Fashion stories

10 inspiring women in the world of sustainable fashion and beyond

This blog is about shining a light on 10 inspirational women who are working to make this world a better place through their work in the world of sustainable fashion and beauty.

Inspiring women should be applauded every day of the year (and not just on the 8th of March). The list below might contain a few names you haven’t heard before. Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood deserve all the praise for their role in making the world of fashion more sustainable, but there are lots more women that deserve to be on this list. This is therefore very much a non-exhaustive list

Orsala de Castro

Orsala de Castro

Orsala de Castro is spearheading a global movement calling for change in the fashion industry. After founding Fashion Revolution in 2013, she pioneered a global campaign in response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse and became an internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion.

Joline Jolink

Joline Jolink

After Joline Jolink (the Netherlands) started her own label in 2006, she shows her collections during the Amsterdam Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. In 2008 Jolink is the first Dutch fashion designer to launch her own web-shop, in order to be able to deliver to consumers without intermediaries. The following year she decides to stop giving fashion shows. For her entrepreneurship she received the Marie Claire Prix de la Mode for Best Fashion Entrepreneur. In 2016 Jolink has completely left the traditional fashion world and set up her own system with deliberately limited editions. She lets go of the fashion seasons and brings new designs every month that are available through her own sales channels. She focuses on sustainability. She uses organic cotton, residual stocks and recycled materials. Since there are no surpluses, she also stops having sales. (1)

Kresse Wesling – Elvis & Kresse

Kresse Wesling

Kresse Wesling never set out to be a designer. She’s not trained to cut or make a pattern or sketch. In fact, she can’t even sew. But that hasn’t stopped her from co-creating an accessories label that is redefining the luxury movement and helping create a circular economy based on three sustainable principles: rescue, reclaim and reuse. It’s become the model for sustainable businesses everywhere, relying on a circular economy of raw materials that has enabled it to partner with big business and established luxury brands such as Burberry to help solve fashion’s landfill problem: more than 500,000 tonnes annually in Australia, and 300,000 tonnes in the UK since 2005. They also donate 50% of profits back to charities (2). Have a look at their mission and products here.

Imelda Burke – Content Beauty & Wellbeing

Imelda Burke

Imelda Burke started Content Beauty & Wellbeing after having worked in fashion for 20 years. She felt unsatisfied with what was on offer in terms of natural beauty products and she started Content in 2008. Regarded as London’s leading organic & natural apothecary, CONTENT was founded to provide a home for the new wave of natural and organic beauty. In 2018, CONTENT evolved into a department store for all brands of the future.

Excited by seeking out founders who are creating beautiful things and who are driven by a respect for both planet and people, CONTENT is home to a curated selection of natural and organic beauty brands teamed with an edit of conscious clothing, vintage clothing, recycled and handcrafted jewellery, fair-trade and vegan shoes, books and zero waste living products – making it a destination not just for green beauty fans, but also those seeking to shop their values across categories. They are also known for their original initiatives such as lock-ins, banning the word ‘perfect’ from their product descriptions and offering VAT on sanitary products. Go to their site and have a look.

Aja Barber

Aja Barber

Aja Barber is a writer and fashion consultant with expertise in race, intersectional feminism and fashion, focusing mostly on sustainable and ethical fashion.  She is a strong supporter of intersectional feminism and feels that caring about who make your clothes goes hand in hand with that. She has challenged countless fast fashion brands, eliciting great respect in the industry for her no-nonsense view on the world. You can sign up to her Patreon site to support her work. (3)

Claudia Lanius – Lanius

Claudia Lanius

“It all started with an idea: creating fashion with care of losses, create beauty with a good feeling. That was 1999 and I follow this vision until today.”

Claudia Lanius from Germany has three mantras: Love fashion, think organic and be responsible. These three themes come back in every item of clothing. The designs are unique, feminine and show a great eye for detail. Lanius takes responsibility for people, animals and the environment and uses materials produced according to controlled ecological standards. Out of love and respect for animals, they use neither real fur nor down. And when it comes to wool, Lanius sticks to a strict „no-mulesing“ policy. In terms of responsibility for people, Lanius makes sure that their production sites comply with social and environmental standards which are regularly checked by independent institutions and by them personally. Find her website here.

Laura Way – Votch

Laura Way

Votch is a female-led, cruelty free watch company based in the UK. Votch was founded by Laura, and she runs the company with Rolo, her re-homed pooch. Votch began when a few years back when Laura was struck down with a condition called ‘Topical Steroid Withdrawal’, a condition that made her skin fall off. During the years that it took her to recover, she turned to documentaries and educated herself on various subjects regarding animal welfare, including facts about the leather industry that truly shocked her.

Seeing the suffering that animals endured simply for fashion, and having felt the pain of losing my own skin, I vowed never to wear the skin of another being again”. You can buy Votch by following the link under the picture above or on the site of Know the Origin where you can also find many more sustainable brands.

Livia Firth – Eco-Age

Livia Firth

Livia Firth MBE is co-founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age – the leading consulting and creative agency specialised in integrated sustainability, and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). She is renowned for creating compelling frameworks and campaigns for environmental and social justice with global reach.

 A founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group, she recently presented the findings of The Circle’s Living Wage report to the EU Commission. Livia is a UN Leader of Change and has also been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award and the Rainforest Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability. She is a powerful communicator on progressive change; her keynote addresses include to the World Economic Forum. 

With Eco-Age, Livia also produced the award-winning documentary The True Cost, directed by Andrew Morgan and the mini-series Fashionscapes now available on Amazon Prime. Livia also co-wrote and produced The Green Carpet Fashion Awards 2020 – the first event in the world to be filmed using augmented reality, hologram technology and special effects.  The film is now available on Sky and YouTube’s Fashion Channel. (4)

Tamsin Lejeune – CEO Common Objective

Tamsin Lejeune is one of the pioneers of the sustainable fashion movement.

She founded the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF), an industry movement for sustainable fashion, in 2006 and the SOURCE platform to support this movement in 2011. In 2016 Tamsin joined forces with Harold Tillman and the CO founding team to raise investment and launch CO. Prior to EFF Tamsin ran a fair-trade fashion brand, producing in Bangladesh. (5)

Safia Minney – People Tree

Safia Minney

Safia Minney is the founder of People Tree, author of SLOW FASHION & A slave to Fashion. People Tree was founded in 1991 and the brand partners with social businesses who provide stable employment with fair wages alongside investment in the local community such as funding education, providing medical facilities and raising awareness of the rights of women and girls. One of the partners, Swallows, was set up to support women by providing employment and training opportunities, enabling them to provide for themselves and their families. People Tree operate under Fair Trade standards and their clothing is made using sustainably sourced fabrics. They help keep traditional hand-skills such as weaving and embroidery alive, providing an income for female artisans in rural areas who would otherwise be forced to travel to the city to make a living.

Every product on the site is made to the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish. People Tree gets its inspiration from the Victoria & Albert museum archives of over 1,000 individuals and organisations relating to art, design, performance and the history of the Museum.(6) Read more about Safia and People Tree here.

References and Resources






Fashion stories

‘Cheap sustainable clothing’

When doing some keyword research for my site, I found out that the key words ‘affordable sustainable clothing’ and ‘cheap sustainable clothing’ received on average between 1.000-10.000 monthly searches according to Google (in the US and the UK).

One of the main issues that sustainable brands face is that consumers think their clothes are too expensive. According to the Global Fashion Agenda, 26 percent of business owners surveyed believe that “low consumer willingness to pay a premium for sustainable products” was the greatest barrier to them becoming more sustainable.

True to cost

For those brands that make clothes in a way that protects ‘planet, people and animals’, one of the major challenges is the impression that people pay too much by comparison with fast-fashion items. This feeling is not incorrect: sustainable fashion is more expensive than mainstream fast fashion brands if you’re only going by what you see on the price tag.

There is a reason for this. Fast-fashion does not make you as the consumer pay the real price for your clothes: they make the person that makes your clothes pay by not providing them with a living wage. They make the environment pay by using cheap materials that harm the environment. And in the end, they do you make you pay: cheap, badly made clothes that do not last a long time will cost you more in the long run.


It is a positive thing that brands such as Zara, H&M, Primark and Net a Porter have taken steps into ethical and sustainable fashion.  It brings the ethical questions related to fashion firmly into the mainstream, and allows progress on at least some issues (for example, the use of more sustainable fabrics) However, having a couple of organic cotton items somewhere in your numerous seasonal collections does not make you a sustainable brand!

Photo by Oliver Sju00f6stru00f6m on

Sustainable should not be the most expensive option

What if you want to buy sustainable clothes but you can’t afford it? We are lucky enough to live in an age where secondhand shops and apps like Vinted give sustainable clothing options to those on a tighter budget. But as consumers we should not really need to pay top-prices for sustainable clothes and carry the sole responsibility for a cleaner environment together with slow-fashion brands.

Regulate and legislate

Governments could and should be playing a much larger role in this. The fashion industry needs to be regulated like any other polluting industry.

This is addressed in detail in an article by the Fast Company. France has already taken considerable steps in the right direction under the lead of Brune Poirson, secretary of state in the ministry of “ecological and inclusive transition”. Poirson spearheaded legislation to prevent fashion companies from burning unsold merchandise and drafted a zero-waste law that makes washing machine filters mandatory to stop microplastics from leaching out of clothes and into the water stream.

It is time to start voting with our feet and let policy makers and politicians know that steps should be taken in order to deal with this issue. If you want to get involved, following Fashion Revolution is a great place to start:

Fashion stories

Slow Fashion Starts Now

Photo by Krivec Ales on

Launching my site and Instagram account in September 2020 was a result of my slow fashion journey. That journey didn’t start overnight: it was a process that involved more than a few moments of self-reflection, and learning facts about fast fashion that made it impossible for me to carry on in the same way: shopping for the sake of it.

Shopping was my hobby

I am sure I’m not alone when I admit that shopping was a hobby. In my early thirties I was fortunate enough to have enough time and disposable income to indulge in shopping for the sake of it. Bags, shoes, dresses, shirts, jeans, jumpers, more bags, coats, more shoes. Having kids reduced the amount of time and energy I had to spend on fashion: clothes just had to be practical and easy to clean!

Having come out of the era of very small and messy children, I started to spend more time (and money) on my wardrobe again. Having previously worked in an office, I started working as a stylist from home. Having gone through a period of adapting my wardrobe to my new work-circumstances I started to feel uncomfortable about the renewed rabbit hole of consumerism that I disappearing into again.

Banned from shopping

In 2019 I decided to have a 6-month period in which I wasn’t going to buy any new clothes or shoes. Hard though it was (and believe me, it was hard; it felt like a form of detox), that period gave me a great sense of freedom and clarity; not being on the hunt for the next new item gave me time to reflect my shopping behavior of the past and planted the seed of change.

The shopping-ban more or less coincided with serious attempts to try and to reduce our household waste, buying products from a zero-waste shop (rice, pasta, shampoo, washing detergent) and generally trying to consume less. I was also trying to educate myself more about sustainability, and the more I read about the polluting effects of the fashion industry, the more I really wanted to make efforts there. The knowledge that this industry treats the environment and the people that work for them as disposable and without value really did it for me: this site was born from this feeling of no longer wanting to close my eyes.

One of many voices needed

I know I am not the first to write about this and I hope I won’t be the last. We need a lot more voices out there to really change the way clothes are made, our behavior towards fast fashion and the ever changing ‘trends’ that we are on the receiving end of every season (for example, did you know that H&M and Zara have as much as 14 collections each year? And that their aim is to get you to buy something from each one of them?)

Take stock of your behaviour

If the pandemic has shown me one thing it is how little we really need; most of my work clothes not worn often enough, the only clothes I really needed are presentable tops visible during online meetings. This period is a very good time to take stock and ask yourself some questions: Why do I shop? Do I really need this? Is it a hole that I am trying to fill by shopping? What does it represent?

Other things you can do:

  • Reorganise and tidy up your wardrobe
  • Put together different clothes to make new combinations
  • Repair clothes that need mending
  • Swap clothes with your friends
  • Send to a charity shop what we no longer wear
  • Recycle what can not be mended or reworn (the same H&M have fabric-recycle bins in their shops).

When you are finished and are in need of a few new items, give your support to truly sustainable brands out there that need our help and make sure you buy something that will last you a long time and makes you feel good when wearing it.

Also have a look at #closetmassindex: a great way to gain some insight into exactly how many clothes we actually own. You can count the number of different items you have (tops, trousers, shoes etc), or count new and second-hand clothes or – if you want to be ambitious – count the amount of clothes that are not worn in 6 months.

Fashion stories

Buying sustainable clothes: better for the planet, better for you

When buying sustainable clothes you are helping protect animals and planet. Along with this it is common to talk about protecting people: not only the people making your clothes, but also you as the wearer of the clothes.

Why is this?  Because a plethora of chemicals – many of them rather unpleasant – is used in the production, colouring and finishing of clothes.

Azo dyes are a group of dyes that are often used in the manufacture of clothing. Their advantage is that they are cheap and effective. The huge disadvantage is that they are carcinogenic when they break down. Although these dyes are banned in the EU due to their toxicity, they are still commonly used in fast fashion clothing produced in other parts of the world. Since azo dyes are water-soluble, this makes them easy for your skin to absorb and they can cause skin and eye irritation.

Another example is the chemical formaldehyde, a colorless gas that’s frequently associated with embalming. The chemical helps to keep clothes free of wrinkles, static, or stains, even after multiple washes – which sounds great, but means it stays around for a lot longer.

While inhaling the chemical has been linked to asthma, nausea, and even cancer, wearing clothes with formaldehyde is more commonly associated with dermatitis, as a number of people are allergic to the chemical. Symptoms of dermatitis include rashes, blisters, and itchy, dry skin. 

Your skin is your biggest organ and its large surface area means it absorbs things easily – so wearing clothes with chemicals in it can have some pretty nasty negative side-effects. This is unhealthy for us as adults, but even more so for children. In my next blog I will show you some eco and sustainable kids clothing brands: this way you can protect your children from this nasty side-effect of fast fashion.

What else can you do:

  • Look for clothing that was plant-dyed or clothing that wasn’t dyed at all, often called “undyed”, “unbleached”, or “natural”.
  • Look for GOTS or Oeko-Tex certification on the label, as these organisations prohibit the use of toxic chemicals and dyes in the clothing they certify. Just be sure to check the exact version as the rules may differ.
  • Wash your clothing before its first wear to ensure any excess dye is washed off.
  • Buy from brands that are sourcing and producing in the EU, since most of the chemicals mentioned are forbidden here.

Bottom line: the most sustainable thing you can do is to reduce what you buy, and re-use, rewear and repair what you have. If that is not possible and you need something new, buy from better brands, like the ones in our Brands section.

Fashion stories

What defines a sustainable fashion brand (and why do we need to support them?)

Have you come across stories about the damage that fast fashion brands are doing to people, planet and animals? If you haven’t, you can read more about it in the two short articles I wrote on the topic (The Story that needs to be told: ‘The Failings of the Fast Fashion Industry’ & The Story that needs to be told: ‘The Failings of the Fast Fashion Industry’-II).

If you have, then maybe you already know all the ins-and-outs of why we need truly sustainable brands and why they need our support in return.

Before carrying on, I must say that there is no such thing as an item of clothing which is 100% sustainable: any new item of clothes uses resources. The most sustainable thing you can do is following the philosophy of the 5Rs: Reduce, Re-use, Rewear, Repair, Recycle.

No Nasties

But since we all occasionally need something new that can’t be found, re-used or repaired, we need sustainable fashion brands. How do you know if a brand is sustainable? Can you just check the labels to find out? It is not that simple but with the checklist below and the help of some good online resources, you can get a pretty good idea.

The general idea is that when producing an item of clothing, people, planet and animals (PPA) are protected, unharmed and well-paid and well-treated in the process of making the clothes. When in doubt, check the brands on this site or on Here you can find information on how the brand is scoring on the PPA-scale.

So there are hardly any brands that score 10 out of 10 on the sustainability scale. What you are looking for is at least 5 out of 10 on the checklist below. What you need to be aware of is greenwashing practiced by a lot of mainstream fast fashion brands. Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.

Have a look at the list below and follow the links for some good examples of sustainable brands:

1. Organic, natural, biodegradable fabrics

This can be either organic cotton, hemp, bamboo-rayon, wool (ethically made without mulesing)

People Tree is a good example of a brand where you can find items made from 100% organic cotton or other biodegradable fabrics. Check out there site here.

People Tree

2. Recycled, upcycled or repurposed materials

As soon as material is being re-used, an item becomes more sustainable than when it uses virgin resources. When the material is synthetic there is still the fact that it will not degrade and when you wash it, microplastics will get into our waterways. A way to solve this is to use a Guppy Friend bag.

A great example of the use of repurposed material is the award-winning brand Elvis & Kresse, who make the most gorgeous bags from upcycled firehose. Check our their site here.

Elvis & Kresse

3. Non-toxic dyes

Brands that care about people, planet and animals refrain from using toxic dyes. Rivers in China are coloured in next seasons colours due to the waste water from factories; fish dye and the people working with the dyes have cancer, babies are born with birth defects and lung problems are very prevalent. Look for brands that are specific about the dyes that they use.

4. Zero waste pattern cutting methods

Zero-waste is a design technique that eliminates textile waste at the design stage. It has been estimated that 15% of textiles intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor.

Swedish Stocking is an example of a brand that uses this practice. The sustainable fashion brand produces their up-cycled hose in a zero waste factory that conserves and reuses water, minimizes emissions, and reduces and recycles waste. Swedish Stockings also has a take-back pantyhose recycling program that ensures there isn’t even waste at the end of the lifecycle of their products.

5. Plastic-free packaging

A lot of brands are embracing this practice where they do not use any plastic for their packaging and sending. A good example of a brand which I love that uses no plastic is No Nasties. Their clothes are individually packed in reusable, organic cotton drawstring bags and then shipped in a recycled cardboard box that is self-sealing and doesn’t need any plastic cello tape even.

6. Carbon-neutral production or supply chain

There aren’t many brand that have already achieved this. Some brands reduce their CO2 output, some focus on supply chain efficiency and helping their suppliers to improve their processes and energy efficiency and introduce innovative ones. One example is Ecoalf, a brand that belongs to the #zeronet2030 commitment of the BCorp community. Their objective is to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

7. Use of traditional or community craftsmanship techniques

Traditional hand craft skills and techniques are dying out due to mechanisation. Design, technical input and marketing support through Fair Trade is helping thousands of artisans keep their craft tradition and their communities alive. A great example of brands that use this or sell handcrafted products are People Tree and Kitty Clogs Sweden.

8. Slow-fashion models

Seasonless, timeless pieces and limited collections is one of the defining features of a slow-fashion brand. A great example is Joline Jolink, a Dutch designer that was a pioneer in having a small, season-less collection with limited items and no sale. I personally love her designs, use of colour and timeless pieces.

9. Circular economy models

Circular economy models like rental or closed-loop recycling include design with the end of life of the product in mind: low impact materials selection, timeless and essential design with less materials & number of processes to reduce the impact in the value chain. Quality and durability are kept in mind to maximize the product life cycle. MUD Jeans is a great example. This leading denim brand founded in the Netherlands incorporates a circular business model to produce its popular items. It creates high quality, long lasting pieces designed from eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified organic and recycled cotton. Its ethos encourages customers to wear MUD jeans for as long as possible, and it even provides free repair services within the first year to free shipping areas. You can also rent a pair of jeans and exchange it for a new pair.

10. Vintage/thrifting and buying second hand

This is a phenomenon that really took of in the last couple of years. Apps like Vinted, charity shops and Instagram profiles showing second-hand/vintage looks are booming. This is the most sustainable option in this list. See it as a treasure hunt and let yourself be surprised by what you can find.


Fashion stories, Geen categorie

The Fashion Transparency Index: Asking fashion brands to show their true colours

Every year since 2015 the Fashion Transparency Index is published by This year 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers are ranked according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.

The Index is a tool to trigger and push major brands to be more transparent, and encourage them to disclose more information about their policies, practices and supply chain.

The main topics that are investigated are child labour, employee wages and benefits, worker health and safety, codes of conduct and the Restricted Substances List (RSL).

As can be seen from the topics below on child labour and worker health and safety there is a relatively high level of transparency. There is a relatively high transparency on employee wages and benefits. The areas where improvement is needed is the Restricted Substances List (RSL) and Codes of Conduct.

The objective of getting more transparency is not about who does best, but it is about who discloses the most information. A transparent brand does not means that it is sustainable or ethical. The pursuit of endless growth is in itself unsustainable. But by having transparency it is possible to know what the main problems are for vulnerable people and the environment involved in and affected by the supply chain.

If you want to contribute to this good cause, it is possible to donate by clicking here.

Source: The Fashion Revolution

Fashion stories


Black Friday should really be changed into Give Back Friday or Buy Nothing Day* and be all about not buying anything and giving back instead.

Imported from America in 2013, Black Friday has a reputation as a day of frenzied shopping, with TV crews capturing images of shoppers pushing, grabbing, and even fighting their way to a bargain. It invites people to buy things they really don’t need at prices that should be a clear sign that someone else in the production chain is – one way or another – paying for their bargains.

Since then, the shopping frenzy has increasingly moved online (this is even more the case this year, of course), with around 75% of retailers in the UK participating in Black Friday.

Lockdown boredom

Fashion Revolution reported today that a new study has suggested that in the UK, search engine queries for ‘cheap clothes’ increased by 46.3% between March and June 2020. The first thing we can learn from this finding is that it represents a downturn on financial security during the first wave of the global pandemic. Over-consumption can also be an unfortunate consequence of boredom, This search term suggests that people are not only facing financial hardships, but social ones that are being addressed through so-called ‘retail therapy’. 

These numbers are not good from a sustainability perspective: if you are adhering to the philosophy of the 5 R’s (Reduce-Rewear-Reuse-Repair-Recycle) or just want to make sure you don’t buy more then you really need, than the hysterical overconsumption that this day stands for must leave you feeling quite depressed.

Thankfully there are more and more stores that decide not to participate and give something back instead. Patagonia for example decided to donate 100% of its global retail and online Black Friday profit to grassroots and non-profits working to protect the environment. In doing so it raised $10 million, a figure much higher than expected.

So what can you do instead of Black Friday if you are a business or store owner:

  • Use the day to make a statement about not participating (and explain why)
  • Use the day to promote a charitable cause.
  • Provide discounts, but use some or all of the profits to support chosen charities.
  • Use the event to donate appropriate items to those in need.

And what if you are a consumer? You can support business owners that do not promote Black Friday and help them in promoting their charitable causes.

Let’s make that change together!

* British fashion designer, Christopher Raeburn, closed both his store in East London, and the e-commerce section of his website. Using the hashtag #BuyNothingDay, the designer released the following statement on Twitter: “We simply cannot continue to consume the way we do. We need to start making considered choices; buying less but better. We’re therefore encouraging you to think twice before you make a purchase today. Even small steps will help and it’s important we all work together.”


Fashion stories

The dirt on your denim

Photo by Mica Asato on

Who doesn’t love jeans? Chances are you probably own more than one pair. Would you love them as much if you knew what damage they caused before landing in your shopping bag?

Levi’s conducted a study into the environmental impact of making a pair of their famous 501s. The results? Producing just one pair of jeans requires almost 3500 liters of water and 400 mega joules of energy, and emits 32 kilograms of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent to running a garden hose for 106 minutes, driving 125 kilometers and powering a computer for 556 hours. 

What makes the process of making jeans so poisonous to people and planet? One of the most popular types of jeans today is the distressed one. To get that look, denim is subjected to several chemical-intensive washes. Campaigners from Greenpeace tested the outflows near dyeing and finishing facilities in the top denim producing towns in Asia and found five heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and copper) in 17 out of 21 water and sediment samples taken from Xintang, near a production site. Campaigners in China also discovered heavy metals  in the rivers, including manganese, associated with brain damage.

Luckily, today there are alternatives available. Us consumers can vote with our wallet and no longer buy from shops that do not source or produce sustainable jeans.

A Spanish sustainability & innovation company called Jeanologia has been working on more sustainable ways of making jeans since 2003 and has developed several new techniques. Today, laser technology can give a pair of jeans a worn look instead of sandblasting or hand sanding which can be lethal or detrimental to workers and the environment. They use a special ozone treatment to fade down the color of a jean instead of using chemicals like bleach and others . In 2011, they unveiled a technology that uses air (nanobubbles) instead of water to dye jeans and give them properties like softness and resistance to wrinkles. The company is expanding, working on the technology for knits, wool, cottons and blends.

If you want to choose a sustainable pair of jeans next time you need one, here’s a list of cool brands:

Sustainable denim brands

People Tree denim comes in a non-stretch 100% organic cotton- plus, a GOTS certified supplier has been used to ensure the dyeing and washing is done in a sustainable way.

MUD jeans is a “circular” denim brand – recycling and upcycling are important aspects of its business model. Most MUD jeans are made from “post-consumer” pieces that – instead of going to waste — have been repurposed to make new pairs. In the last three years, the brand says it has saved 300 million litres of water, avoided 700,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide and saved approximately 12,000 pairs of jeans from landfill and incineration. They also have a lease-a-jeans programme that might be interesting for you if you like to change your look every year.

Levi’s has embarked on a series of collaborations and initiatives linked to sustainability – including its most recent Wellthread collection. It is the company’s most eco-friendly capsule to date, and is modelled on four main principles: materials, people, environment and process. “It puts a premium on less water, fewer chemicals, 100 per cent recyclability and fair labour,” says the brand. Levi’s ongoing Water<Less initiative includes over 20 water-reducing techniques which, according to a 2019 report by the company, meant that 3 billion litres of water was saved, and a further 1.5 billion litres recycled.

Kings of Indigo uses natural fibers such as organic cotton, linen and hemp. With every collection, they explore new innovations to shift our focus to recycled and man-made fibers such as recycled polyester, recycled wool, TENCEL™. They work with the Environmental Impact Measuring System (EIM) and in all of their laundries, the water is cleaned and purified before being put back into natural water flows. They also have advanced policies in place on the social side, for transport and waste.

Nudie Jeans gets a ‘Great’ rating on the Good On You app. This Swedish company cherishes the well-worn and mended jeans. Jeans that become a part of ourselves when worn a long time – a second skin. A pair of dry denim jeans is the materialized version of their values: No extra treatment or washes. Made with 100% organic cotton. They also recylce used Nudie jeans and turn them into new ones.


Kings of Indigo uses natural fibers such as organic cotton, linen and hemp. With every collection, they explore new innovations to shift our focus to recycled and man-made fibers such as recycled polyester, recycled wool, TENCEL™. They work with the Environmental Impact Measuring System (EIM) and in all of their laundries, the water is cleaned and purified before being put back into natural water flows. They also have advanced policies in place on the social side, for transport and waste.

Fashion stories

The Fashion Revolution Report

Out of Sight: A call for transparency from field to fabric

Fashion Revolution is an organisation that inlcudes people from all around the world who make the fashion industry work. They are designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers and fashion lovers. Fashion Revolution strives for a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.

Their aims are:

  • An end to human and environmental exploitation in the global fashion industry
  • Safe, dignified working conditions and living wages for all people in the supply chain
  • Redistributed and more equal balance of power across the global fashion industry
  • A bigger and stronger labour movement in the global fashion industry
  • A global fashion industry that works to conserve precious resources and regenerate ecosystems
  • A culture of transparency and accountability across the value chain
  • An end to throwaway culture and shift to a system where materials are used for much longer and nothing goes to waste
  • Heritage, craftsmanship and local wisdoms are recognised and valued

In support of the Tamil Nadu Declaration and Framework of Action, Fashion Revolution has conducted new research into the supply chain transparency efforts of 62 major fashion brands and retailers. The report explores why greater transparency in the supply chain is needed to help put an end to exploitative working conditions in the places where fabrics and yarns are made. 

The main conclusions can be seen below.

What can you do?

You can share the report or send it to your favorite brand and ask them to sign the declaration. You can simply share this post in an Instagram story and tag your favorite brand.

If you want to contribute to this good cause, it is possible to donate by clicking here.

Source: The Fashion Revolution

Fashion stories, Geen categorie

Is your activewear safe & sustainable?

Planet Warrior sports bra made from recycled plastic

Planet Warrior pieces are a great and safe alternative to exercise in

Have you ever thought about the origins of your activewear? This is the moment to take a closer look. Your yoga trousers or HIIT outfit are most likely made of synthetic fibers that may be comfortable to wear but which conceal some less comfortable truths. Synthetic fibers such as polyester, spandex, acrylic or nylon are derived from oil, a non-renewable resource and so they consume a great deal of energy. Hazardous chemicals are also required in the manufacturing process. On top of this, ‘micro-plastics’ that are inherent to synthetic fibers are released into waterways and oceans where they are digested by aquatic organisms with potentially toxic results. Studies indicate that these particles can travel back through the food chain, eventually ending up on our plates.

Alternative fibers

The future for our exercise outfits are alternative fibers. Tencel, like polyester, is man-made but from renewable cellulose. It is super gentle to the skin, breathable and thanks to its high water absorption, prevents bacterial growth and thus bad odor. 

PeopleTree sells activewear made out of organic cotton with a bit of elastane

In Europe, hemp is slowly coming back. Hemp is extremely robust, grows fast and has great moisture absorption abilities. Vivienne Westwood is a fan. And historically, all sportswear was done from wool and also this is slowly making a comeback. 

The question is how to replace the stretchy fibers which do not recycle well but are sort of essential when working out? A kinder fiber today is Sorona stretch; it is partly derived from corn, a renewable source, though it still contains polyester. In swimwear, Econyl is a new nylon fiber made from recycled fishnets that can be regenerated over and over again without any loss of quality. 

Bamboo is another great alternative fiber that grows naturally and super-fast, with yields of up to 10 x higher than cotton without the need for pesticides. BAM Bamboo Clothing makes colorful and comfortable outerwear made from sustainably sourced bamboo. They’ve launched their AW2020 collection and the colours are great! Another great brand is Planet Warrior: they use recycled plastic in their items.

People Tree offers alternatives made from organic cotton which are also a great option if you want to play it safe and save the planet whilst working out.

BAM High Waist 7/8 Enduro Bamboo Leggings Winter Sunset
BAM Enduro Deep Waistband
BAM High Waist 7/8 Enduro Bamboo Leggings Edging

Activewear is often treated with extras as “anti-microbial” or “water-repellent” coatings. These often involve hazardous substances, so it is important to look for safer alternatives.

The websites of the brands that you buy should show you if they are part of the  Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative and  if its chemistry is GreenScreen certified

As a consumer, you can push the brands that you like for answers on how their products are made. For more sustainable active wear, look here.