AUG 18, 2020

Summer 2020: Our Top Slow Fashion Picks

With summer in full swing, the days get longer and warmer, so finding ways to keep cool and stylish is a priority. But with the pandemic still very much a part of our lives, everyone’s health and safety should be our top priority. Cabin fever is real and while it seems that taking a summer vacation is a brilliant idea to break the boredom and stress, staying home and practicing safety protocols is still the best way forward until we find a vaccine. Inflatable pools? A secluded lake or beach? Your choice. Wherever you go, be mindful of your safety, but don’t be caught without a cute summer outfit on. This article is all about looking your best but with eco-friendly fashion choices. Summer is a time that pushes us to unpeel layers, but it doesn’t mean letting go of our values or letting our guard down for biological threats.

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Fast fashion offers low prices to consumers with a high environmental tradeoff. (Photo Source: Forbes)

It’s commonly known that the textile industry is one of the most prominent polluting industries globally, second to the oil industry. And with the increased interest in fast fashion, we further deplete non-renewable sources, produce more greenhouse gas emissions, and promote massive water and energy use. Fast fashion refers to low-cost garments produced with a quick turnaround, to stay on top of new trends and the latest catwalk styles. Because of the frequency and speed at which they need to be delivered, and mass-displayed in stores to maximize trend impact, manufacturers undertake production with little or no regard for environmental implications.

Fortunately, today’s generation, pioneered by millennials, is becoming more environmentally conscious. Business of Fashion reports that 66% of millennials prefer sustainable brands that hold themselves accountable for the carbon footprint and waste they produce. More and more people are joining the movement and striving to create a more ethical and sustainable closet and if you haven't started yet, summer is the best season to transition. Compared to other seasons, summer items are more affordable and widely available. 

EYEWEAR 

With sunny days ahead, we need to bring out the ultimate protection for our peepers. Did you know our eyes can develop keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea resulting in light sensitivity, red-eye, pain, and impaired eyesight when sun-burnt? Remember, you won’t even feel your eyes being damaged by the sun, so taking preventive, proactive measures is of paramount importance.

Fortunately, we have an array of eco-friendly sunglasses that serve a triple purpose – protecting your precious baby blues, browns or greens from sun damage, complementing your summer outfit, and reducing environmental impact simultaneously. Made from reclaimed wood, cork, and bamboo, these sunglasses provide super stylish looks that match every summer outfit and have a minimal environmental impact – a win-win-win!   

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Sticks and Sparrow sunglasses are made of bamboo, reclaimed wood and cork

Bamboo, often used as an alternative to wood but actually from the plant family, has emerged as one of the more widely used materials for crafting sunglasses. Lightweight, durable, moisture-resistant, and floatable, bamboo is perfect for that beach vibe. Unlike their plastic counterparts that only end up in landfills, bamboo is renewable and has a naturally-stunning wood-grain that deserves a second look. It’s no wonder that brands like Grown Eyewear, Panda Sunglasses, Sticks & SparrowWoodwear, and Swell Vision have built their empires around this material.

Cork, wood-based acetates, recyclable plastics, even repurposed skateboard decks, and metals are also utilized by companies like SoloDick MobyModo, and a few others for making their sunglasses. The aforementioned materials are reusable, fire and water-resistant, biodegradable, and are excellent insulators, enhancing the forest life cycle. Whether lending support to nature conservation efforts, supporting breast cancer survivors, fighting global poverty, or other sustainability causes, these brands are innovating their products and practices to help make the world a better place.

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Nannacay's Luna bag is a vision of intricate, sophisticated style that's creating a buzz in the fashion world

BAGS 

Regardless of the season, bags are an essential part of any babe’s ensemble. Choosing a favorite can be a challenge with an overly-saturated market and more styles than we can count. To save you time, we’ve narrowed down the search to three eco-friendly companies that are worth following.

Nannacay pieces are uniquely constructed by hand, using traditional straws, strings and canvas so that no two designs are the same. With the development, design and quality control aspects directed by founder Marcia Kemp herself, consumers can be assured that the pieces they get are not only sustainable but transformational in uplifting the lives of local women artisans in Peru.

AAKS bags are colorful bags made from raffia palm leaves using a traditional hand-weaving technique. Handcrafted by fairly-paid artisans in Ghana, these vibrant bags (shoulder, cross- bodies, and totes) are designed with durability in mind. Each stage of the design process meets the craftsmanship, authenticity, and ethical standards upheld by the brand.

Kayu is one of the ethical, environmentally-friendly companies dedicated to supporting artisans in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The company advocates to keep traditional skills and culture alive. Hand-made using sustainable materials such as straws, vegetable leathers, and factory scraps, these timeless pieces compliment any beach outfit and can be worn year after year.

SWIMSUITS

With summer on the horizon, here are our top eco-conscious picks that are not only making a splash in terms of style but also ascribing to ethical production practices.

Feeling geometric cutouts, earthy prints, and styles are designed to withstand fleeting trends? Australian brand Matteau fits the bill. They use regenerative, renewable, organic, and recycled materials such as nylon yarns from fishing nets, fabric scraps, and renewable plastics. This eco-friendly company is committed to fostering biodiversity, reducing landfill wastes, and creating a circular system.

If chic and French-inspired bikinis and one-pieces are your thing, look no further. Sézane provides timeless cuts and recycled high-quality fabrics made by the finest ateliers in Paris. Sezane products undergo mechanical testing to ensure their longevity. They have an eco-responsible production protocol in place along with three recycling certifications. Committed to a philanthropic program that promotes access to education and equal opportunities for children worldwide, this brand operates on lean production capacity, ensures responsible stocking and no overproduction. 

Ahead of the curve in terms of sustainability, Mara Hoffman shifted its focus in 2015 to a more responsible manufacturing approach across the board, aiming to reduce environmental impact. Sustainability meets sophisticated styling, Mara Hoffman's cat-walk worthy pieces are fashion-forward, globally-inspired, and eclectic. All swimwear is made using natural, recycled, and organic fibers such as nylon and polyester. Committed to helping increase their products' longevity, they have created a garment take-back system that encourages people to send products nearing the end of their wear cycle back to stores for recycling. 

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Mara Hoffman’s black swimwear with halter skirt is a scene stealer!

There are many more summer options out there but highlighted ones that bring more value to your wardrobe- lots of elegant and timely pieces that would look good even after summer is over. Being a sustainable fashion advocate, Veerah supports industry counterparts that promote responsible and eco-conscious artistry. Sustainable fashion focuses on quality, using innovative and cruelty-free materials that ensure longevity so we can achieve more with less, without sacrificing style or the health of anyone. Fast fashion may keep costs down, but it comes at the expense of offering unfair wages and unfavorable living conditions for workers. By switching to ethically-manufactured and handcrafted brands, we can use the “power of our pockets” to side against unfair practices and environmental deterioration. “Do good, look incredible” is what most of us need to remember in fashion and every aspect of life. 

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