In honor of New York Fashion Week, we reveal our list of America's top 10 visionary fashion brands. These young labels are proof that business and purpose can go stylishly hand in hand. Redefining the fashion landscape, these U.S.-based designers allow you to make a positive impact with every purchase.
wants to raise awareness about the impact of the fashion industry on our planet. Their solution: Limited-edition collections made from low-impact fabrics and vintage pieces. They design and produce most of their retro-inspired collections in their own factory in downtown Los Angeles and incorporate sustainable practices "throughout their supply chain to make beautiful styles at a fraction of the environmental impact generated by most fashion brands".
Freedom of Animals
makes beautifully simple handbags that are both sustainable and cruelty-free. The collections are made from post-consumer polyurethane and organic cotton. The result: A luxurious, high-quality product with a lower environmental footprint.
We can't tell you enough how much we love these guys! Apolis
creates menswear that's simple & current, yet classic. Designed for the global citizen, they partner with artisans and suppliers all over the globe to create really cool collections of well-made apparel and accessories. Their business model is Advocacy Through Industry, using the "power of business to create social change" by supporting equal access for these communities to the global marketplace. Now if they could only launch a ladies collection.
, which means "to love" in Quechua, offers beautiful, simple pieces that support conscious consumption. Inspired by exotic travel, Cuyana
works with artisans and raw material suppliers in far off destinations to create their timeless collections. Advocates of quality over quantity, their Lean Closet Movement encourages shoppers to collect fewer, better things, and to donate the little used pieces in their wardrobes to those who need them.
Founders Laura and Carmen created KON-DOR
with a mission to pay it forward. Originally from Ecudaor, they wanted to create meaningful, beautiful pieces that would not only support local artisans in their native homeland, but also spread the love among the rest of us. Their luxury leather handbags support communities by incorporating artisans-made elements into all of their designs. And a percentage of proceeds from each sale support a local "movement", such as making an orphanage with HIV-positive children self-sufficient. If that wasn't awesome enough, each piece has a special affirmation written inside to keep you feeling inspired and fabulous!
is a luxury footwear label with a understated Japanese aesthetic, offering a combination of sculptural design and ethical production. The American-born designer founded her label with the conviction that luxury and sustainability can go together. All of her products are handmade by skilled craftspeople in her Los Angeles atelier, without the use of any animal products. Instead she uses materials, such as coconut and reclaimed wood, aiming to create collections with a ‘cradle to cradle’ life cycle.
Behno is working to build a new factory model in rural Gujarat, India - a factory that will "revolutionize the way garment workers are treated, viewed and employed." In addition to meeting international labor requirements, the factory will be dedicated to empowering female garment workers through its own “behno Standard”. The Standard includes numerous initiatives, ranging from garment worker health to eco-consciousness and fair wages. We hope that the behno Standard will spread to other big name designers throughout the industry.
The concept: Share the stories that make us human.
Model Brett Novak started goodhYOUman
in memory of his dad - "the man I strive to be". To keep the memory of his dad alive, he launched a line of relaxed tees and comfy knits that support cancer research. Each style carries an inspiring quote and everything is made in the U.S.A.
Our favorite buy-one-get-one brand, Warby Parker
provides one pair of glasses for every super cool pair of eyewear they sell. Focused on creating permanent solutions in developing countries, they work with non-profit partners to train locals in giving eye exams. These locals can then sell glasses to their communities at super-affordable prices, allowing them to also earn a fair living. And with prices starting at under $100, Warby Parker
is making stylish eyewear affordable to us as well!
Feed Project "creates good products that help feed the world". Their rustic-chic bags are often made by artisans using eco-friendly materials, and they are all produced according to fair-labor standards. For every bag sold, Feed works with its giving partners to provide school meals or micro-nutrient servings in the world's poorest countries. Every bag is labelled with the number of servings it will provide. For example, the iconic FEED 1 Bag feeds one child in school for an entire year. That way you know exactly how much good your purchase is doing. Perfect Christmas gift alert!
Photos courtesy of the brands