5 Eco-Friendly Fashion Designers To Follow In 2015

It isn’t just up to clothing brands, designers, and manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of every step from farm to finish factory—the consumer must use purchasing power to push businesses to “go green.” Cotton, a key material in the apparel industry, is responsible for 2.6 per cent of the global water use and if things don’t change, by 2030 demand for water will exceed supply by 40%.

But there is hope: there are many emerging designers innovating in their communities and beyond through upcycling, sourcing local materials and going organic (here at Lonesome George & Co., we proudly use 100% Certified Organic Peruvian Cotton).

Here is a list of eco-friendly fashion entrepreneurs to follow and support in 2015:

1. Kayo Master – mi cielo (Austin, TX)

“Uniqueness is a quality that mass-produced items don’t have.“

Kayo Master - mi cielo

Image source: Zady.com

It was the lack of cool baby and toddler clothes that inspired the concept of mi cielo, Kayo Master’s cute-and-cuddly applique apparel line for little ones. Shortly after the birth of her son in 2008, Kayo began hand-stitching felted apparel to add creativity to her baby’s “boringly basic wardrobe.” Soon after, her bedroom was overflowing with applique onesies, tops, bottoms and t-shirts.

Kayo, a world-traveler and salsa dancer, sources recycled felt from local art stores, uses 100% recycled cotton and hand-stitches every item with recycled threads. Don’t worry, mi cielo isn’t just for babies—you can find adult-sized items here.

Kayo Master items on Etsy

Image source: Etsy.com

Before giving birth, Kayo was a paralegal and court translator “working for lawyers every day.” Even though she has no formal design education, Kayo’s been sewing, sketching and knitting for as long as she can remember.

In some Asian cultures, it is said that a giraffe appears when there is a saint in the air. This cute Giraffe Onesie was made by Kayo as a tribute to this belief:

Kayo Master giraffe onesieGET MORE ON MI CIELO

Where we found Kayo: Brika.com

Buy the Giraffe Onesie: Zady.com

2014 interview with Kayo: pickylittlepeach.com

Follow mi cielo on Facebook, Twitter and Etsy


2. Yoni van Oorsouw and Manon van Hoeckel – Wintervacht (The Netherlands)

“We use the leftovers for headbands and return the smallest leftovers to a recycling factory that turns textile leftovers into insulation.”

Yoni van Oorsouw and Manon van Hoeckel are two young Dutch designers behind Wintervacht, a small brand that produces exquisite clothes from old blankets and curtains, “giving new life to textiles that have otherwise lost their original purpose.”


Image source: wintervacht.nl

All products are handmade in the Netherlands out of second hand materials, typically in limited editions. The making of these unique pieces involves dry-cleaning, followed by cutting the cloth into pieces and resewing. Yoni van Oorsouw and Manon van Hoeckel met in design school and took sewing classes from van Oorsouw’s mother.

Wintervacht lookbook

At the time, van Hoeckel was living in a house without heating, and would sleep under three heavy old blankets. When her sewing teacher, van Oorsouw’s mother, suggested she make a jacket, she was inspired to use the blankets. The first coat became the inspiration for a whole line of upcycled clothes.

Wintervacht shorts

Image source: wintervacht.nl

“We like to look at materials that have proven and kept their quality but lost their original purpose,” said van Hoeckel to CoolHunting.com. “We both love to wander around in second-hand stores and flea markets—that’s where we found our first blankets.”


Where we found Wintervacht: Treehugger.com

Shop Wintervacht: http://wintervacht.nl/shop/

Follow Wintervacht on Facebook


3. Linda Balti and Christoph Frehsee – Amour Vert (San Francisco, CA)

“To be more sustainable and more effective, every day we have to look at one part of our supply chain and think, ‘What can we do better?’”


Image source: amourvert.com

In 2011, the husband-and-wife team founded their sustainable-clothing brand that they named Amour Vert, with the goal of revolutionizing the way garments are produced. Through a series of innovations, they figured out how to drastically reduce waste and shrink the environmental footprint of manufacturing.

AMOUR VERT lookbook

Image source: amourvert.com

When Linda Balti met Christoph Frehsee at a trade show in Abu Dhabi, both were working in the defense industry. Neither could have imagined they would one day run a fashion label at the forefront of the eco-conscious movement. The company opened its first brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco in June of 2014 and the line is now carried by retailers nationwide. Down the road, the couple plans to develop men’s and children’s clothing, and eventually break into home décor.

AMOUR VERT sale items

Image source: amourvert.tumblr.com

Amour Vert also supports sustainability in other ways: For every T-shirt sold from the line’s T(r)ee collection, they plant a tree. They have so far planted 28,000 of them (read more on FastCompany.com)!


Where we found Amour Vert: thefashionspot.com

Shop Amour Vert: amourvert.com/whats-new

Follow Amour Vert on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram


4. Reuben Reuel – Demestiks NYC (New York City)

“Live to create, create to live.”

Creative director and Demestiks NYC founder Reuben Reuel, 28, is dedicated to provide contemporary, classic designs with a hint of vintage flair. Primarily sold on Etsy, the womenswear line is based on Dutch wax prints and other classic African patterns.

Demestiks NYC lookbook

Image source: demestiksnewyork.com

The aesthetic of Demestiks NYC is finding fabrics that inspire creativity. He sees New York City’s Garment District as a designer’s treasure chest. Beyoncé recently posted a picture of herself on Instagram posing against a white wall in a Demestiks NYC belted top and contrasting pencil skirt; the next day, she wore a Demestiks NYC low-cut romper during a photo shoot in a garden.

Demestiks NYC

Image source: Tumblr.com

In an interview with NYMag.com, Reuel described why he prefers to sell online:

My clients live everywhere — London, France, Italy, Australia, Angola, China, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Germany, all over. If I sold to a boutique, I’d be limiting myself to that shop and its foot traffic. I’ve had stockists contact me asking for wholesale orders. But online is best for me. I don’t want to ever be in a department store. I feel like that’s a graveyard to me. I don’t do large quantity. My goal is to keep this special, for my customers to feel like it’s personal.


Demestiks NYC look book 2

Image source: demestiksnewyork.com

The label’s initiative is to support domestic commerce by using fabrics, trims, notions, and production facilities in New York City in efforts to help preserve the Garment District.


Where we found Demestiks NYC: HuffingtonPost.com

Shop Demestiks NYC: etsy.com/shop/DemestiksNewYork

Follow Demestiks NYC on Instagram

5. Nikolaj Nielson – Won Hundred (Denmark)

“Our Code of Conduct is based on the 10 principles of UN Global Compact including principle 1 and 2 on Human Rights and the Rights of the Child. All our suppliers sign the Code of Conduct before we embark on a business relationship with them.”

There’s a lot of great fashion coming out of Scandinavia but Won Hundred stays ahead of the pack by doing what it does well: simple, practical, well-constructed and well-fitting basics for men and women. In 2004, Nikolaj Nielsen founded Won Hundred with the ambition to challenge the way fashion was grasped in native Denmark as “a brand with a collection rooted in classical mens wear and traditional formal wear and a willingness to take risks.”

Won Hundred lookbook

Image source: wonhundred.com/collections

Nikolaj Nielsen followed his own path; he quit school at 16 and began a career in the fashion industry, spending years learning about the design business while working for denim companies like Diesel and Miss Sixty.

Won Hundred takes fresh perspective on classic Scandinavian style, with cultural influences from art, nature and music. When asked what kind of girl Nielsen envisioned wearing the label, he replied “a young woman who knows what she wants when she wants it–a girl who is creative and focused on putting personality into her outfit.”

Won Hundred lookbook 2

Image source: wonhundred.com/collections

Won Hundred underwear collection

Image source: wonhundred.com/collections

The Won Hundred underwear collection is GOTS certified (The Global Textile Standard). The certification means that the entire production chain from harvesting of the cotton, dyeing, printing, packaging and labelling, have been checked and lives up to international social and environmental standards, and the standards for Organic production.


Where we found Won Hundred: HypeBeast.com

Shop Won Hundred: Zady.com

Follow WonHundred on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest and G+

Your fashion choices impact the environment: the world consumes 400% percent more clothing than 20 years ago and the textile industry alone is responsible for 20% of the world’s total industrial water pollution. Health issues associated with chemicals used in apparel manufacturing are on the rise. What does this mean?


Zady, a lifestyle destination for conscious consumers, recently launched the #KnowYourSource movement on Twitter. The mission of The “Sourced In” Movement is to make brands responsible for the sustainable, ethical and economic factors for every step of production, from farm to finish factory.

MORE INFO: https://zady.com/features/knowyoursource



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