“Wear Clothes that Matter.” – Solitaire Townsend
Clothes that matter are mindful of the manufacturers in production to the environmental impact to the quality of the garment.
The following four apparel brands produce clothes that matter.
Each one has a different positive impact on the world.
Product: A collection of men’s, women’s, children’s, and home goods created from natural cotton in Ethiopia
Price Range: Kid’s: $30 to $100, Men’s and Women’s: $200 to $500
Impact: Supermodel Liya Kebede founded lemlem upon her trip to her native country, Ethiopia. “By employing traditional weavers, we’re trying to break their cycle of poverty, at the same time preserving the art of weaving while creating modern, casual, comfortable stuff that we really want to wear.” lemlem is steadily expanding partnerships with other groups across Africa. “We invest in locally grown materials and fabrics and we partner with artisan studios that use traditional motifs and techniques to create a beautiful, modern look.” In addition to providing sustainable jobs for artisans, lemlem also has a foundation partnering with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kenneth Cole, David Yurman, L’Oreal Paris, and Joe Fresh to improve women’s lives in Africa by promoting access to healthcare and economic opportunities. lemlem.com
Artisan Partners: Ethical Fashion Initiative in Burkina Faso, Lulea in Kenya, Weavers Worth Enterprises in Kenya, Ibaba in Rwanda, Carole Nevin Designs in South Africa, Mariama Fashion Production in Ivory Coast, and Better Cotton Initiative
Product: Apparel and accessories made from organic, recycled, upcycled, biodegradable, and artisanal custom-made fabrics
Price Range: $65 to $1,500
Impact: “EDUN is building long-term growth opportunities by working with artisans, manufacturers, and community-based initiatives to develop high-end designer products that celebrate and challenge ethical and sustainable fashion. EDUN’s ready to wear and accessory collections are led by an internal creative collective based in New York. The collective works closely with different partners throughout the African continent and some international mills who are exploring new eco alternatives.” edun.com
HQ: Accra and NYC
Artisan Partners: Ghana
Product: Women’s and men’s apparel, accessories, and even a few collaborations with other social brands
Price Range: Apparel – $200 to $800, Accessories – $20 to $200
Impact: Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is a social enterprise that aims to use fashion as an agent for social change by providing job opportunities to artisans who specialize in various traditional craftmenship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand batik, kente weaving, etc. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs, and supporting education and skills training. studiooneeightynine.com
Artisan Partners: USA and social sourcing partners around the world
Product: Denim and other apparel
Price Range: $30 to $200
Impact: Reformation celebrates the female figure by creating silhouettes in their apparel that show it off. They create these beautifully feminine clothes in sustainable factories minimizing their water, waste, and energy footprints. They also provide on-the-job training and growth for their employees. Reformation believes in transparency in their supply chain so they give out quarterly sustainability reports to hold them accountable and to track their progress. The majority of their employees are paid above minimum wage with full-time staff having amazing benefits such as one paid day off per month to volunteer and offering Metro passes to encourage the use of public transportation. They only partner with suppliers that provide safe and healthy working environments and who also use safe and non-toxic materials. thereformation.com
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth it it makes hunger and unhappiness.” – Mahatma Gandhi