7 Sustainable Luxury Designers Disrupting The Fashion Industry
Our Favorite Ethical Luxury Fashion
Don’t let the words designer and luxury scare you. While these brands are much more expensive than traditional fast fashion labels and even our favorite affordable ethical brands, it’s worth noting these designers for when you’re ready to invest in a statement piece. Or for when you’re browsing online consignment stores, and secondhand luxury retailers like Vestiaire Collective.
Not only are the designers below creating garments that will last you years (and then some), but they’re paving the runway with progressive production methods and innovative textile inventions. Whoever said environmental sustainability and luxury fashion couldn’t mix?
If you’re looking for apparel at all price points, check out these 35 sustainable fashion brands.
1. Stella McCartney
Sustainability | Cruelty-free—no fur or leather, re-engineered cashmere & ethically sourced wool, organic cotton & recycled textiles, 100 percent PVC-free, sustainable packaging Best For | Ready-to-wear fashion for all genders & ages, swimwear, sunglasses & bags
Stella McCartney has been reshaping fashion since launching her first collection in the early 1990s. Known for creating modern garments that exude natural confidence, the UK-based luxury designer is a pioneer of alternative materials and eco-friendly practices.
There is no compromise when it comes to sustainability, and pushing boundaries is always at the forefront of the brand’s mission. In 2014, Stella McCartney introduced Clevercare, a simple, five-step labeling system to help consumers care for and prolong the life of their clothing through mindful garment care.
Continuing to set the bar high for social and environmental sustainability in the fashion industry, Stella McCartney regularly conducts audits and measures impact, too. A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, the brand is also careful with its selection of suppliers, many of whom are small businesses are artisans in Europe.
As an added bonus, the Stella McCartney brand gives back to organizations like Bioplanet, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Million Trees Miami.
2. EILEEN FISHER
Sustainability | Organic, recycled, & sustainable garments, natural dyes, secondhand shop Best For | Inclusive & petite sizes for women, minimalist staples
EILEEN FISHER is passionate about disrupting the linear production model touted by most luxury fashion brands. The eponymous Illinois-bred designer paints in circular brushstrokes, recycling and giving new life to old textiles and discarded garments.
The result? Luxurious and sustainable womenswear with a particular focus on inclusive and petite sizing.
Loved for her use of recycled fabrics, organic fibers, and natural dyes in production, it comes as no surprise that the EILEEN FISHER brand is a certified B Corp with several sustainable initiatives like secondhand shops called Renew and Waste No More. If that isn’t progressive enough, the team also collaborates with environmental conservation orgs, supports artisans, and empowers women through the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute.
3. Mara Hoffman
Sustainability | Recycled fabrics & fibers, hemp, linen, & organic cotton, eco-friendly packaging & branding, secondhand shop, sustainability commitments Best For | Designer swimwear, womenswear
Mara Hoffman’s collections, which are devoted to color and sustainability, draw from the inspiration of women. The luxury designer aims to encourage mindful consumption and “encourages consumers to reevaluate the relationship” they have with their clothing.
Employing alternative approaches to fashion production, the brand uses an array of sustainable fabrics, including ECONYL® and REPREVE® in the favored swimwear line—which are regenerated nylon fiber derived from waste, and polyester fiber made from recycled plastic, respectively. Mara Hoffman also uses hemp in ready-to-wear collections, as well as organic cotton, linen, ethical alpaca wool, and fibrous plant-based materials like modal sourced through Lenzing Group.
Additionally, the brand uses sustainable means for shipping, packaging, and branding, and internationally accepted environmental and human rights standards are upheld for responsible production. As an added bonus, Mara Hoffman hosts a secondhand shop called “Full Circle” to keep items out of landfills.
4. Fe Noel
Sustainability | Natural fabrics, made-to-order options, handcrafted in NY Best For | Tropical-inspired colors & styles
For luxury garments inspired by Grenada, we’re turning to Fe Noel’s work. This womenswear brand based out of Brooklyn, NY combines tropical colors, bold prints, and stunning styles for a gorgeous collection that works from the beach to the runway. Fe Noel’s line includes wide-leg pants, flowy tops and dresses, and eclectic swimwear.
Sustainable pieces are handcrafted out of its New York studio, with typical sizes ranging from XS through XL—but you can also choose a made-to-measure option for a guaranteed perfect fit. And accessibility is important to this luxury designer, too: Some garments start at just over $50 and payment plans are available.
Founder Fe also launched the Fe Noel Foundation, so proceeds from the brand also support underserved youth who want to launch their own businesses and make an impact on a global scale. This is exactly what ethical and social responsibility looks like.
5. Roopa Pemmaraju
Sustainability | Artisan-made worldwide, low-waste, fair trade, sustainable materials Best For | Summer dresses, tops, & skirts
If we had to distill Roopa Pemmaraju’s style in three words, we’d say floral, feminine, and summer-chic. Combining modern and traditional designs, pieces are drafted in New York and then sustainably made by artisans in India using age-old techniques. We love the team’s emphasis on “a world where the traditions that have shaped India’s culture for centuries can continue to thrive, instead of disappearing into the shadows of fast fashion.”
In addition to being fair trade and offering competitive wages, the brand also prioritizes slow fashion values—its clothing and accessories are made with recycled or natural fabrics like cotton, corn fibers, eucalyptus, and silk, which means it embraces low-waste practices as well. Then each piece is detailed with hand embroidery, digital printing, or hand block printing for that gorgeous final touch. You can find out more about Roopa Pemmaraju’s processes, fabrics, and craft here.
It’s worth the investment knowing no two pieces are exactly alike.
6. Gabriela Hearst
Sustainability | Deadstock and recycled materials, plastic-free packaging, gives back Best For | Timeless, elevated staples and statement pieces
Launched in 2015, Gabriela Hearst is a brand committed to sustainability, from the manufacturing process to the materials used, with the goal that the final pieces will be so loved that their owners won’t ever want to throw them away. This is a brand that values tradition more than trend, where the details matter. “I wanted to create a brand that had that feeling of things that are well made and long lasting,” says Hearst. Still, she looked to sustainable materials to achieve this goal, and in 2017 they launched a collection using 30% deadstock fabrics. Then the company started to examine their packaging, introducing TIPA flexible packaging, which offers bio-based alternatives to the traditional plastic. By 2019, the company was fully plastic-free. The brand is now working towards the goal of eliminating the use of virgin materials. “I like the idea that we’re doing our part by not creating something completely new,” the designer says.
Of Uruguayan and American descent, Hearst uses the wool of her family’s six-generation merino sheep farm in Uruguay to produce piqué and twill suits. The company also has a partnership with Manos del Uruguay, a venerable non-profit and women’s cooperative empowering rural women who work in the production of Gabriela Hearst hand-knits. The brand continues to set aggressive eco-conscious goals for itself, raising its own standards of sustainability, including creating carbon neutral shows at Paris Fashion Week with 60% deadstock materials. With a refined, elegant aesthetic and rigorous attention to craft, these are pieces that you can feel good about owning for decades to come.
Sustainability | GOTS organic cotton, Oeko Tex certified, recycled labeling & packaging Best For | Timeless, luxury classics
Founded by Camille Perry and Holly Wright in 2019, TOVE is a Danish girl’s name that means strength and beauty, the epitome of the brand’s aesthetic goals. Each design is meticulously vetted as part of an edit of signature pieces. With generously cut fabrics and carefully designed details, these pieces are meant to seamlessly transition between occasions and events. Elevated minimalism for the modern woman, this brand is inspired by the women they design for, with expert craftsmanship that ensures longevity.
Sustainability is at the center of the brand’s philosophy: fabrics are sourced from mills committed to low environmental impact. Natural, organic, and recycled fabrics are at the heart of these designs, and manufacture is kept mainly at source to minimize their carbon footprint. Each collection is created with a timelessness in mind, purposefully conceived to transcend seasons. After sourcing the principle fabrics for their sustainability and luxury quality, the collections are created with beauty and durability at the forefront of each design. If you want to build up a wardrobe of sustainable pieces that will never lose their quality or style with time, stock up on everything from dresses to lingerie to outerwear from TOVE.
Featured image from Fe Noel
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