Shopping Ethically and Sustainably in NYC is becoming easier than ever. New stores and boutiques are popping up, adding to the already established brands that women already adored – to be honest, more so for the aesthetics than for the sustainable factor itself. The truth is that many of the fans of these brands purchase from them not because is made with sustainability in mind, but because the items are well made and of a classic style, that becomes an investment piece over time.
You may pay more at the beginning, but you have to factor in how many times you can wear your new garment and for how long. This is the message that I would like you to take about Ethical and Sustainable fashion, that it is not “hemp for hippies” anymore, but that it is about style and craftsmanship, season-less pieces that may carry a social impact with each piece you buy, and that it will last you for a long time.
Zero + Maria Cornejo – Is known for draped dresses and jumpsuits that beautifully cocoon the woman’s body, featuring a minimalist aesthetic and style that last beyond a single season. The garments are often cut from one piece of fabric to avoid waste and made of ecological and sustainable fabrics whenever possible. The collection has been largely produced in the heart of New York City’s Garment District with the exception of shoes and handbags, which are made by small, independently owned factories in Italy. As a company owned and run by women, the team continuously looks to develop special collaborations with women artisans around the world.
Cuyana’s ethos is about timeless style over trends and that fewer and better things lead to a fuller life. The idea is to appreciate craftsmanship that will last for generations and to live a minimal, intentional life with less things in your closet. Cuyana means “to love” in Quechua, and they encourage their customers to love everything in their closet. If a piece in your closet is no longer wanted, you can mail them in, and it will be donated to women who will be able to gain a fresh start through your generosity. As an added bonus, for every donation you make, you will receive a $10 credit towards your next Cuyana purchase. They manufacture their products using small workshops that specialized in particular materials, giving them the opportunity to track their supply chain and control the quality of the production.
Shop Local: Cuyana Pop-Up Until January 2017, 266 Elizabeth St., New York, NY 10012
Shop Online: Cuyana
A unique blend of style and luxury, Coclico specializes in producing well-crafted shoes made from high-quality materials. This New York City-based brand utilizes eco-friendly and sustainable materials such as cork and natural woods to create shoes that are comfortable to wear and comply with environmentally responsible standards. They work with partners who operate on a small scale and the shoes are produced in a small, family owned and operated factory in Mallorca, Spain. The facility is noted for providing living wages, environmental reliability and setting the bar for best practices. Coclico also partners with Native Energy to track its annual in-house carbon usage and offsets this amount by investing in international renewable energy projects.
UNITED BY BLUE
United By Blue, an outdoor apparel brand for men and women, is inspired by go-getters, the landscape around the waters they clean, and a really good cup of organic coffee. The company was founded with the idea of associating the sale of each product with a concrete environmental action. For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups. They put extra effort to make sure their apparel and accessories are not only made responsibly, but also durable for that next great adventure. Sustainability and building community are at the center of everything they do, from using sustainable textiles like organic cotton and recycled polyester to the construction materials in their stores, energy conservation, and waste practices. As a certified B-Corp, they must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Everlane employs the strategy of selling classic styles directly to customers online to keep prices lower than the competitors. The company’s “radical transparency” mission lets customers know the exact cost breakdown of their clothing—accounting for materials, labor, duties, and transport. They have built a collection of well-made basic garments that can be integrated in your day to day life. Everlane started with basic T-shirts, but the collection has grown to include jackets, sweaters, pants, button-downs, silk dresses and blouses, sweats, and accessories like leather bags and shoes, maybe on the trendy side but mostly with lasting style. If you want to know where one of your pieces were made, you can look it up on their site under factories. They are keen in working with small factories that specialize in particular materials, like Pima cotton in Peru and Leather in Spain, and that adhere to ethical manufacturing processes.
Shop Local: Showroom, open Thursday to Sunday, 415 West Broadway, #5N New York, NY 10012
I encourage you to buy local if you live in NYC, but now that some major retailers are carrying these brands online - why miss out? Happy eco-shopping!