We talk about fast-fashion a lot; about why we encourage people to shop vintage, secondhand or sustainable alternatives, about what needs to change in the industry to make a lasting impact on the world around us...
We talk about fast-fashion a lot because it is a conversation worth having.
When the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, over 1,129 people were killed and the horrific working conditions of fast-fashion sweatshops came out of the dark; people were confronted with the consequences of their choice to shop fast-fashion, which was proven to be undeniably unethical.
We can not ignore fast-fashion. There are an estimated 40 million people who work in sweatshops across the world, and many of them face unsafe and unethical working conditions. These workers, of which 90% are women, face malnutrition due to low wages, unprotected exposure to toxic chemicals, sexual harassment, discrimination and forced overtime.
At Beyond Retro, we believe that there has to be a better way to produce clothes that fashion can be a force for good and a force for change.
As one of the world’s leading vintage retailers, we're proud to use our platform to lift the voices of brands and designers who are utilising fashion for a positive change.
Carry on reading to discover our hand-picked eco-friendly fashion designers and brands to look out for. And, remember, vintage clothing is inherently sustainable and you can shop our range of products online and in store.
Birdsong are a brand very close to our heart. They are friends of ours, and as a brand they promise no sweatshops and no photoshop, two principles we at Beyond Retro agree with. Their vow to not use photoshop points at a second issue in the fashion industry, being the way in which clothes are marketed towards women, promoting an unattainable standard of beauty.
Their brands mission statement reads: “Wearing our collection of original wardrobe staples is a protest in itself– against the fast nature of the fashion industry, against the obsessive pursuit of trends and against the systematic abuse of women in the production line".
Birdsong then, is certainly a brand that wears their morals on their sleeve. Birdsong make clothes for those who want to make a conscious choice to shop sustainable, and who want to rebel with their clothing.
Know The Origin
Know The Origin is an online brand with a commitment to sustainable practices. All their clothes are made in factories of which their design team have personally visited to ensure only excellent working conditions.
Diversity is also at the forefront of what Know The Orign does, and a scroll through their online store makes this clear. Their clothes are listed on the website featuring a diverse range of models, of all sizes and backgrounds, an unfortunate rarity in fashion.
Project Pico is an underwear brand with a purpose. Underwear is one of the most thrown-away items of clothing, contributing to the never-ending problem of stuff.
It can seem easy to head into a shop on the high street when you need a fresh pair of undies, but knowing that these items are made under less-than-ethical circumstances is hopefully enough to turn you off.
Instead of Primark, opt for Project Pico, who share the story of how their underwear is made, from sewing the cotton seeds to how the finished products make their way to the UK.
They offer an array of styles, from high waist knickers, to the full brief as well as trunks for men.
Matt and Nat
All the bags and accessories from this brand are made from vegan leather, a particular type called PU is used where possible as this is less harmful to the environment than the typical PVC. The linings of their products are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles!
The brand has a close working relationship with the factories where their products are made, ensuring they qualify for the SA8000 standard certification which requires the fair treatment of garment workers.
ArmedAngels produce sustainable denim. All their jeans are made from sustainable materials, including organic wool, cotton and linen.
Important to note, their packaging is also all sustainable and completely recyclable!
Beaumont Organic is based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, producing self-described ‘contemporary conscious clothing’. They want to create clothing people are proud to be wearing and proud to feel associated with, they want to inspire change and pave the way for fashion to have a more sustainable future.
This brands message is much like our own, which is part of the reason we love them so much.
At the heart of Vildnis’ brand is the ethos to “change the fashion industry without changing your style”, and it follows through with its contemporary, Scandinavian-inspired design. Freedom, fairness, honesty, responsibility and protection of the environment are all part of the brands DNA.
We have been screaming from the roof-top about how the simple actions and the choices we make, such as, making the conscious decision to shop vintage and to shop sustainably can have a huge impact on the future.
Konodo is a brand that firmly believes in this, also. Based in North London, the brand trade fairly with factories in Nepal, China, Indonesia and Turkey which our frequently visited by designers and such. The brand works closely with the team of talented people who bring their ideas to life.
Mayamiko hand pick their textiles from local fabric markets in Malawi. They work with a cooperative of women traders to source the finest prints and they only source enough to produce a very limited number of pieces to ensure minimum waste.
Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is a fair trade fashion label that has been committed to social and environmental values from the very start. At the heart of our collections is the consideration of ethical production, beautiful materials and contemporary design.
Words Chardonnay West