ETHICAL EDIT // 5 BRANDS EMPOWERING WOMEN

 
 Image courtesy of Naja

Image courtesy of Naja

 

NAJA

Sells | Lingerie, Swimwear, Activewear
Based in | US
Ships to | US, Canada and Australia

Naja was born out of "a love for beautifully designed things, a bit of rebelliousness, and a deep desire to make the world a better place". Their gorgeous lingerie, activewear and swimwear is made by a workforce consisting primarily of single mothers and female heads of households. Flexible working policies enable employees to balance work and childcare, and every child of a Naja employee is provided with books, school supplies, uniforms and school meals. Through the Underwear for Hope programme, Naja employs marginalised women in the slums of Colombia to make lingerie wash-bags that are offered with every purchase. Their beautiful products are good for the environment, too; many of their fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles and the use of digital printing keeps water waste to a minimum. 

 

 
 Image courtesy of Krochet Kids International

Image courtesy of Krochet Kids International

 

KROCHET KIDS INTERNATIONAL

Sells | Womenswear, Menswear, Kidswear, Accessories
Based in | US (production facilities in Peru and Uganda)
Ships to | Worldwide

Founders Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey and Travis Hartanov started Krochet Kids Intl just over 10 years ago in northern Uganda, teaching women to crochet beanies as a means of creating sustainable employment with fair wages to help break the cycle of poverty. Over time, the business has grown to include a wider range of products and a second production facility employing women in Peru. They've partnered with non-profit organisation Capable to provide education, mentorship and financial services to every employee, enabling them to thrive in all areas of life. Every item produced is hand-signed by the woman who made it, and each maker has her own profile on the website so you can find out more about her story. 

 

 
 Image courtesy of Lara Intimates

Image courtesy of Lara Intimates

 

LARA INTIMATES

Sells | Lingerie, maternity
Based in | UK
Ships to | Worldwide

Having witnessed the negative impacts of the fashion industry on people and planet after working for different brands and visiting clothing factories abroad, founders Faith Leeves and Cindy Liberman decided to start an underwear brand with ethical and sustainable values at the core. Their mission is simple: to celebrate women by providing beautiful, flattering lingerie made using reclaimed luxury fabrics by an all-female team in their studio based in Soho, London. Every component of every bra is sourced responsibly - from gold rings to strappings and elastic. Fabric waste is kept to a minimum, labels are made in the UK and even their packaging is eco-friendly. As if all that wasn't enough, they're also working on developing a recycling programme for your old underwear. Watch this space!

 

 
 Image courtesy of Birdsong London

Image courtesy of Birdsong London

 

BIRDSONG LONDON

Sells | Womensear, Bags, Accessories
Based in | UK
Ships to | Worldwide

The inspiration for the name of this brand came from 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' the 1969 autobiography of writer, poet and all-round legend Maya Angelou. Their motto is 'no sweatshops, no photoshop' and their aim is to provide beautiful products without a side-helping of the exploitation that's so common in the fashion industry today. Unlike most high street fashion brands, Birdsong know all of their makers personally - and they're a pretty varied bunch; from knitting grannies in Kingston and migrant mums in Tower Hamlets to refugee women on Brick Lane. All of their employees are paid above the London living wage and have access to holistic support. They use sustainable fabrics wherever possible and thanks to a partnership with Traid, many of their products are made using (perfectly good) second-hand fabrics that would otherwise be headed for landfill. Win.

 

 
 Image credit: People Tree

Image credit: People Tree

 

PEOPLE TREE

Sells | Womenswear, Activewear, Baby clothing, Accessories
Based in | UK
Ships to | Worldwide

People Tree is a pioneer in the ethical and sustainable fashion movement. Founded over 25 years ago by Safia Minney, the brand partners with social businesses who provide stable employment with fair wages alongside investment in the local community such as funding education, providing medical facilities and raising awareness of the rights of women and girls. One of their partners, Swallows, was set up to support women by providing employment and training opportunities, enabling them to provide for themselves and their families. People Tree operate under Fair Trade standards and their clothing is made using sustainably sourced fabrics. They help keep traditional hand-skills such as weaving and embroidery alive, providing an income for female artisans in rural areas who would otherwise be forced to travel to the city to make a living. If you're looking for a brand that encompasses good design, beautiful fabrics, care for the environment and the well-being of its workers at its core...this is it (also, if you're looking for a bargain, keep an eye out for their sales!)

Claire Aston