We've long proven that style and sutainability can happily co-exist, but we'd never turn down an opportunity to spotlight the designers who are trying to make the world a better place. That's why we put together a refresher course on our favorite eco-friendly brands—there are some established classics (that just keep getting better and better) and newcomers that we're welcoming with open arms.
Below, you'll find a few who are reducing their carbon footprint with locally sourced materials, those who are making an effort to reduce waste (and excess water) with sustainably sound manufacturing processes, some who pride themselves on upcycling (denim made of plastic from the ocean? Yes, all the way), and others that spearhead eco-friendly initiatives. So the next time you're drafting your shopping list (summer will be here before you know it), consider these do-good, feel-good brands that we love.
Founded by power couple Ali Hewson and Bono (yes, the one and only), Edun was created with the goal of sustainability in mind. Not only is the brand helping the growth of Africa's economy by encouraging trade and sourcing production from the continent, but it's committed to building opportunities for ecological-minded practices—all in the chicest way possible.
Edun top, $390; net-a-porter.com
2. G-Star Raw
A few years ago, Pharrell Williams joined the G-Star Raw team, and together, they partnered up with The Vortex Project and Parley for the Oceans to invent Bionic Yarn, an eco-friendly fabric made of fibers derived from recycled plastic bottles found in the ocean. The result? A streetwear line of denim and apparel that cleans the ocean.
G-Star Raw jacket, $280; g-star.com
3. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney's eponymous line is, essentially, eco-fashion at its finest. The brand has always been upfront about its animal-free products and its goal to be more sustainable. To start, her London stores are powered by wind enegy, and her highly coveted platform brogues are made from certified-sustainable wood and renewable resources.
Stella McCartney shoes, $1,100; stellamccartney.com
4. United by Blue
The brand's mission is to clean up water pollution. For every product sold, United by Blue will remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups. On top of that, each piece is made from recycled goods, like this dress (95 percent of its composition comes from recycled polyester).
United by Blue dress, $88; unitedbyblue.com
5. Amour Vert
The brand's motto reads, "With every stitch a purpose," and that couldn't be any more true. Amour Vert (which translates to "Green Love" in French) boasts a zero-waste design philosophy, which includes local, made-in-the-USA manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, and sustainable fibers. Plus, for every tee purchased, Amour Vert will plant a tree.
Amour Vert dress, $188; amourvert.com
In just one year, Australian-based founder Kit Willow's line Kitx has garnered some major attention with her chic eco-friendly designs. "I strongly believe in a better world, through the simple mantra of making women look and feel beautiful, without harming our planet, so everyone can win," she says. To achieve that, she consciously sources quality materials, like this naturally organic silk that's free of chemical pesticides.
Kitx top, $453; kitx.com
With their brand Svilu, designers Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo set out to redefine wardrobe fundamentals with super modern, minimalist pieces. That they achieved—and more. Each piece is not only mindfully and locally sourced, but some even boast leftover scraps from the previous season (as linings or trimming).
Svilu dress, $455; svilu.com
Reformation has truly reformed the industry. Everything is made in-house at its Los Angeles-based sustainable sewing factory, where complete transparency and eco-friendly practices can be instated every step of the way. Need proof? Each piece is listed with a RefScale that measures exactly how much water and carbon dioxide was saved in the making of the garment.
Reformation dress, $178; thereformation.com
9. Freedom of Animals
Actress Nikki Reed joined forces with accessories brand Freedom of Animals to launch a line of bags that are as chic as they are ecologically sound. And we can't get enough of the designs or their eco-friendly message. Each one is made of post-consumer, cruelty-free, eco-faux leather and lined with organic cotton.
10. Study NY
We may not know the origins behind Study NY's name, but if we had to venture a guess, we'd say it's because the brand is a study in zero-waste pattern-making methods. Designer Tara St James has effectively fused sustainability and design with a line-up of streamlined pieces cut from hemp, organic cotton, ethically sourced alpaca, or recycled materials. Its motto, "Making Fashion without Making Waste," pretty much sums it up.
Study NY tanks, $105; study-ny.com
11. H&M Conscious
Thanks to its commitment to sustainability, H&M is one of the few fashion brands that's making an effort to be competitive in the environmentally friendly fashion realm. When the brand's not partnering with eco-conscious stars, like Olivia Wilde, it's constantly packing its eco-friendly line with basics and one-off statement pieces, like this rust-colored blazer.
H&M jacket, $35; hm.com
12. Where Mountains Meet
The truth is, Where Mountains Meet hasn't technically launched yet. But we're so excited about the brand's fall 2016 line-up that we can't help but include it in our round-up of favorite eco-friendly brands. It's just that good. Designers Genevieve Saylak and Corissa Santos are bringing their socially and environmentally conscious vision to life with a range of on-trend pieces that hit all the style notes we've been feeling for the season (and next season), with easy slip dresses, slinky camis layered over turtlenecks, and culotte jumpsuits.
Scroll through the fall 2016 lookbook and learn more about Where Mountains Meet at wheremountainsmeet.com.
13. Zero + Maria Cornejo
Zero + Maria Cornejo has been ahead of the curve—when the brand launched in 1998, it had zeroed in on the goal to create timeless pieces that are (by and large) made in N.Y.C. and from ecological and sustainable fabrics.
Zero + Maria Cornejo tunic, $1,195; zeromariacornejo.com
Hand-made by a group of artisans based in Los Angeles (and with eco materials to boot), you know you can feel good about stepping into any pair of Rafa shoes. The style we have our eye on? These super-chic sandals with their dainty straps and chunky block heel. So good.
Rafa sandals, $350; rafausa.com
15. I am Not a Virgin
This dress is made out of plastic water bottles. No joke. This brand upcycles bottles found in the ocean, turning them into soft basic tees and dresses.
I Am Not a Virgin dress, $75; iamnotavirgin.com
16. Style Saint
The line prides itself on using 99 percent less water, selecting sustainable fabrics, and paying 2,000-percent higher in factory wages. Every piece listed on the site includes an informative key that illustrates how many gallons of water were saved and how many yards of sustainable fabrics were used. This one angled skirt saved 790 gallons of water, was created from two yards of sustainable fabric, and paid 4.5 hours of ethical labor to American factory workers.
Style Saint skirt, $98; stylesaint.com