There was a time when the words ‘guilt-free’ and ‘conscious-clear shopping’ conjured up images of low-fat, calorie-counting food. Even sustainable and ethical clothing were associated with being worn by woo woo hippies, far away from the hips of the mainstream audience. They were deemed different, just a wee bit wayward.
Thankfully, times have changed and so many brands are championing initiatives to get us buying better quality, more planet-friendly pieces that are as far away from throwaway fashion as possible. Whether that’s our high-street heroes offering in-store recycling, or designers offering full transparency on where and how they create new pieces, the face of shopping as we once knew it has changed for the better and provenance has never felt more important.
While 2020 has been quite the ride, there’s been a shift in attitudes towards our lifestyle habits. The pandemic has made us all think about where our money is going with many of us wanting our spending to have a positive impact. A study of 1,400 UK adults by Ernst & Young published in May 2020 revealed that 42% of consumers in the group said that coronavirus had fundamentally changed the way they shopped, with 26% saying they will pay more for local products, 24% for ethical products and 57% agreeing that they would happily spend more on brands that are supporting the community.
If anything, fashion brands seem to be leading the way for conscious-minded shoppers, offering a plethora of classic, timeless pieces made ethically and sustainably. From designer favourites like Stella McCartney, who grew her brand based entirely on ethical and sustainable practices, and Beulah London, the luxury occasion wear brand that helps support vulnerable women through employment, to the more budget-friendly labels like H&M and ASOS who now have dedicated conscious collections, there is literally something for everyone.
Best of all, there are a number of new, exciting startup brands on the rise, many of whom bubbled away under lockdown, each taking steps to minimise the industry’s carbon footprint and implement strong ethical practices too, all without compromising on style.
Here are GLAMOUR’s pick of the soon-to-be cult sustainable fashion brands you need to know about (if you don’t already…)