I wanted to compile a list of all of the brands I'm familiar with that cover the spectrum of being colorful as well as ethically made, sustainably made and/or are eco-friendly. Many brands cover all of these categories whereas some only cover one. Keep in mind that choosing to shop a brand that values even one of these areas versus a brand that values none of them is a huge step in making these companies successful, while showing other brands that consumers DO care about these values. I have not tried all of these brands myself, but if I have, I will mention it in the list.
I have decided to organize the list by category and have dedicated separate articles to each. The first of the series (this article) will be all about women's apparel. I have created lists for other categories including footwear, swimwear, underwear, bags/accessories, jewelry, athletic wear, maternity/nursing wear, baby goods (apparel and home), menswear and home goods. Some brands may appear on multiple lists if they sell products that match different categories (for example, if they sell clothing and bags, they will be on both lists). This list will be updated as I learn of new brands (there are more coming out everyday), and I encourage you to comment below with some of your favorite brands that I can add to the list!
This list is organized alphabetically. This list is not sponsored by any of the brands I am including, however, the list may contain affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase from them then I may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support of Sustainable Rainbow.
Able-A lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances. They manufacture directly in the communities they wish to impact, both locally and globally, creating jobs and ending the cycle of charity dependency. They believe in radical and disruptive transparency and holding factories accountable to fair labor and manufacturing standards.
Ace & Jig- They design and create their own yarn dye woven textiles and work intimately with artisan weavers in India. They are proponents of slow fashion and are conscious of fashion's impact on the planet. They state "we've committed to finding a use for each scrap of our custom yarn-dye woven textiles from community initiatives, to recycling or repurposing." Their products are also available at Shopbop, Barney's, and Matches Fashion.
Big Bug Press- Based in Los Angeles, this quirky company is transparent about their manufacturing processes and passionate about slow fashion (for their recent Kickstarter they offered several different color/style options, and only produced what they received orders for, which reduces waste). They offer sizes from XXS-5XL, and they show their products on models that represent all sizes, shapes and ethnicities.
Cuyana- Based in California, they believe in "fewer, better things". They offer a Lean Closet program where they make it easy to donate your unwanted clothes to a non-profit they partner with, and you get a credit to spend at their store in exchange.
Dazey LA-Hand-drawn vintage-inspired designs that feature graphics promoting women's empowerment, these garments are made-to-order which reduces waste.
Elegantees-Their mission is "to provide hope to overcomers of sex trafficking with positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence." They are committed to paying their workers in Nepal a livable wage, including paid time off.
Everlane- They make great, affordable basics and are very transparent about their costs and supply chain. I own quite a few of their pieces, and I can attest to the fact that they hold up well over time!
Grana- They have retail locations in Austin, TX and Hong Kong as well as an e-commerce store. They sell high-quality basics in a range of colors, and they are transparent about their supply chain and pricing.
Groceries Apparel- Made in the USA with organic fabrics and non-toxic dyes. They also believe in "Vertically-integrated, local, and traceable production that maximizes quality, efficiency, and employee pay, and minimizes redundancy, waste and our carbon footprint."
James Jeans-Based in Los Angeles, CA, this company makes super comfy jeans and other apparel items. They are transparent about their supply chain and make things ethicaly, locally and by hand.
Jamie and the Jones- Ethically and sustainably produced in Nashville, TN. They believe in creating "seasonless" apparel that can be worn any time of year, and they turn their scrap fabrics into beautiful, one-of-a-kind items. They are transparent about their production process and discuss how they design and create each piece, from start to finish, on their website.
Known Supply- A women's and men's apparel brand that is passionate about connecting customers to the people who made their clothes. Each item is signed by the maker who created it, and all products are made at facilities that celebrate and honor makers by paying living wages as well as supporting the communities where the workers live. They also offer customization options so you can order a truly unique piece! From their website: "We are disheartened by what fast fashion is doing to our planet and the people who make our clothes. We don’t like what we see, so we decided to do something about. As more of us put people first when it comes to making our purchasing decisions, the clothing industry will too. Together with you, we will tell an industry that all people are valuable, and in the process, we’ll change the lives of the millions of people who are a part of it."
Kowtow- A New Zealand brand whose clean, minimalistic designs are entirely made with sustainably and ethically sourced materials.
Mate the Label-A sustainable and ethically produced women's clothing brand based in Los Angeles. They partner with factories within a five mile radius from their Arts District Headquarters in DTLA, reducing their environmental footprint and allowing them oversight on those factories more easily. From their website: "The label is a collection of elevated essentials and vintage inspired graphics that embody the California-cool lifestyle. Each piece is thoughtfully designed, carefully sourced and proudly produced in small batches season after season."
Mayamiko-An ethical and sustainable women's wear and lifestyle brand made in Malawi. They work with a charity that provides local, disadvantaged women with training in sewing and tailoring as well as financial and business skills. After their training, all trainees receive a recognized qualification as well as mentoring, guidance and access to a micro-finance scheme, enabling them to start their own business. They are committed to being zero waste, using fair trade practices and incorporating organic fabrics into their designs.
Meemoza- Ethically made, feminine fashion based in Montreal, Canada. They value sustainable fabrics including tencel and organic cotton, natural fabrics that have not been treated with pesticides such as wool and linen, and reclaimed deadstock fabrics.
Naadam- They believe in "clean energy powered production facilities, providing living wages for their employees, programs for healthy goats and sustainable grazing practices." They also do not use harsh chemicals or bleach on their products. They care about extending the life of each garment, and use higher quality materials to ensure this is possible.
Pact- They are passionate about organic cotton, fair trade and fair prices. Everything on their site is quite reasonable in price and they offer lots of basics in many colors.
Poppy & Pima- They are committed to using ethical and sustainable practices throughout their supply chain, and work with artisans in Peru to create their high-quality pieces. They are passionate about supporting humane production and using natural materials. You can also find their products on the ban.do website.
Reformation- Honestly, I debated whether to include them in this list. They make sustainable apparel from eco-friendly materials, vintage clothing and deadstock fabrics that prevents waste from going into landfills, which is awesome, but they do have a history of stealing designs from independent designers (and you know how I feel about companies who do that).
Stella McCartney- High-end designer merchandise, available at department stores and online. They are committed to never using leather or fur, are passionate about circularity and their environmental impact, and protecting ancient and endangered forests. Their products are also available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Barney's.
The Social Outfit-An ethical fashion brand celebrating creativity and diversity, based in Australia. They provide employment and training in the fashion industry to people from refugee and new migrant communities in clothing production, retail, design and marketing. They also care about sustainability, recycling fabric scraps and focusing on seasonless garments that are designed to be worn for years to come.
Tome NYC-Ethically made high-end designer women's fashion. They value inclusivity and diversity as well as sustainability. They launched a philanthropic project in support of FREEDOM FOR ALL, a foundation based in NYC that fights human trafficking and modern day slavery globally known as the White Shirt Project. "The White Shirt is symbolic of a clean slate - a new start - like that experienced by the emancipated individual. An exclusive style is launched each season with a donation of 30% of profits to www.freedomforall.org. All WSP shirts are ethically and ecologically manufactured in eco cotton poplin by female first factories."
Tonle- They are committed to creating beautiful clothing with zero waste, meaning "creative pattern making that uses 100% of a given material, and generating garments from remnant materials." They are also committed to producing their products ethically.
Vivienne Westwood-A high-end designer whose mantra is "buy less, choose well, make it last", she is passionate about climate control and the impact of the fashion industry on climate.
What are some of your favorite colorful and sustainable, ethically made or eco-friendly women's apparel brands? Comment below and I will update the list periodically to include more awesome brands who prove that fashion doesn't have to be fast to be fabulous!
Stay tuned for future posts featuring brands from categories including footwear, swimwear, underwear, bags/accessories, jewelry, athletic wear, maternity/nursing wear, baby goods (apparel and home), menswear and home goods!