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Fashionably Informed: 5 Stylish and Sustainable Brands to Know

Saving the world one t-shirt at a time.

By Camilla Cook January 19, 2016

Now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to not only what goes in their body, but what goes on their body as well. Fashion brands have taken note, and now we are seeing the emergence of sustainable clothing lines paving the way towards a new standard. These brands are trailblazers in the fashion industry, each with a strong commitment to sustainability, factory conditions, giving back to their communities and overall great style.

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Image: Everlane


With its practice of “radical transparency,” shopping smart has never been easier than at Everlane. Launched in 2011 by former investor Michael Preysman, Everlane's direct-to-consumer approach allows it to sell men’s and women’s luxury apparel and accessories at an affordable price.

Unlike traditional retailers, which can have markups of as much as eight times what it cost to produce, Everlane's final retail markup is less than three times the manufacturing cost. So a high-quality tee that would sell for $50 dollars at traditional retail would sell for a mere $15 on Everlane. Marketed to the minimalist shopper, when you buy from the San Francisco-based company, you know exactly what you’re buying—even the factory where the item was produced and how they come up with the price point.

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Image: S'well


The S’well bottle is going to be your new favorite environmentally friendly accessory! Created with a little innovation and a lot of passion, these are not your ordinary water bottles. S'well's mission is to rid the world of single-use, disposable beverage containers, keeping them out of landfills and out of the ocean. S’well founder and designer Sarah Kauss has created a bottle unmatched by competitors. With its non-leaching stainless steel foundation, the S’well bottle doesn't come with a metallic taste, unlike its aluminum counterparts, and the double-wall insulation keeps drinks cool for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.

The bottle comes with a sleek design, and three size options to choose from, along with dozens and dozens of exterior patterns to select, ranging from solids to fun prints. Though it's expensive for a water bottle, with the smallest 9 oz bottle selling for $25, the price point is worth it for the long run savings of nixing plastic bottles, which can add up over time. Plus with each sale, S’well gives back to charity partners like UNICEF and American Forests.

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Image: Alex and Ani

Alex and Ani

If spirituality and positive energy is right in line with your chakras, then behold Alex and Ani. Named after her two daughters, the company was founded in Rhode Island by Carolyn Rafaelian in 2004. The jewelry brand sells bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings, each manufactured in America from sustainable materials like recycled brass and imbued with positive energy.

What exactly does that mean? “Every product has been blessed by my priests, it has been blessed by my shaman friends, protected from radio frequency, from radioactivity,” Rafaelian told The New York Times. Each symbol in the design carries its own energy, and each piece of jewelry comes with a card detailing the rich history of your charm. Alex and Ani has partnered with charities like the American Heart Association and Living Water through their Charity by Design program. Coming in at an affordable $18 for a cord charm bracelet, what’s not to love about these cute charms that show off your individuality along with your spirituality?

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H&M Conscious Collection

When you think of H&M, the ubiquitous Swedish retailer, you probably don’t think of it as an environmentally conscious brand. It’s hard to be eco-friendly in the business of fast-fashion—producing trendy garments in high volume to meet the demands of consumers. That's starting to change though. Launched in 2012, H&M's Conscious Collection features sustainable fabrics with minimal environmental impacts including organic cotton (which requires less water than regular cotton), hemp, recycled polyester, linen and tencel.

“With size comes responsibility and we have the opportunity to bring about massive change all the way from improving the livelihood of a cotton farmer to lowering the impacts from washing and drying our clothes,” H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson, said in the company's Conscious Actions 2013 Sustainability Report. The collection features everyday staples including shirts, dresses, jackets and pants at slightly raised prices that are still affordable. H&M has followed up with the Exclusive Conscious Collection, which features dressier, red-carpet-ready pieces. Budget fashionistas, take note: The next Conscious Exclusive Collection will be released on April 7.

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On the surface, diamonds are beautiful, marvelous treasures—but unfortunately that beauty sometimes comes with a cost. Think of the 2006 film Blood Diamond, a fictional story inspired by true events of how diamonds fund war crimes. This is where the De Beers' Forevermark line sets itself apart.

Founded with a commitment to responsible sourcing and launched in the U.S. market in 2011, Forevermark promises that every one of its stones is beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced. Each diamond is handpicked from mines in locations including Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Australia and Canada that meet Forevermark's stringent financial, social and environmental requirements.

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