Eco-Labels Showing Us How It’s Done (Part IV of IV)
In the run-up to Earth Day, we asked Joshua Katcher—founder of TheDiscerningBrute.com, “a resource for ethically handsome men”—to give us twenty hot eco-names to watch. Here, the fourth and final installment…
Giving a crap about animals, people and the environment doesn’t have to mean compromising style—anymore. These days it means blending style, substance and sophistication. But while heritage luxury brands are scrambling to become sustainable (or at least greenwash their marketing enough to convince people that leather and cashmere could ever be sustainable), it’s important to point out the start-up clothing lines currently using organic cotton, fair labor and recycled industrial waste.
The fashion industry impacts the environment, people and animals in such incalculable ways that it deserves the utmost attention. It takes visionary designers to create sought-after pieces and relentless businesspeople to demand materials and processes that not only avoid harming people, animals and the planet, but that raise awareness and benefit all individuals involved in the life cycle of the product. Ironically, the rebels and subcultures invoked by so many mainstream lines result in some of the most damaging environmental and social problems, yet going against the grain is no easy task. That’s why these designers are the true rebels…
Where would eco-fashion be without Stella? Organic cotton knits and coats, biodegradable faux-suede shoes and boots, to-die-for vegan bags that no cow, snake or crocs had to die for. With an unshakable reputation for combining style and ethics, Stella McCartney may be the biggest name bringing animals rights to the industry. Her star-studded, jam-packed runways and flawless, compassionate pieces make her brand a tried-and-true role model and beacon of light to other designers who want more than business as usual. In more recent seasons, Stella has been incorporating more and more organic cotton and innovative eco-fabrics.
The sustainable, zero-waste, fair-trade, recycled and recyclable-plastic shoe company known for its cutting-edge designs might make you feel like a kid in a candy store. The colors, the shapes, and even the smell of these shoes recall the innocence and purity of youth. Collaborations with fashion superstars like Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier and a mission with heart ensures that Melissa is here to stay. The men’s line, M:ZERO, will debut this fall with oxfords, derbies, loafers and driving shoes.
When champion skateboarder and owner of Sole Technologies (Etnies, Emerica, etc) Pierre Andre Senizergues set out to do a sustainable menswear line, he knew he’d have to take some risks. He teamed up with designer Pierluigi Pucci to make fantastic blazers from recycled parachutes lined with organic cotton or other people’s defect T-shirts; coats from recycled tarps insulated with recycled soda-bottle-poly-filler; badass biker jackets and military-influenced trench coats from a rubbery, plant-based “leather” from indigenous Amazonian communities; and bow-ties from recycled tees. When I personally went and met Pierre and Pierluigi and tried everything on, I became a true believer. As if that wasn’t enough, after producing The 11th Hour with Leonardo DiCaprio and needing a tux to walk the red carpet, Pierre made one out of recycled cassette tapes.
Reinventing a staple as classic as a pair of jeans is no easy task, yet Trousers London has become a denim connoisseur’s dream. Constructed by the genius of architects, designers and social-media experts, the Italian-crafted line started in 2008 using exclusively 100% raw organic denim. These jeans come in nine styles with more on the way. They are built to last, challenging the appetite for disposable clothing.
Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn started Loomstate in 2004 in order to create a larger demand for organic cotton and socially and environmentally responsible labor and production. Classically American, the line gets its inspiration from nature, the oceans, forests, deserts and all the critters crawling, swimming and soaring between them. What’s amazing about Loomstate is that they were the first to make organic cotton both affordable—doing a line for Target—and luxe, partnering with Barneys New York to make exclusive “Barney’s Green” garments.