Sustainable fashion is one of the hottest trends in the industry, with Nosto reporting that around 52% of consumers surveyed seek to purchase more eco-friendly items (clothing and accessories) from their favorite fashion companies. There are many reasons why those who value sartorial flair also seek a more sustainable lifestyle. Around 20% of global water waste is currently produced by the fashion industry. Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, in particular, have been more than vocal about their interest in supporting companies that reduce waste and make efforts to lower their carbon footprints. If you are interested in riding on the ethical fashion accessory wave yourself, what are some of the trendiest items you should keep an eye out for?
Vegan Leather Bags, Shoes, And Small Leather Accessories
Just a few companies creating stunning bags and other items in faux leather include Matt & Nat (their backpacks and handbags are 100% cruelty-free), OlsenHaus (which works with various designers to come up with chic items made with vegan materials); and Melie Bianco (this brand makes stunning shopping and tote bags using a profit sharing model. It has been awarded with PETA’s Best Animal-Friendly Accessories award). When shopping for accessories, expand your horizons beyond bags, shoes, and small leather goods like purses. Research to find everything from scarves made with recycled materials right through to upcycled key chains, hats and backpacks.
Until the year 2000, when the Kimberley Process was created to ensure diamonds sold are fairly sourced, ethical and cruelty-free, it was difficult to be sure you weren’t buying a ‘blood diamond’. Thankfully, the practical totality of all diamond retailers in the U.S. and Europe only deal with Kimberley-certified diamonds. Research is also required to find out the extent to which top jewelry firms are ensuring they are supporting ethical practices. For instance, are they able to demonstrate that they do not rely on any child labor, that workers are paid decent conditions, and that mine conditions are safe? Companies will usually have official statements regarding these matters, so don’t be afraid to ask.
In addition to buying sustainable items, it is also important to opt for companies that package their items responsibly. Fashion brand Miakoda, for instance, is firmly focused on design excellence as well as ecology. Its packaging is 100% recycled, which makes the shopping experience environmentally-friendly from start to finish. Other choices when it comes to packaging materials include compostable packaging (made from plant-based or fossil fuel materials that can break down at the end of their life cycle to feed the earth with nutrients), reusable packaging (companies like RePack offer retailers reusable and returnable packaging), and the use of smaller packaging so that less material is required.
Americans are keen to support sustainable companies that work to protect the environment and ensure their suppliers engage in fair and ethical working practices. When shopping, doing a little prior research is vital in order to learn more about which companies create beautiful designs in faux leather and other plant-based materials. Look beyond the item you wish to purchase, ensuring that your chosen brands value sustainable packaging as much as they do eco-friendly goods.