The Block

Insights — 12 months ago

13 Sustainable Fashion Brands You Should Know in 2020

The best sustainable fashion brands that should be on your radar for 2020. 

 

As the year (and decade!) comes to a close, we’re thinking ahead to what’s got us excited for 2020. We’ve already put our heads together for our T-shirts brands to know in 2020 roundup, and now we turn our attention to our other passion: sustainable brands. 

 

Over the past couple of years, sustainable fashion has hit the mainstream. Better awareness of the waste of the fashion industry, coupled with the urgent threat of climate catastrophe, have catapulted sustainability from niche consideration to buzzword. At runways now, show notes are dotted with references to sustainable practice, with some brands even making the shift to carbon-neutral shows. Even the biggest fashion brands are now at least paying lip service to making fashion sustainable. Whether that’s Prada’s pledge to convert to using only recycled nylon by 2021, or luxury conglomerate Kering launching its Materials Innovation Lab; a reference library of over 3000 sustainable fabrics.

 

But who’s on our list? As always, we’re most excited by emerging, independent designers. The people really experimenting and pushing boundaries, who’ve put sustainability right at the heart of what they do from the outset. On our roundup, you’ll find everything from hybrid shoes, to reclaimed tartan, with some favourites we’ve spotlighted before, but who continue to break the mould, thrown in for good measure.

Words
Everpress Team
Share
best sustainable fashion brands_2
Image courtesy of Occhii (occhiinyc), Draped Tunic photographed by Olga Ush (@olgaush.jpg)

Duran Lantik

Amsterdam-based Duran Lantik is helping redefine sustainable fashion, tackling everything from its aesthetic through to the way the industry operates. He’s quickly gained acclaim for his unique spliced creations (including Janelle Monáe’s infamous ‘vagina pants’), which he creates by jigsawing different pieces of deadstock garments together. This past October, he worked with the London concept store Browns to create a capsule collection of one-off pieces made entirely from their surplus stock, as part of their new Be Conscious initiative.

Collina Strada

Defining itself not as a fashion brand, but as a “platform for social issues and awareness” New York’s Collina Strada puts sustainability at the very heart of what it does. Helmed by designer Hillary Taymour, the brand’s runway shows exemplify this ethos. Previous outings have seen readings by indigenous environmental activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and the brand pledging a list of eco commitments that includes using 75% deadstock fabrics, switching to biodegradable packaging and keeping manufacturing within the U.S.

Collina Strada, photographed by @stevenyatsko

Le Kilt

Made to order by small-scale manufacturers from all over the U.K, Le Kilt pieces combine denim and cashmere offcuts with classic Scottish tartan. Taking an offbeat approach to the fashion industry, in the past they’ve eschewed presenting a collection during London Fashion Week in favour of a putting gallery show during London Craft Week, and they’ve run mending workshops to help people extend the lifespan of their clothes too.

Le Kilt AW17, photographed by Bryony Wright

GmbH

This maverick Berlin duo first came onto our radar back in 2017, for clothes that were influenced as much by clubwear as the designers’ respective heritages. Right from their inception sustainability has been second nature to GmbH; their collections are created from the deadstock of high-end factories and upcycled lower-end brands like Helly Hanson. Since their 2016 launch, they’ve gone from strength to strength, earning a spot on last year’s prestigious LVMH Prize shortlist.

Rombaut

The phrase ‘vegan shoes’ probably doesn’t conjure up images of one of the coolest footwear labels around, but Mats Rombaut’s eponymous brand is proving otherwise. Produced in Portugal, his shoes are created from a medley of unlikely materials including natural fibres (like potato starch), cotton canvas, Piñatex and laser cut wood. His tongue in cheek lettuce sliders and cowboy boots have found fans in Lil Nas X, Tommy Cash, Bella Hadid and cult icon Paz de la Huerta.

ROMBAUT campaign, photographed by Romain Roucoules

Bethany Williams

Bethany Williams first caught our attention back in 2018, and in the short time since she’s been collecting accolades. As well as being part of the prestigious NEWGEN line up, she was announced as an LVMH Prize finalist in March, and won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in February too. What separates Williams from many of her sustainably minded peers is her focus on community; each collection so far has seen her collaborate with a charity, from Vauxhall Food Bank, to the homeless charity Spires.

Bethany Williams SS20, photographed by Sophie Jones

Zero Waste Daniel

Not exactly a new figure to sustainable design, zero waste daniel has been around since appearing on nbc’s reality show Fashion Star back in 2013. Still, the New York designer earns his place on our lineup as an earlier adopter who isn’t afraid to keep innovating. As well as running his brand for four years now, last December he partnered with Google Pixelbook to relaunch his Brooklyn make/shop as a forward-thinking retail space, and he collaborated on his last New York Fashion Week show with the New York Department of Sanitation too.

Zero Waste Daniel, photographed by Maeghan Donohue

Rahemur Rahman

Rahemur Rahman’s vision of sustainability reaches through every aspect of production; from the dyes used on his fabrics to the rights of the workers in the factories that produce his clothes. For the British-Bangladeshi’s SS20 menswear collection, ‘For The People Who Dream in Colour,’ this embrace of sustainability met a radical rethinking of masculinity too. He even worked with the Tower Hamlets charity Streets of Growth to create the set for his show from upcycled furniture. 

Rahemur Rahman SS19, photographed by Nilik Khimani

OCCHII

Since Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements reign a couple of years ago, the Babushka aesthetic has entered the mainstream. With a list of unlikely adopters (ASAP Rocky and Frank Ocean to name a few) and bigger brands like Gucci jumping on the bandwagon too, this is a trend with plenty of mileage yet. New York label OCCHII is proving it can be sustainable too, with its range of blouses, jackets and shirts made from old Russian scarves salvaged from design duo Ilona Davidoff and Leonid Batekhin. 

OCCHII, photographed by Kévin Drelon

Richard Malone

Since Richard Malone’s London Fashion Week debut back in 2017, the Irish-born, London-based designer has been pioneering, working with an impressive reel of eco materials in the space of just a few years. He’s used everything from the nylon substitute Econyl (as seen on our innovations in eco friendly clothing roundup) to recycled tarpaulin taken from the sides of trucks. As well as this, he makes savvy partnerships across the industry, including an Italian silk-weaving mill which uses chemical-free dyes and is committed to reducing water waste, and artisans in Tamil Nadu, Southern India.

ANCUTA SARCA

One of our favourite trends to emerge from the new wave of sustainably conscious designers might also be one of the most unlikely: hybrid shoes. From Duran Lantik’s footwear, to Helen Kirkum (who featured on our last roundup of sustainable designers to watch), and now Ancuta Sarca, trainer/high heel mash ups have taken off. To create her pieces, Sarca sources old Nike sneakers from the likes of eBay and depop, and splices them together with second hand kitten heels.

Ancuta Sarca, photographed by Will Sanders

Priya Ahluwalia

We’ve spotlighted Priya Ahluwalia’s energetic menswear before, but as this past year has only seen her go from strength to strength, we thought it was worth singing her praises again. Made exclusively from recycled deadstock, her strikingly original pieces, which combine elements of patchworking, sportswear and the silhouettes of her maternal grandfather’s wardrobe, []. Despite all the hype she’s getting, responsible design remains central to what she does; in a recent interview with the Evening Standard she emphasised that she’s focused on growing, “in a sustainable way.”

Priya Ahluwalia, photographed by Bimpe Kayode

FUTURE DUST

The sustainable fashion round up doesn’t end here either. Started by former Highsnobiety editor Alec Leach, Future Dust is an Instagram account documenting the most exciting emerging designers (who also happen to be sustainable). The feed is a mine of eco fashion intel; as well as assembling pieces by the likes of Marine Serre, Ancuta Sarca and 424, Leach posts articles, news and info on new initiatives.  

Read More: 20 T-shirt Brands You Should Know in 2020.

Michael Wilkin
Posted by
Michael Wilkin
Tags
Share