Sustainable dresses: 9 ethical brands to know about now

Posted by for Fashion

It’s official: sustainability is the biggest trend for 2020. We want to shop smart, make good choices and still look stylish, so here are nine chic dresses from ethical luxury brands to know. 

Sustainable style starts with buying less and buying better. Whether your style is classic and chic, colourful and experimental, or more sportswear than suiting, your wardrobe deserves better than throwaway fast fashion. And so does our planet. As the second largest polluter in the world, the environmental impact of the fashion industry cannot be overstated. 

We’ve all been there: sofa, wine, laptop (hey, chances are you could be there right now) and the impulse to add that new trend piece for less than £15 to your shopping basket becomes just too strong to resist. The dopamine hit might be instant, but by the time that questionably made, low quality new top arrives in its plastic packaging, the thrill has long worn off. With textiles accounting for 5.2% of all waste going to landfill, our taste for the occasional fast fashion binge is more than just a naughty habit. When it comes to building a collection of stylish pieces that will spark joy for years to come, the key lies in buying a products that you’ll love forever, wear on multiple occasions (consider cost per wear) and last but not least has been ethically and sustainably sourced. I know you’re thinking that’s a lot to consider, but we have to if we’re going to make change happen.

In a world of ‘here today gone tomorrow’ trends, taking the time to curate the pieces that you’ll be consciously adding to your wardrobe this season is a pleasure to be savored. Take the time to research the brands whose values align with your own, who are creating the pieces that you want to wear forever - and who are minimising their environmental impact every step of the way. 

A new generation of luxury designers are creating the fashion-conscious pieces that you love, but reworked with the timeless twists that will have you wearing them on heavy rotation for years to come. Not only are their pieces designed to withstand seasonal trends, but their fabric choices and manufacture processes are carefully selected to minimise their environmental impact. But you’d be forgiven for forgetting the ethical practices behind the new piece that you’ve fallen in love with - these luxe collections feel as chic and stylish as they are sustainable. The combination of the ethics of your sustainable viscose, organic cotton and carbon-neutral new wardrobe with the elegant cut, incredible fit and stunning fabrications. 

Here are nine fashion brands that are taking big steps the fashion industry creating desirable dresses that will have the heart-eye emojis rolling in.

  • Arkitaip

    Best sustainable dresses: Linen Arkitaip dress

    The team at Arkitaip searched high and low for a fabric that is natural, biodegradable and low impact; hence the entire collection being made from 100% European linen, with any excess of the fabric getting made into super cute scrunchies. 

    With a strong focus on an ethical supply chain, and attention to detail across the business, the mother and daughter duo are driven by creating a stylish pieces that are made to last whilst trying trying to reduce environmental impact and respect our planet.

    Every piece in the collection will have you dreaming of warm climates, but for now this great maxi dress will look great with your all white trainers (canvas pumps preferable) and sunnies. 

    Shop linen dress, £245, Arkitaip

  • Perfect Nomad

    Best sustainable dresses: Yellow Perfect Nomad dress

    Perfect Nomand is a resort wear brand that focuses on long lasting pieces that will never go out of fashion, aiming to slow down the cycle of throw away fashion.

    These floor sweeping dresses in natural sunset tones, are all made from organic natural fabrics. The brand uses GOT (global organic trading standard) certified fabrics and manufacturers, which means no harsh pesticides, and reduces consumption of water than non-organic processes.

    These dresses are made for your holiday wardrobe, think strappy sandals, and basket bag for a look you’ll never tire of. 

    Shop yellow silk dress, £290, Perfect Nomad

  • Alice Early

    Best sustainable dresses: Alice Early shirt dress

    Alice Early creates environmentally and socially conscious products that will last the test of time, wardrobe classics you’ll love forever, that you can dress up or dress down.

    With collections cut and produced in London the carbon foot print of the business is low and Alice’s intends to make the business model made to order, which means no stock waste with over production, and minimal off-cuts waste.

    With organic cottons, biodegradable wool and buttons made from the nut of the Tagua Palm, the fabrics used are low impact. All packaging is recyclable and even the delivery service is carbon neutral. So you could shop happy in the knowledge that your dress was made ethically and responsibly.

    This super cool pinstripe shirt dress (it has pockets too) is the perfect edition to your work wear wardrobe just add your chunky black sandals to finish off your look.

    Shop Sienna shirt dress, £245, Alice Early

  • Isabel Manns

    Best sustainable dresses: Isabel Manns floral slip dress

    Isabel Manns strives to be ethically conscious in every part of the process, from the entire supply chain being based in the UK to keeping fabric wastage to an absolute minimum by using it to create scarves, and even sculptures.

    Using mainly silk in her designs, and often creating doubled sided garments, one with a plain side another with a printed side, means style and function is at the forefront of the design process, essentially creating two dresses in one, lowering cost per wear. 

    If you are into bold prints and bright colours then this is the brand for you. Try this silk slip dress with strappy sandals and a sprinkle of gold jewellery for a winning look. 

    Shop slip dress, £475, Isabel Manns

  • Maggie Marilyn

    Sustainable dresses: Maggie Marilyn

    Maggie Marilyn founded her eponymous brand to fulfill one mission, ‘to make a difference in an industry that was ready for change’. Building a brand that empowers all the people in the supply chain behind her garments, Maggie Marilyn leaves no aspect of the manufacture process unconsidered. For instance, this cotton poplin dress has been mindfully made with transparency throughout the supply chain and uses GOT (Global organic textile standard) certified cotton.

    The ‘Jones’ dress is one of the brands most popular styles, wear this spring summer update with your flip flops and beaded jewellery for a look that will give you all the summer feels. 

    Shop white cotton dress, £340, Maggie Marilyn

  • Mother of Pearl

    Best sustainable dresses: Mother of Pearl wrap dress

    Tracing every step of the material fabrication and manufacture process from the field to the final product, Mother of Pearl’s ethical credentials are truly exceptional. But you’ll know it better for its clean, minimalist designs. With the brand’s signature relaxed-fit tailoring, this mini length dress is a hero wardrobe piece that can be styled for casual daytime chic or a sleek evening look.  

    Shop Mother of Pearl Julia dress, £450

  • Reformation

    Best sustainable dresses: Reformation one shoulder dress

    Founded with the mission to bring sustainable fashion to everyone, Reformation considers the environmental impact of every aspect of its garment product and business practices. Where most major brands create quarterly profits reports, Reformation goes one step further and sends out quarterly sustainability reports to document its sustainable manufacture processes. While its current collection includes cool summer tops, floral print midi dresses this polka dot number will see you through every summer occasion, from holidays to BBQ’s.

    Shop polka dot dress, £275, Reformation

  • Bite Studios

    Best sustainable dresses: Bite wrap dress

    Founded by a collective of creative minds based between Stockholm and London, Bite is the luxury womenswear label that doesn’t compromise when it comes to its environmental philosophy. 95% of the luxe materials used in its covetable designs are organic, recycled or low-impact. Consider this sensational cream wrap dress, a chic work wear style that will never date. Wear with black chunky sandals and supersized bag. 

    Shop wrap dress, £530, Bite 

  • Mara Hoffman

    Best sustainable dresses: Yellow Mara Hoffman dress

    Mara Hoffman wants you to buy less, and that starts by ensuring that her pieces will last for years of regular wear - her garments even come with specific washing instructions to ensure that you’re using as little water as possible and ensuring the longevity of your garment. Prioritising fair treatment of workers and artisans, the majority of Hoffman’s pieces are made in the USA. With puff sleeves and a loose, relaxed fit, this organic cotton sunshine yellow dress is what long summer days and carefree weekend getaways were made for.  

    Shop maxi dress, £405, Mara Hoffman

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Images courtesy of Instagram & brands. 

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