5 So-Cool Sustainable Brands You’ll Feel Good About Shopping

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5 So-Cool Sustainable Brands You’ll Feel Good About Shopping
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Photo: Vetta

Here’s a hard truth to swallow: Fashion is the second most wasteful industry in the world, surpassed only by oil. Which is why, when facing down four years with a climate change denier as the head of the Department of Energy, I feel like the least I can do is be a little more conscientious about where my clothes are coming from—you feel me?

MORE: The Under-the-Radar Knitwear Brands You’re About to See Everywhere

A decade ago this would have been a very tall order, as Cara Bartlett, the co-founder and CEO of startup NYC label Vetta well knows. She vowed to stop shopping any clothing she didn’t know the provenance of several years ago, before the sustainable fashion movement had picked up steam and Reformation and Everlane were hanging in everyone’s closets. “Back then, there were no options. It was like, ‘I guess I’m going to the thrift store!’ Transparency was not a thing,” she says.

In almost-2017, the outlook for shoppers is far less bleak (although in the same period of time, our overall consumption of clothing has soared to a pace that textile recycling can’t keep up with). There are brands for all tastes—and at all price points—striving towards a more sustainable system. This can mean ditching toxic dyes, making pieces to order to avoid waste—for this, check out Fame and Partners and YSTR—sourcing organic and recycled fabrics, or even simply designing pieces that are made to last, reducing the likelihood they’ll end up in a landfill after a season or two.

MORE: 7 Brands That Support Women to Know and Shop

Below, get to know more about Vetta and four other labels—some new, some not so new—making green look great again.

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One of the biggest culprits behind the increasing wastefulness of fashion is the ever-accelerating pace—so founder Ashley Denisov is slowing things down with her just-launched label, releasing capsule collections of staple pieces one at a time. The first such collection, 01Wool, focuses on knitwear and supports sustainable farming in Oregon. 

“We want our line to be the go-to pieces you reach for again and again, so I feel they each deserve a story," she explains. "When we release a collection one by one it lets us take the time to be completely transparent about how those products came to be. Customers can become captivated alongside us about the sweater made with wool from a sheep ranch in Oregon, and read more about that process on our website.” The aesthetic is sleek, smart, and streamlined; the sophomore capsule focuses on shirting, while Denisov says she plans to explore using wool for lighter-weight garments come spring.

Sleeveless Hidden Button Up, $98; at One by One

Photo: One by One
One by One
One by One

Sleeveless Turtleneck Sweater, $250; at One by One

Photo: One by One
One by One
One by One

Hidden Button Shirtdress, $192; at One by One

Photo: One by One
One by One
One by One

Diagonal Stitch Crewneck, $250; at One by One

Photo: One by One
One by One
One by One

Side Slit Tank, $65; at One by One

Photo: One by One
Vetta
Vetta

For those tired of the buy-once-wear-once mentality of fast fashion, this NYC-based label has a radical proposition: five pieces, 30 different outfits. Currently on its second capsule collection, Vetta offers a small but diversified selection of garments each season, which can be mixed and matched into a month's worth of combinations.

For fall, this includes a wrap dress-slip dress combo that can be styled together or separately, and closed or open, a matching T-shirt/wide-leg pant combo, which the brand dubs a "Two-Piece Jumpsuit," and a bell-sleeve blouse that can be layered or worn alone. Reformation fans, take heed: the brand is on-trend without being overly of-the-moment, and the price point is right (plus, the founders hope to make it more affordable down the line so it's on par with less eco-conscious options).

The Wrap + Slip Dress, $189; at Vetta

Photo: Vetta
Vetta
Vetta

The Wrap + Slip Dress, $189; at Vetta

Photo: Vetta
Vetta
Vetta

The Two-Piece Jumpsuit, $179; at Vetta

Photo: Vetta
Vetta
Vetta

The Duster, $199; at Vetta

The Bell-Sleeve Dress, $149; at Vetta

Photo: Vetta
Vetta
Vetta

The Bell-Sleeve Blouse, $99; at Vetta

Photo: Vetta
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

I know, I know: what's a 30-year-old company doing on the list, let alone one your 60-something mom is a fan of? Well, hear me out: Eileen Fisher's particular brand of unfussy, loose-fitting elegance has a cult following among young city-dwellers—no doubt catalyzed by Janet Malcolm's profile of the designer in the New Yorker a few years back—and if you're in the market for a cozy sweater or neutral-hued top you'll wear forever, Eileen's your girl. A pioneer in sustainable and ethical fashion, the brand has extensive reading materials available on its site on everything from its efforts to offset its carbon footprint to the public policy groups it works with to advocate for more environmental protection and clean energy legislation.

Lightweight Tencel Twill Notch Collar Jacket, $338; at Eileen Fisher

Photo: Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

Silk and Organic Cotton Linen Ottoman Bateau-Neck Box-Top, $268; at Eileen Fisher

Photo: Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

 Organic Linen Jersey Round Neck Boxy Tee, $118; at Eileen Fisher

Photo: Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

Silk Cashmere Cloud Wide-Neck Box Top, $498; at Eileen Fisher

Photo: Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

Stretch Tencel Fleece Glovelettes, $58; at Eileen Fisher

Photo: Eileen Fisher
Amour Vert
Amour Vert

As its name indicates (Amour Vert means “Green Love” in French), this San Fran brand has some definite tree-hugger roots. But along with a commitment to using environmentally-friendly fabrics like Tencel, certified organic cotton, and recycled polyester, a zero-waste policy, and a tree-planting program in partnership with American Forests, it also just makes some seriously cute clothes. Bookmark this one for easy basics with a twist.

Camila Silk Tie Top, $138; at Amour Vert

Photo: Amour Vert
Amour Vert
Amour Vert

Jilli Pant, $138; at Amour Vert

Photo: Amour Vert
Amour Vert
Amour Vert

Serene Turtleneck Ribbed Dress, $128; at Amour Vert

Photo: Amour Vert
Amour Vert
Amour Vert

Chloe Silk Blouse, $158; at Amour Vert

Photo: Amour Vert
Amour Vert
Amour Vert

Ginger Silk Trapeze Dress, $168; at Amour Vert

Photo: Amour Vert
Kowtow
Kowtow

Ethical, sustainable, and just cool as hell, this New Zealand brand nails the arty, oversized look without appearing to try too hard. One area founder Gosia Piatek does devote serious effort to, however, is fairness—to the farmers who pick the certified-organic cotton used to make the label’s clothing, to the factory workers who manufacture it, and to the environment. The company is Fair Trade and GOTS certified—meaning its supply chain is independently audited for fair wages, working conditions, and environmental impact—and, what’s more, the selection rivals what you’d find at COS.

Case Study Crew, $169; at Kowtow

Photo: Kowtow
Kowtow
Kowtow

Radius Top, $139; at Kowtow

Photo: Kowtow
Kowtow
Kowtow

Postcard Culottes, $199; at Kowtow

Photo: Kowtow
Kowtow
Kowtow

Sunday Jumpsuit, $239; at Kowtow

Photo: Kowtow
Kowtow
Kowtow

Gridlines Scarf, $149; at Kowtow

Photo: Kowtow

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25 Cult-Favorite Beauty
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  • Amour Vert
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  • Kowtow
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