The Shift to Slow Fashion
Sustainable, fair-trade brands have been on the up and up it seems recently, and I’m all for it. When it comes down to living a more ethical life, I’m not an all-or-nothing person. Personally, I’m a big believer that if everyone makes more conscious decisions more regularly, we could easily make a huge impact on our Earth and the well-being of our environment. I’m not a huge fan of the societal expectation that if you identify as something, you cannot ever stray from it or you’re not a “true vegan,” a “true environmental advocate,” a “true” anything. The fact that you’re making strides towards a more sustainable life is extremely important in and of itself; be proud of what you have done, and inspire more people to make conscious decisions to save our planet.
When it comes to sustainable fashion, I’ll be completely honest and admit that I do not make sustainable, ecologically conscious decisions 100% of the time. Yes, there are a handful of sustainable fashion brands out there to choose from (and it’s growing everyday), but they’re a bit on the pricier side (which, of course, is due to fair trade), and they’re more often than not a style that differs from my own. I’ve noticed that many sustainable fashion brands have that earthy, bohemian vibe that is beautiful, but not suitable for the office (like I need). However, I would love to begin purchasing my clothes mindfully and with an ecological, humane approach to the fashion industry. One day, I hope every piece of clothing I own has intentionality and kindness behind their brand labels.
Bead and Reel Network
That’s why I’m so happy to be a part of the Bead and Reel Affiliate Network. Bead and Reel is a mindful living community that has incredible ethics they run their business by in order to make way for a kinder approach to fashion. Their ethics listed include:
Fair Trade practices ensure proper, fair and humane living wages are paid to production in developing countries. I had no idea that when a business commits to operating under “Fair Trade,” they’re committing to 10 different principles: transparency, poverty reduction, no child labor, and gender equality. In order to classify as a Fair Trade business, they must be certified by one of the Fair Trade certification agencies, and these agencies ensure they are abiding by the principles listed.
Now, “artisan made” is essentially the uncertified version of Fair Trade. The process is lengthy and costly, and many small businesses can’t commit to the certification process, but still run under the principles. Bead and Reel ensures that all of their vendors are abiding by the 10 Fair Trade principles, even requiring a contract to be signed in order for affiliation.
Bead and Reel requires that at least one founder is a woman.
Bead and Reel wants to carry clothing that is “neither conventionally for men nor women – it’s for both.”
Bead and Reel commits to giving back each month, and they require their vendors do, too. Vendors must donate a percentage of their profits to a specific cause or charity in order to be an affiliate of the network.
Made in the USA
Products must be made in the USA and must abide by labor laws.
Made to Order
Did you know that over 11 million TONS of garments end up in landfills every year, JUST in America? How many times have you purchased a Forever 21 shirt that fell apart after just one wash? This is part of the problem; customers are buying cheap clothing that aren’t made from great materials, and they end up being tossed into the landfill. Also, big brands also overproduce their unsellable items, wasting a ton of resources for no reason. Made to Order ensures no resources will be wasted.
The brand must be registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).
Cotton takes up a significant portion of the world’s farmlands, and it is often grown with harsh pesticides. Organic crops are not cultivated in this way; instead, they are grown under “environmentally and socially responsible methods.”
Vegan & Plant based
Everything in the shop is vegan, but only some items are plant based (if that makes sense). Plant based items are labeled so that you know which ones are made with healthy, natural fibers.
Recycled & Up-cycled
Bead and Reel asks all items to be created from recycled resources to cut down on the usual resource-intensive practice of the fashion industry. Up-cycled, on the other hand, allows producers to use existing items or textiles and re-purpose them. All items must have one portion that is recycled and one portion that is up-cycled.
They also require one owner within the company is Vegan.
A company with Bead and Reel must commit to having no remaining textile scraps or to using textile scraps to create their product.
So, as you can see, this is a pretty lengthy list of ethics that these brands must abide by in order to be an affiliate of the network. I honestly was so surprised to see just how many brands are in the network; there are so many that are exceptionally mindful, intentional and sustainable.
Alright, let’s get into the brands and what they stand for. Please note that I am a Bead and Reel affiliate, aforementioned. You can use my link to purchase any items seen here, or you can opt not to and Google them apart from my link. Please know that even though I do make a small commission from your purchases, I would support these brands, their missions and their ethics regardless.
This brand is absolutely gorgeous. They sell such classic silhouettes with chic patterns that are so incredibly chic. They have an extremely modern, hyper-sophisticated vibe that is perfect for today’s business babe. And their mission is even more beautiful than their clothing; they work to “bridge cultures through design.” Check out their gorgeous spring collection here.
Their brand values inclusivity and the implementation of an “inclusive supply chain.” Instead of having their own design team, they instead collaborate with passionate designers from different regions to create designs that reflect their own cultural aesthetic and craft. They ensure their business operates under Fair Trade policies, meaning pay living wages and provide benefits like access to health care and overtime pay. Victoria Road sources from ethical suppliers, and they commit to reducing their carbon footprint through using local fabrics, small-batch manufacturing and reused materials.
I also love that they highlight their designers to ensure they are given the credit and recognition they deserve. It just gives me the sense that they sincerely value their designers rather than asking them to create cultural aesthetics without intentionality or recognition.
This brand has gorgeous, earthy pieces that retro and vintage inspired, with focuses on whites and blues for the spring and summer collections. I love their loose fitting shift dresses, which are absolutely perfect for the warmer months with a pair of sandals or wedges.
Their business, of course, abides by Fair Trade policies. They also work to empower artisans all over the world by giving employment opportunities that are ethical and humane. Their mission is to reduce the cycle of poverty through global impact, and they pride themselves as not being considered a charity but instead, a part of a movement for empowering, fair and equal industry practices. Their clothing is designed in New Orleans and produced in India.
For the modest, classic gal, DEVINTO has the sleekest, chicest picks for you. I love their Old Hollywood, classic glamour vibe, and I could see myself purchasing nearly everything in their catalog. They have extremely chic silhouettes, with minimal colors that make for a classic piece. They have a unique vibe from the usual bohemian, airy, bright aesthetic often associated with sustainable fashion. Instead, the DEVINTO is “inspired by ambiguity.”
The website says “the designs portray a sense of dichotomy revealing that elegance can be rebellious, a somber mood can bring a sense of comfort, and simplicity can make a bold statement; thus DEVINTO is at once feminine and empowering, elegant and defiant, while remaining simple and comfortable.” Are you in love yet? Because I am.
They stand by people’s right to express themselves through fashion. However, they say the planet and its inhabitants shouldn’t be at cost when doing so. They use ethically sourced natural fabrics and commit to minimized waste and overproduction.
I love the modern yet traditional vibe Matter has. They are extremely intentional when it comes to choosing prints. They explain the meaning of their patterns to their consumers, detailing their motifs and giving insight and context into the cultures that they have been extracted from. This is actually a huge part of their mission; they source heritage prints and reinterpret them in a modern way. They hope to inspire their consumers by provenance: “to ask where and why something is made, by whom, and expand a community that celebrates heritage.”
Lastly, for today, I’d like to mention Symbology, a brand that reminds me of Anthropologie and a bit of Urban Outfitters. They have such a gorgeous, bright color palette and they’ve created the most flattering, stylish silhouettes with their items! I think their items are so beautiful for everyday wear. I love that their mission is to empower women in developing countries. Of course, they abide by Fair Trade and prioritize the well being of their women.
I’ll be highlighting more companies throughout the rest of this month in celebration of Earth Day. I hope you take the time to check them out. Let me know which brand you’re wanting to order from!
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