Fast fashion is a term we hear mentioned all the time in the industry, but what exactly does it mean? Put simply, fast fashion is when big brands churn out popular designs (often mimicking high-end designers) at a low price-point, so the consumer is able to follow current trends easily and for little money. However, what we don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes, as workers are rarely paid the minimum wage and work in harsh, unjust conditions. Equally, fast fashion brands are not transparent about where they source their fabrics, meaning clothes are often synthetic and low quality, falling apart after being worn once or twice.
Keeping up with fashion trends may be important to you, but we think it’s fashionable to start caring! We need to support retailers who look after their workers, giving them fair wages and a safe working environment - this is where sustainable alternatives comes in. There are now many eco fashion brands who endeavour to use environmentally conscious methods, support local artisans, and use recycled and natural materials, so let’s take advantage of them.
Below we have selected 5 recent trends on the highstreet, offering you great sustainable alternatives so that you can join the slow sustainable fashion train and really set an example.
The Leopard print trend
Leopard print is everywhere at the moment, popular in the 80’s, the animal print has always been a feminine favourite, recently making a come-back. Filling the shelves of Zara, H&M and & Other Stories nowadays, it is a wardrobe staple. Whether it’s leopard print jeans, a silky blouse or that Réalisation silk midi skirt that is quite literally everywhere on Instagram, we can see why it’s so popular.
Instead of buying just any leopard print item, we’ve found you an alternative. Our ethical favourite can be found at Reformation. Sustainability is at the heart of their label, as they minimise their carbon footprint, waste and provide fair job opportunities too. This high-waisted, straight leg Marlon Pant has our seal of approval!
The Bucket hat
Making a resurgence this year, is the trend of the bucket hat. A 90’s hip hop essential, this accessory has recently slipped from the realm of street wear into high fashion, with the Prada version all over our Instagram feeds as an influencer favourite.
Here are two seriously cool sustainable alternatives:
These reversible hats, which come in a range of different upcycled vintage dead-stock materials, are inspired by the co-founders Gabrielle Datau and Jiro Maestu’s travels around Europe, Japan and Indonesia. In fabrics such as cow-print, corduroys and towling, these sustainable hats are conscious and cool.
British designer Emma Brewin has taken the fashion world by storm with her faux fur pieces that are backed by huge celebs such as Miley Cyrus, Lena Dunham and Dua Lipa. Brewin ensures that the process behind her pieces is eco-friendly and ethical. The designer breathes sustainability, collecting plastic each morning on her walks and upcycles it into jewellery under the Instagram name @plasticbelly_.
This light blue bucket hat is beautiful!
Shells are a big summer 2019 must. Shell-inspired jewellery, hairpins and bags are everywhere at the moment and we can’t get enough of the trend.
Here are our sustainable alternatives to whet your appetite….
Yumé Jewellery, based in South Devon, is a company founded by designer Yumé Martin. The team create delicate jewellery that does not come at a cost for the environment or those who create it. Handcrafted and ethically sourced, each piece is made from upcycled metal and fairtrade materials. Their style is simple and clean, just like their ethos.
Inspired by the natural world, Yumé Jewellery has lots of unique different shell pieces - this is one of our favourites.
ZM jewellery reduces its carbon footprint by being based firmly in the UK, using mostly recycled metals and upcycled packaging from Cornwall, the company is very environmentally minded. They also support 2 charities - Bloodwise, which funds research for Lymphoma and Leukaemia, and The Wave Project UK, which helps children from land-locked areas visit the sea, a key inspiration of her work.
Cat eye sunglasses
Cat eye sunglasses have been on trend for years and we still love them! With their feline flare and longevity on the catwalk, we just had to find our sustainable favourite.
Pala is on a mission to end world poverty, protect the environment and ensure peace and prosperity for all. From their woven upcycled plastic cases to their investment in eye-care programmes, Pala clearly boasts ethical credentials. We love these chic deep tortoiseshell sunglasses – simply perfect for summer.
The Beaded bag
Shrimp's ‘Antonia’ bag is without a doubt the it bag. Reviving the beaded bag trend, these pearly totes have remained cool well into 2019. Here’s our eco alternative.
The Edun hand beaded fringe tote with natural wooden monochrome beads is not just easy on the eye, it’s eco-friendly too. The company celebrates ethical and sustainable fashion, working and giving opportunities to local workers and helping to set up community based initiatives.
Words by: Kiltie De Cleyn