We all have our favorite styles, and while having a unique approach to fashion is a beautiful thing, some of the brands selling us clothing aren’t being as honest about their sustainability practices as they claim to be — which is anything but beautiful. This is why we decided to share some sustainable brand swaps to help provide fashionistas with an ethical option for acquiring new wardrobe additions.
Transparency is key in the world of sustainable fashion.
A big part of how Remake judges brands is based on how transparent they are being. A brand might profess safe working conditions for its garment workers, but if it’s not publicly giving out information on where its factories are located or what the wages being paid to makers are, chances are that the brand is not being as ethically sound as it is claiming to be.
Greenwashing has become the standard across the fashion industry, with brands proclaiming that their production processes and material sourcing are ethical and environmentally-friendly. Unfortunately, this is often far from the truth.
Buying from truly sustainable brands doesn’t have to mean skimping on style, but it does mean doing your research. Whether you’re into J. Crew’s preppy aesthetic or prefer the edgy looks that Rag and Bone produce, we’ve got you covered with five sustainable brand swaps below, so you can still get the look you want without backing brands that have done little to help end the harmful effects of the fashion industry. (If you’d like to learn more about Remake’s Seal of Approval process, you can do so here!)
You deserve to buy better — for you, for the planet, and for all the people on it.
Swap J.Crew for Vetta Capsule
One look at J.Crew‘s website and you’ll see why shoppers flock to this sophisticated and refined style mecca. What you won’t see is transparency. The brand does not disclose who makes its clothing, tell anything about the facilities that it uses, or mention how the materials were sourced. When’s the last time that you saw J.Crew promoting sustainable shopping on social media? If you answered never, it’s because it doesn’t.
If you’re looking for the same timeless style, then Vetta Capsule is the swap for you. The brand creates capsule wardrobes each season. Think: five pieces that can be worn multiple ways to create 30 unique outfits. Not only does the brand promote a smaller, more thought-out wardrobe that helps you slow down with purchases, but it also uses sustainable fabrics and responsible factories.
Swap matt + Nat for Raven + Lily
While the Matt + Nat website leads with words like “vegan”, “cruelty-free”, and “recycled”, the information given on its standards are vague. Under the brand’s transparency section of the website, there are phrases like “one of our factories operates by the SA8000 standard” and that working conditions are “up to par with our standards.” The brand does admit to not being perfect and learning as it grows; however, as of yet, they’re not quite passing Remake’s standards.
Raven + Lily shares information about the actual conditions of its factories and demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability. As members of the Fair Trade Federation, Raven + Lily, is committed to paying its workers fair trade wages. As an added bonus, Raven + Lily puts a particular focus on hiring and employing women throughout their design and production process, making it one of our most favorite sustainable brand swaps.
Swap American Eagle for Known Supply
While American Eagle has made efforts in the right direction by adding inclusive models and messages about body positivity to its website, it’s providing no information on whether the brand is using sustainable raw materials. American Eagle does give information about its facilities and its workers’ wages, but the brand scores extremely low when it comes to environmental sustainability. Nowhere on the website does the brand disclose anything about emissions, animal welfare, or relationships with material growers.
At KNOWN SUPPLY, every item that you buy from the brand has the name of the person that made it on the inside tag (you’ll even see the makers’ faces when you click on their website). The makers earn a living wage and have a say in how to improve facilities. On the environmental front, KNOWN SUPPLY’s website is transparent about making progress towards water and recycling manufacturing processes, and you can shop everything from basic tees to jumpsuits to graphic tees that are made with organic and Fair Trade materials.
Swap TOMS for ONE432
You might be familiar with TOMS one-for-one business model, but it only gets an 11 out of 100 on Remake’s sustainability scale. Yes, it’s incredible that the brand has given almost 100 million shoes to people in need, but not much of its profit appears to be going into sustainability practices. While TOMS does state that it uses environmentally-friendly materials to craft its shoes, the site reveals hardly any information on its carbon footprint, water stewardship, waste reduction, or GHG emissions.
ONE432 gives 50 percent of profits to fund education for children and its artisans all over the world. The brand chooses to donate actual net profits rather than just products. You can read the exact details of how the brand uses upcycled and recycled materials, vegetables and natural dyes, and sustainable packaging on its website. Everything is broken down, from the regenerated yarn on the upper part of the shoe to the pollution-free rubber on the soles.
Swap Rag and Bone for Antidote
Rag and Bone serves up hundreds of styles at high-end prices but doesn’t make the cut when it comes to ethical standards. Out of a possible 100 points for sustainability, the brand ranked an eight. Other than a Rag and Bone denim recycling program with Blue Jeans Go Green, it reveals nothing about sustainability efforts.
If you want to shop luxury that you can feel good about, check out Antidote. The website curates emerging brands with smart practices. Clothing, bags, jewelry, accessories, and living items are all available on Antidote, and you can also choose to shop based on what ethical qualities matter for you. There are options for sustainability, recycling, eco-friendly, and more.
Want to make more sustainable brand swaps? Check out this list of brands that have received our Seal of Approval.
Images: Unsplash, c/o featured brands