Mass Market And Recycled Couture: 10 Ethical Brands

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Mass Market And Recycled Couture: 10 Ethical Brands
Mass Market And Recycled Couture: 10 Ethical Brands

Video: Mass Market And Recycled Couture: 10 Ethical Brands

Video: The true cost of fast fashion | The Economist 2022, November

Continuing the conversation about ethical fashion, we have collected 10 bright brands that make things not only “green”, but also cool. It's no secret that few people are ready to buy clothes simply because they are made according to all the rules of ethical production: in order to become a real object of desire, a thing must be beautiful and really please the buyer. And since the tastes of all people are different, then there should be many ethical brands for the movement of responsible consumption to become truly massive - and they should offer the same diverse range as their "irresponsible" colleagues. Our today's selection contains a variety of brands - they differ in assortment, and in prices, and in their approach to design.

RCR Khomenko

Yasya Khomenko is the main heroine of ethical fashion in Ukraine: her name regularly appears in local fashion magazines and even in foreign versions of Vogue. She represents one of the most unusual directions - upcycling, that is, creating new things from old ones. Clothes, upholstery, and curtains are used - everything that can be found by going on a trip to second-hand shops, flea markets and vintage shops. After such a resume, it would be possible to present something at least very specific, but RCR Khomenko's things, if hung with others that have nothing to do with second-hand and upcycling, will not stand out. Is that profitable - they are bright, catchy and very geometric, in colorful art prints.

Nevertheless, the attitude towards upcycling both in Ukraine and in Russia is still mixed among clients: many are confused by the idea that the offered clothes have already been worn by someone else, and in this case by several different people at once. “I was often embarrassed to admit to clients,” says the designer, “that their chic cocktail dress was made from a pillowcase on which we laid out patterns for three hours yesterday to get around all the stains.”

For Yasi herself, the search for forgotten treasures has been a part of life since childhood: “It was more important than general breakfasts and dinners - to go to the Hay Market on Saturday and rummage in heaps. This is probably why everything new causes an internal dissonance in me. I found in this such a powerful inspiring force that it is difficult to convey in words. I got my hands on phenomenal fabrics - with hand-embroidered Panamanian terrorists, with a print of "each creature in a pair", with distorted icons."

Due to quite clear circumstances, production for RCR Khomenko is practically impossible and many things exist in a single copy. But Yasi and her associates are planning to create a new, conscious mass market. The first step was the #theshirtproject project, which the designer is working on together with Natasha Isupova. Together they rework 50-60 men's shirts a month, turning them into women's blouses.


GO Oli Glagoleva became the first eco-brand in Russia to combine an ethical approach with a truly fashionable one. Although things in different collections can be made either from recycled plastic bottles or from old blankets, they look very vital and practical, and are made as skillfully as possible. For example, in collaboration with the artist Liza Smirnova things - from shirts to dresses made of waffle towels (sounds scary, but looks completely different: we all have yet to learn to be calm about the word “recyclable materials”) - were covered not only by artistically sprayed drops of paint, but also complex, hand-made embroidery. The brand's team could work on one item for up to 100 hours - so we are talking here not only about towels and upcycling, but also about the couture approach.

Olya Glagoleva releases her collections in collaboration with different people and organizations that only share her values. So far there have been only three of them. The first - with photographer and artist Dmitry Pirozhnikov.It was a small "capsule" of 5 models of organic cotton shirts with hand-printed prints on the fabric - mermaids, swimmers, and fun in brightly colored swimming trunks. The second - "The Artist at Home", with Liza Smirnova. The third is Dom, published with the support of Authentic Investments. It includes five sweatshirts with designer prints, the fabric for which was created from recycled plastic.

The fourth Olya will show on September 1. The date is not accidental - this time her partners were ten girls from the Montessori school "Earthlings". They, according to Olya, invented things themselves, drew sketches, developed designs and patterns for prints and embroidery - mainly with animals, fabulous and real. Dresses made from organic cotton and pure wool will come in children's sizes - adult fans of the brand will have to be content with previous collections or rely on their own diminutiveness.

Medea vintage

A graduate of Fashion Factory ZIL and ex-trainee Vika Gazinskaya launched her signature brand Medea Maris a year ago - her first collection went on sale this spring. But the new Medea Vintage line was added quite recently and was presented in July at the vintage market in Moscow Dewar's Powerhouse. For her, Medea Maris, like the Ukrainian Yasya Khomenko, remakes old things. She does not have to wander around second-hand shops and flea markets for this: the team of the Long Story Vintage project helps Medea with the search.

Everything here is a little simpler than that of the same Khomenko: the things themselves are more everyday and are not subject to such large-scale and radical alterations. For example, Medea updates denim jackets and overalls, decorating with elegant floral embroidery (made, of course, by hand) and funny appliqués. And from the fabrics of the 60s-80s he sews dresses of different styles and jackets, similar in silhouette to leather jackets, according to the patterns of his main line. Her approach to upcycling is perfect for those who are not prone to extravagance and do not like flashy outfits. It is very easy to integrate these things into everyday wardrobe - which can be considered an absolute plus.


Wooden rings and earrings (by the way, they are usually very light, their weight is almost not felt when worn - so think about purchasing a pair, if not already) you will not surprise anyone today. But the wooden wristwatch still looks unexpected. They have been created since 2009 by the Italian brand WeWOOD, founded by the entrepreneur Alessandro Rossano. All external parts of this clock are made of wood: guaiac wood, hazel, maple, black acacia. Moreover, not a single tree was felled for their production: only waste from large industries around the world is used - mainly furniture and yachting. Paint and enamel are not used, preferring the natural color of the wood. Therefore, each copy is unique - it is almost impossible to find absolutely identical ones at WeWOOD.

Inside the watch is a quartz movement assembled in Japan. And this year at the Basel show, the first Laguna model with a Swiss movement, handcrafted from Venetian mooring posts, was presented. They also promise to collaborate with artists and expand the line of glasses with frames from cotton fiber.

But the most pleasant thing is the promise to plant one tree for every couple of hours bought in the world. In fact, this is not entirely true: WeWOOD employees do not keep an accurate account of purchased watches and do not submit reporting lists to the relevant companies. They work with several organizations in different countries - Trees For the Future, American Forests, Treedom and more - and just work with them without looking back at the numbers from the sales reports: “We have now reached 400,000 planted trees. Our goal? Plant one million by 2020”. WeWOOD also has partners among forest restoration funds in Russia. Together with them, the company is planning a large-scale action on Lake Baikal this year.

Organic by John Patrick

John Patrick was thinking about responsible fashion much earlier than other designers in the industry did.He launched his "green" brand Organic by John Patrick 12 years ago and since then has never stopped looking for new materials that do not have a negative impact on the environment. The designer was one of the first to work with farmers from different countries, supporting local production, and went to explore, for example, Peru. Now his collections include organic cotton (as opposed to conventional, grown without the massive use of chemicals and according to all the precepts of the Better Cotton Initiative), recycled polyester, and innovative, completely recyclable fabrics.

The assortment includes a wide variety of items, including outerwear, but the most popular are still simple basic items, from swishots to slip dresses made of cupro, used as a substitute for silk. The last ones have been the main hit of the brand for many years - their designer produces a dozen different colors, and some fans of the brand collect these combinations like real collectors.


The Los Angeles-based brand Reformation has the best slogan in the world: "We make killer clothes that don’t kill the enviroment." After such a self-confident statement, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with the Yael Aflalo brand - especially since this slogan is true, all things are really made from eco-materials, vintage fabrics and textile "waste" of other industries, and the brand's team directly speaks about the current omissions on the site.

The main thing in the Reformation assortment is dresses, and they are here in a variety of styles: combinations, and with a wrap, and ruffled sundresses, and smart evening and wedding dresses. The most fashionable girls fell in love with the brand for the dresses - they not only post their own pictures in the brand's clothes on Instagram, as is usually the case, but are also ready to invest in the development of their favorite brand financially. For example, last year Miroslava Duma, founder of the Buro 24/7 portal, became one of Reformation's investors.


Kowtow makes minimalistic and neutral clothing for every day - in the spirit of COS, without the obvious experimentation with cut and color. Attention on a neutral background is especially attracted by rare items with abstract prints that imitate the approximate texture of fabric or paint strokes. Everything else is in black, white, gray and dark blue colors, which are sometimes diluted by the same calm sea stripe. However, for those who prefer minimalism with interesting details, there is also something to be found. Sometimes there are transformer things here: for example, a turtleneck with long-long sleeves, which with a slight movement of the hand turns into a skirt with a "lazy" bow. You can easily experiment with silhouettes, layering minimalistic things on top of each other: wear long tunic dresses with trousers, and voluminous jackets, cut in the likeness of a kimono, with wide culottes and a painted shirt.

The brand has a serious approach to sustainability. Natural recyclable fabrics, safe dyes and cooperation with local farms are not even mentioned - this is a must. The conditions in which all people involved in the brand work are also taken with the utmost seriousness. The production of the company is located in India, but the Kowtow team monitors the process at all stages. All employees receive not only a salary, but also a certain social package: the company pays for the education of their children, vacations, medical insurance and even compensates for part of the housing costs.

Shaina mote

If the previous brand could be compared with COS, then the Los Angeles Shaina Mote is an analogue of The Row. Fortunately, in a nicer price point. This, however, is still far from a mass market: even a simple T-shirt costs $ 150 here, and the prices for the most expensive things reach one and a half thousand. Again, you cannot find bright colors in the Shaina Mote collections - neutral shades are used, the brightest of which is a very restrained terracotta. Everything is relaxed, calm and minimalistic, but almost every thing (except, perhaps, simple "noodle" turtlenecks) has its own peculiarity.Wide trousers have knee-length cuts, spacious shirts have wide belts or unexpected cutouts on the back. And the dresses have soft draperies, which, without any effort on the part of the hostess, each time fit themselves in a completely new and invariably beautiful way.

Let us warn you right away: the brand uses natural leather, so it cannot be called “green” in all senses. However, this Shaina Mote team in some way justifies by the fact that for years it has been working with the same trusted manufacturers, mainly family companies from America and Italy, and has no doubts about their most responsible approach to their business. “Whenever possible, we always choose the more correct one between several options,” they write on the site, talking about the choice between harmless natural materials and synthetic fabrics made of polymer fibers. The Shaina Mote team does not use polyester in their collections, preferring more environmentally friendly Tencel, Cupro and Modal.

People tree

If it were not for the current pound rate, People Tree could well be called a real example of an eco-mass market: a thing more expensive than 100 pounds on the site will take a long time to search. Of course, local prices are still far from the level of H&M and even their Conscious line, but it will be difficult to find something more budgetary in the “green” segment. Now, fortunately, there is a sale on the site with might and main, so the moment for eco-shopping is the most successful. As for the assortment, it is standard for any mass-market brand: you should not expect designer delights from the People Tree collections, but you can go here for light dresses, colorful leggings, calm culottes and bright T-shirts. There are also men's things on the site and a rather nice section with jewelry: geometric earrings, mosaic pendants and beaded clutches.

People Tree has been in business for over twenty years and can rightfully be considered one of the pioneers of responsible fashion. They were among the first to think about the "right" organic cotton - at the moment, about 90 percent of all cotton that is used in collections is "organic", that is, harmless to the environment. The goal, of course, is to raise this figure to a full hundred.

Matt & Nat

There are a lot of "green" brands of shoes and accessories, Matt & Nat is one of the most deserved. The Canadian company was founded back in 1995, and since then the team continues to search for new materials to replace natural leather, thanks to which the products would look as impressive as their "irresponsible" counterparts. Recycled nylon, plastic, cardboard, rubber (such as bicycle tires) and cork are used. At the same time, Matt & Nat products look impressive, and there are also the most current models in the assortment.

The brand has a small collection of shoes, but there are a lot of bags of all models and colors. The most unusual models are made of cork (look in the Cork Collection section), the texture of which was intentionally preserved by the designers.

Photos: cover photo Shaina Mote / Instagram

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