The future proofers: 10 stylish sustainable brands to have on your radar

Emma McCarthy

1. Responsible resortwear

If you believe every item in your wardrobe should be unique, make G Kero your new go-to. While searching for a fresh alternative to using canvases, French artist Marguerite Bartherotte turned her hand to painting fabric instead.

The result is chic trademark prints — inspired by books from her childhood including Mirella Ricciardi’s Adieu l’Afrique and memories of growing up in a beach house on picturesque Cap Ferrat — which decorate flowing kimonos and airy blouses capable of instantly transporting the wearer to the South of France. No two pieces are the same and each comes printed with its own production number and year of edition.

Along with its small-scale manufacturing process and “buy less, buy better” ethos, G.Kero also donates 100 pieces to charities each year to be sold and help raise money. It’s little wonder the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung are fans. (Shirts from £140, gkero.com)

2. Feel-good gymwear

Vyayama (Vyayama)

Founded with the aim of providing a natural alternative to synthetic yoga-wear, Vyayama uses eco-friendly and renewable Tencel in all its printed leggings and crop tops. The botanically-based fabric, crafted in Europe from sustainably farmed eucalyptus, is blended to be smooth and supportive, while also being thermo-regulating and naturally sweat-wicking.

Eco-awarded and certified non-toxic, the custom-designed fabric is also knitted in the same place as the garments are produced to reduce the impact of transportation, while the dye houses use clean-water treatments. (From £58, vyayama.com)

3. Co-op collection

Mayamiko (Mayamiko)

The question “who made my clothes?” is an increasingly urgent one being asked of the fashion industry — and one that Mayamiko answers with a QR code, unique to each item, that allows the wearer to “meet” the woman who made it.

The British brand, which works with a women’s trust in Malawi, has recently won a CO 10 Leadership Award in recognition of its commitment to social enterprise, fair trade and zero-waste policies. Incorporating reclaimed cotton-jersey dead stock and upcycled silk satins alongside locally sourced fabric, each vibrantly printed wrap dress, statement blouse and bum bag is crafted in the brand’s solar-powered workshop in Malawi.

Every time an order is placed, the customer has the option to plant a tree with non-profit organisation One Tree Planted, while the brand also creates Positive Pads using waste material, which are donated to girls in the Malawi community and refugee camps to help fight period poverty. (£89, mayamiko.com)

4. Sound investment

Bite Studios (Bite Studios)

Scandi-British luxury label Bite — or “By Independent Thinkers for Environmental progress”, to use its full title — is dedicated to providing investment pieces for your wardrobe that crucially, won’t cost the Earth.

Built on three pillars of sustainability — social, ecological and economic — the brand ensures it only sources material that won’t cause damage to the ecosystem, while also championing timeless design with the aim of actively slowing down the pace of consumption.

Among the items designed to last and be loved for ever include shirts made from Soil Association-certified “peace silk” and a perfectly cut trench coat crafted from organic cotton and made in London — specifically by Jimmy’s Tailor in Hackney. (Trench, £830, bitestudios.com)

5. Friends of faux

Jakke (Jakke)

Aside from the obvious advantages that faux-fur offers surrounding animal cruelty, Jakke believes the fuzzy stuff has other environmental benefits too. Highlighting a report by independent researchers CE Delft, which found it takes at least four times more energy to produce a real fur coat than one made of faux-fur, the brand’s mission statement also considers the impact of real fur production through farming and chemical tanning. Though it’s also quick to acknowledge that its own eco-credentials are not exhaustive.

In line with the knowledge that its modacrylic fibre faux-fur is non-biodegradable, Jakke’s colourful jackets and coats are designed to last a lifetime. But if you find you no longer have a need for it in your wardrobe, the brand has also joined forces with the Royal Trinity Hospice charity to prevent any garments ending up in landfill. Those who return their used items to Jakke will also get 25 per cent off a new purchase. (From £140, jakke.com)

6. Basic rights

Ninety Percent (Ninety Percent)

Effortlessly cool and luxuriously comfortable leisurewear is Ninety Percent’s calling card. But its beautiful basics come with brilliant benefits as the London-based brand also donates 90 per cent of its profits. What’s more, you choose how.

Each garment has a unique code printed on its care label, which you can enter online to vote for where the money from your purchase goes. Of that percentage, 80 goes to charities which span Children’s Hope, War Child UK, Wild Aid and the Big Life Foundation. The remaining 10 per cent is split between those make the clothes and those who run the brand, including funding for welfare projects for its factory workers. The new collection spans dreamy jumbo hoodies made from organic cotton and very 2019 tie-dye Tencel maxi-dresses. (£90, ninetypercent.com)

7. Jumpers for joy

Navygrey (Navygrey)

After falling in love with a 20-year-old navy jumper belonging to her mother and spending countless years trying to find one just like it, Rachel Carvell-Spedding decided to make her own — and Navygrey was born. With three styles in four colours — black, grey, chalk and, of course, navy — Carvell-Spedding considers every detail, from the cut of the neckline to the shape of the sleeve, to create a jumper designed to be cherished for life.

But the art of a well-made jumper is just the beginning. With full transparency from sheep to shop, sustainability is at the heart of the brand, from the handpicked, super-soft wool, which can be traced back to the farm, to the carefully audited family-run factory in Portugal which produces each jumper in limited quantities to avoid waste. Even the brand’s sustainable cedarwood HQ is located in Carvell-Spedding’s back garden, where a tiny team designs and packs every order by hand in recycled, reusable packaging, ready to be shipped using carbon-neutral methods. (From £135, navygrey.co)

8. Bags of love

Wicker Wings (Rosie Butcher Photography)

Sister and brother duo Belinda and James Yu were inspired to launch Wicker Wings in tribute to their grandmother, after discovering that she hand-wove baskets for a living in China before moving to England. Aiming to offer an antidote to mass production and fast fashion, their artisanal and socially conscious bags take two days to create and are hand-woven using sustainable rattan grown from a single seed, before being finished with vegetable-tanned leather from Tuscany. (£270, wickerwings.com)

9. Sustain in your lane

Stay Wild (Stay Wild)

Founded by scuba-diving enthusiasts Natalie Glaze and Zanna van Dijk, Stay Wild swimwear is as devoted to flattering women of all shapes as it is to its mission to clean up the oceans. It champions Econyl — a regenerated nylon created from waste including fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastics.

The slick swimmers range from perfectly cut one-pieces to high-waisted bikinis, in colours chosen to reflect nature from deep-sea blue to reef coral. As well as playing a starring role in Selfridges’ new Bright Young Things collective, the made-in-London brand is keen to start a wider conversation about sustainability and has launched a Forces of Nature directory of recommendations of the best eco-friendly brands from hotels to homeware. The website also stocks the Guppyfriend laundry bag to help prevent any microfibres from its recycled plastic swimwear from entering the water system during washing. (From £70, staywildswim.com)

10. Time to reframe

Neubau (Clark Franklyn )

At the heart of Austrian opticals brand Neubau’s “See & Do Good” philosophy is its own specially developed material, naturalPX — an eco-friendly polymer crafted primarily from oil extracted from the seeds of castor oil plants. Robust and lightweight, and therefore ideal for creating the brand’s stylish and resilient frames, this organic renewable source is also an inedible crop, meaning food production is not affected.

Eco-friendly manufacturing techniques such as injection moulding also reduces waste, while ethical extras include glue-less cases, cleaning cloths made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled paper packaging. The brand also supports several urban nature initiatives including the Honeybee Conservancy in New York. (£175, neubau-eyewear.com)