Hanifa, Collina Strada, and 7 More Sustainable Fashion Brands to Know
Many fashion brands claim to be sustainable, but there's no real consensus about what it means to be truly sustainable in fashion. Some brands use recycled materials and others promote resale programs. But those practices alone aren't enough to counter "greenwashing," which is defined as outwardly presenting to the public as environmentally friendly without transparent facts. Doing your own research is key. Certain sites can assist you with this on your shopping journey, including Good on You, which establishes brand ratings by price point based on designer production methods.
We narrowed down a list of nine labels — Abacaxi, PH5, Bassike, Loti, Hanifa, Collina Strada, Lisa Folawiyo, Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese, and Marrakshi Life — that are exploring ways to improve their sustainability efforts even further in 2022.
Most of these brands are led by founders and creative directors who are creating small batches of made-to-order clothing so as not to overproduce and cause waste. These brands maintain working environments to reflect their priorities (think solar-powered buildings and materials, and machinery that isn't outsourced).
The designers here are from different backgrounds and walks of life, yet they all share a mission of working to improve industry standards. Some brands, like PH5, even send out sustainability reports year after year so shoppers can track their progress directly.
Ahead, check out the sustainable intel shared exclusively with POPSUGAR about what to expect from these labels, and shop a standout piece from each one now.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Abacaxi
Named after the Portuguese word for pineapple, Abacaxi is known for its bold colors and tropical ethos. Launched by South Asian American designer Sheena Sood, the company uses traditional textile techniques from India and around the world. The brand collaborates with skilled artisans on handloom weaving, mirror-work beading, schiffli embroidery, and plant dyeing. Sood is looking forward to her recent partnership with Oshadi in India, a production collective with a regenerative cotton farm. "Rooted in ancient Indian agricultural practices and artisan heritage, the ethos and transparency is unparalleled as collections must be preplanned to allocate the small-batch organic cotton that is grown, sourced, spun, naturally dyed, woven, printed, and sewn all in the villages neighboring the farm," Sood tells POPSUGAR. "I'm excited to be working with them on custom textile developments and to begin using regeneratively grown cotton for our productions in 2023."
Sustainable Fashion Brand: PH5
PH5 is a knitwear brand founded by Wei Lin and designed by Zoe Champion. The design partners launched a sustainability report in April 2021 in which they measure their company against the BOF sustainability index, which benchmarks 15 of the industry's biggest companies against environmental goals. With the launch of a second report for 2022, PH5 can directly share its progress with consumers. Lin explained that the brand is currently at 91 percent consciously sourced and is continuing to increase its use of zero-plastics materials. In 2022, PH5 is partnering with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every piece of clothing sold online.
Our Pick: PH5 Brooklyn Eco Tie Dye Wavy Asymmetrical Dress
PH5's Brooklyn Eco Wavy Asymmetrical Dress ($485) is a celebrity favorite because of its unique silhouettes and playful details, like the ultrasaturated tie-dye.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Bassike
Launched by cofounders Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan in 2006, Australian label Bassike (pronounced "basic") creates timeless pieces produced as extensions from past collections. In March 2022, the brand's signature organic jersey was certified as 100-percent carbon neutral under the Climate Active standard, which certifies brands in Australia on their way to carbon neutrality. In addition to promoting local production, Sams and Ryan ensure that their employees are treated ethically. "We are constantly inspired by the skill of the makers we partner with," Sams tells POPSUGAR. "It makes us endlessly proud to preserve and foster talent within our local industry, all the while reducing our environmental impact with the beauty and benefit of a short supply chain."
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Loti
Designer Lottie Bertello, who launched Loti in spring 2021 with the intention of challenging textile waste and preserving Peruvian craft, believes increased transparency from brands will lead consumers to think differently about fashion. Loti upcycles its fabrics, has zero-waste packaging, and maintains a preorder model to avoid overproduction. Bertello continues to think of ways to reuse her scraps. She recently partnered with textile mills in Lima, Peru, to rework their fabric remnants and deadstock that has been deemed unusable. All Loti pieces are crafted locally in Lima in small batches.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Hanifa
Anifa Mvuemba, designer and founder of Hanifa, launched her ready-to-wear brand in 2011 for sizes 0-20. Most recently, the brand has expanded into vegan leather. The Raven dress is one of the first pieces that uses the material. "Rethinking our supply-chain practices has made significant progress so far, including how we source raw materials responsibly with our manufacturers," Mvuemba tells POPSUGAR.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Collina Strada
Created by Hillary Taymour and based and manufactured out of New York, Collina Strada is continuing to source upcycled deadstock from the Kantamanto market in Ghana. It also works with the OR Foundation, which plans to build a factory for converting the country's textile waste into coat and home insulation. Collina Strada's jersey is also all hand dyed. If the tops and dresses aren't made from deadstock, they use Rose sylk, an eco-friendly, organic, biodegradable cellulose fiber made from rose bushes and stems.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Lisa Folawiyo
Nigerian fashion designer Lisa Folawiyo emphasizes quality craftsmanship at her studio to ensure her pieces have longevity, rather than batch producing in mass quantities. One of Folawiyo's design workshops is even powered by solar energy. Aside from ensuring that all working conditions are clean and staff is paid fairly, she's also focused on repurposing fabrics from previous collections and limits production to two collections a year.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Hope For Flowers by Tracy Reese
Tracy Reese is a leading example of championing diversity and inclusion as a fashion designer. Her Hope For Flowers brand, started in 2019, rejects the idea of fast fashion by making clothing locally to decrease dependence on imports. Reese often designs with fabrics such as linen, organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled wool, and is currently exploring alternative packaging options as a replacement for plastic hangers and poly bags.
Sustainable Fashion Brand: Marrakshi Life
Fashion photographer Randall Bachner launched Marrakshi Life in 2013. The atelier uses traditional hand-weaving practices and never brings in outside textiles. All garments are made to order on wooden looms or sewing machines so the studio maintains a low electrical output and low water usage. All remnants of previously made garments are repurposed into new apparel or home goods. Head-of-Brand Nicholas Minucciani outlines his definition of holistic fulfillment at the atelier, where cultural education is valued and harbored: "At any moment, you will find our artisans praying throughout the day, and family-style local Moroccan food is offered weekly in the dining area," he tells POPSUGAR. "Something we are continuing in 2022 is giving the artisans a percentage of all sales to distribute to their families and children."
Our Pick: Marrakshi Tetouan Stripe Camp Jumpsuit + Hat
The Marrakshi Camp Jumpsuit ($445) is the type of live-in look that becomes a staple, and you can sport the Tétouan stripe print head to toe when you complete the outfit with the Marrakshi Thimble Hat ($225).