The year 2020 has been… a bit much to say the least. With all the stress that’s accumulated over the past months, I would like to personally endorse online shopping as a great coping mechanism. That feeling when your package arrives can only be described as bliss.
When you’re stress-shopping—I mean, coping—, try to buy from a sustainable, eco-friendly brand. Then, not only are you getting quality products, but you’re also supporting an important cause. And if you don’t know where to start, Zoe Elle’s got you covered! Whether you’re still stuck at home or social distancing at the beach, the following five sustainable, eco-friendly fashion brands are sure to have the perfect item to help you look and feel your best this summer.
1. Salt + Umber
The sustainable brand Salt + Umber is a great source for “ethically handcrafted”, beautiful wearables. Founder and owner Susie Berquist says that when building the company she, “wanted to make something that people could afford and that was still eco-friendly and sustainably made.” True to her word, she’s done just that.
All Salt + Umber products are made in India, where the workers are paid and treated well. Their leather tannery is also eco-friendly, as it reuses water and doesn’t leak any chemicals back into the earth. Their shoes all have antimicrobial properties that won’t make your feet sweat, a major benefit for this unusually hot summer! Sweat-free feet in quality materials that are made to last? Sign this Virginia girl up. My personal recommendation is the LILY shoe, a versatile handwoven mule.
Yesisa is a fashion and textile brand that turns various upcycled materials into wearable art pieces made by communities across Africa. The fabric pattern of each product varies based on the community’s heritage, so each handcrafted comes with its own story. For the girl who is constantly on the go, these items are a perfect conversation starter!
Yesisa was founded by Morgan Kret, a DC native, after she moved to Ghana and fell in love with their handmade craftsmanship. For those shoppers struggling to find sustainable and trendy brands on their own, Morgan advises you to do some research, connect with causes you are really interested in, and shop brands that support your core values.
Currently, I’m loving the Bogolan Beauty Cross-Body bag, named after the community who makes it. It’s made from hand painted and woven Bogolan cloth from Mali and genuine leather from Niger. Sling that bag over your shoulder and you’re ready to take on any activity in style.
If you’re a big fan of comfy clothes, Softwear is the sustainable brand for you. Seriously, the phrase “the softest” is consistently used in their product reviews. The brand sells unisex athleisure wear in a variety of colors. They even give you the choice to have your items custom tie-dyed, bleached out, or dune dyed. Looking for something to try? My advice is Softwear’s super-cute joggers! The thing I love most about Softwear is the endless multiuse of their items. Being able to wear one tank to both yoga and girls night in, or share these sexy joggers with bae, this summer truly sounds like a dream come true.
Softwear founder Sabrina Zohar’s passion for sustainability began when she started to question the ethics of the fashion industry. When Sabrina launched Softwear, she asked, “if we’re going to become a brand, why would I do something that everyone else is doing?” Her advice for people getting into a sustainable lifestyle is to “ask questions, get curious, & explore.”
4. More Sunday
More Sunday sells gorgeous sleep and loungewear that’s so tasteful and chic you can wear it as an outfit. Founder, Danielle Wu, describes the brand as a, “happy medium to feel sexy and alluring, but not in a revealing way.” The entire collection of comfortable pajamas are made from 100% real biodegradable silk, and are perfect for anyone working from home! The eco-friendly company was created in an effort to combat the negative effects of fast fashion. Having her items produced using biodegradable fabric is important to Danielle because of the devastatingly large impact the fashion industry has on the planet.
Check out my fave, the Chelsea Silk Button Up Top—tuck it into a pair of black cigarette pants for an instant sophisticated work outfit. These seem like the type of classy pajamas Michelle Obama would wear, and I adore that.
The clothing brand Foundationals designs timeless styles for the modern-day woman. Founded by Philene Tan and Tim Tembrink, the brand likes to focus on creating individual pieces, rather than releasing entire collections. All items are made with low-impact materials and are produced in socially responsible factories. Want to hear something really cool? Foundationals has had their products worn at the Grammys and by fashion-forward celebs like Lucy Hale.
Philene’s favorite item is the Hatch Sweater. It’s breathable, trendy, and pairing it with shorts would make for a perfect breezy beach night fit. Plus, the Hatch Sweater is made from 100% recycled yarn from Spain! I really like that the Foundationals website has a feature for select clothing items called Speed Dating, which depicts their process of a, “speedy analysis breaking down the production, materials, emissions, and water savings of each garment.” That way, you can see just how much good you’re doing before you click Add to cart.