It’s 2023 and sustainable fashion is a thing. Even the most fashionably challenged individuals are seeking stylish and sustainable clothing options. Gone are the days of mindless shopping sprees; today’s conscientious shoppers demand brands that prioritize sustainability in their manufacturing processes, embrace recycling, and uphold ethical production standards such as fair trade and fair labour. Now, if the concept of sustainable fashion is unfamiliar territory for you, fear not. Allow us to address the most fundamental question you may have.
What Exactly Is Sustainable Fashion?
According to a study conducted by St. Catherine University, sustainability in the fashion industry means promoting the well-being of people, communities, and the environment. Furthermore, The fashion industry — in a company with other big energy consumers like agriculture and fuel — is in dire need of a thoughtful redesign. As global polluters and extensions of an exploitative manufacturing system that underpays women and girls, the fashion industry has a long list of environmental and social injustices to address.
In essence, a sustainable clothing brand ensures that its products have a minimal negative environmental impact. Basically, the longer a garment can serve its purpose, the more sustainable it becomes. Additionally, sustainable fashion brands strive to use recycled materials in their production processes and prioritize recyclability.
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Yet, in the present day, it’s crucial to recognise that sustainable fashion extends beyond the products themselves. The individuals responsible for crafting the clothes, from skilled artisans to factory workers, are now regarded as vital contributors to a sustainable brand. Keeping all this in mind, we present a collection of the finest sustainable clothing brands of 2023, where you can indulge in a guilt-free, ethically conscious style.
Tshepo Mohala established Tshepo Jeans in 2015 as a South African ethical fashion brand specialising in ready-to-wear denim. Inspired by the enduring and versatile nature of denim, as well as the inherent stories that are woven into each pair of jeans.
Tshepo Jeans sources cotton from Zimbabwe, which is then meticulously dyed in Japan using traditional African indigo dyeing techniques. The production of their jeans takes place in-house at their Johannesburg Atelier, expertly crafted by a small team of skilled makers and artisans. Notably, any remnants of denim and off-cuts are recycled, shredded, and repurposed into new fabric and thread. Shop Tshepo Jeans here.
Freedom of Movement
FOM, an abbreviation for Freedom of Movement, wholeheartedly embraces their philosophy of continuous motion and acknowledges the difficulties that change can bring. While they are still navigating their path towards sustainability, the brand is dedicated to challenging their production methods and progressing in the right direction.
Introducing their latest creation, the Recycled Moonbag, which exemplifies their commitment to both practicality and environmental consciousness. Crafted from recycled yarn derived from plastic bottles, this cross-body bag is designed to accompany you on your everyday adventures, ensuring that your essentials are always within reach. Shop FOM here.
An innovative fashion brand that utilizes fashion as a means to explore architecture and structure, all while employing a neutral colour palette. Founder Luke Radloff primarily works with natural fibres, crafting modular and trans-seasonal garments with striking silhouettes that prioritize exceptional quality.
They actively seek collaborations with like-minded partners such as Barrydale Weavers and The Wren Design, both of which are South African design enterprises dedicated to sustainable production practices. By fostering these collaborations, UNI FORM actively contributes to shaping a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. Shop UNI FORM here.
Lukhanyo Mdingi, a South African designer, founded his eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2015. The brand’s aesthetic is characterized by a captivating blend of understated elegance, striking androgyny, and effortlessly fluid silhouettes. Renowned for its meticulous attention to detail, Lukhanyo Mdingi is committed to ethical production practices, making it a standout in the realm of sustainable fashion.
Mdingi’s trans-seasonal garments are meticulously crafted using primarily natural fibres sourced within South Africa, such as wool, silk, and mohair. The brand’s distinctive colour palette features deep, earthy tones that, combined with the raw texture of these natural fibres, exude a truly luxurious aura throughout Lukhanyo Mdingi’s collection. Shop Lukhanyo Mdingi here.
A fashion brand, believes that the key to sustainability lies in creating durable, high-quality products that can withstand the test of time. From its inception, DENHAM has been dedicated to crafting exquisite garments while minimizing its environmental impact through careful material selection and production processes.
Embracing innovative technologies such as laser machines and ozone treatments further minimizes their ecological footprint. Moreover, DENHAM offers unique repair and hand-washing services, extending the lifespan of their garments. Today, they acknowledge the significance of intensifying their eco-conscious journey and striving to operate as sustainably as possible. Shop Denham here.
“Fuata Nyayo” is a Swahili saying that translates to “follow the heart.” This is the guiding principle for the Mbiola siblings—Kabambi, Martine, Tshimaro, and Lucy. Who founded and operate their family-owned business.
Embracing the essence of slow fashion, the Mbiola siblings engage in various sustainable practices. They repurpose and upcycle clothing, infusing them with hand-painted artwork and incorporating thoughtful tailoring to create unique garments. Additionally, they offer a customization service that allows customers to have artwork painted on their own garments, adding a personalized touch and a touch of flair. Shop Fuata Moyo here.
Art Club and Friends
Artclub and Friends operates under the belief that consumer spending serves as a vote for the kind of world individuals desire to inhabit. Their vision revolves around prioritizing people and the planet over profit. They are committed to a continual process of improvement and learning, striving to become a brand that contributes positively to the planet and its inhabitants.
The brand has diligently sought out a natural, locally produced cotton supplier that adheres to responsible growing practices. Artclub and Friends ensure that their cotton is sourced sustainably. The cotton is woven into exceptionally soft and durable fabric in Cape Town, ultimately transforming into the beloved t-shirts cherished by their customers. Shop Artclub and Friends here.
Scotch & Soda
A fashion brand, takes great care in the design of their garments, paying meticulous attention to detail. This same level of love and dedication extends to their production process. They firmly believe that responsible fashion begins with the materials used and the individuals involved in creating the final product.
In their commitment to sustainability, Scotch & Soda exercises precision when selecting their collaborators. They exclusively work with factories and manufacturers that uphold stringent environmental policies and ensure favorable working conditions. Some of these partnerships have endured for over two decades, fostering long-term relationships built on trust. These trusted business alliances are integral to the distinctive Scotch & Soda design and production process. Shop Scotch & Soda here.
A contemporary luxury clothing brand established in 2017, hails from South Africa. The brand’s aesthetic is rooted in the realms of geometric modernism, industrial and African architecture, and the allure of minimalism. Boyde strives to offer exceptional quality and comfort while adhering to a sustainable fashion ethos that encompasses timeless style.
Central to their approach is the ethical production of garments using environmentally-friendly processes. Boyde places great emphasis on sourcing textiles locally, further supporting the local industry and reducing their ecological footprint. By combining their design inspiration with responsible practices, Boyde creates garments that align with their vision of contemporary luxury, sustainability, and enduring style. Shop Boyde here.
Their latest sustainable capsule collection introduces a new concept: naturally sourced colour pigments. Departing from conventional dyeing methods, the garments in this collection are dyed using pigments derived from organic sources like volcanic rocks and soil. This innovative approach adds a unique aesthetic to the collection and aligns with the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
The materials used in these garments are responsibly sourced and have received recognition from the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute, earning a prestigious C2C Certified® Gold rating. This accolade highlights the collection’s adherence to strict sustainability standards. With forest greens, volcanic pinks, and desert yellows, the collection offers a diverse range of captivating colors for men. Shop G-Star Raw here.
A lifestyle brand dedicated to producing responsibly made gear and apparel. Their core mission revolves around prioritizing the planet and its people in every decision they make. The brand takes pride in crafting all Sealand bags and apparel by hand. Employing skilled craftspeople who utilize waste materials or responsibly and ethically sourced materials. By combining these materials with top-notch hardware, conscious design, and expert craftsmanship.
The material is upcycled or sourced with a focus on responsibility. Ensuring their products have a minimal impact on the environment and materials possess excellent durability and weather resistance, making them ideal for various adventures, whether on land or at sea. Shop Sealand here.