As author and traveler Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” His words can serve as a warning to both companies and consumers, as each have their own responsibilities in preserving our natural resources and establishing a fair and sustainable industry.
So far, much of fashion’s progress has been demonstrated by small companies built around sustainable goals. Aside from leaders like Patagonia and Allbirds, larger companies have been slower to adopt environmentally-friendly and responsible labor practices.
So who isn’t waiting for someone else to save the planet? Several small, sustainable brands teamed up with photographer Matthias Carette and model/sustainable brand public relations representative Annabelle Azadé to create a look book of brands with sustainability and inclusivity in their DNA. Here’s a peek at what they created and what the brands stand for.
LIZZY GEE & JBEEBE SHOES
In this glamorous desert shot, the unexpected fabric pairings and textures of Lizzy Gee come to life in this Greecian dress. The eponymous brand pairs fine art concepts with androgynous functionality to create a balance of personality and aesthetic appeal.
The flowing dress compliments the Jbeebe shoes, which are vegan and cruelty-free. Founder Jessica Beebe, a vegetarian, tried to find designs and materials that would protect animals and their habitats. She built her designs around renewable materials, such as burlap and cork.
The brand limits waste by customizing each shoe size to its wearer and using long-lasting hand sewing techniques. All of the shoes are designed and handmade by Beebe, who customizes the materials and style as well as the size. As a result of such personalization, Jbeebe shoes are also uniquely comfortable.
The airy silk shirt is the work of Amalya Meira, a zero-waste brand that focuses on the “art” in “Earth.” The ethos behind Amalya Meira is finding the story behind each piece. The brand repurposes vintage textiles, using hand-dying techniques to give each garment its own individuality.
In other garments, Amalya Meira utilizes hand embroidery and crochet work to support the ideal of fashion that is recognized and worn as art. As the brand advertises, “Process is paramount.”
In this shot, the rich blues of the shirt partnered with its breezy lightness invoke contrast to the orange dryness of the desert with suggestions of water and shade. Water use and treatment is one of the biggest sustainability issues for the fashion industry. According to Sustain Your Style, 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textile treatment and dying, and 90% of wastewater in developing countries, where cheaper labor draws many fast fashion companies, is discharged into rivers without treatment.
You might not be able to guess just from looking at them, but both the white top and the green skirt of this look were 3D printed. Speetra is a design firm at the intersection of fashion an architechture, and this structural look brings out the best elements of that artistic overlap.
Based in Beirut, Lebanon, Speetra is a near zero-waste, eco-friendly studio that implements technology to address the sustainability problems in fashion. Digitization helps streamline and accelerate the process, and the 3D printing helps eliminate the need for low-wage laborers. When garments are converted from two-dimensional sketches to 3D designs, the Speetra team uses biodegradable and recyclable materials for printing. With the advances in 3D modeling and an array of environmentally-friendly filaments, the options for unique, luxury designs have expanded into another dimension.
Designer Lizzie Gee is also the founder of Impact NYFW, an annual, alternative New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for emerging sustainable designers. Ticket proceeds benefit an enviromental protection non-profit.
The bold print in this matching top and trouser set brings energy against the calming natural background. The rose motif evokes the splendor and beauty of nature — a reminder of what we stand to lose if companies, large and small, as well as individuals, do not take the necessary steps to change our fashion habits for the good of the Earth.