On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1133 people and injuring a further 2500. Far from the only fatal accident in outsourced garment manufacturing, the Rana Plaza tragedy marked a turning point for the fashion industry. Since that day, fashion innovators come together on 24 April every year to talk about the journey of what we wear – do we actually know who made our clothes? Vilda caught up with four cruelty-free bloggers to discuss fashion, beyond veganism.
‘Since going vegan, my favourite places to shop are eco-friendly and sustainable. One of the first conscious purchases I made was a cotton tank top by The Tree Kisser, designed by Jessica Schlueter, an animal activist who dedicates herself to spreading veganism through her clothing line. The tops are manufactured in a Los Angeles factory where the workers are paid approximately $12/hour which is above the federal minimum. The designs are printed on organic cotton and recycled polyester. I love knowing that my clothes are made ethically and sustainably! Factory workers deserve fair wages and that’s why it’s so important to me to know where my clothes came from. The best part about The Tree Kisser’s clothing is that 10% of the profits go to a different charity every month! Plus, all the tops are completely affordable, most of them being under $50. By choosing to purchase an eco-friendly, ethical, and vegan top, you are helping the planet, animals, and factory workers.
– Karissa Bowers, Vegan À La Mode
‘This shirt is currently my go-to piece because it’s so comfortable – it reminds me to keep things simple. It’s from Little Atoms, designed and printed in the U.S. I wear it at least once a week. The skirt is from Vaute Couture, one of my favorite labels not only because I love the designer’s aesthetic and commitment to sustainability, but also because of all she does for animals. The booties are from Bhava – another eco-friendly vegan brand that’s on my wish-list every season – the shoes are crafted by artisans in Alicante, Spain. The bracelet is Mata Traders, a fair-trade accessory label that helps the fight against poverty in developing countries. The dog collars and bows are from The Dapper Dog, designed and made in Brooklyn!’
– Jacquelyn Lewis, The Stylish Kind
‘For me, sustainable fashion is about reminding us that we can and should prioritise our social responsibilities, for the benefit of the planet and each other. It teaches me to be more mindful of what I buy, and to reconsider how much clothing I really need. This is quite a feat considering the dominant preference for fast, cheap fashion. Brands such as Matt & Nat prove that it can be done without hitting our hip pockets hard, or by sacrificing style. But the most important benefit for me is knowing their products are 100% vegan. Because animals aren’t ours to use.’
– Chrissy Halliday, Hold the Eggplant
‘Since kids, we’ve all been taught to think big, be great, get far and be our best selves, but most of those teachings only included the self and not everything and everyone else surrounding us. They took for granted that Mother Earth and its animals were here long before us, and also forgot to mention that if we don’t acknowledge this and act now, tomorrow might be too late. In my opinion, we are responsible for changing this and change starts with each one of us. From the way we eat to the way we dress, we can all do good just by living. It all starts by grasping the idea that every dollar we spent is our vote on how we want this world to be. That is exactly what I try to inspire with WaterThruSkin every day. I try to open the readers’ minds to a world of conscience, compassion and kindness. Specially in the fashion industry where today there are hundreds of amazing up-and-coming vegan, eco-friendly and ethical brands that are fighting to reduce humanity’s negative impact on this planet. Two of those brands, which I’m completely obsessed with, are Harveys and Melissa. Harveys, a company created by an incredibly talented couple, makes bags from car seatbelts and other sustainable materials – their interior linings are made from recycled plastic bottles. Each design is so delicately and perfectly stitched that it does not only make anyone wonder how something so beautiful could come out of such untraditional materials but it is also transforming and reducing the fashion industry’s irrational attachment to leather. One of my favorite Harverys’ bags is their blue Sophia crossbody bag (as you can see in the picture).
Melissa is a Brazilian shoe brand that has taken recycled plastic to a whole new level by designing unique, fashionable, astonishingly comfortable and candy-smelling shoes for every type of lifestyle. My favorites are the Artemis studded sandals in blue (as you can see in the picture).
These are just two of the ethical brands out there. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see more and more companies reshaping the way we think and act for the better. They are taking the first step with their products, the second one is on us. So let’s live & shop consciously. Always!
– Valeria Hinojosa, WaterThruSkin
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