There is no denying that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is a sustainable style icon
While she was regularly featured on ‘best dressed’ lists when she was a Hollywood actress, she shot to international fame when she and Prince Harry announced their engagement. Now, she is a full-fledged fashion trendsetter, with journalists around the globe tracking her every outfit, and her pregnancy style enough to make the front pages.
While she favours a clean and modern take on the classic Royal look, she is most passionate about sustainable fashion. She has consistently supported a whole host of eco-conscious brands hailing from Britain and beyond.
While everyone from Marie Claire, Vogue and even the Guardian have reported on the environmentally conscious and ethical fashion choices of the Duchess
When she spoke at the 2018 British Fashion Awards in December, Meghan Markle claimed that in 2019, ‘it is cool to be kind.’ Stella McCartney, one of Markle’s favourite designers, stated that she aims ‘to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path. Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.’
It is clear that everyone from the most luxurious couture brands to the cheapest high street retailers seem to be heeding this call
We’ve all come to the realisation that so-called ‘fast fashion’ is doing heaps of damage to our troubled earth, and now consumers are ready to put their money where their mouths are.
Here are just a few of the most interesting and fashionable sustainable choices from Britain and beyond. We have chosen to highlight 3 diverse companies that specialise in clothing, handbags and shoes at different price points.
Since their launch in 2006, Scandinavian darlings Swedish Hasbeens have been utilising fully sustainable materials. After all, their slogan is ‘better shoes for a better world.’ They make quirky and effortlessly cool clogs and accessories from vegetable tanned leather and recycled wood, all made by craftspeople making more than a living wage.
The eternally cool Dame Vivienne is known for setting fierce trends. From pioneering punk to giving bondage gear a high fashion runway, she is never afraid to use her voice and society status to champion causes. She recently used her runway shows to draw very vocal attention to climate change.
Paradise Row handbags are named for Nika Diamond-Krendel’s East London studio’s location, tucked away near Bethnal Green tube. With this brand, she works to rekindle the area’s declining leather industry, using vegetable tanned leather for each piece. This thick and robust material allows each bag to season and improve over time, flouting the convention of ‘fast fashion.’ The result? Effortlessly chic bags that could fit into any woman’s wardrobe.
You might have seen sneaker heads wearing these trainers emblazoned with a signature “V” logo. However, you might not realise that Veja is one of the most sustainable athletics companies in the game. They have been crafting their cult-favourite sneakers since 2005, working to ensure that every stage has a positive impact on workers. Each component is carefully planned, from organic cotton grown in Brazil to sustainable rubber tapped using ancestral techniques in the Amazon. A full 20% of their products are fully vegan – a great choice for anyone looking to reduce their environmental footprint.
Thought is a UK company that is all about using sustainable fabrics to craft thoughtful clothing in timeless styles. They use bamboo, cotton, wool and hemp to create their own range of fully organic clothing for men and women. They believe in so-called ‘slow fashion,’ the perfect antidote to fast fashion, and they treat their employees and the producers of their raw materials with equal respect.
People Tree is based in London, and provides consumers with a sustainable alternative to fast fashion. By partnering with garment workers, fair trade producers, local designers and farmers in the developing world, they create unique pieces that seamlessly integrate with anyone’s wardrobe.
Madia & Matilda
Based in the Cotswolds, Madia and Matilda are passionate about upcyled and sustainable fabrics in order to craft trousers, dresses and blouses for the office. Each of their garments is handcrafted with care and attention, using traditional techniques and a modern twist. The result is fashionable, professional and ready for both work and leisure.
Antiform is all about pushing boundaries, combining recycled materials and ethical design in order to create affordable statement pieces. You don’t have to be a daring fashionista to appreciate their unique blend – think fashion-forward silhouettes paired with classic tailoring techniques. All of their materials and labour are sourced from UK workers making a living wage.
If you are looking for cords, dungarees, sweet cotton smock tops, and cute dresses, you need to head to the Lowie site. They started out by solely offering knitted accessories, like socks, hats and scarves, but now sell a full range of women’s clothing. They are not only concerned with their own sustainability and ecological footprint, but also that the entire supply chain.
If you could only choose one sustainable fashion brand to choose from, you might want to go with Nancy Dee. They have a wide array of styles, from casual separates to sophisticated dresses, all made from renewable natural resources. Bamboo, organic cotton and modal (a man-made material comprised of beech wood) means that Nancy Dee garments are long lasting, comfortable, and effortlessly chic.
Whether your priority is to create a wardrobe that solely consists of sustainable garments, or you are simply interested in adding a piece here and there, this list is only the tip of the iceberg. No matter what, Duchess Meghan’s impact on fashion – and her attempt to be low impact on the earth – couldn’t have come at a better time for our planet.