Fashion: You can only pick one!
- Size inclusive
- Made by workers making a fair wage
While there are so many sustainable fashion options on the market, I never thought it was something I could support because I don’t wear straight sizes. I want clothes that are made sustainably and offer a fair wage and working conditions for the people making the garments as much as the next girl, but I simply never thought it would make its way down the chain and into the hands of women above a size 10 or 12. It was something I reconciled as impossible a few years ago, and I moved on.
Sustainable fashion, however, is becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury as time goes on. Have you ever thought about where all of your old clothes go? I realized the importance of sustainable fashion when I finally understood that the dog T-shirt I wore in my second-grade school picture is still somewhere on this earth. Every pair of gauchos I begged my mom for in fifth grade, the denim skirt that never fit me right freshman year of college, and those absolutely awful bootcut jeans of middle school are sitting somewhere, taking up space.
Now that so many people are finally taking notice of the environmental impact of fast fashion, retailers are realizing there’s a huge market of plus-size women out there looking for clothes they can feel good about mentally and physically. These are the seven brands getting it right.
When Reformation first launched its plus-size offerings, I was ecstatic. However, it took a while for them to build up their line and even longer to offer it at Nordstrom. Reformation has made themselves a leader in sustainable fashion since they launched, and it’s the cornerstone of their entire brand. They calculate all of their emissions and create a yearly report (available online) to showcase their carbon footprint and express the impact fast fashion has on the environment versus everything they’re doing to stop it. I also love that they put a large focus on working conditions. They make all of their products in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing it to factories or sweatshops in other countries, and all of their employees (listed on their website — amazing!) make a living wage.
Girlfriend Collective has you covered on sustainable workout gear in sizes up to xxxl. All of their garments are made with recycled plastic in Taiwan. They’re dedicated to transparency and explain their entire production process from start to finish on their website so consumers can understand exactly how their products are made and who is making them. Other activewear companies should look to Girlfriend Collective!
Mara Hoffman is known for high-quality styles that stand the test of time, and their plus-size offerings are just as amazing. They use sustainable materials for their garments and prioritize using natural, organic, and recycled materials when possible. Many of their pieces are made with hemp, linen, Tencel, and organic cotton, and are made to be washed less, reducing water and energy in the process. They also support sustainability throughout the rest of the brand with tags made of 80 percent recycled paper that are printed with soy-based inks, as well as using compostable bags and recycled and sustainably-sourced trims and buttons.
HDH has classic but trendy items up to size 4x. All of their products are made-to-order, so they don’t waste materials on mass-producing items. Everything is made in-house in their studio in Minnesota. Their items are made to last, and they’re all made by one of their six seamstresses. They also have their Sustain Shop, a process that lets you return your old clothes to be updated and resold. When you send your items to HDH, they send you $20 in store credit for your next purchase! They have a wide range of plus-size offerings, so feel free to level up your wardrobe with their variety of basics.
Eileen Fisher is dedicated to sustainability at its core. They’re a Fair Trade Certified brand, meaning all of their products are made in factories that have been certified for paying a fair wage and provide comfortable and safe working conditions for all of the employees. These products are not made in sweatshops or through child labor overseas — they’re made by people who can actually live and support themselves with the income they make from making these garments.
Along with environmental sustainability, Eileen Fisher’s clothes are made with organic fibers that are undyed or naturally dyed, and they offer a renewal program to reduce clothing waste (one of the biggest issues with fast fashion that’s filling our landfills). Their renewal program allows people to return the clothes they’ve loved and worn to death, and then updates them and sells them at a lower rate. It’s basically a really cool consignment shop, but it’s online!
Levi’s is understanding that the garment-making process uses up a lot of nonrenewable resources, especially water. They’ve developed their “Water<Less” technique, which reduces water use in the denim-making process as well as reuses the water they actually use. By 2020, they hope to make 80 percent of their products using this process. Currently, 67 percent of their products are made this way, and its saved more than three billion liters of water.
This Los Angeles based clothing company specializes in bright colors and has the best graphic T-shirts in the plus-size game (if you’re asking me!). Their products are locally made in LA and are inclusive in both sizing and in that all of their items are unisex. They’re a small brand that you can feel good about wearing and purchasing!
black skinny jeans
What other ways to make sure your clothing is sustainable? What brands did we miss? Tell us in the comments!