide. For independent humans embracing a positively fluid attitude in their wears. The line is known for its inventive shapes in everyday wardrobe staples. Collina Strada looks to the consumer to give the designs their effortless posture – to use them in their fashion.
New York transplant, Hillary Taymour, is the mastermind behind Collina Strada holds an Associate’s degree in Product Development and a Bachelor’s degree in business management from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Hillary uses her presentation with Collina Strada as a platform to address issues that are important to her. She has presented six collections at NYFW with Milk-Made and Pier 59 Studios featuring themes such as genderless fashion; a Black Lives Matter Movement cast presentation and a Terraform Mars show with an anti-Trump casting statement. “We are in a crucial state of change right now and the more we [do, the more we] can impact others to take action.”
The label is considered a slow-fashion brand, ensuring quality and manufacturing in Manhattan`s Garment District. Although Taymour does not claim her brand to be an eco-conscious brand or a sustainable one, she notes: “I like to do anything I can that hopefully might make a difference, and will continue to do so even more tha we are in this new administration. If we could shop more consciously, we could gain a few more years on a habitable planet.”
Based in New York City, NOT is a womenswear brand for the actively curious. NOT experiments with the physical processes of getting in and out of clothing in order to make dressing a surprising, playful, and transformative experience within itself.
Designer Jenny Lai grew up playing music, dancing and acting. When she fell in love with clothing, she saw that dressing was another kind of performance- silent, intuitive, and one we acted out every day. Like performing on stage, there was the adrenaline, the need to respond and adapt instantaneously, and an infinite possibility of change each time around. From this NOT was born.
100% of their garments are created by local seamstresses, tailors, and manufacturers with special care and attention in New York City. Not only does Jenny use end stock fabric for her designs, keeping her eco-conscious pieces unique, but she does not over-produce. Jenny tailors production to customer demand and is a great example and voice in the sustainable fashion industry.
These are our top ten picks for designers that are helping make a change in the fashion industry, while also maintaining a luxurious style.
The key to sustainability is its durability and purpose. The sustainable garments are built to last, both physically and style-wise, and most of all, they answer our question on how to best spend our money.