Five earth-conscious fashion brands by members

If you’re not shopping recycled/upcycled and zero-emission labels yet, support these boutique brands

By Corinna Burford    Wednesday 22 April, 2020   Long read

A forest.

Courtesy of Yatay

A man and shoes reflected in a mirror in the desert.
Long after (and for a considerable amount of time prior to) Earth Day on Wednesday 22 April, these five member-founded fashion brands will be dedicated to climate-conscious practices. We asked them to share what they do to give back to – and, more importantly, not take away from – our planet.

MILAN: Umberto de Marco, Yatay
For Umberto de Marco, the founder of the vegan, Italian-made footwear company Yatay, environmental awareness runs in his blood. His father, Enrico de Marco, founded Coronet Spa, one of the first companies to produce cruelty-free leather alternatives in the late 1960s, and Umberto joined the family business after graduating college. 

While most synthetic leathers are 99 per cent petroleum-based, Yatay’s shoes are made from bio-based materials, like natural resin and recycled rubber. And almost all of their components are made in Italy, minimising carbon emissions from transportation. The company’s factories are also powered by solar panels, and for each pair sold, it plants a tree in Bore, Kenya. De Marco’s goal, he says, is to create ‘advanced footwear materials with the lowest footprint ever achieved.’ 

In addition to these environmental achievements, Yatay is contributing to the coronavirus fight by donating shoes – for every pair purchased on the brand’s website, one pair goes to doctors at the Humanitas Hospital in Milan. ‘Italy is one of the countries most affected by coronavirus,’ says de Marco. ‘So, supporting these heroes with a comfy sustainable gift is the least I could do.’
A person wearing jeans.
Courtesy of Boyish Jeans
SOHO WAREHOUSE, DTLA: Jordan Nodarse, Boyish Jeans
Founded by former Reformation designer, Jordan Nodarse, Boyish Jeans is a denim company that uses sustainably sourced men’s fabrics to create women’s jeans, jackets, skirts and overalls with vintage silhouettes and modern touches. While Nodarse had always cared about the environment growing up in southern California, his dedication to sustainability was really ignited by working in the fashion industry. ‘I started diving deeper into the chemical and fibre side of producing fabrics and washing jeans,’ he says. ‘And the more I discovered, the more I wanted to find better options to replace what seemed like very outdated manufacturing practices.’

When launching Boyish Jeans, Nodarse and his team figured out a new way to produce denim that uses a third of the amount of water typically required for a pair of jeans and is made from a blend of recycled cotton, OCS-certified organic cotton and Lenzing-certified Tencel x Refibra lyocell – made from 30 per cent post-industrial recycled waste. The fabric is then coloured with plant-based dyes and produced with a sustainable manufacturing process. ‘These sustainable products, along with our commitments to measuring our supply chain emissions to purchase carbon offsets, makes us the only carbon-neutral denim brand in the US,’ says Nodarse. ‘The only impact we’ll leave on the planet is good jeans.’

Moving forward, Nodarse hopes to continue refining these production processes. ‘Overall, our mission is to end the mentality of throwing things “away”, because we all know that there is no such place as “away”’, he says.
Glasses floating on a peach background.