The Stylist guide to the best sustainable fashion brands

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Stylist Fashion Team
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Ethical and chic? Yes, it is possible. A new generation of cult labels are creating the pieces that are as stylish as they are sustainable. From dresses to denim, we’ve found the best brands creating ethical, eco-conscious, cruelty-free fashion. 

Sustainability is the talking point at the top of everyone’s style agenda. With more and more of us saying goodbye to fast fashion we’re focusing on buying less but buying better. When it comes to updating our new season wardrobes we’re looking for the pieces that are as sustainably manufactured as they are stylish.

From our gym kits to our summer-ready midi dresses, a new generation of ethical brands are using new technology, innovative materials and sustainable practices to create eco-friendly collections that look so good that you’d be forgiven for forgetting about their eco-conscious credentials.  

From Girlfriend Collective, whose performance-tested activewear is created entirely from recycled plastic bottles to JW Pei, whose chic handbags are all made from sustainable vegan alternatives to leather, there are countless brands creating accessible and ethical alternatives to the items we once looked to fast-fashion to buy. But with so many emerging labels out there, it’s hard to know exactly where to begin your new sustainable style journey. 

Enter the Stylist sustainable fashion directory. We’ve compiled the ultimate up-to-date handbook of ethical style – encompassing luxury fashion lines with green initiatives, elevated eco-friendly staples, guilt-free denim, and much, much more.

Read on and click through to discover more than 60 sustainable brands you need to know. 

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Ethical activewear

The majority of all activewear is made from plastic, and as all the squat lovers out there will testify, the pressure we put on our kit makes replacing our sports bra and leggings inevitable. Given that even the highest quality activewear will need to be replaced every few years, minimise the waste that you’re sending to landfill by choosing styles that prioritise recycled materials alongside fit and performance. 

Vegan leather handbags

Chic vegan handbags
Chic vegan handbags

For decades leather and exotic skins have dominated the world of luxury handbags and high street designs alike. Now, thanks to the efforts of pioneering vegan designers such as Stella McCartney and new sustainability-focused labels including  JW Pei and Nanushka, cruelty-free handbags have never been more in vogue. Discover the chicest vegan styles that look (and feel) every bit as luxe as leather. 

Best sites for curated vintage 

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Are you saying ‘no’ to new? Buying second hand and vintage fashion is one of the most sustainable ways to shop, but squeezing in visits to trawl through the rails of our local vintage boutiques and thrift shops isn’t always practical. If only we could get all the excitement of discovering that second-hand gems but from the comfort of our sofas? Now, thanks to a new generation of digital vintage and consignment stories, you can shop the very best of pre-loved fashion online. 

Stylish sustainable dresses

Best Sustainable Dresses
Best Sustainable Dresses

A new generation of female-led brands are creating fashion-forward dresses that are as chic and they are sustainably minded. You’ll have already seen the bestselling dresses from the likes of cool-girl labels such as Reformation, Mara Hoffman and Staud all over Instagram (and on the likes of Meghan Markle, Kaia Gerber and Natalie Portman), now discover the incredible ethical credentials behind their designs. 

Eco-friendly denim

A woman wears eco-chic M.i.h. jeans in Berlin

Move over diamonds, we all know denim is a girl’s true best friend. While we can’t do without our favourite pair of jeans, our love affair with denim has a dark side – the environmental toll of denim is significant. It takes 7,600 litres of water to dye and finish just one pair of jeans – and rivers in China are frequently polluted with toxic indigo dye from denim factories. Enter the denim labels changing the industry, without compromising on style. From cult jeans styles made entirely from discarded denim to the accessibly priced-pairs that used eco friendly processes to distress their denim, these are the best sustainable jeans brands to shop now. 

Ethical t-shirts and sweatshirts 

When our guest editor Adwoa Aboah wanted to know where she could find “great basic tops that are sustainable and don’t cost loads” we got on the case. From the ultra-luxe sweaters made from recycled cashmere to the T-shirts constructed from the cotton alternative that feels even softer than silk, these are the wardrobe basics that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without. 

Sustainable trainers

Your favourite shoe just got an environmentally conscious makeover. From the iconic Converse and Stan Smith designs being reworked in new, sustainable styles to the brand-new brands that are pioneering the very best of ethical footwear, enter the new era of vegan, recycled and solvent-free trainers that are as planet-friendly as they are stylish.

Ethical luxury labels

Stella McCartney is one of the world’s most famous eco-designers 

Sustainability and luxury needn’t be mutually exclusive, and these fashion houses are the proof. From the leading labels setting the standard with new environmentally-friendly policies to the smaller luxury labels that have a green philosophy in their DNA, these are the best designer lines with eco-conscious credentials. 

Ethical accessories 

If clothes are like cake, bags and jewellery are the frosting. Make that frosting greener-than-green with our round-up of 11 stellar sustainable labels, including Edun, Matt & Nat and Zoe Morton.

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Images: courtesy of Caitlyn Hastings/Unsplash, Getty Images