Everyone’s favorite fashion season is upon us: fall! Wherever you live, the change in the season (whether it’s slight or dramatic), brings with it a chance to freshen up your wardrobe. It’s time to embrace cozy cardigans, comfortable yet super stylish leggings, and the season’s best boots and jackets. If you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe, there are now a plethora of sustainable fashion brands out there that can help you create new fall looks consciously.
What Makes Fashion Sustainable?
Fashion has a significant impact on the environment; the industry accounts for roughly 10 percent of all carbon emissions, as well as nearly 20 percent of wastewater. Put simply, if fashion is labeled sustainable, it means it has a reduced environmental impact.
Sustainable fashion brands try to operate responsible supply chains, using materials that don’t cost the earth. One kilogram of cotton, for example, uses 20 thousand liters of water. Organic cotton, a staple material for many sustainable brands, uses 88 percent less water. You can read more about what makes fashion sustainable here.
What Makes Fashion Vegan?
If an item of clothing is labeled vegan, it means that the materials used to create it are not animal-derived. Farming animals to make clothing can have a negative environmental impact; grazing sheep for wool and cows for leather uses significant amounts of land and contributes to soil erosion. Toxic chemicals used in the leather tanning process are also a major contributor to water pollution.
It’s worth noting that vegan and sustainable are not interchangeable terms; some vegan fashion is created with harmful fossil-fuel-based synthetic materials, like polyester and nylon. To find brands that are both sustainable and vegan, you can visit online marketplaces, like Australian retailer Velvety.
If you’re in the market for some new sustainable fall fashion pieces, here are our five brand recommendations, all of which offer vegan options.
Where to Buy Sustainable Fall Fashion
1. Stella McCartney
When Stella McCartney founded her eponymous brand in 2001, she was adamant that animal-derived materials, like fur, feathers, and leather, would not appear in any of her collections. The fashion designer has stayed true to her word, and now, she’s a pioneer of innovative, sustainable, and ethical materials.
For those chillier fall evenings out on the town, the Kira Coat features KOBA Fur Free Fur. Made with plant-based fibers, the material is the first recycled and recyclable animal-free fur on the market. For something lighter, try a trench. A fall staple, the trench coat never goes out of style. Stella McCartney has two great options: the Alexa Trench Coat and the unisex Luke Organic Cotton Trench Coat.
2. People Tree
Founded by social entrepreneur Safia Minney in 1991, People Tree is a pioneer of sustainable, fair-trade fashion. All of its items are produced with environmental impact and worker conditions at the forefront, and it has the awards and certifications to prove it. In 2006, it gained the Soil Association Certification for having the first integrated organic supply chain in fashion, and in 2013, it became the first clothing company ever to receive a trademark from the World Fair Trade Organization.
Another asset of People Tree? The clothes, of course. This Cody Jumper is a best-seller for a reason. It’s soft, comfortable, chic, and versatile. Wear with jeans or, perhaps tuck into the brand’s Stacey Denim Midi Skirt, which is made with 100 percent organic certified cotton. If you’re looking for a fall jacket, the Elina Coat, also made with organic cotton, is great for layering.
Founded by 22-year-old former YouTuber and Oxford University graduate Grace Beverley, TALA is on a mission to “disrupt your wardrobe” with its slow fashion approach. The brand is all about providing inclusive, ethical fashion at an affordable price.
Aas well as hoodies, jackets, and sporty long-sleeved tops, the brand has a wide range of leggings on offer. TALA’s leggings are perfect for workouts, but in recent years, leggings have become much more than just a gym go-to. They are a fashion staple, particularly during the fall months. Not only are they one of the most comfortable items of clothing you can wear, but they’re also the most versatile. Wear TALA leggings (available in a plethora of colors) with a cardigan or sweater to lounge about the house. If you’re off out for brunch, pair them with an oversized button-down shirt and your favorite sneakers.
If you want to get a bit dressed up, TALA’s Fuse Tennis Skirt is available in three different colors. To make it fall-friendly, pair with a vegan leather jacket and Chelsea boots.
4. Ninety Percent
Founded by Shafiq Hassan and his partner Para Hamilton, Ninety Percent operates a unique business model in the fashion industry. The company makes all of its clothes with sustainability at heart, but it also goes one step further. The brand has also built a social impact mission into its ethos.
It distributes ninety percent of all of its profits fairly among workers and five charitable causes. These include Big Life, which works to protect East African wildlife; BRAC, which helps to create opportunities for women living in poverty; Children’s Hope, which supports children living in slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh; War Child UK, which stands up for the rights of children caught up in conflict; and Wild Aid, which is working to end the illegal wildlife trade. When you receive your garment, you’ll find a code in the care label. Enter those numbers into a page on Ninety Percent’s website, and you can vote for which organization you would like to support.
Hassan, who once worked for BRAC before moving into garment manufacturing, said in a statement: “We created a concept that is all about making maximum change with our profits, where our customers know they are being part of a revolution in the way businesses are run. Why not change and find a new version of capitalism – our version?” he added: “We’re trying a crazy idea and seeing if it connects with people.”
For something cozy to lounge around the house in this fall, this Zip-Back Jumpsuit, made with organic cotton, is a great pick. It’s like lazing around in sweats, but you look ultra-stylish at the same time, so it’s a win-win. Made with a jersey face fabric, it’s super soft and resistant to pilling, aka those bobbly bits that sometimes appear after several washes.
These funky Tie-Dye Sweatpants, also made with organic cotton, are another great cozy, comfortable choice. This oversized long-sleeved t-shirt is another versatile option. It’s made with hemp, which is a great fabric choice in terms of sustainability. It’s low impact and doesn’t require any chemicals, like pesticides or fertilizers, to grow.
5. Back Beat Co
Isadora Alvarez founded Back Beat Co, a brand that’s about giving you that relaxed California style with minimal environmental impact. All of its fabrics are either recycled or sourced from sustainable, low-impact farms. The brand also explicitly states on its website that it prioritizes ethical and social responsibility over profit. It also believes in giving you really great clothes to wear all year round. This Organic Cotton Tie Cardigan is a great fall pick, best layered over a midi skirt or jeans. These Organic Cotton Surf Joggers are also perfect for just lounging about the house.
LIVEKINDLY is here to help you navigate the growing marketplace of sustainable products that promote a kinder planet. All of our selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, LIVEKINDLY may earn a commission.