Photo:Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Laura Sophie Cox is a British celebrity stylist based in Los Angeles. Her roster of clients includes Emma Watson, Olivia Rodrigo, and Natalia Reyes.
As a stylist, it’s my job to source the best brands and newest trends for my clients. But I am also constantly looking for brands that champion sustainability and think with environmental responsibility. There is no better advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion than Emma Watson. Within our collaborations, since 2018, we have celebrated progressive designers in this arena and platformed the brands who push against the tide—those that continue to innovate and make moves towards conscious fashion practices and cultures.
Some of the brands supporting the sustainable movement are the innovative Zilver (a London-based label where each garment is meticulously designed using a combination of recycled fabrics, organic cotton, and traceable yarns) and cruelty-free Rosie Assoulin (a luxury electric New York–based label showcasing romantically fantastical designs, injected with bright dashes of color while adhering to a sense of practicality). Alongside oil, gas, and meat, fashion is a major climate-change culprit, and we need to change the way we consume it.
But first, a few facts: Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester, as reported by Amy Powney of Fashion Our Future. Fashion is exploiting workers all over the world and causing deforestation and climate devastation, with over 150 million trees cut down every year to make fabric, many taken from endangered forests. Furthermore, fashion is polluting our oceans, with microplastics from our clothing responsible for 85% of waste washed up on our shorelines. However, there are solutions.
Here are my pointers in helping you tackle the problem of unsustainable shopping habits…
Habit #1: Buying Exclusively Fast Fashion
Instead: Upcycle Your Own Wardrobe and Shop Vintage When Possible
One-hundred billion items of clothing are produced annually, and 50% of fast fashion is disposed of within a year, ending up in our landfills.
Instead, upcycle your wardrobe, where possible. Rescue those neglected items at the back of your cupboard so that they can be loved again! Channel your inner sewing bee. Embrace fixing, altering, and mending.
Habit #2: Not Researching a Brand's Ethics Before Purchasing
Instead: Prioritize Socially Responsible Brands
Don't buy from brands that don't pay fair wages and aren’t transparent about their supply chain. Instead, show love to those brands that are sourcing responsibly and adhering to social responsibility. Non-organic cotton is the largest pesticide consuming crop. One polyester dress can take over 200 years to biodegrade. This is why, when possible, it's best to buy organic, natural fibers. Pledge to buy sustainably sourced viscose. Spend a little extra time researching brands (my sustainability bible is the Good on You website). It can be a minefield out there, but @goodonyou_app (which is also supported by Emma Watson) is the world's leading source for fashion brand ratings. They pull all the information together and use expert analysis to give each brand an easy-to-understand score.
More Ethical and Sustainable Brands Cox Recommends
This crucial conversation of sustainability within the industry is exciting and important for me to think about—both as a stylist and a consumer. There are many incredible designers paving the way, and in search of solutions, even if the answer is a long way off. There are brands that are ever-evolving, showing that to better mean more than striving for perfection, and instead empowering their customers with the information they need to make more conscious decisions.
This is a womenswear and accessories London label that celebrates individuality and authenticity. The genius behind this brand, Amy Powney, is a force to be reckoned with and is a voice for a new generation of designers.
Maggie Marilyn is a liveable, socially conscious luxury brand created in New Zealand. The brand believes in transparency, caring for and respecting all people in its supply chain while ensuring that the health of our planet is at the forefront of decision making. Its endless optimism about the future and fierce determination to create change and problem solve—whilst creating beautiful ready-to-wear pieces—must be saluted.
Hiraeth is a womenswear ready-to-wear and accessories label founded by Rooney Mara that serves a new generation of conscious thinking women. In place of animal products, it sources high-quality leather, fur, wool, and silk-free materials. Plus, everything is crafted locally in Downtown Los Angeles.
Fashion's creative power has the ability to shape our identities. What you wear represents who you are and therefore has the power to change the future of our sacred planet. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. And the more people to make such choices, the more impact we'll have together.