With the rise of fast fashion in today's society, consumers are lured into buying semi-trendy clothing made with cheap fabric and garments advertised for as low as $1.99. But despite their low prices and on-trend designs, clothing brands like SHEIN and Zaful are not sustainable or transparent about garment production. Popular fast fashion brands today use unsustainable fabrics, inhumane practices (such as sweatshops where they pay their employees no more than $1 an hour) and never tell you where your clothing is coming from - or if your money is going to the right place.
While fast fashion brands are widespread and easy to find, there are some retailers that prioritize sustainability and transparency- and their customers reward them for it.
Pangaia is an example of a sustainable, philanthropic brand that prides themselves on transparency and earth friendly designs. The brand revolves around being not only good for the environment but good for customers’ peace of mind as well. While they started off focused on athleisure, Pangaia now makes jeans, jackets, and shoes thanks to their rise in popularity which arguably reflects the rise in customers’ desire for transparency in clothing. Pangaia launched quite recently in 2019, but has earned over $75 million in revenue since. The company’s website focuses on their innovative, earth friendly fabrics, and sustainable practices that motivate their consumers to learn more about where their clothing comes from. One of these fabrics is called C-FIBERS, which is made from regenerative resources including Eucalyptus pulp and seaweed powder (both of which can be naturally regrown). Not only does Pangaia use unique and innovative textiles for their clothing, they are also transparent about where their earnings are going and support various philanthropies including their Bee the Change Fund which has raised over $46,000 to protect bees.
Pangaia’s extensive transparency is inspiring and helps bring in more customers through their effort to make the fashion industry more sustainable and create clothing with meaning. With fast fashion becoming mainstream, consumers are looking for sustainable options and want to know that their clothing is good for them and the environment.
Another huge brand on the rise contributing to the movement of sustainable and transparent fashion is Djerf Avenue, influencer Matilda Djerf’s ethically made, sustainable clothing line. After her rise on TikTok and Instagram, Djerf has used her platform to draw her followers’ eyes to Djerf Avenue. With a revenue of over $5 million since its founding in 2019, the brand is focused on everyday essentials, and its website is home to classic colorways of trousers, blazers, tee-shirts, and dresses. The uniqueness of her brand, however, does not lie in its clothes, but its production. On Djerf’s website, there are multiple pages dedicated to explaining the care and complexity that goes into the curation of each garment.
The production of Djerf Avenue happens solely in Portugal. Djerf made this intentional choice, “in order to guarantee high-quality standards. Portugal is known for quality workmanship, respecting working conditions, premium fabrics research, and to improve on knowledge and technology.” In addition to ethics, sustainability is a priority for Djerf Avenue’s brand image. They only use natural, organic, regenerated, or recycled fibers in all their garments, and 100% recycled materials for their packaging. One drawback, however, is the pricing of Avenue’s clothes—their forever blazer is $199, and their trousers are $149. As more brands follow suit to a clean, moral mission, will the next best thing become unaffordable? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: I just got my hands on my first Djerf Avenue piece, and the quality is definitely worth the price.
Pangaia and Djerf Avenue are among leaders of the next generation to combat fast fashion; these newer brands capitalize off of their sustainable and transparent production to gain traction with their consumers, and people are clearly catching on. The brands are inspiring, and are creating a positive ripple effect for the future of fashion. In order to incorporate wellness into our closets, the best clothes are the pieces we feel the best about putting on in the morning.