Over the last few weeks, and as reported previously in our first article about the fashion industry’s response to Coronavirus, you’ll have seen a whirlwind of activity from global fashion companies in support of the COVID-19 relief efforts. Less prominent, but equally noteworthy are the various initiatives taken by sustainable fashion brands, including some of Good On You’s ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ rated favourites. Check them out below, and lend your support to these smaller superstars who are using their limited resources to make a difference to people’s lives in this time of need.
How Sustainable Fashion Brands Are Stepping Up During the Crisis
Armedangels is a men’s and women’s apparel brand that describes itself as “a kind of ‘Robin Hood’ of the fashion industry”, and it has risen to the current challenges. It has stated its commitment to its employees, suppliers, and retailers; is selling organic cotton facemasks for EUR 9 a piece, of which EUR 2 will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières; and has extended the return period to 30 days after receipt of the order.
Melbourne-based A.BCH is an Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. The brand has developed 2 dust mask prototypes that, based on research by Cambridge University, should filter out at least 50% of virus particles. To get a mask you can either buy something from A.BCH or make your own, by downloading the provided pattern and instructions.
Reformation creates killer clothes that don’t kill the environment. The brand also ensures that a large proportion of its suppliers pay a living wage. In addition to this, the brand has partnered with The City of Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti on LA Protects, an initiative to organise local manufacturers to make five million non-medical masks for brave people doing essential work, ensuring medical grade masks can be available to healthcare workers. So far they have shipped about 20k masks!
This men’s, women’s, and children’s casual and activewear brand has partnered with its suppliers worldwide to produce and donate 10 medical-grade facemasks for every US$50 spent on its website, to be donated to medical professionals across the US. Threads 4 Thought have also set up a “$1, 1 mask” initiative, whereby customers can donate online to one of the “tiers”—US$25, US$50 or US$100—which will see the company donate the equivalent number of facemasks.
Dorsu’s garments—a combination of core all-year classics and limited edition pieces—are designed and ethically made in Cambodia.
Due to COVID-19, the company has had to close its in-country stores but is still open for wholesale business and is also offering 30% off online sales.
This “made in NYC” sustainable apparel brand believes that small businesses are part of a healthy fashion ecosystem and, as a gesture to foster customer support, is offering a 20% discount and free shipping on orders from now “until the beginning of whatever’s next”.
Grounded in handcrafting locally in LA from high-quality materials—including cork and Piñatex®—luxury vegan handbag brand Svala is donating 15% of its sales to the Boys and Girls Club of America, an organisation dedicated to supporting communities including the families of first-responders.
tonlé is built around zero waste and believes that “every thread matters”. It has been affected by the general business slow-down, not least the closure of independent retailers who have cancelled orders. tonlé is focusing on supporting its Cambodia-based employees, and has come up with suggestions as to how we can help, via purchasing a sample box or a gift card, or donating to its “COVID-19 resilience fund”. And for any generous souls out there, any donations over US$500 will be rewarded with a custom piece of art made by tonlé’s founder.
The LA-based lifestyle brand creates timeless pieces from locally-sourced deadstock textiles and materials. In response to COVID-19, it is offering 20% off online sales and in addition will donate 5% of sale proceeds to Feeding America. Its US$10 washable masks are made from 100% upcycled cotton and for each mask purchased, Whimsy + Row will donate one to the LA community.
Known for its sustainable denim and timeless men’s and women’s essentials, Kuyichi is contributing to creating positive change by means of an activist statement on its website, calling for a radical rethink of how the fashion industry operates: “we’re kindly asking all brands, suppliers, retailers, agents, fairs and other organisations: give a damn, stay calm and reset the system with us”. Read the full statement and browse the divine denim while you’re over there.
PETA-approved brand Funky Kalakar offers handcrafted vegan handbags and shoes for men and women. In recognition of the hardship which the brand’s artisans may face, Funky Kalakar will be donating to them all funds received in excess of wages during the month of April. On top of that, the company is extending its 3rd year anniversary sale until the end of April, with discounts ranging from 20% to 40% off.
Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year! MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton.
So that’s over a dozen initiatives to support the front line COVID-19 relief efforts, offer customer-friendly gestures to keep small businesses afloat, help sustainable brand communities, and encourage the fashion industry to reflect and re-calibrate. We commend these brands for taking action and urging us to do the same. Wherever we are, it’s likely we can all make a positive contribution to alleviate the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
About the author: Elsa is an English-qualified fashion lawyer. She headed the legal team of a global luxury fashion PR company in London, and is currently focusing on projects dedicated to improving sustainability in the fashion industry.
Feature image via A.BCH, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 2,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.