One of the reasons that Katie and I are so passionate about vintage clothing is that it is an ethical choice in the overproduced fashion industry today. We both consciously try to buy basics from transparent companies that are making an effort to produce their products with ethical considerations for people and the planet.
Pact has a great collection of basics made without dyes and pesticides and they use no sweatshops and no child labor. They mention on their site that conventional cotton uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides and that approximately 20% of industrial water pollution in the world comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles. If you need leggings, underwear, or simple tops, they are a great company to support!
Zady is a website we also really love! It has a great collection of separates and some fabulous day dresses that are all very well made of sustainable fibers. The other thing we like is that they have a very specific mission statement and a list of new standards that the entire fashion industry should adopt. If you are new to learning about ethical fashion, you can visit their new standards page and learn about why we need to be more aware of what and how much we are buying when we shop. They recommend, for example, that you buy vintage cashmere or alpaca instead of new cashmere. You can read about cashmere on their site.
Kowtow is a fashion forward ethical brand that focuses on organic fair trade clothing. Kowtow only uses 100% fair trade certified cotton and they also have a detailed description of what adhering to fair trade practices covers, including: a sustainable livelihood for cotton producers, funding projects that benefit the community (business and agricultural training, drilling bore holes for clean water, building schools and clinics), developing long-term relationships with buyers, democratically run farms with respect for the rights of farmers and farm workers, and sustainable agriculture with a goal of environmental protection.
Ethica is a shopping site that curates ethically made fashion and we love their selections. Their prices are affordable and they encourage shoppers to learn about what they are buying on their own and not rely on blanket statements from companies. They have ethical standards that include; made in the USA, sustainable, trade not aid, handcrafted, and/or vegan. Each standard has a philosophy statement - which is great to see. We love the way they distinguish charity from the goals of ethical fashion commerce - "the goal of commerce in the context of ethical fashion is more long-term: to create sustainable employment opportunities that can permanently lift people out of poverty. The brands listed under our Trade Not Aid category employ artisans and workers in developing countries in fair-practice settings, aiming to nurture a demand for their skills and empower their communities to prosper."
Livia Firth at BAFTA Night London Fashion Week September 2016
There are many other great sites that have wonderful, fashionably chic clothing to wear to work or to play. Eileen Fischer is doing a lot of great work with her Green Eileen program. They are focusing on the life cycle of their garments, allowing customers to both sell and buy their loved pieces of Eileen's past collections. Stella McCartney, of course, is a prominent name in the ethical fashion world if you have a larger budget. Of course, there are the celebrities like Livia Firth (Collin Firth's wife), with her "green carpet challenge" and Emma Watson, who is creating a line for Zady, who are trailblazers for bringing awareness to the importance of buying sustainable clothing.
Zady's Emma Watson inspired Cable Knit Sweater
But when it comes to more formal clothing, the choices are limited and/or unaffordable. That's where we come in! Not only are vintage designer pieces better made than many of today's, they are not adding to the carbon footprint. If you buy less but buy well, you can build a wardrobe of sustainable pieces that are super stylish, timeless and made to last. Here are some ethical, sustainable choices for your next party or soiree!
Luxurious Vintage Velvets!
Fanciful Florals and Prints that pop!
Shimmer and Shine!
Winter White Splendor!
So, this year, as you enter party season, (which we hope is all year long), we hope you will consider shining brightly in vintage fashion! Whether you choose our vintage Michael Novarese gold ballgown that reportedly once belonged to Audrey Hepburn, or our simple silver metallic 1960's space age sheath dress, it will be the most ethical choice and definitely the most original one! After all, you deserve to sparkle!