This week is Fashion Revolution Week, a movement started after the horrific collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013 that killed 1,138 people and injured many more — all people who were at work making clothes in unsafe conditions. That day woke up the world to the fact that people are literally risking their lives for the $5 t-shirt we wear just a few times, which ultimately ends up rotting in a landfill.
This catastrophe also sparked the ethical and sustainable fashion movement, creating demand and opportunity for small, mindful designers and retailers to sell clothing that tells a story.
Fashion Revolution Week is an opportunity to ask brands “Who made my clothes?” — because the surprising truth is that many major brands don’t actually know. In fact, due to the endless outsourcing of factory work, some brands that were being producing at Rana Plaza that day weren’t even aware that was where their clothes were being made.
In support of this revolution, we’ve rounded up a handful of brands (all women-owned) who do know who made your clothes and are dedicated to changing the fashion industry for the better…
Hazel & Rose —
Based in Minneapolis, Hazel & Rose is an ethical boutique (both online and brick-and-mortar) that features ethically and sustainably-made clothing. Owners Emma and Bobbi have impeccable taste and their curation of pieces are always on point. It’s a great way to discover new brands you may not have otherwise come across!
Hanna Baror-Padilla is the mastermind behind Sotela, a made-to-order LA line that is dedicated to creating clothing that is easy to wear for all women. Her line features items that are as comfortable to wear as they are versatile. Sotela’s pieces span multiple traditional sizes, allowing for changes in a woman’s body… which adds an additional level of sustainability — not needing to constantly replace your clothes.
Sister duo Julia and Laura Ahrens own and operate Miakoda, a line that features the most comfortable and easy-to-wear basics. Using vegan and sustainable materials, designer Julia ensures her products are the most comfortable pieces you can find — from yoga to a night out. Miakoda’s products are made using fair labor in New York City.
Backbeat Rags —
You’ll love the colors and free flowing shapes of this California-based and vintage inspired brand. You can even watch a video on their website to see how exactly their pieces are made. Founded by Isadora Alvarez, Backbeat Rags is dedicated to using materials sourced within a 10-mile radius.
Hackwith Design House —
Hackwith Design House pairs beautiful lines with modern, feminine flair. Focusing on durability and versatility, they design and produce each product inhouse.
Selva Negra —
Combining tomboy and feminine features, designers Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero created Selva Negra inspired by their Latina heritage. Interesting patterns and shapes create a modern vibe to their unique and sustainable, made-in-LA collection.
Two Fold —
A small batch fashion company in Nashville, Two Fold is known for their muted colors. All items are made-to-order with only two collections released per year to ensure sustainability and longevity in their products.
Elizabeth Suzann —
An early advocate in the slow fashion space, Elizabeth Suzann’s pieces are investment staples thoughtfully designed and produced in their own Nashville factory. The label is dedicated to pushing the fashion industry towards more mindful consumption through their collection, education, and growing community of consumers.
A fair fashion label from Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Folkdays specializes in handmade apparel and accessories straight from the original source.
Shopping at these brands and investing in thoughtfully-made products allows you to live your values more deeply, while supporting small businesses and truly telling a story with your clothes.
Sara Weinreb is a writer, sustainability consultant, and design thinking facilitator on a mission to support people and businesses in being kinder to themselves, each other, and the planet. She is the host of the Medium Well podcast and the founder of The M List, a daily newsletter supporting individuals in living a more mindful, holistic, and sustainable lifestyle. She writes for Forbes, mindbodygreen, Cherry Bombe, AlleyWatch, StartupFashion, and more. Find her on the yoga mat, making herbal elixirs, singing karaoke, and attempting to keep alive her growing collection of plants.