Is this the moment where everyone suddenly starts to take sustainability seriously? For a website that's dedicated to trends and shopping, you'd think we'd happily shy away from the idea, but the team at Who What Wear UK are always on hand to tell you
how to build a capsule wardrobe, find your personal style, buy things that last and give you great cost per wear, show you the way to confidently wear second-hand clothes and locate the well-edited vintage stores that take the hard graft out of things. We also do our best to highlight cool, conscious brands you can afford and/or look to invest in. We like to tell you what on the high street is actually worth buying, allowing you to skip the toot that will inevitably get tossed into some sad pile of unworn clothing somewhere.
We know we have a great deal to still learn (all thoughts welcome—please
DM us on Instagram), but in the wake of Stacey Dooley's BBC investigation into fashion consumption, it's time we all started shouting a little louder and trying much harder.
So, to reconcile our desire for fashionability along with the need for more considered purchasing habits, let's start with this: a gallery chock-full of more sustainable, ethical and conscious items you can buy today and keep forever.
Remember, there are different levels of sustainability (and we know fabric compositions, production and manufacturing, packaging and so on can become very complex), but if you can at least start aiming to buy less but better, that is a great beginning.
It's the sneaker brand everyone loves—Veja. Made from recycled plastic bottles and wild rubber, these eco sneaks have shot to the top of many a fashion editor's shopping list. The brand also works with cooperatives in Brazil—its home country—and sources fair-trade materials like cotton. You can investigate Veja's misson for yourself here. Arela is a new premium sustainable knitwear brand. Its cashmere and cotton pieces are made from best natural fibres which are super durable (meaning you can keep wearing your pieces for longer) and are produced by skilled professionals in Nepal, Finland, Latvia and China. You can read more on the brand's "For Good" concept here. One of the easiest ways to update your look is with jewellery, but you'll get even more points for buying vintage or second-hand. Susan Caplan has long specialised in this area and has a back catalogue of incredible pieces you should invest in. H&M's Conscious range spans everything from super-basic items to more detailed ones like these shoes. H&M has even created wedding dresses within the collection before. The conscious elements are predominantly within more sensible, eco-friendly fabric choices (these slingbacks are also made from recycled polyester). American designer Mara Hoffman is one of the names really leading the charge for well-designed sustainable fashion. This particular piece was made in the USA using recycled Italian fabric. You can read up on more of the brand's ethical, mindful and sustainable approach here. Mashu is a new Greek brand we've recently found. Using premium vegan materials (which are 100% recyclable at the end of their life) and ethically producing from within Greece via local artisans, these unusual little bags have quite the story to tell. You can read up on more of Mashu's best practices here. Anna Foster, the fashion stylist who founded E.L.V., sources vintage denim pieces to rework into new, sophisticated styles. Each pair is made and finished in east London, minimising the production chain as well as waste and impact on the environment. London Fashion Week brand Mother of Pearl has recently focused a great deal of effort and time into becoming far more sustainable. Its No Frills line represents the fact that you can buy beautiful, runway-worthy items that have traceable production lines with a low carbon footprint. The brand also minimizes its waste and uses organic, eco-friendly fabrics. Noa Vee is a new online sustainable fashion hub where you can pick up some pretty unique, trend-hitting items as well as absorb some interesting content. One of the brands it sells, Edas, is a New York City–based brand that offers up kooky jewellery and bags that uses refurbished elements and sustainable fabrics. Free People has become a trusted source for vegan shoes and boots, stocking options from lots of different brands. It's well worth checking out. M.i.h is already one of our top denim brands of all time, but now it's making moves toward further sustainability, which makes us even happier. These Paradise jeans are made from organic cotton of a sustainable source and are washed using technology that requires less water. You can read up on this and more of its sustainability manifesto here. One surefire way to know you're not contributing to the problem is to just buy second-hand or vintage. We always head to Vestiaire Collective to buy what's trending without feeling guilty. On the top of our wish lists right now? A Fendi Baguette bag. Mango's Committed line really centres around better fabric choices such as recycled wool and organic cotton. The line also tends to use Tencel, a fabric made from responsibly sourced wood (it also happens to be more eco-friendly than other fibres). Nous Etudions, an eco Argentine brand that aims to be 100% sustainable and vegan soon, participated in Yoox and Vogue Italia's The Next Green Talents project. The brand is also pushing boundaries when it comes to genderless design. Read up on Yooxygen's project and other designer picks here. Stella McCartney has been leather-free for as long as we can remember, and she's always pushing to be more sustainable and responsible with every part of her brand. You can read up on the label's full mission statement here. American brand Reformation is all about making its manufacturing process as green as possible: minimising waste, water usage and its energy footprint. The brand even sends out a quarterly sustainability report on its own business, so you can be kept in the loop. Read up on the full info behind its sustainable aims and processes here. 31 Chapel Lane by Damien and Joi Hannigan is all about upgraded versions of everyday staples. The Limerick City–based brand is considered to be environmentally and socially aware and makes everything in Ireland and with fabrics such as pure Irish linen. The brand's aim to make classics piece you'll hold onto forever (and we definitely would). Using high-grade materials and a more sustainable manufacturing process, Giuliva Heritage Collection—founded in Italy by Gerardo Cavaliere and Margherita Cardelli—is all about top-quality wardrobe staples you'll wear for life. It's a new brand on the scene with a particular knack for natty outerwear. Ethically sourced stones and gold are the backbone of this influencer-loved jewellery brand founded by London-based sisters Christie and Rosanna Wollenberg. Recycled packaging is another nice point, but you can read up further on its stance here. "Luxury with a conscience" is New York–based Gabriela's raison d'être (that explains the price tags). Everything in her collection is crafted to the highest standards in the finest materials. The brand uses sensible, slow processes and has a very limited supply chain. For example, this bag is only available on Net-a-Porter until 15 October. New Zealander Maggie Marilyn is all about finding the most sustainable and ethical ways to make her cute clothes come into this world. For example, she works to find certified organic textile mills and works with local manufacturers, many of which had been struggling under the weight of mass production being taken to other parts of the globe. You can read more about Maggie's efforts here. Nanushka Creative Director, Sandra Sandor, has seen a great deal of success with the brand's vegan leather pieces. This puffer jacket is a particularly sought-after style. Street style-adored Australian-designed Bulgarian-made shoe brand By Far has a more sustainable offshoot, which the online e-commerce platform Antibad has picked up. This means all of the pieces are created out of leather that has been wasted in another production line. There are also some vegan leather options in the mix too. The Acey stocks cool, minimalist sustainable brands like Fort. These dungarees are made within a facility that is certified be to fair-trade. According to the brand, "the facility was first founded to help Tibetan refugees find work but now there are currently over 50 staff, spanning Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian cultures working there. The production facility is working towards becoming zero waste, they pay fair wages, proper holidays are given and they have a real sense of community." Cool, huh? Brigitta is part of the slow fashion movement, with each of these jewellery pieces is made by hand in east London. These are therefore of the utmost quality and only produced in limited editions. You can learn more about jeweller Brigitta Anderson here. This London-based label distributes 90% of its profits to charities, causes and those who build the collection. But you can also get involved and vote for who you'd like to see these contributions go towards. The brand hopes to be as sustainable and organic as possible with its fabric choices and will continue to research alternatives for the future. Using deadstock garments (the ones that get thrown out of designer factories for being even the teeniest bit wrong) and thousands of upcycled beads, these ethically crafted jeans from a new Paris label every fashion editor is talking about. You can read more about Kevin Germanier's work thanks to the fact Matchesfashion.com are now stocking his line. Allbirds—an American brand that will soon launch in the UK—can lay claim to creating the most comfortable shoes in the world. The brand's shoes are also made from super-fine merino wool (far more sustainable than most fabrics), recycled laces and have a low carbon footprint. Even the sheep used for the wool have been guaranteed a good life. See more of the work behind its conscious practices here. This London-based brand uses high-quality, sustainable luxury fabrics and has partnered with an ethical, women-owned and operated factory to manufacture its pretty dresses. You can read more about Dagny's mission statement here. Made's jewellery is handcrafted in Kenya by skilled local artisans and uses environmentally sound and fairly traded materials. You can read more about the many other positive parts of the brand here.
Opening Images: @lisa.aiken carrying clutch bag from Simon Miller—a brand that is trying to reduce the use of water in production and use organic mills; @slipintostyle wearing a vegan leather dress from Nanushka; a look from one of our favourite vintage stores @naninvintage; @double3exposure wearing shoes from a socially and ethically aware brand, Suzanne Rae