13 Sustainable Designers And Luxury Fashion Brands You Need To Know

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by KnowESG
Image of trendy Asian women choosing cotton garments in a boutique

Fashion trends have taken a turn for the better and are now aligning with sustainability. Designers and sustainable luxury fashion brands from all corners of the globe have united to create beautiful pieces that demonstrate their loyalty to protecting our planet, while fashion-centric organisations such as Redress are developing the processes to embed circular thinking across the sector.

We are excited to  present this listicle, featuring some remarkable sustainable textile designers and sustainable fashion brands who spearhead eco-friendliness and the sustainable fashion movement, setting an inspiring example for us all. From haute couture labels to streetwear brands, here is our listing of must-know sustainable designer names you need in your wardrobe.

Sustainable Designers To Look Out For

These designers and brands are crafting fashionable and high-quality clothing and accessories, while making a positive impact on the environment and communities through their commitment to ethical practices. There’s no specific reason we have 13 listed, we just feel they are playing a key role in the sustainable fashion movement. 

Stella McCartney 

Known for her sharp tailoring and bold, contemporary designs, Stella McCartney has been a leader in sustainable luxury fashion for years. She uses environmentally-friendly materials and ethical production methods to create her collections. 

Stella McCartney has been vocal about her commitment to sustainability and has implemented various sustainable practices in her brand, such as using organic cotton, recycled polyester, and innovative materials like vegan leather. She also has a closed-loop recycling programme where customers can bring back their old Stella McCartney clothes for recycling or resale. Various organisations, such as the British Fashion Council and the Ethical Fashion Forum, have recognised Stella Maccartney for her brand's sustainability efforts.

Featured Article: Top 5 Social Sustainability Examples You Need To Know

Eileen Fisher

This American luxury designer is committed to using sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and linen, in her clothing. She also has a circular programme in place to recycle used clothing, giving it a second life, where customers can return their old Eileen Fisher clothes. Fisher's brand is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which works towards sustainability in the apparel and footwear industry. Eileen Fisher has implemented various eco-friendly and sustainable practices in her brand, such as using organic cotton, low-impact dyes, and renewable energy in her factories. 

Gabriela Hearst 

This Uruguayan-American designer is known for using sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and vegetable-tanned leather, in her clothing and accessories. Her elegant and timeless designs are a favourite among fashion-conscious consumers. Hearst's brand is committed to sustainability and ethical practices, such as using organic cotton, low-impact dyes, and renewable energy in her factories. Her circular fashion programme means customers can return used products for recycling. 

Christy Dawn 

This American designer focuses on using sustainable materials such as deadstock fabrics, and follows ethical production methods. Her vintage-inspired designs are both stylish and eco-friendly. Christy Dawn's brand is committed to sustainability and ethical practices. She has implemented various eco-friendly practices in her brand, such as using organic cotton, low-impact dyes, and renewable energy in her factories, and of course she has a circular programme for recycling. Check out her ‘’Glossary of Regeneration” to learn more.

Patagonia

While not considered a ‘luxury’ brand, this American outdoor clothing company has for decades been setting the leading global standard for its commitment to sustainability. Patagonia pretty much wrote the book on developing circular fabrics, respectful and equitable workforce practices, and of course organic cotton.

Patagonia's brand is committed to sustainability and ethical practices. The brand’s success stems not just from their unparalleled ESG commitments, but to developing consistently sustainable, quality performance apparel that is definitely worth the price. Explore and learn about Patagonia’s many initiatives here.

Christopher Raeburn

Christopher Raeburn is a British designer known for his groundbreaking attitude towards eco-friendly fashion. His designs incorporate reused components and military surplus to create unique pieces of clothing that embody sustainability. Every aspect of the designer's label points back to sustainable production methods such as organic cotton, renewable energy used in their facilities and even a programme which allows customers free lifetime “repairs” on purchased garments.

Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman, the celebrated American designer and fashionista, is widely known for her colourful and audacious designs crafted from sustainable materials including organic cotton, linen and Tencel. Her eponymous brand's commitment to sustainability further sets it apart, boasting low-impact dyes derived naturally along with renewable energy in its production facilities. But that's not all - Mara Hoffman has also developed a revolutionary circular programme, Queen of Raw, which resells sample fabrics to give them a fresh life. 

Viktor & Rolf 

Viktor & Rolf is a renowned Dutch fashion house that demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and ethical practices through its avant-garde designs. They implement eco-friendly techniques such as crafting garments with organic cotton, low-impact dyes, and renewable energy in their factories. If you are looking for stylish apparel without compromising your values of conscious consumerism then look no further than Viktor & Rolf. Read this excellent study of their sustainable approach to find out more.

Rare & Fair

Rare & Fair, the luxury eco-brand, is committed to promoting handmade items crafted with sustainable and ecological materials. To ensure that workers are motivated by using environmentally friendly resources, all handcrafted clothes and accessories are handcrafted by artisans and then directly sold to customers. In this manner, they can guarantee the full support of artisans who specialise in manual weaving techniques. Read more about their story here.

Matt & Nat

Matt & Nat is a Canadian brand that proudly lives out its commitment to sustainability, with vegan materials and recycled plastic bottles featured in its clothing and accessories. Their devotion goes beyond design - they use organic cotton, low-impact dyes, and renewable energy sources at their factories, and openly promote their close relationship with suppliers. Read more on their transparent approach here.

Amour Vert

Amour Vert is a renowned American brand that has made sustainability, and particularly low impact, its priority. The company has developed close relationships with mills so they can develop their own fabrics that meet their targets of texture and feel, while ensuring full traceability of all fibres used to maintain overview on the environmental impact of their supply chain. You can resell your used items via their ‘’ReAmour’’ programme, and help them in their journey: “The road to sustainability is a journey with no clear destination and we firmly believe in getting there”.

Nudie Jeans

Nudie Jeans is an iconic Swedish brand recognized for its dedication to ethical production and sustainability. Their “Living wage program” ensures fair pay to their Indian and Turkish suppliers, while environmentally, they have mapped water and CO2 emissions several years in a row to help build transparency in their evolving production flow. 

Oh, and they will repair your Nudie Jean products for free, forever.

Read more about Nudie’s sustainability initiatives here.

Girlfriend Collective

American brand Girlfriend Collective develops all its textiles using recycled materials at its Taiwan facility, then manufactures its premium activewear at a Vietnam-based partner, ensuring the right quality levels in guaranteed fair working conditions, backed up by their SA8000 social accountability standard. 

With recycled fabrics and natural dyes, the brand focuses on material use reduction and avoidance of plastic pollution. Read more at their Q&A here.

The Bottom Line

By supporting these designers and their brands, consumers can make a conscious and informed decision to promote a more sustainable fashion industry. The fashion industry has been criticised for its negative impact on the environment for a long time, and these designers are leading the way, instead, in creating a reputation for sustainable leadership and a revolution in systems thinking.

There are numerous industry-led or participated initiatives formed to address the challenge of the transition to sustainability in the fashion industry, perhaps most notably The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), formed with a coalition of major apparel brands with a multi-stakeholder approach to first measure resource use flows, then outline strategies for performance improvement. Read more about the SAC here.

Keep track of performance via our Company ESG Profiles, so you can see ESG Ratings compiled in a single place, with access to current ESG reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do sustainable designers do?

Sustainable designers are fashion designers who focus on creating clothing and accessories in an environmentally and socially responsible way. They use sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and linen, and employ ethical production methods. They also implement eco-friendly practices in their brand, such as using low-impact dyes, renewable energy in their factories, and circular programmes where customers can return their old clothes for recycling or resale. 

Additionally, sustainable designers often promote fair labour practices and support local communities. They work to minimise their carbon footprint and reduce the environmental impact of their production and business practices. Overall, sustainable designers aim to create fashion that is stylish, high-quality, and has a positive impact on the environment and society.

How do you become a sustainable designer?

Becoming a sustainable designer typically involves obtaining a degree in design or a related field, such as architecture or engineering, and gaining experience in sustainable design practices. Many universities offer programmes or courses specifically focused on sustainable design, and internships or apprenticeships with sustainable design firms can also provide valuable experience. 

It can also be helpful to become familiar with relevant regulations, codes, and guidelines related to sustainable design and stay current with industry trends and advancements in sustainable technologies. Additionally, professional certifications or membership in organisations related to sustainable design can demonstrate knowledge and commitment to sustainable design principles.

What is the most sustainable fashion brand in the world?

It is difficult to determine one specific brand as the most sustainable in the world, as sustainability can be measured in various ways and different brands may excel in different areas. Some brands that are often recognised for their sustainable practices include Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and Stella McCartney. Additionally, it is important to research and consider a brand's entire supply chain and not just their end products when determining sustainability. Consumer education and demand for sustainable products also play a significant role in promoting sustainable practices within the industry.

Is Zara a sustainable brand?

It depends on how you define "sustainable." Zara, like many fast fashion brands, has faced criticism for its environmental and labour practices. However, the company has taken steps in recent years to become more sustainable, such as implementing more eco-friendly production methods and committing to using more sustainable materials. 

Additionally, Zara has also committed to reducing its carbon footprint, water consumption and waste. However, the company is still in the process of implementing these changes and more work needs to be done to be considered a sustainable brand. It's important to research and make informed decisions when purchasing from any brand, regardless of whether or not it markets itself as sustainable.

Can luxury brands be sustainable?

Yes, luxury brands can be sustainable. Sustainability is a holistic concept that can be applied to all aspects of a business, including luxury brands. Luxury brands can implement sustainable practices in their supply chain, production processes, packaging, and product design. Additionally, luxury brands can also focus on sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing. 

However, it is important to note that not all luxury brands may have the same level of commitment to sustainability, and it is important for consumers to research and support luxury brands that are actively working towards sustainability.

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