Spring is the perfect time to refresh your wardrobe. This season, build a versatile wardrobe at a reasonable cost and make a positive impact on the environment by getting to know brands that employ eco-friendly practices and utilize a variety of creative textiles. Sustainable clothing and accessories are not going to be as cheap as those found in typical big box stores or fast fashion emporiums, but the higher quality will help your clothes last longer, reducing waste even further and saving you money in the long run.
Kowtow Clothing, a New Zealand-based company that designs menswear and womenswear, discusses how its organic cotton fabric is made in the short documentary, From Seed To Garment. It uses fair trade practices so that farmers and garment manufacturers benefit from their partnerships with the brand. Kowtow’s clothing comes in an appealing color palette of black, navy, gray and vermillion along with sharp graphic prints such as the Coat of Arms and Going in Circles designs, all of which can be mixed and matched to create a slick wardrobe perfect for any occasion. Building Blocks, Kowtow’s selection of basics, is a great place to start searching for pieces. Here you’ll find tees with just the right amount of slouch, baggy crop tops, soft pants and more. The drop-crotch pant is a divisive garment, but to those of you who dare to embrace exaggerated shapes and radical comfort, this style is available to women and men.
Kowtow’s styling is brilliant. Marvel at how pairing the elongated Expert Hoodie with the cropped Identity Pant makes menswear fresh and exciting. The nipped waist of the Form Shirt removes any bulk from the wide-legged Hours & Hours Pant and creates a subtle peplum effect. Layered cotton poplin dresses and cocoon-like knit dresses have an ease about them that is perfect for the laid back air of spring. Kowtow will definitely inspire you to experiment with your clothes.
Dressed-up denim and 1970s chic are huge trends for spring. To create both of these styles without looking gimmicky, turn to Reformation, a womenswear brand based in Los Angeles that seeks to minimize waste. The bulk of Reformation’s fabric is Tencel, which has a similar feel to cotton but is produced using 80 percent less water.
Reformation also repurposes vintage clothing and makes use of deadstock, or leftover fabric from other sources. The brand’s altered vintage denim has a current look with a timeless feel, such as the Flare Jean, repurposed Levi’s 517 jeans with just the right amount of flare and a slim fit through the hip and thigh.
The Wrangler Jean is a classic with a high waist that will outlast any trend. Animal print is chic and goes with anything, so the Austin Tee in Citta, made from deadstock, is a must. The Andy Dress has the deep V-neck and swish of a 1970’s party dress, and it lends itself to layering, which means it will be with you well into fall.
Alchemy Goods, an accessories brand based in Seattle, Washington, is a prime example of necessity being the mother of invention. The company was founded by Eli Reich after his messenger bag was stolen and he made himself a new one using old bicycle inner tubes. The result was a unique, stylish, durable bag that epitomized the marriage of form and function. Now, accessories from Alchemy Goods, including messenger bags, purses and wallets, are available worldwide. Alchemy Goods sources its inner tubes via a massive recycling program, so consumers play a part in the manufacturing process. Every item Alchemy Goods makes is both stylish and practical. The Brooklyn Backpack is the ultimate bag for students, freelancers and anyone else who is constantly on the go. This roomy bag has a streamlined shape, padded straps and lots of pockets. Bright zippers add a pop of color. The Mercer Laptop Bag is a great office-appropriate alternative to a conventional briefcase, and the Ballard Belt is a staple for any wardrobe. Oh, and if that doesn’t make you love Alchemy Goods, try perusing the AG blogs, including Daily Dose of Unicorn, which is dedicated to an adorable unicorn mug, and I Heart My AG, a collection of photos taken by fans of Alchemy Goods.
Remember, the goal is to minimize waste and maximize style, so assess your current clothing and add in some of these great pieces. Get creative! Tell us: how will you incorporate sustainable style into your life this season?