With fast fashion brands contributing to environmental problems and providing measly compensation to their workers, the call for accountability and quality products are more prevalent today than ever. Luckily, there is a rise of social enterprises and companies who strive to answer this need for sustainable clothing benefiting both producers and consumers. The following brands are just some amongst the many front-runners who are promoting sustainable fashion around the world.
Photos from: Candid Clothing’s Facebook Page
Starting their operations in November 2017 Candid Clothing is based in Manila, Philippines, where founder Samantha Dizon found an avenue to recycle excess factory fabric to turn them into chic modern clothes. With the tagline, “Ethical made easy,” Dizon makes sure to provide her seamstresses fair wages and full medical benefits.
Using excess factory fabric as raw materials for their clothes, Candid Clothing trains communities in sustainable accessory making. It also holds workshops which help aspiring entrepreneurs kick-off their own clothing lines. As of the moment, Candid Clothing is participating in the 2019 BPI Sinag Accelerate, a program for top entrepreneurial ventures in the Philippines to heighten its reach and opportunities.
Photos from Nuomi’s Facebook Page
(Upper Left) A child battling leukemia says “Thank You” to NuoMi for their help
NuoMi, a professional design team established in 2006, is a Shanghai-based fashion label. Their popular items include dresses and clothing made of locally sourced fabric and biodegradable towels made from bamboo. What is most notable about this company is that it is part of Brown Rice Designs, a social enterprise that trains and supports the homeless, people with special needs, and struggling mothers to improve their livelihoods.
In a 2013 article with Shanghai.gov, Bonita Lim, founder of the group, described her company to be like sticky rice. “We stick together and support one another” says Bonita Lim. She founded the company with the desire to pay for the surgeries of orphans across China and as of late, Nuomi helps over 1000 breadwinners and holds charity events for these beneficiaries.
Photos from Krochet Kids’ Facebook Page
To change the lives of impoverished families of Northern Uganda, three friends from the United States began teaching women how to crochet in 2007. What is unique about Krochet Kids is that its handcrafted items are also signed by their creators, certifying its authenticity while giving buyers a sense of intimacy.
Currently, Krochet Kids train not only Ugandans, but also Peruvians willing to master the art of crochet, giving them jobs and changing their livelihoods in the process. Their partner organization, Capable is an international non-profit organization that helps Krochet Kids quantify their impact to alleviate poverty, challenging them to always expand their mission to more people who need it.
Photos from Virya Myanmar’s Facebook Page
Training underprivileged young women in becoming design-to-delivery professionals, Virya Myanmar boasts trendy dresses hand sewn with traces of Myanmar heritage. Their operations in 2016 by designer Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw, who at a young age was witness to the unfair working conditions of women in factories and hence wanted to bring about a change.
Virya is the fruit of her efforts to change sweatshops into an ethical workplace for women, and for their expertise to flourish. Almost 2900 dresses have been made by her team so far, proving their “diligence” and “enthusiasm” which is what Virya stands for in the Burmese language.
Photos from Kaaru’s Facebook Page
Rural Bangladesh is now home to more garment workers than ever before, and Nafisa Chowdhury, the Bengali-American founder of Kaaru plays a part in that as well. An enterprise founded in 2011 which creates organic cotton clothes, Kaaru, means “craftsman” or “artisan” in the Bengali language and utilizes nature-friendly clothing dyes and the traditional methods of creating handwoven garments.
Chowdhury works with women artisans who have become the sole breadwinners of their households after losing their husbands in the 1971 liberation war in Bangladesh. While highlighting Bengali designs, Kaaru also promotes fair trade to give its artisans reasonable prices and compensation for their goods.
These brands go to show that with effort, businesses can successfully tie in furthering the fashion industry and fostering social service. It is not immoral to be a for-profit entity but with continued depletion of resources, it will be nearly impossible for enterprises or companies to survive in the long run without the added strides into sustainability. Favorable treatment of employees also keeps morale high, which in turn builds the success of any business. As such, why these things must be kept in mind is not the question anymore, but it is the hows that we look to. The ways clothing or accessory brands become socially and environmentally responsible is the key factor to keeping this industry alive, and all these brands are a testament to this amazing balance of sustainable designs.