To meet the growing demands of sustainable consumers, many brands, from startups to traditional and trendy ones, are trying to embrace eco-friendly practices. Far from being perfect, brands are, however, starting to pay more attention to some critical aspects such as a tighter control of their supply chains, the reduction of Co2 emission, the evaluation of the environmental impact of the production processes, including fibres, moving away from fast fashion and back to a more artisanal approach.
As a result, consumers have now the opportunity to satisfy their fashion desires while mitigating the downsides of their shopping habits. When choosing the right outfit for the different moments of the day, whether it's daytime at the beach or a night out, it’s really important to get some confidence with the type of sustainable materials that best serve the moment. Luckily, our Irene will inspire us with some tips on how to get the best sustainable outfit for every situation.
If you’re looking for a summer outfit at the beach, go for the high-waist swimsuit in Econyl by The Reformation, a renowned brand from LA on a mission to make fashion sustainable. It has a fibres classification from A to E - based on their environmental sustainability - and it’s aiming to make at least 75% of its products with A and B fibres.
The most used materials for swimsuits and sportswear are fossil-fuel based ones (polyester, nylon, etc.). Fortunately, developments in plastic-based materials recovery and recycling have brought to the market two, already widely used, more sustainable alternatives: recycled nylon and recycled polyester. Econyl, a product of the Italian petrochemical company Aquafil, is a 100% recycled nylon fibre obtained from fishing nets, industrial waste and pre-consumer textile waste with the perfect properties for a swimsuit and sportswear. The company claims a reduced environmental impact compared to the virgin nylon of up to 90%. As an alternative to nylon fibre there is Recycled polyester, a widely used fibre that is mostly obtained by recycling PET from plastic bottles.
On Yoox, in the section Yooxigen, you could find the black shorts, from Dedicated, made in Tencel, or better, Lyocell. Tencel, in fact, is the name of the company that has developed a unique process to turn forest certified wood pulp into a fibre by recycling process water and reusing 99% of the solvents.
To close the look, go for the Radical Chick Birkenstock Sandal, with the cork sole. Along with cork, Birkenstock uses only water-based adhesives and natural latex. Finally, for fashion addicts only, the Loewe straw bag is waiting for you in many second hand online stores such as Vestiaire Collective.Discover our Partnership with Italian Artisans
Night date coming and looking for a romantic outfit?
Once again Reformation has the right offer for you. Be irresistible with a floral dress made of 100% Viscose. Viscose, known also as rayon, is a natural fibre obtained by wood pulp. To avoid the sourcing of fibre that contribute to deforestation or harmful practices, the Reformation works with Canopy, a non-profit that certifies the origin of the raw material and protects endangered forests. Moreover, to mitigate the impact of chemicals used to turn wood pulp into a fibre, in 2020, Reformation has put in place a preference for purchasing man-made cellulosic with a minimum of 50% of innovative fibre sources and is developing a 2025 procurement target for these closed-loop solutions, based on viscose fibre producer innovation.
We stick to Reformation for the shoes too. Made from 100% Chrome-free, Braided Leather. While up to 90% of the world’s leather goes through a process called chrome tanning, which produces hazardous waste and is a human carcinogen, vegetable tanning replaces chromium with natural products like bark or plant tannins.The shell-shaped bag from Shrimps, with its funny look and the fake beads, is the perfect accessory to close the look. Shrimps was born in 2013 in London as a cruelty-free brand, with an ethical approach to fashion and a strong commitment to become as sustainable as possible. Where possible they always try to establish long-standing relationships with artisans and craftspeople for the production of their collections. All of the beaded accessories are made by hand in India at a factory with which they have worked closely to develop technical innovations and new techniques, combining them with those passed down over generations. Moreover, for every order placed on their website, they plant one tree in partnership with One Tree Planted. Customers are given the chance to vote on their next planting location and have so far planted trees in the Amazon Rainforest, Australia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda.
If you’ll find yourself in the urgency of putting together an outfit for a more formal occasion, be it an exclusive event or your company cocktail party, we’ve got you covered. The NY based brand Mara Hoffman is what you are looking for. The Column Dress with sculptural shoulders made in “popcorn” Modal is our choice. Modal belongs to the family of natural man-made fibres and, like lyocell and viscose, is obtained from wood pulp. Thus, to live up its sustainability commitments, the newyorkese brand relies on Tencel as a source for its Modal. According to Tencel, its Modale uses 50% less water and 50% less energy, with an overall 60% lower carbon footprint compared to traditional modal. If that’s not enough, packaging and tags are also designed to be as sustainable as possible.
Combine it with the off-white minimal sandal from Mari Giudicelli. The brand has committed since its birth to a short and family-size supply chain located in Brazil. It claims to fairly treat its suppliers and workers and to be compliant with the LWG (leather working group) Environmental Protocol for its leather production.
Then, to add further extravagance to the look we suggest you to go, choose the wooden minibox from Cult Gaia. This iconic bag is made of 100% Rattan, a wild plant that grows mostly in South East Asia. Rattan is considered one of the most sustainable plants, not a tree, as it grows over 2 cm per day and an FSC (forest stewardship council) certification will be soon available. We suggest Cult Gaia to look out for that.
Finally, we get to the everyday outfit. The one that you could use at work, for a brunch, or just for drinks with friends at sunset.
Capri pants in denim, with a ‘90s taste, and the black top in organic cotton are both from Everlane. The company does great in terms of transparency and doesn’t focus only on sustainable-certified fibres but also on the use of renewable resources and on water saving. Moreover, its products are bluedesing certified, meaning that they avoid the use of toxic chemicals.
To close the look, coconut-made shoes by Mari Giudicelli and the half-moon shaped bag by Fendi. This last piece could be found in many Vintage stores both online and offline. Researches have shown that buying a second-hand item could reduce its environmental impact by up to 80%, so it’s definitely a great way to get luxury accessories with an eco-friendly twist. In case you don’t know any vintage store, Vestiaire Collective is one of the biggest marketplaces around with prices up to 70% lower than traditional boutiques.
Now that you have inspiration and many ideas for your sustainable, cool, outfit, is time to go out and enjoy your summer!
is a fashion materials researcher. In her career has worked for some of the biggest Italian and international fashion brand development as strong interest for sustainable fibres. Recently she opened her blog Green Bio Look (in Italian) to share her passion for sustainable clothing.