A part of the sustainable fashion market that I want to highlight in this article is the small independent brands that operate on a lesser scale as well as employing sustainable practice. These small brands represent an important part of the fashion industry especially in relation to sustainability, the environmental impact of small brands is significantly smaller than that of a typical brand due to the fact that typically these brands produce at a much lower rate and only come out with small collections a few times a year. In today’s article, I’ll be featuring the small brands at the forefront of the industry, many of these brands can attribute their success partially due to an avid group of followers on social media platforms and a lot of exposure from popular influencers donning their garments in posts.
The first brand is Maison Cleo, a French brand made by mother-daughter duo Marie and Cleo. Marie has a background in design and her mother is an amazing professionally trained seamstress. Each garment is handmade to order which is reflected in the price. The brand only opens its online store on Wednesdays and the pieces they produce are dependent on what they feel like creating at the time although their blouses are a favourite of Instagram. One of my favourite parts of the brand is that the fabric they use is leftover from Couture Houses, another is that with each order they send a matching scrunchie. With a collaboration with high-end e-commerce site Net-A-Porter, Maison Cleo is quickly making a name for themselves within the fashion industry.
The next brand I’ll be talking about is called House of Sunny, based in the UK this brand creates unique fashion that feels of the moment yet still lasts for multiple seasons. House of Sunny was started in 2011 by Sunny Williams and has grown over the years although the team is still just a small group of creatives. The garments they produce are made in ethical factories, and they use leftover materials to create accessories and care tags. House of Sunny only puts out two lines a year which allows the team as much time as they need to create each collection as eco-friendly as possible.
Next is a brand loved by conscious-minded influencers, from Barcelona is Paloma Wool. Despite the name Paloma Wool carries a lot more than just wool although their wool pieces are definitely a highlight of the brand’s designs. This brand focuses on not just fashion but the other art forms that occupy the fashion space, they describe the brand as a project and the artful aspects of this brand are crystal clear via their website’s beautiful photography and visuals.
This fourth brand has been a staple for influencers and fashion it-girls alike for a few seasons now, Copenhagen based brand Ganni is one of those brands you see in streetwear looks each fashion week. Each season it feels as though one of their garments becomes the must get item and are all over Instagram. Ganni works across its business to reduce its footprint and make the brand the best version it can be. Currently, Ganni has worked with 3 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Gender Equality, Responsible Production and Consumption, and Climate Action, and within the last year, they introduced over 30+ responsible initiatives, including a take-back scheme, rental platform and introduced organic & recycled fabrics into collections. While Ganni is an Instagram fave it’s clear that the brand’s merits don’t stop there, read about their 41 sustainability goals on their website to learn more about why this brand has become an industry star.
The fifth and final brand is a little bit different than the others for one major reason, it’s a brand that seeks to bring together all the independent sustainable brands on one easily accessible website called Lisa Says Gah. Based in San Francisco Lisa Says Gah brings together an eclectic mix of clothing, accessory, and beauty brands all with the same sustainable vision, many of the brands mentioned in this article are carried on their website along with their own label also called Lisa Says Gah. Their own line of clothes is a range of elevated basics with a slightly wacky twist and a colour pallet that’s clearly been meticulously curated. The brand was created by Lisa Bühler, who had a desire to create a place where consumers could be easily connected to small sustainable brands from around the world, which obviously she’s done and quite spectacularly at that.
Many of these brands may be a bit out of the typical college students price point, however, I believe it’s important to keep on top of the brands currently making a name for themselves. It’s these same brands that are pushing the industry forward and are forcing other companies to step up their sustainable practices, these brands are changing the game and are ultimately the future of fashion.
By Geneva Webster