Eco fashion is no longer relegated to organic tee shirts and hemp drawstring pants. A growing number of designers are creating high fashion from sustainable materials that even a fashionista would gladly don. Here are five companies producing cool, cute and beautiful clothing that you can feel good about wearing.
soleRebels: Using locally sourced materials that include organic, hand-spun cotton and organic jute, this footwear company based in Ethiopia is not only a model of sustainable development in action, it's a line of darn cute shoes! The company's founder,
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, launched the footwear company because she felt that shoes could best showcase the villagers' artisan skills and could be made almost entirely of local materials, such as recycled car tires and artisan-loomed fabrics. As the No. 1 Ethiopian footwear exporter to the United States, soleRebels is setting an example of the power of small locally owned eco-conscious business.
Melissa Joy Manning: If you're looking for something more than a piece of costume jewelry, Melissa Joy Manning's sustainable jewelry designs probably have a bauble for you. Manning's line of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings is made using traditional metal-smithing techniques with conflict-free stones and gems and recycled silver and gold.
Each piece is handmade to order by artists in her green-certified California studio. She also creates custom pieces and offers a unique line of engagement rings and wedding bands.
Nudie Jeans: Guys, this one's for you. This company's trendy offerings of jeans to belts turn on its head the notion that eco fashion means eco nerd. Nudie Jeans' men's line, which includes 100 percent organic cotton jeans, will satisfy even the most discerning fashionistas. Of their total production, 80 percent of the line is made in Europe, and 17 percent in Tunisia, with the remaining 3 percent produced in Turkey and India, where workers are paid a living wage. Be sure to also check out the rugs made from their recycled worn-out jeans. The stuff isn't cheap, but considering a pair of jeans will last several years, it's worth the investment.
Katherine Feiel: Saying "I do" in a gown made of vintage and rescued fabrics sewn by the designer herself would add a special touch to an already special dress. Clothing designer Katherine Feiel believes in the slow fashion movement and takes the time to do all of the work herself. Following the slow fashion movement, Katherine believes that fashion should be ethical and only buys fairly traded products when purchasing raw materials from developing nations.
Aventura Clothing: This family-owned company based in Nevada uses organic cotton and hemp in its line of comfortable but stylish clothing. The small team of employees walk the talk by composting, cycling to work, and doing everything they can to make the office a greener place, such as recycling trade-show materials and opting for a more expensive air conditioner that consumes less energy. If you're looking for eco chic in active wear, check this out.