As individuals we want to remind ourselves that our consuming choices matter. We want to have further opportunities to consume products that are aligned to our values; the ones that care about the environment and advocate for workers' rights. Behind the beautiful designs, shapes and fabrics accessible to us, we are looking for more transparency. We want to envision collaborative and conscious efforts between entrepreneurs, founders, craftsmen, producers and consumers. Colorful, meaningful, willful, careful mark the brands, fabrics and designers that inspire us. We would like to share some of our favorite eco-friendly and ethical fashion trends.
- WHO: Osklen
- WHAT: Osklen is a Brazilian sportswear clothing company, owned and created in 1989 by Brazilian Oskar Metsavaht (a sport medicine specialist). Oskar is Brazil’s pioneer in the new luxury movement of sport wear clothing.
- WHERE: Brazil
- WHY we like it: Osklen uses the most innovative eco-fabrics in its collections, such as pupunha wood for belts, fish skin for shoes and PET from recycled plastic bottles. Oskar Metsavaht is also an environmentalist and founder of e-Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for sustainable human development.
- WHO: Fabrics used by SUNO, Vlisco
- WHAT: Since 1846, Vlisco has been designing and producing colorful fashion fabrics that capture the lively west and central African culture. SUNO is a fair-trade clothing line and uses multicolored garments inspired by traditional kangas. Fabrics used are produced predominantly in Kenya.
- WHERE: Fabrics come from west, central and east Africa.
- WHY we like them: Both SUNO and Vlisco use colorful fashion fabrics that incarnate elegance, imagination, and quality.
- WHO: Kristina Constantine.
- WHAT: Kristina Constantine was born to Armenian parents in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 1989, ethnic violence forced her family to flee their home and spend fifteen years living as refugees in various countries throughout central Eurasia. At 18, she enrolled in National Institute of Design in Moscow. After her family resettled in the US, she graduated magna cum laude from Parsons in 2009 with a second bachelor’s degree in fashion design. Kristina was awarded an honorable mention award in CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) student competition and Critic’s Choice award. In 2010, she founded Kristina Constantine, Inc. with one goal: to spend her life building America’s first philanthropic fashion house dedicated to raising money and awareness to aid the millions of refugees still searching for homes around the world.
- WHERE: Charlottesville, VA working with refugee communities from various countries.
- WHY we like Kristina: Kristina is a mentor for us. Kristina provided us with valuable recommendations for our project MUSES. Her story and engagement for the refugee communities is inspiring.
- WHO: The Bottletop and the Social Studio
- WHAT: The Bottletop is dedicated to design, attention to detail and contemporary craftsmanship. The Bottletop gives people the opportunity to earn an income in developing countries and support the wider community through the Bottletop Foundation, ensuring a longer lasting and more sustainable impact. The Social Studio is a dynamic space where clothing is created from recycled and excess manufacturing materials. The Social Studio employs young people from the refugee community in Melbourne.
- WHERE: The Bottletop is based in UK but works with communities from Malawi, Rwanda, Mozambique, Salvador, and Brazil. The Social Studio is located in Melbourne, Australia and works with Melbourne-based refugee communities.
- WHY we like these projects: These two projects engage consumers in conscious and meaningful purchases. Like us, The Bottletop and the Social Studio believe that Fashion can help raise funds and awareness for social causes. The Bottletop uses recycled materials such as ring pulls to design appealing and ethical accessories. The project provides job opportunities and sexual health educational training to young people. The Social Studio helps youth to get jobs in retail and hospitality. We had a chance to meet in person Grace McQuilten Founder of the Social Studio. Grace is such a bright, brave and diligent woman!