Are sustainability and ethics set to become intrinsic to the clothes we wear? Yes. Well, that’s if these five French brands have anything to do with it.
A swell of opposition to the fast-fashion industry is not only slowing it down; it’s also laying bare the industry’s human and environmental harms, giving the consumer the choice of which values they’ll wear on their sleeves – literally. These five ethical companies are disrupting the fashion capital of the world—a coup d’état bearing a green flag, made of 100% organic cotton.
“Moins mais mieux,” or “less but better,” in English, is the mantra of ethical French apparel brand Loom. Founded in 2016 by Julia Faure and Guillaume Declair, Loom aims to right what has become an upside-down clothing industry. Through their current generation of men’s essentials—casual t-shirts, button-ups, accessories, and more—Loom hones in on the basics. Currently, only OEKO-TEX-certified fabrics are used (those made without the use of harsh chemicals or dyes). And by 2020, Loom plans to fully transition to organic cotton for all their products.
Brothers Lucas and Séverin Bonnichon, founders of the French clothing label Cuisse de Grenouille, launched forlife. in June 2018. Their newest enterprise draws inspiration from Patagonia and its founder, Yvon Chouinard, both “in business to save our home planet.” Operating on a one-product-at-a-time model and designing to last, this sustainable brand further reduces its carbon footprint by crowdsourcing its to-be-classics before making them, thereby avoiding overproduction. From a materials perspective, three of the nine products they’ve released so far are made with organic cotton: the Marlon t-shirt, the Paul sweatshirt, and the Ralph oxford shirt (currently available for pre-order).
Sézane was founded in Paris in 2013 by Morgane Sézalory. Its vintage-inspired aesthetic is paired with forward-thinking, environmentally conscious materials and a mission to give back to the world. On the 21st of every month, a new design is released and 100% of the profits are donated to Sézane’s philanthropic program, DEMAIN. Additionally, 10% of the day’s profits, for both Sézane and Octobre Editions (their men’s line), also go towards this program. Sézane’s holistic approach shows the good that can transpire when a shirt becomes more than clothing.
This women’s apparel brand has been at it since 2003 and has a wealth of ethical certifications to show for it: GOTS- or OC-certified organic cotton, RWS (Responsible Wool Standard)-certified wool, OEKO-TEX 100 (no harsh chemicals or dyes used on fabrics that touch the skin), 100% recycled polyester… The list goes on. In terms of aesthetic, EKYOG strikes a balance between everyday basics—from grey skinny jeans and simple tee’s—to more stylish pieces, such as floral prints and dresses.
Since 2015, Les Sublimes has been making elegant French classics designed to be the staples of your wardrobe. This Parisian women’s label emphasizes the power of clothing for self-expression, not only in terms of personal style, but as a demonstration of our values. Their 10 Commandments of Ethical Fashion, as well as transparency of materials used, states boldly who they are as a brand—as clear as the stripes on their marinières. Carbon-neutral shipping, recyclable packaging, and ethically sourced materials is a message we can all get behind.
forlife. – online only
Sézane – several locations
EKYOG – several locations
Les Sublimes – online only
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Written by Matt Barrett for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.