Who says ethical fashion isn’t luxurious? These five online brands create conscious clothing we all covet. Rae Ritchie scours the net so you don’t have to
The Internet has given us so much. Social media allowing us to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends. Online banking making our lives so much easier. On-demand TV providing endless entertainment. And of course, cute pictures of cats that we’re not sure how we lived without.
It’s particularly hard to remember what our shopping habits were like before e-commerce came along. Sometimes supplementing bricks-and-mortar stores (providing access to more sizes and colours), occasionally replacing them altogether (late night browsing, or the so called ‘vampire economy’), we’ve quickly become accustomed to purchases arriving like surprise gifts through our doors.
Existing retail giants have been joined by online competitors such as ASOS and their many imitators. But there has been a technological revolution for numerous niche brands too. Companies that would have been unviable if relying on footfall now have potential to access a global customer base.
Leaders in the online luxury market, the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, boasted revenues of a staggering 1,871 million euros in 2016, with almost 3 million active customers spending an average of 352 euros on 8.4 million orders. That’s a lot of deliveries.
There is also a growing market for luxury brands with an ethical edge, fashion that cares for the planet and people, whether that’s organic materials, fair trade manufacturing or giving back through profits.
Here are five firms that offer the best in eco and sustainable luxury style, wherever you live.
While the family of Fashion ComPassion’s founder lives in Dubai, Ayesha Mustafa has scoured all corners of the globe to source the 30-something independent brands that feature on her ethical fashion site. Every product comes with Sustainability Stamps that detail its ethical provenance. Featuring jewellery, bags and other accessories, Fashion ComPassion is the perfect one stop shop for anyone looking to finish off their look without sacrificing their principles.
Want to get stylish and conscious clothing for a range of work and play situations? Then check out the brands offered on Sheer Apparel. The site is intended for the ethical fashion lover who wants to support positive change in the industry but doesn’t always have time to search for good-quality, ethical and beautiful clothes themselves.
Sheer Apparel only features companies who have close relationships with their producers, meaning they can ensure fair working practices. Environmental considerations are paramount too: all garments are made with sustainable materials or pre-consumer surplus fabric and purchases arrive with you in recycled and recyclable packaging.
Rose and Willard
Finding appropriate workwear can be a nightmare at the best of times, without adding ethical considerations into the mix. Now Rose and Willard have answered the prayers of professional women everywhere with their trans-seasonal collection of clothing that you can forget you’re wearing without having to sacrifice style.
Their commitment to quality and sustainability go hand in hand. Having sourced fabric from top Italian mills, the dresses, tops and suits are made by a small, highly skilled team and the entire process – from design through to distribution – takes place in a single London studio, helping to limit the carbon footprint.
Modes and More
Concern for ethical fashion isn’t new, nor does ethical fashion have to be new. Investing in high-end vintage clothing is a great way to create a sustainable wardrobe. The online arm of prestigious London store Modes and More can help, whether you’re a vintage novice or connoisseur.
They have an unrivalled collection of designer, couture and rare garments and accessories, from a 1920s black net evening gown to a 1970s psychedelic shirt dress. By recycling the best of fashion’s past, you’re guaranteed a unique outfit today and for many tomorrows. You can’t get much more ethical fashion than that!
Tales of Thread
It’s now possible to be bedecked ethically from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn thanks to the stunning nightwear and loungewear offered by Tales of Thread. The batik prints on many of their designs reflect the firm’s connections with Africa. Every purchase supports safe and sustainable employment for over 45 women in Ghana in female owned and managed factories that pay above market wages. Their collections combine Ghanaian craftsmanship and textile heritage with British tailoring expertise. From production to consumption, ethical luxury is truly an international marketplace – but one that benefits all involved.