Hoping to become a more conscious consumer of fashion? Start here
Did you know that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world? According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe, 85% of textile wastes head straight to the dump. Just think: every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles ends up in landfills. As it stands, too, garments made from synthetic materials cause some form of harm even during a process as mundane as washing. Here, the garments shed microplastics that end up flowing into the oceans. In a study by the environmental group WWF, it was discovered that people could be ingesting up to five grams of microplastics every week. That’s about the size of a credit card.
With the increased awareness about environmental issues such as this (along with climate change), consumers have become more mindful about their purchases, especially clothing. They now think twice about buying trendy new items from fast fashion. And this is just one way they are shifting toward conscious consumption.
What to consider instead? Patronize independent fashion brands that practice sustainability. Ahead, a list to help you get that going. Scroll through for new local sustainable fashion brands that are anchored by their advocacy championing sustainable, ethical fashion.
Launched in April 2022, the Brave Story is a sustainable lifestyle brand that proudly practices slow fashion. Aspiring to weave hopeful dreams through their artisanal products, the Brave Story repurposes textile waste and deadstock fabrics, turning them into garments and home decor. These pieces are crafted thoughtfully by local artisan mothers, where the signature patchwork and embroidery detailing evoke “childhood memories and life’s simple joys.” Garments by the Brave Story also come in an inclusive size range produced in limited quantities, which ultimately encourages consumers to create their own sustainable capsule wardrobe.
TenTwenty Kids is an up-and-coming brand that specializes in handmade toys made from textile waste. This sustainable lifestyle brand for kids began in 2019 when its founder Jamie Naval set off to find a textile recycling facility that could process piles of fabric scraps accumulated from clothing manufacturers.
Naval grew up with an advocacy in mind: to use fabric scraps in the process of teaching crafts classes to children. TenTwenty Kids was then born, going on to collaborate with fashion companies, designers, and garment factories to transform textile scraps into toys. Together with their artisan-nanays (mothers) from Rizal, the brand creates sustainable educational toys for children, using organic kapok as filling. This is a silk-like renewable material free from toxic materials and is considered hypoallergenic. All in all, TenTwenty Kids hopes to create a greener and bluer future for kids—one toy at a time.
Re Clothing started out as a curated secondhand shop in 2018 that hoped to change the stigma around buying secondhand clothing. After the success of its initial run, it made a more conscious shift toward becoming sustainable. Fun fact here: it was after watching the film The True Cost that founder Bianca Gregorio decided to add handstitched embroidery to the brand’s lineup. The hope is to make make these thrifted garments one of a kind (the special handmade charm appreciated by Re Clothing patrons).
With its updated offering, Re Clothing went on to host fundraisers for different causes, selling embroidered hoops and tote bags to support displaced PWD artisans and front liners during the pandemic. Re Clothing today regularly conducts pop-up events that promote sustainability in fashion through clothing swaps and live DIY upcycling demos together with artisans. Just as well, the brand is in the process of developing a physical store where fellow sustainable fashion brands can sell their products, making shopping consciously more accessible.
Launched in 2019, Tagpi-Tagpi (meaning “patching things together”) is a circular economy business led by women with the local community and the environment in mind. Through personal training, the brand empowers socially marginalized women from coastal communities in rural Philippine provinces, teaching them to create plush toys made from repurposed denim as a way to earn a livelihood. To date, Tagpi-Tagpi has upcycled over 4,000 pairs of jeans from donation drives and secondhand shops alone. The fillings of their toys are made of shredded plastic and denim, promoting sustainable consumption and production.
It’s worth noting, too: Tagpi-Tagpi’s plush toys showcase the beauty of marine biodiversity Some of the wildlife featured include the sea turtle, orca whale, manta ray, sea star, octopus, and seal. These products help raise awareness about the damaging effects of the garment industry on the marine ecosystem, encouraging consumers to be more intentional with their purchases.
Phinix is a sustainable fashion brand that aims to create a circular economy by recycling textile waste into new beautiful products. One of the brand’s core goals is to achieve a product life extension, where, for example, its collection Hi No Tori (Bird of Fire) was able to give new life to vintage Japanese kimonos by upcycling them into shoes and bags. Its more recent product development projects include laptop sleeves made from repurposed kimonos with natural kapok as filling instead of synthetic materials. Phinix also upcycles textile waste by weaving them into new fabrics, working with a textile weaving community in the process.
Phinix’s founder, Pamela Mejia, is also the founder of FIBERS (Fashion Innovative Business for the Environment, Reformation, and Sustainability) Collective, a platform that advocates for sustainability in the fashion industry. Conducting workshops in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, FIBERS brings together different creatives and sustainable design brands in the hopes of promoting social and environmental impact.
Did you know there’s a way to take on sustainable beauty, too? Read on: Sustainability in Beauty: This K-Beauty Brand Takes “Green Living” To A Whole New Level.