The Best Sustainable Fashion & Beauty Brands
It has become apparent that choosing sustainable, eco-friendly brands is more important than ever before. Here’s a primer on how we can keep up.
With interesting, new beauty and fashion brands constantly launching, you may feel overwhelmed at times. There are literally hundreds of beauty products out there and just as many indie fashion lines; however, choosing sustainable, eco-friendly brands is more important than ever before.
Simply put, it’s the little choices we make that have a huge impact– even though vital change is also occurring on national and corporate levels. Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, is aiming to convert the fashion capital of the world into the sustainable fashion capital by 2024 through the Paris Good Fashion initiative. You may already know big brands like Reformation and Lush, so here’s a primer on some of the coolest sustainable fashion and beauty brands on the cusp.
Fashion That Gives Back in More Ways Than One
In August 2018, Olivia Cheng launched Dauphinette, her NYC line of outerwear, but her handbags are quickly becoming just as covetable. Taking cues from the aesthetic details of her coats (candy-colored feathers, lush embroidery and hand-painted leather), her bags are also made from a mix of recycled vintage fabrics and components. Each piece is entirely unique. Her latest creation is the Rambutan bag: a gorgeous rainbow of fluffy feathers hand-stitched to vintage bags from leftover, thrifted materials.
Street style stars love and adore Marine Serre’s well-known work. The young designer presents her signature crescent moon motif on bodysuits, shoes and leggings. Last year, her Spring/Summer 2019 collection transformed sportswear basics with couture techniques and sustainable, upcycled fabrics. The line offers something for everyone: vintage style, mermaid-fluted dresses, fuzzy sweaters, and tailored pieces.
Based in New York City, Poolside is a straw bag line that’s an instant conversation starter. Bags are embroidered by hand with cheeky slogans such as, “I got 99 problems but a beach ain’t one,” or “Woke up like this.” Ashleigh Hults designed and launched the line in 2016 after a trip to St. Barthes, and soon her bags were seen on the arms of Gigi Hadid, Emma Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow. Rather than producing on a mass scale, female artisans use sustainable methods, such as hand-weaving or hand-embroidering, to produce the sustainable bags of the Poolside collection.
Beauty That’s Good for You and the Earth
Founded just last year, Lesse is a new skincare brand based out of L.A. that harnesses 100 percent organic ingredients for its direct-to-consumer brand. Using antioxidants and naturally restorative elements, founder Neada Deters creates products that are simple, yet good for your skin and the environment. Her hero product is the Ritual Serum. Lesse also has a face mask and a cleanser in the line and is formulating a natural lip balm and deodorant. All of Lesse’s packaging is glass, rather than plastic or harmful material.
Picking up one of Kjær Weis’ cosmetics in your hand is an experience in itself. The packaging is weighty and feels like an incredibly gorgeous keepsake. It’s a very chic way to reduce waste as it has also adopted a sleek, Scandinavian design sensibility from its Danish founder, Kirsten Kjær Weis. Weis has also designed several products to be refillable, and all items (blush, lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara and even facial oil) are gluten-free, natural and organic. The Kjær Weis line is also free of parabens, silicone and synthetic fragrances. The brand also pursues advocacy through collaboration with TANK Magazine’s CEO and Fashion Director, Caroline Issa, to support the global charity, Women for Women International. What more could you want in a sustainable brand?
Produced in beautiful packaging and sold around the world at top beauty boutiques and department stores, Rahua is a 100 percent organic hair care line. Rahua makes shampoos, conditioners, masks, salt texturizers, and hairsprays that are good for you and the earth. The line uses Amazonian nut oil (an ancient ingredient known for its shine-enhancing properties) used by the tribe of Quechua-Shuar women. The products are then produced in sustainable partnership with the region of the Quechua-Shuar tribe. It’s worth trying any of the brand’s products for colored hair, which seem much more hydrating than typical color-safe shampoos and conditioners.
Kristen Bateman is a fashion and beauty writer based in New York City. She has written for Vogue, W Magazine, New York Times: T Magazine, New York Magazine, Allure and many more titles.