These Are The Three (Sustainable) Brands You Need To Know About
Let’s just get this out of the way. Sustainable as a buzzword? Dangerous. Sustainable as an asset to brands that are doing great things? Absolutely necessary. There’s enough clickbait going around already, trying to pigeonhole creatives into certain categories that would help distinct them as “different”. Whether it’s their gender, nationality, queerness or the sustainable nature of their work, we often rely on these keywords to tell them everything we know about them. And most often, that’s just a tiny part of the story. That’s why we present you with three emerging brands on the fashion landscape that just happen to have sustainability in its core, each approaching it from a different perspective. You oughta pay attention – not just for the benefit of the planet, but also because these people will make you look (and feel) good
Green. Eco. Organic. All you want from your fruit and veg. But when it comes to your wardrobe, these words still often signify a colourless, shapeless sack of wrinkly linen. Cue Bite Studios, a Swedish-British brand giving eco fashions a new life. An acronym for “By Independent Thinkers for Environmental progress”, Bite Studios were founded in 2015 as an ethical innovation company that just happened to have people with great taste behind their reins: CEO William Lundgren, creative director and designer Elliot Atkinson and Suzanne Liv, the brand’s creative head and photographer. The way they approached design wasn’t about finding ways to make beautiful clothes sustainable, but rather the other way round. There was a bigger picture in their ethos from the very beginning. With four collections a year, each at a maximum of 20 fixed and updated styles, the brand is offering their customers an evolutionary archive of wardrobe staples. The ethical approach isn’t just reflected in the choice of organic, animal-friendly fibres and recycled PET bottle textiles, but also in the way they treat people they work with. Everyone working for the company is payed a minimum of the living wage while the only productions they collaborate with are ones that have controlled working environments that guarantee respectful treatments of their artisans. All the pieces are produced on-site in their London studio as part of a production chain that is looking towards making minimum impact on the ecosystem and maximum impact on the streets. Clean lines of tailoring and statement-making knits, it’s the silhouette that takes the lead at Bite Studios.
Fool each other we shan’t – shopping for new clothes is never completely sustainable, regardless of how consciously those clothes were made. But that’s where upcycling comes in, with Priya Ahluwalia on the forefront of the revolution. Only graduating last year from the first ever MA Menswear cohort at the University of Westminster, the London-based designer has already won the H&M Prize and worked with Adidas Originals as part of the British Fashion Council collaboration this past season. All that at the mere age of 26. Upon graduating, Ahluwalia released Sweet Lassi, a photobook documenting her 2017 trip to visit family in Lagos, Nigeria. During her travels, she noticed people there wearing obscure clothes that clearly signified they came from British Isles – like a trader wearing a 2012 London Marathon tee. This revelation made Ahluwalia look at the bigger story of Western second-hand clothing being dumped in less developed places, particularly Panipat in India, the global garment recycling capital of the world. The clothes she makes now are all crafted out of materials sourced from these second hand and deadstock resources, giving them a totally new life in the shape of boundary-breaking menswear. Colourful lines that blend Ahluwalia’s dual Indian-Nigerian heritage with her modern-day understanding of men’s clothes, these pieces are one-of-a-kind sartorial gems that are progressive in both their process and their visual impact. For her collaboration with Adidas, Ahluwalia reimagined SC Supercourt trainers out of the waste fabrics, along with a full collection of ready-to-wear that accompanied the shoes at the Paris Fashion Week show where she was joined by Nicholas Daley and Paulina Russo. Her debut collection as Ahluwalia Studio for AW19 will be dropping into stores in the coming months, as it’s already been picked up by Ssense, LN-CC and Opening Ceremony. Start saving your coins darlings, it will be worth it.
Two ideas are worth more than one. And when it comes to sustainable denim, no one does it as good as ISKO, a leading ingredient brand in global denim production and research. Their Earth Fit jean fabric has won them the prestigious Nordic SWAN Ecolabel, making them the first denim mill to be recognised for their sustainable excellence in that way. Now, ISKO are working with emerging Ukranian brand Ksenia Schnaider, on a capsule collection of her signature denim pieces crafted out of the Earth Fit fabric. Schnaider, who runs the brand with her husband Anton, has been one of the front-running Eastern European designers in the sustainability realm, reworking textiles and experimenting with textiles and cuts in the denim realms. In 2016, inspired by the 1990s comeback, the designer created her demi-denim silhouette, a dual shape of trousers combining a high-waisted culotte and a slim-fit jean, with a cut-out in between. Designing both womenswear and menswear, Ksenia Schnaider have a contemporary language to their clothes, introducing a new generation to the term eco-friendly, with Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa already on their list of clients. The ISKO x Ksenia Schnaider capsule collection has now launched online via the fashion brand’s website, offering even more conscious iterations of their statement jeans. Bella beware.