Sustainable new waves: which designers are making ripples?

Slow fashion. Sustainable style. What may sound like trendy buzzwords, are actually entire sectors of our modern fashion and design era.

While the global push towards sustainability presses forward, the fashion and clothing industries are keeping up with the times. Learn more about the industry of sustainable clothing and the background on some successful pioneers that are paving the way for a better future, today.

Luxiders Online Magazine: covering the ethical and eco-side of fashion, design & lifestyle

Only high-end and luxury brands along with independent designers are brought together on the Luxiders, “New Intelligent Luxury Magazine.”

Going above and beyond the online magazine aspect of their brand, according to the about page, “Luxiders wants to become also a community, the #luxiders, composed by designers, artisans, strategists, style leaders and, of course, consumers all over the world that converge to build a better future, shaping the nowadays fashion, design and lifestyle landscape with pretty, eco & ethic stories.”

Meet the people behind Luxiders and learn more about their work. When asked what do they love most about their job, the representative from Luxiders explained:

“What we love about our work is to end each day with the satisfaction of dealing with articles that help to create awareness in the consumer, helping them to choose fair brands and products that respect the environment and the rights of workers, which will be translated into a better future for the next generations.”

Luxiders online magazine is a valuable resource for anyone that wants to learn more about the sustainable fashion and design industry. The interviews published on the website are especially insightful, such as this recent post entitled, “Alter Era, a distinguished interplay of cuts and prints.

Blog readers that frequent the Luxiders website spend much time pouring over the fashion editorials, and it’s easy to see why! Take this recent piece called, “Fashion Editorial * Madrid * Change is the only constant.” Exactly what a fashion editorial is meant to do, this post is full of huge stunning images that go beyond simply showcasing the clothing, but really capture the purpose and drive of the sustainable fashion industry. Any fashion junkie is sure to get their fix from this kind of content that is a feast for the eyes and contains very little copy, instead it allows the photos to do the talking.

Why did the editors at Luxiders choose a career in sustainable fashion?

“Because we love to make something good for our Earth and our people, and we think it is really a ‘must’ nowadays.”

Founder of Wild Tussah shares insights about being a sustainable designer

Preservation of traditional weave cultures through art and design for our modern world is the fundamental basis the company Wild Tussah was founded upon.

“The best part of being a Sustainable Designer and the Founder of Wild Tussah is getting the chance to tell artisan stories, and learn about and experience different cultures.”

Danica, the founder of Wild Tussah, was inspired by the traditional weavers during her first trip to Southeast Asia. The process of silk-weaving and how 100 percent silkworm is transformed into silk scarf intrigued her. She then decided to promote sustainable home decor and preserve this traditional practice much of the modern world had lost touch with.

Home interiors and handbags are created and sold by the team at Wild Tussah, who are passionate about not just making handbags but crafting original pieces of art. In addition, the company also sells hard-to-find sustainable fabrics to other designers that are made in Vietnam. Danica dishes on some products/designs that make her the happiest: “I really love textiles from the Lu people, so my favourite design is our Day to Night bags. Specifically, I love our Day to Night — Diamond Weave.”

What inspired Danica to choose a career in slow/sustainable fashion?

“I decided to design within the sustainable fashion space after I went on a five-week trek through South East Asia and became good friends with my Black Hmong tour guide in Sapa, Vietnam. She explained that parts of her culture are becoming lost, like traditional weaving, so I wanted to do something about it and help preserve it through modern design.”

Ms. Beltempo is a modern slow fashion and sustainable style blog that’s made a huge splash in the industry

Alyssa Beltempo offers a literal breath of fresh air in an industry that can be a little intimidating to newcomers. At the core of her mission is the belief that anyone can learn to love what they have and embrace a slow, sustainable wardrobe for a meaningful closet.

Unlike other sustainable clothing resources, Alyssa avoids heavy use of scary statistics and impossible-to-always-follow crunchy guidelines — rather teaches people how anyone can embrace an eco-chic wardrobe.

Variety. Diversity. Endless combinations and possibilities. Alyssa dishes that the part of the job she loves the most is the fact that every day is different. When discussing the variety of clients she works with, Alyssa explains that:

“I can choose to work with clients that are in alignment with my own values. While this isn’t always possible — I have many commercial projects which require me to shop mainstream — having that freedom and common understanding with clients is something I treasure.”

Which article or publication is Alyssa is particularly proud of and why?

From my own blog, I really like ‘Why Buy When You Can Boro?’ Not so much because of my writing, but because of the collaboration with an amazing new company which is operating on a completely closed-loop circuit. I loved discovering Boro, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs like myself, and spreading the word about this awesome company.

It’s obvious the passion Alyssa has for her chosen line of work in the slow fashion and sustainable style niche. What led her to choose this interesting career path?

“I had been asked to do a presentation on how to shop your closet to be more ‘green’ and after researching and brainstorming ideas for that project, I realized that I incorporate a lot of slow fashion principles on the regular. I realized that this was a unique take on a personal style that still allows consumers to be themselves while shopping more consciously and making small, totally doable lifestyle changes.”

Remade USA & Shannon South: pioneers in the sustainable leather handbags space

Shannon South is one of the first designers to use recycled leather and repurpose it into beautiful new products.

What does Shannon create?

Stylish and sustainable leather handbags made from vintage leather jackets, leather upholstery, and studio remnants.

“I love the variety of projects I receive. I love that no two bags look the same and there’s always an element of surprise until that last stitch is sewn.” Shannon gushes about her passion for the work she does. “I love that I am able to preserve memories in material objects for people and that I am making bags that I know will be cherished for years to come. They are not just meaningless fashion pieces, but filled with memories and are often a connection to a loved one.”

Shortly after launching her business in 2009, Shannon had a huge break when Barneys New York took notice of her line of sustainable leather handbags and was officially her first retail supporter. An opportunity such as this so early on in her career was more than what she had ever hoped for, “This was a dream come true for me and I couldn’t believe it. It gave me a lot of confidence that I was doing something right.”

How did Shannon find herself at the very core of the slow/sustainable fashion industry?

“I wouldn’t say it was a conscious choice, but more of an innate feeling that it was the right thing to do. I had recently got my master’s degree in industrial design and environmental responsibility was an important topic in school. I was attending a lot of lectures on the environment and reading a lot and I just felt I had to do my part. I was a trained designer who didn’t want to have anything to do with creating new products on this planet that was already overflowing with stuff. I loved the act of making things but didn’t feel good about adding more to the mix. We have way too much stuff as it is. Somehow, one day the thought or reusing leather came to me and I started experimenting.”

May&Hugo are ready to complete the wardrobe with sustainable swimwear

No wardrobe would be complete without a stellar bathing suit or two! May&Hugo have the eco-fashion connoisseurs covered with their impressive line of sustainable swimwear.

Founders of this profitable eco-fashion business, May and Hugo share what they love most about their work:

“We love creating! The whole process that goes into turning a thought or concept, an imagined colour scheme or silhouette into something tangible. From illustration to pattern-making to sampling and perfecting each and every piece. That we can do this using recycled materials makes it even better. We love to see the way our work has inspired others to think twice about their habits as a consumer and look further into where their purchases come from. Solving issues and coming up with ways to further reduce our footprint on the earth, like reducing fabric waste, is also very rewarding.”

As you browse the May&Hugo website, be sure you take a look at their collections. Notably, the collection of swimwear called “Raw” features head-turning modern designs, that are sophisticated, minimalist, athletic, and reversible! Given its name from the raw edges bordering the suits in this collection, the pieces are made from recycled nylon-bonded fabric that elicits a neoprene-like effect. Ultimately, this collection boasts flattering silhouettes and extremely comfortable designs for all-day wear.

How did May and Hugo end up with careers in the slow/sustainable fashion industry? May divulges:

“I chose a career in fashion because of my love of creating but after working in the industry for years I was terribly frustrated with how non-existent the concern for the environment was. That’s when I started looking at alternative fabrics and processes that minimised environmental impact, and we decided to start our own label that was aligned with our own morals and ethics.”

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