I honestly can’t believe it, but the season of fall is upon us. The year 2020 seems to be both the fastest and slowest ever, and while saying goodbye to summer is a bittersweet farewell, a new season with fresh weather forecasts means an excuse to update your wardrobe…right?
In July, I wrote a list of five sustainable, eco-friendly brands that would satisfy your fashion needs for the summer. Keeping up with the trend, the following six fashion brands are sustainable, eco-friendly, and the perfect picks to find pieces that will help your closet effortlessly transition from summer to fall. If you see a few repeats from last season’s curated list, well, that’s just because we at Zoe Elle love them that much!
Rachel Faller considers herself the co-creator of tonlé, a zero-waste clothing, accessory, and homeware brand. While she is technically the owner of the business, she feels that “there are a lot of people who have contributed to tonlé’s success, and are founders [themselves] in many ways as well.” That community-focused thinking, along with the values of inclusivity, honesty, and reciprocity, is woven into tonlé’s background and philosophy.
Equipped with a BFA in Fiber and Textiles, Rachel moved to Cambodia in 2008 and was inspired after working with craftspeople. She wanted to see if she could create a business where everyone involved is supported, not only with fair wages, but also with joy and creativity. The Jorani Sweatshirt with Appliqué is giving me cool-girl-at-an-art-museum vibes, and I am living. Pair it with dark wash jeans for a more laidback look, or the coordinating Jorani Skirt to be named Best Dressed at Zoom Friendsgiving.
2. Tribe Alive
Tribe Alive’s brand motto is “About Women.” After seeing how the fast fashion market left women in poverty globally, Carly Burson, Founder and CEO of Tribe Alive, started the brand to “employ women and give them safe and meaningful work environments, so that they and their families can have access to education and healthcare.” Tribe Alive promises minimalist designs made out of high quality, eco-friendly materials, and is a Certified B Corporation and Fair Trade Federation Member. The brand sells apparel, accessories, gifts, and home products.
The Cleo Dress in Olive Khadi makes the perfect fall outfit. The olive green color is an autumn staple, and you can dress it up with heels or tan boots, or down with white sneakers. The organic cotton is comfortable and lightweight for days inside, and you can slip on some tights for chillier days out. Plus, doesn’t it just make you want to frolic in a picturesque flower field?
Before forming the clothing company Foundationals, co-founder Philene Tam was interested in fashion, and already had some experience with a t-shirt label she’d had in high school. She then joined forces with the other co-founder Tim Tembrink, who had an interest in the sustainability and ethics of the fashion industry. Philene is originally from Malaysia, and saw there that the violation of labor rights, especially in fashion, really affected women. Because of this, she says, “as someone who deeply cares about ethical working conditions, especially affecting women, … I think it was important that I started something that had a meaningful impact instead of creating a detrimental cycle of not hiring ethical labor.”
Ethical practices, a lighthearted approach to sustainability, and high quality low-impact materials are what you can expect from Foundationals. I highly recommend the Hatch Sweater in Candy, because as the great philosopher SpongeBob SquarePants once said: The best time to wear a striped sweater is all the time. Also, hello, fall is the official commencement of sweater weather—I’m pretty sure it’s a law. The soft, oversized Hatch Sweater over a pair of light wash 90s boyfriend jeans will be the ultimate “pumpkin carving” (A.K.A. Instagram photo op) outfit.
Hannah Daykin and Annabel Humphrey, co-founders of the sustainable swimwear label Pursuit, met while studying fashion buying management at The University of Westminster, London, in 2012. Sustainability wasn’t a hot topic at the time, but around their final year of university, Hannah and Annabel started learning about the ways fashion can negatively affect the planet. Annabel tells us that, while working in the fashion industry a year later, they “found that the eco-swimwear market was very minimalist, [and] there was nothing that really stood out to them,” so they decided to create their own sustainable swimwear brand that “doesn’t sacrifice style for sustainability.”
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that still has warm weather around this time of year, you can rock the Reversible Low-Key Top and Reversible Sky-High Brief Bottom duo while social distancing at the beach or the pool. However, if you live on the east coast where the weather is already dipping below 60 degrees, you can sport the Reversible Low-Key Top as a bralette, or wear The Strike Suit as a bodysuit with black denim jeans or army green paperbag pants. We love versatility!
Softwear sells ethical and sustainable unisex athleisure wear, and the fabric is—you guessed it—soft. Every clothing item comes in a variety of colors, and Softwear founder Sabrina Zohar does custom tie-dyes, dune dyes, and bleach outs by hand! You can learn more about Softwear and its inspiring origin story by reading about Zoe Elle’s interview with Sabrina here! Fun fact: A new collection launches Oct. 21, so keep an eye on the website for what’s coming up next.
Technically Softwear’s entire line is fall wardrobe-worthy. When it comes to enduring cool fall weather, curling up with hot chocolate (or coffee) and a good book (or movie) while wearing something soft and comfy is really all you need. But, because I care, I would still like to first recommend the Women’s Pullover in Dusty Rose, because it’s pretty. You can pair it with the Men’s Joggers in Dune, because the pockets are deep and Sabrina says the Softwear Men’s Joggers are her favorite. If you’d like to dress up the look, switch out the dusty rose pullover for the Women’s Pullover in Dune, and accessorize the monochrome outfit with black sunglasses, gold hoops, black heels, glossy lips, and a simple ponytail. Suddenly you’re a model off-duty.
The eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethically-made clothing company Miakoda (pronounced ME-A-CO-DA) is co-owned by sisters Julia Ahrens and Laura Ahrens—Julia is the designer, and Laura is the inspirationalist. Both sisters are dedicated to sustainability, and it shows in how Miakoda operates. The brand never uses animal fibers or synthetic materials, and exclusively uses plant-based materials with a bit of spandex for comfort. The products are all made in New York, shipped out using 100% recycled packing materials, and Miakoda even reuses its fabric scraps. You can read more about Miakoda in this article!
When I saw The Long Hoodie Cardigan in grey on the Miakoda website, I think I fell in love. It’s the perfect fall accessory to throw on over any outfit, or even just shuffle around in while waiting for your next online meeting. You could style it with a nice bralette and high-waisted pants. Or, slip into The Slouchy Pant and rest assured that no one else is as happy with their current attire as you are. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, The Headband will level up any crewneck-and-leggings combo.