5 Local and Sustainable Labels You’ll Actually Want to Wear
With the onset of fast fashion, the disconnect between a brand’s image and what goes into making its products can be alarming at best—and fatal, at worst. When manufacturing is outsourced to poverty-stricken countries it becomes a lot cheaper, but also a lot more dangerous, and oftentimes a cesspool for child labor, toxic dyes, and horrific hours. Which is what makes the lack of decent, sustainable fashion labels infinitely frustrating; finding one that doesn’t scream “granola” or “Birkenstocks” can be a feat all on its own. So to help you out, we’ve compiled some of our favorite NYC based labels that are 100 percent wearable and 0 percent alarming. Do yourself and Mother Nature a solid and take a look.
1. Terra New York
We thought waterproof fashion was an oxymoron until we discovered Terra New York, the brainchild of Yurika Nakazono. Established in 2009, it’s the rain-resistant fashion label that keeps you dry without looking like a Paddington Bear. And Nakazono doesn’t just reimagine the traditional raincoat; think ankle length skirts, leather jacket lookalikes, neon capes, and all sorts of waterproof frocks that won’t make you feel like a walking trash bag. What’s more, the collections are entirely biodegradable and made using 80 percent recycled materials.
New York-based natural dyer and artisan Cara Marie Piazza brings you intimates as fresh as flower petals, literally. For her undergarment and loungewear line, Piazza utilizes locally-grown flower petals along with other natural materials such as minerals and food waste to dye cloth. The result? Both environmentally-conscious and stunningly detailed delicates that you can feel good about (and that also, interestingly, feel good). By way of ancient shibori techniques, alchemical dye sessions, and other unique methods, Piazza creates wearable art for Calyx that can easily be customized to any body type. She’s even collaborated with some of our favorite brands, like Eckhaus Latta.
3. Dolores Haze
Dolores Haze is downtown streetwear on a mission. Founded by Samantha Giordano in 2014, the name of the label is taken from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, and is inspired by the seminal novel as well—in particular (as its website notes) “the stark juxtaposition of Lolita’s melancholic tale in the novel against pop-culture depictions of her as a precociously flirty archetype.” The line preaches girl power and produces striking prints, yes, but it also exceedingly kind to the environment. Whether it be their vegan leather jacket or snakeskin print shorts, Dolores Haze manufactures all of its garments in New York with fair labor practices and eco-friendly fabrics.
Founded by Ali Hewson and Bono (yes, that Bono—there’s only one), EDUN is the fashion label that plays with geometric patterns, linear looks, and textures all across the spectrum. It also does all of its manufacturing in Africa, in an effort to stimulate the local economy and contribute to the continent’s diverse artistry. The result is fluid, slightly quirky, but mostly clean and elegant clothes that, trust us, you will want.
5. Study NY
Tara St James’ Study NY is the minimalist, earth-tone line that’s Mother Earth (and street style) approved. In the heart of NYC’s garment district, Study NY masters the art of chic subtlety with crisp, white blouses and billowing pant suits made with ethically sourced alpaca, hemp, and other organic materials. With social and environmental consciousness in mind, Study NY avoids harmful synthetic dyes and excessive cutting and instead relies on resourceful manufacturing practices.
Images via Le Paradox, Pinterest, the Behrens, Office Magazine, Strip-Project, and Dolores Haze. Original imagery by Bonnie Wang
Stay tuned to Milk for more sustainable fashion.