In a world where trend cycles move at lightning speed, many fashion players are choosing to slow it down. The fast fashion model— where clothing is produced, consumed, and discarded at an alarming rate— is rapidly falling out of style. 77% of consumers consider sustainability when buying fashion, and 47% of Gen Z consumers refuse to buy from non-sustainable retailers as a whole. And as sustainability in fashion increasingly becomes essential rather than optional, brands that care about being green and preserving the earth are likely to stand the test of time over their fast fashion counterparts.
Slow fashion describes the concept of creating high-quality collections made to last, meant to push back against fast fashion’s erratic, wasteful nature. Rather than keeping up with the latest styles, slow fashion brands produce timeless garments immune to the trend cycle while remaining chic and wearable.
Slow fashion has been rapidly growing over the past several years. The sustainable clothing industry is expected to be valued at £7.9 billion by 2025 and hit £12 billion by 2030. Millennial and Gen Z audiences in particular are willing to pay more for ethically produced garments, with the expectation their clothing was made with eco-friendly materials and fair labour practices. Fashion is currently the second-highest polluting industry. Sustainable brands are looking to head the change.
In this post, we at CREOATE have highlighted several brands making waves in the slow fashion industry, what strategies they’ve employed, and how you can adopt and adapt these strategies for your own use. We’ve also included a selection of the slow fashion brands available to buy right here on CREOATE.
Slow fashion brands to look out for:
- Gabriela Hearst
- Mother of Pearl
- Sheep Inc.
- Ocean Prairie
- Everyday Phenomenal
- Malaika New York
Key takeaways: Sustainable French brand prioritising a responsible production model
Sézane is a French womenswear brand launched in 2013. The label focuses on small production batches, where they design vintage-inspired pieces made to last, always with chic French girl flair. Their Europe-based factories allow Sézane to offer premium pieces at lower price points than other bridge retailers. In 2021, they received their B Corp certification, which helps businesses grow while adhering to strict environmental, social and legal standards. Since then, they’ve lowered their carbon footprint by an average of 20% per season. Their in-house recycling program has also taken in over 13,000 pieces.
Key takeaways: Label whose collections are comprised of entirely non-virgin and majority deadstock materials
Gabriela Hearst is a women’s and menswear label that puts sustainability at the forefront of its mission. Based out of New York City, the pieces are whimsical yet sophisticated and reflect Hearst’s childhood growing up on her family’s sheep farm in Uruguay. In fact, the company still has a partnership with Manos del Uruguay, a nonprofit women’s cooperative that handcrafts all Gabriela Hearst knits. The brand has eliminated the use of virgin materials, only using deadstock and recycled fabrics to create its pieces. Sustainability encompasses all aspects of the Gabriela Hearst brand, without compromising on the ‘it-girl’ factor.
Key Takeaways: London-based brand leading the offensive team in the game of ethical fashion.
British label Mother of Pearl was founded in 2002 and was not overtly sustainable or eco-friendly at the time of its launch. In fact, it wasn’t until 2017 when the brand’s creative director Amy Powney won the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award that things started to change for the brand. Upon winning, Powney realised that making an ethical business decision would be infinitely more powerful than making a lucrative one. So, she created No Frills, a socially responsible, organic traceable collection— unlike anything Mother of Pearl had done before. However, Mother of Pearl has remained a sustainability leader in the fashion industry ever since, aiming to be as transparent and ethical in their supply chain as possible.
4. Sheep Inc.
Key takeaways: First carbon-negative clothing brand in the world producing sustainable knitwear
Sheep Inc. co-founders Edzard and Michael didn’t originally come from fashion backgrounds. But they did know the fashion industry wasn’t doing things right and set out to change the contemporary approach to clothing production. Combining ancient techniques with modern technology, they revolutionised knitwear production. As a result, each garment Sheep Inc. makes has an NFC tag that provides the wearer with information on the sheep whose wool made their specific piece. They have become the first carbon-negative clothing brand in the world. They also claim to make the softest knits on earth, if that’s something you’re into.
And some slow fashion brands to shop on CREOATE:
Minimum order value: £100
Based in: London, UK
Founded in 2019, Dedais is a sustainable, slow fashion women’s and childrenswear brand. Producing clothing, bags, and accessories, Dedais only uses natural and recycled materials for its merchandise. The independent brand only puts out two collections per year, giving them time to practice a sustainable production model. Their pieces are designed in London and produced by artisans in Portugal. All Dedais products are GOTS and OCS certified. As a primarily ecommerce brand, Dedais uses about 30% less energy than traditional retailers, maintaining a sustainable environment and sticking to its goal of remaining completely carbon neutral.
Minimum order value: £150
Based in: Iowa, USA
Ocean Prairie was founded by Emily Hurlin and is based out of Iowa City, Iowa. The brand produced silk dresses inspired by the prairie fields that surround Hurlin’s home, which appear as ocean waves when the wind blows just right at the height of summer. As a mother, Emily only makes decisions for her brand if they respect Mother Earth, and will benefit her children and grandchildren. As a result, Ocean Prairie only uses locally foraged and Oeko Tex certified natural dyes, Their fabrics are all biodegradable and GOTS Certified organic. Ocean Prairie produces silk garments meant to last, getting better with age if cared for properly. They are a true locally-made, ethically sound sustainable label.
Minimum order value: £100
Based in: London, UK
Ayesha Mustafa founded Everyday Phenomenal with the mission of creating a sustainable clothing brand that not only makes you look good, but feel good too. Each EP garment includes a QR code to their mindfulness site, The Circle of Feeling Good, that provides a daily dose of motivational support. Everyday Phenomenal pieces are entirely UK made and designed by seasoned seamstresses just outside of London. The women-led company only works with small fashion brands and sustainable startups in their production process. All EP pieces are minimal and seasonless, meant to stand the test of time even with daily use.
Minimum order value: £150
Based in: Denmark
Founded in 2014 by Parsons graduate Malaika Boysen Haaning, Malaika New York is on a mission to create timeless, trendless designs that can be worn time and time again. The brand’s garments are made to adapt to women’s bodies, whether they experience changes due to pregnancy, weight gain or loss, or age. The designer’s use of rectangular patterns minimises textile waste while producing striking designs. Sustainability is built into every part of Malaika’s design process, using deadstock fabrics made from old bike tubes, textile offcuts and other materials. Kopenhag Studio in Izmir, Turkey manufactures all of their garments, the owners of which are friends of Malaika. The brand proudly maintains a model of small-scale, fairtrade production that continues to prove themselves as innovators in their field.
🌱 Discover more: Shop sustainable wholesale fashion brands
Like it or not, sustainability is the future of the fashion industry— and its importance is only continuing to grow. We hope these brands, from CREOATE favourites to other innovators making environmentally-savvy waves, provide you with a little approachable inspiration into making your business more sustainable. And hopefully, leaving the planet better than we found it.
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