Earth Day, which occurs every April 22, is a timely reminder of the responsibility we all share to care for our planet. Recycling, up-cycling, composting — there are so many daily ways to conserve valuable resources, and thanks to exemplary eco-conscious brands, we can also make a difference when we shop.
Whether it's a commitment to environmentally sound practices, a dedication to building empowered ceator communities, or practising eco-conscious, cruelty-free alternatives, we think each of these brands are ones you should know.
While aesthetically we're all about beautiful boho-inspired fashion, what moves us most is when a brand crafts stylish clothing and has a strong commitment to sustainable practices.
Tamga uses Tencel, a sustainable fabric; ethically sourced organic cotton; and low-impact dyes which are chemical-free and use 70 per cent less water than conventional synthetic dyes.
The company's commitment to conscientious business doesn't stop there. Garment bags are designed to be biodegradable, hang tags are made from recycled post-consumer paper, and their site details every aspect of their supply chain, from field to factories, as well as their commendable Supplier Code Of Conduct.
Stunning Turkish towels and blankets may be this Toronto-based brand's claim to fame, but it's their dedication to conscientious practices that has us coveting their entire collection of cozy textiles.
With an eye for gorgeous design and a focus on supporting women's co-operatives and local artisans, Stray & Wander ethically sources and fairly trades with artists and makers, conserving traditional methods of production while bringing trendsetting designs to the global market.
Stray & Wander's organic cotton Turkish towels and blankets are multi-use (we love them around the house and for travelling since the cotton dries more quickly than conventional Egyptian fibres), embodying the brand's belief in sustainable living by buying less.
We love a good line of casual T-shirts and hoodies, and Lakeborn is quickly becoming one of our favourite casual apparel brands thanks to their contribution in fighting the global water crisis.
The company guarantees that for every Lakeborn product purchased, one person is provided clean water for one year, an initiative they've been able to achieve through their support of Water.org, which is co-founded by actor Matt Damon.
The brand ethos centres around the #TheRippleEffect, which means that each one of us can make a difference with our actions. A running tally on their homepage provides a strong visual for the growing number of lives positively affected by each Lakeborn purchase. As of press time, 1002 people have been provided access to one year of clean water.
Not only are JW PEI's vegan bags stylish, but they're conscientiously crafted from recycled bottles. Not all vegan leather is created equal (synthetics often contain harmful chemicals), but JW PEI says they're committed to not only being cruelty-free, but waste-free too — no pesticides are used in producing their synthetic fibres, nor is any water used for dyeing.
Currently, their bags are made from over 50 per cent recycled bottles, (their linings are now 100 per cent recycled), and their goal in the next two years is to replace major materials with those that are 100 per cent recycled.
Additionally, the brand only partners with factories that are certified by Global Recycling Standards and as such, all the materials they use in their handbags can be traced from origin to the finished product.
As Canadians, we appreciate winter-wear options, and it's inspiring to see that thanks to the dedication of brands like HoodLamb, cruelty-free warmth is becoming more widely available.
The Netherlands hemp-centric brand fares well against our frigid Canadian winters, making use of the hemp plant, one of Earth's strongest natural fibres, and organic and recycled materials.
HoodLamb is growing their brand into a movement as well as a stylish, international cold weather clothing line (they recently launched in Canada; shop for it at Toronto's The Imperative).
Their collaboration with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (HoodLamb supports the organization's mission to defend marine wildlife worldwide), PETA approval, contribution of 1 per cent of annual revenue to support One Percent For the Planet, and their hashtag #BeTheChange motivates consumers towards conscientious choices when purchasing the brand's durable jackets and cozy knitwear.
Peggy Sue Collection's commitment to sustainable, eco-conscious practices won them Canada's Sustainable Fashion Award at Design Forward 2017.
With a focus on traceable fibres, artisanal production (garments are woven, knit, or felted by a North American artisan), and zero-waste design, the brand has also developed strong relationships with the local farmers producing the wool and alpaca fibres that they use, and favours organic colour-grown cottons and up-cycled denim in their clothing, which is locally produced in Toronto.
We're longtime fans of this conscientious clothing brand that keeps sustainability at the core of their brand sensibility. Reformation sends a quarterly sustainability report to subscribers to track their progress, uses RefScale to track their environmental footprint, hires factories that use efficient, eco-friendly technologies and practices, and invests in green building infrastructure.
To offset their carbon footprint, Reformation helps plant forests and invests in clean water solutions. The brand invests in the people that make Reformation possible, and takes pride in offering employees in-house training and opportunities for growth.
Another reason to love them: their classic cuts, sultry silhouettes, and of-the-minute trends have recently been launched in a newly expanded and diverse range of sizing.
We're already smitten with their lifetime guarantee on quality leather footwear and accessories for men and women, but it's Oliberté's commitment to sustainability, fair trade, and worker's rights in Sub-Saharan Africa that really seals the deal for us.
In 2013, the brand became the world's first Fair Trade Certified manufacturing footwear factory — every pair of shoes is made on the premises by a staff consisting of 60 per cent women, employees have weekly doctor's visits, and environmental standards are met.
Oliberté partners with local farmers, craftspeople and suppliers to produce their products (tags and labels are made in Mauritius and fabric is sourced locally, machines and sole mounds are made in South Africa, natural rubber is sourced from a variety of African countries), and then delivers a quality product to the global market.
One of the first brands to set the bar for sustainability, we love that Patagonia continues to develop performance-driven active-wear, while giving back to the global community.
The company went organic in 1996 after discovering through a self-commissioned study that "cotton grown with pesticides is one of the most destructive crops in the agricultural world" and that the formaldehyde residue from the pesticides used in conventional cotton was making their employees sick.
Patagonia uses recycled bottles and up-cycled clothing to make their signature fleece jackets, gives 1 per cent of sales to grassroots activists, and monitors everything that "happens in Patagonia's name in every step of the supply chain, from crop to fabric to finished garment."
Patagonia subsidizes childcare for its employees and provides parental leave, healthcare, and paid internships with environmental non-profit groups.
The factory Triarchy works with uses 85 per cent recycled water, and their women's denim are made using Tencel Cotton Blend (the energy used to produce this material is 100 per cent renewable and uses 85 per cent less water than conventional cotton to grow and process).
Hardware is made from recycled sheet metal in a factory designed to conserve water by 80 per cent, and labels are made using recycled leather and recycled water bottles.
Also on HuffPost: