Four Sustainable Designers to Watch

by Guest Writer
Sure, it might be exhilarating to treasure hunt discounted Coach bags at the outlet mall – or snag a coveted patterned frock from the latest fast-fashion collab at Target. But here’s something even more satisfying: Stocking your wardrobe with a variety of ethically produced pieces from a new wave of environmentally conscious designers.

We found four emerging labels that use sustainable materials, socially responsible production practices, and at least one is creating collection with zero fabric waste. Plus, they’re all making clothes you actually want to wear. Meet the next generation of eco fashion.

Carrie Parry

We first spotted this young designer with an affinity for social responsibility in 2011 when she debuted a collection inspired by 1960s French cinema. These days Parry’s focusing all her attention on the one item every woman needs: a well-made, flattering shirt. Each tailored button-up, wrap-front blouse, and printed silk tee comes with a description of where the supplies are sourced and how the fabric is made. She produces everything in the U.S.A. and sells them online, bypassing expensive markups from brick-and-mortar shops.

Study NY

Owner and head designer Tara St. James brings her extensive knowledge of menswear tailoring and eco-friendly clothing production to her conceptual New York City-based label. She sources artisan-made and sustainable fabrics (organic cotton, hemp), adheres to a zero-waste pattern making policy, and creates small capsule collections of minimalist shirts, open-back dresses, and hand-embroidered sheepskin accessories sold in limited quantities.

Milena Silvano

The UK designer, who says she’s inspired by Eco Feminist thinking, handcrafts boxy, one-of-a-kind dresses and tunics (as in one size fits all) and limited-run pieces using recycled and vintage materials. Silvano creates natural dyes from plants cultivated in her own rural Sussex garden and sews together patchworked designs that could be worn by a 1970s craft culture artist or a modern-day graphic designer.

Daniel Silverstein

This Fashion Institute of Technology grad’s body-con cocktail dresses with cut-outs and sheer panels look about as far from hippie-dippy as you can get. But Silverstein is known for Earth loving ways, most notably a zero tolerance toward wasting fabric scraps. Each garment is cut out of yardage in the most efficient way possible, and then he uses the remnants for his signature “spine” detailing, woven straps, and appliques. We’d say his future in the eco-fashion business is bright.

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