“During the process of launching our company, we learned how much water is wasted in the making of just one pair of jeans,” explains RE/DONE co-founder Sean Barron. To cut down that waste, the Los Angeles-based denim brand, which launched in 2014, repurposes old Levi’s jeans, and reconstructs them into modern fits. “We also learned about the use of very harsh chemicals that are used to industrially wash jeans, which have a horrible impact on the environment. With that knowledge, we felt even more passionate about the product we create and what the RE/DONE brand stands for."
Tibet-based designer Paola Vanzo’s knitwear line of sustainably and ethically sourced baby yak down is harvested by local nomadic yak herders on the Tibetan plateau. “After harvesting the down we mill the fabric in Italy and then design the pieces in Brooklyn,” she explains of her three-part process. Tibetan baby yak down naturally falls off baby yaks as they grow, and is collected by gathering, so there is no shearing or cutting involved. “Sustainability means respecting diverse cultures and ways of life while adding value to local resources and traditions. It’s important to craft products meant to last not for a season, but for generations."
Jacmel & Co
“I advocate trade rather than aid in third-world countries, because I believe that work is the only way to give men and women living in poverty some dignity, and truly empower them,” says Jacmel & Co founder Lucie Cincinatis, who employs local artisans in Haiti to construct her handbag line of calabash gourds, a spiritual fruit in Haitian culture that she has completely re-imagined and turned into a contemporary bag collection. “Our handmade gourds have a story and a soul—they are a direct reflection of my values and my will to make the world a better place—one bag at the time!”
The Way It Should Be
For his eco-friendly evening wear line, Hassan Pierre combines organic materials and vintage high-end fabrics to create fine demi-couture pieces. "Fashion is one of the most pollutant industries,” says Pierre, “So I chose to make ethical materials and sustainable practices the core of my brand. Now I don’t have a guilty conscious about how my business effects the environment."
Founded by Dutch surfers Tim Holland & Robbert Wefers-Bettink in 2014, the Amsterdam-based sunglasses brand produces their line of chic shades from biodegradable acetate so there is no remaining plastic waste. "As avid surfers and sailors we wanted to do something about all of the plastic pollution in the ocean,” says Holland. “Our goal is simple: to turn plastic waste into high quality sunglasses and we invest in research and development to realize our goal."