11 Brands Taking on Fashion’s Green Challenge

11 Brands Taking on Fashion's Green Challenge

A Chanel show is always an unforgettable experience. But when the couturier transformed Paris’s Grand Palais into an actual forest, chopping down fully grown trees to serve as set pieces for its fall 2018 show, environmentalists were outraged. Chanel clarified that upon purchasing the oaks and poplars, it had agreed to plant 100 new ones in their place. But the dustup was a reminder that when it comes to doing better by our planet, fashion is on the hook.

The industry is the second-most-polluting enterprise, after the fossil-fuel sector. There’s the water waste from manufacturing, the pesticides and toxic dyes that contaminate our rivers, and the 85 percent of discarded clothing that ends up in landfills. All this in the midst of a climate-change crisis that many lawmakers refuse to even acknowledge. The U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, and at the end of this month, the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires, putting our national parks in jeopardy. So it’s incumbent upon designers to step into the void and self-regulate.

Going green isn’t just good for the planet: It’s good for business. Seventy-three percent of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, according to a Nielsen poll. And while companies like Patagonia have been touting their eco cred for years, now high-end fashion houses are going all in on the cause. Both LVMH and Kering have executive teams dedicated to overseeing best practices for their umbrella of luxury brands.

Designers are also using alternate resources to craft their pieces. Activewear label Athleta currently makes 40 percent of its line with sustainable materials. The Italian brand Pinko is working with the online platform Treedom to plant its own forest of about 10,000 trees in Kenya and is producing organic cotton T-shirts to support the cause. Beyond merch, brands are becoming ambassadors for awareness. In June, Gucci launched Equilibrium, a site that takes you through each step in its 10-year sustainability plan. And Nike, H&M, Gap, and Burberry joined Stella McCartney in the Make Fashion Circular initiative, which targets pollution from manufacturing and clothing waste.

Meanwhile, for young designers, there’s no going back. For them, being green from the get-go is nonnegotiable. The following 11 labels are leading the industry’s efforts to cut down on waste.

1. Maggie Marilyn

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Barely into her twenties, this New Zealand–based talent nabbed a spot on the LVMH Prize shortlist thanks to her fearless ability to toy with volume and color. What’s not been so widely reported: her commitment to lessening her environmental impact by incorporating natural dyes, ethically produced silks, and polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

2. Ksenia Schnaider

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

It may be trendy, but your run-of-the-mill faux fur frequently wreaks more environ- mental havoc than the real thing due to its reliance on acrylic fibers (which are made from nonrenewable petroleum). Enter Kiev-based husband-and-wife duo Anton and Ksenia Schnaider, whose upcycled and shredded “denim fur”—they have a designated “picker” who scours local markets for previously loved denim—gives shearling a run for its money.

3. Mara Hoffman

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Three years ago, Mara Hoffman made a commitment to sustainability, sourcing fabrics such as Econyl, which is made from recycled fishing nets, for her swimwear. While Hoffman’s use of renewable fabrics now spans her entire collection, she has also partnered with organizations such as Nest to monitor worker conditions and wages.

4. Eileen Fisher

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Yes, your mother’s go-to for minimalist separates has long been a champion of sustainability. Fisher spent the past year upcycling pre-loved sweaters into artwork, which will be sold at her new Brooklyn store, opening this month.

5. Salvatore Ferragamo11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

It’s been 80 years since Salvatore Ferragamo fashioned rainbow platforms for JudyGarland. Updating the iconic originals: the limited-edition Rainbow Future sandals inorganic crocheted cotton, housed in 100percent recycled, biodegradable packaging.

6. Triarchy

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Canadian-born siblings Adam, Ania, and Mark Taubenfligel took home this year’sH&M Sustainability Award for their groundbreaking denim-manufacturing technology, which uses 85 percent less water than traditional techniques.

7. Chopard

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Its A-list devotees are red-carpet stalwarts, so who better than Swiss fine-jewelry house Chopard to put sustainability in the spot-light? The brand issued a Green Carpet challenge to Julianne Moore, who worked with designers to create an ethically mined Paraíba tourmaline and diamond necklace, which she debuted at Cannes.

8. Loro Piana11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

The Italian giant’s “baby cashmere” comes from goats that are combed while they’re still under a year old. (It takes 19 “kids” to make a full sweater.) Loro Piana’s focus on selectively breeding only the goats with the most high-quality hair means smaller
herds, helping to safeguard the Mongolian ecosystem the animals inhabit, which has been harmed by overdevelopment by the cashmere industry.

9. Marie-Ève Lecavalier

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

Lecavalier charmed the judges of this year’s Hyères Festival—a panel that included Tilda Swinton—with her ’70s-inspired collection of psychedelic knits and flared denim. The looks, which netted her the Chloé Prize, were all created with recycled and upcycled materials.

10. Gabriela Hearst

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of designer

From the beginning, Hearst has been a champion of sustainable luxury, going so far as to source merino wool from her own sheep on her Uruguay ranch. This season, Hearst enlisted the women of Manos delUruguay to hand-knit gaucho-style ponchos, and she began using biodegradable Tipa Corp packaging, which degrades in 180 days.

11. Genusee Eyewear

11 Brands Taking on Fashion\'s Green Challenge

Courtesy of the designer

 

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