The 10 Best Sustainable Luxury Fashion Brands for 2021

Can sustainable and luxury fashion really go hand in hand?

When we think of the term ‘sustainable fashion’, words like cruelty-free, ethical, organic, and recycled spring to mind. The word ‘luxury’ however isn’t an idiom we tend to associate with the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’. Thankfully, spurred on by consumer demand and in part the pandemic, this is all set to change.

In fact, a whole host of luxe sustainable fashion brands are sashaying their way down Paris Fashion Weeks (albeit virtual) runways, making themselves known as champions for our planet’s dwindling resources, opting instead to use sustainable threads and manufacturing processes that have less of an impact on the world and the people in it.

This guide features everything you need to know about sustainable luxury fashion today, as well as the low-down on the latest luxury lines to embrace ethical fashion and the new eco-luxe labels who have seized sustainability from the start.

Even though Paris Fashion Week has been a quieter, more virtual, affair this year, the sustainable message has been at its heart. Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk from Pexels

Can High-end Fashion truly be sustainable?

There are many ways in which the fashion industry impacts the environment. From fabric sourcing to manufacturing, to distributing, sales, and dealing with returns. Sustainable fashion brands must ensure their design journey is one that avoids exploiting the planet and the people in it.

Despite what many think, with the right motivation from designers, sustainability and high-end can go hand in hand. Top luxe brands, including the famed Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, are just a handful of the high-fashion houses producing ethical clothing ranges today – creating trends that not only complement our wardrobes, but our planet too - focusing on embracing quality working standards, organic materials or the latest sustainable fibre inventions.

This isn't purely down to a luxury brands’ good nature, of course. A greater percentage of high-end shoppers are beginning to ask questions about the sustainability and ethics behind their favourite labels. If they are paying a premium, they want to know brands are also paying the appropriate premium to the people and planet they profit from.

A greater number of shoppers are starting to ask questions about sustainability and ethics when shopping. Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

Joining the dots between luxury and sustainability

If, like many, you’re failing to join the dots between a high-end brand and it's sustainability credentials, you’re not alone. Research shows that more and more of us are willing to pay a premium for sustainable clothing, but many of us don't know what the word sustainability now entails.

There is so much noise in the industry now, such as false sustainability claims and contradictory data on a brands eco-credentials that it can be overwhelming. Many consumers who try to do their research end up with analysis paralysis. Even Stella McCartney said recently in her latest Spring presentation that she 'Barely knows what sustainability means anymore'. So it's not just consumers that are getting confused!

"I barely know what sustainability means anymore" - Stella McCartney

However, whether you’re a luxury shopper embarking on a greener journey, or a seasoned sustainability pro entering the luxury market, we can all do our part to ensure this segment of the fashion industry leads the way in the fashion revolution.

Be it learning more about the latest initiatives or lobbying our favourite eco-luxe designers to embrace their ‘green game' in the most effective manner. As consumers, we hold the power.

Consumers hold the power to influence the fashion industry through their purchases. Photo by kyonntra on Getty Images Signature (Canva)

Sustainability Issues Facing Luxury Brands Today

High-end fashion brands are now, more than ever, facing a plethora of challenges. External stakeholders in the industry have expanded their attention from fast fashion to include designer brands. Challenging them to address sustainability issues through experience, innovation and collaboration.

Because of this, more and more of the big-name brand designers are getting on the sustainability train, fashioning garments that promise to outlive the fast-fashion pieces in our current wardrobes. The top improvements in luxury sustainable fashion brands is either through an amalgamation of innovative textile inventions, progressive production techniques or taking it back to the roots of traditional slow fashion production.

However, ensuring the wellbeing of customers, employees, and supply chain communities isn't an easy feat, especially amidst a pandemic. The pressures to seem like a sustainable brand can lead to claims that are not 100 percent honest.

With high-end fashion comes power and money, and some brands will use their ample resources on campaigns to make them appear philanthropic and eco-friendly, while often cutting corners. This is when knowing what to look for is key to a sustainable investment.

Greenwashing

Put simply, greenwashing is a method used by many luxe brands to convey misleading information about how their products are manufactured and distributed. In a nutshell, companies using this method are making you believe that they are doing more to safeguard our planet than they are.

With a huge amount of greenwashing going on, it can be almost impossible to know which ethical clothing brands are 100 percent ‘ethical’, and which high-quality labels are putting what they preach into practice.

From clothing that features eye-catching labels to clever wording that suggests the threads you are about to buy are ethically sourced - words like clean, earth-loving, quality, happy, and green are being used to trick consumers into thinking they're doing their bit for the planet.

Misconceptions of luxury vs sustainable fashion

When it comes to high-end clothing, many shoppers are under the misconception that the higher the price, the more ethical the attire. This is far from the truth. In most cases, you are paying for the label and not the quality or quantity of the fabric.

Other factors used by powerful labels to delude buyers into thinking they are sustainable is the introduction of small sustainable ranges to make them look like they are doing their bit for the environment.

Similarly, using recycled bags or packaging is a great sustainable incentive, but of little use, if the garments being housed in this packaging are made from a poly fibre or other non-degradable material.

Many ethically-created sustainable luxury fashion brands believe one of the biggest issues preventing their growth is this sustainable smoke-screen that large powerful labels create. This leads to a lack of understanding among consumers or an unwillingness to pay more for sustainable brands if a high-street brand is selling at a lower price and also (wrongfully) claiming sustainability credentials.

However, even though the majority of eco-labels' price margins are slightly higher, these products are likely to last a lot longer, meaning you’ll spend less in the long run on replacement garments.

Before we go into our list, it's important to remember that the most sustainable option is to not buy anything at all! If you are in need of a new purchase however, here is some advice on keeping your carbon footprint down when buying fashion.

How do I reduce my carbon footprint through buying fashion?

So, what can we do to lower our carbon footprint? Even if you’re already shopping for ethical and sustainable labels, there are several other things you can do to lower your footprint.

These include:

Supporting ‘circular’ or zero-waste labels

Investing in labels who support social and environmental organisations

Opt for in-store pick-up options if locally based and opt-out of speedy shipping

Prolong your favourite purchases by following aftercare guides, hand washing clothes and using eco-detergents

Pick clothing created from high-quality materials like organic cotton or community silk, which cause less harm to the planet

Try to reduce your clothing consumption in general by making your clothes last longer through repair and/or upcycling

So now to the list! One more quick point, if you find the majority of luxury brands on this list a little over your price limit, don't worry, be sure to check out our article on how to shop ethically on a budget.

Top Luxury Sustainable Fashion Brands

From low luxe to high-end, many companies are doing their bit for the environment, incorporating innovation into their manufacturing and distribution methods to embrace brand sustainability in the fashion industry.

Thanks to these sustainable luxury fashion brands, who have taken it upon themselves to tackle flaws within the industry’s manufacturing methods, it’s easier than ever to keep sustainability firmly on our radars and invest in designer, conscious attire. Change starts at the top, and these guys are definitely at the top of their games!

As well as manufacturing clothing and products that are kind to the environment and sustainably sourced, a number of these green brands also support environmental organisations and fair trade working conditions.

By investing in these eco-luxe labels, you too are doing your bit to support the environment, ensuring we’re on the right track to embracing a more sustainable fashion industry in the future.

1. Stella McCartney

Eco-Luxury Values | Ecosystem protection, social responsibility, measuring impact, cutting-edge sustainable technologies

Sustainable Materials | Re-engineered cashmere & silk, fibres from forests, recycled nylon & polyester, vegetarian leather, organic cotton.

When it comes to sustainability, this is a designer label that won’t compromise on quality, constantly pushing boundaries and embracing new technologies to create an on-trend brand that is as stylish as it is sustainable.

In 2014, Stella McCartney launched Clevercare, an easy-to-understand, five-step labelling method, helping to educate consumers on clothing care and how to prolong the life of their favourite pieces. The result? A lot less waste, and probably the reason many fashionistas own at least one vintage Stella McCartney item.

To ensure the brand is always ahead of the game, regular audits are conducted to measure environmental impact.

In addition, the McCartney label is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which ensures the careful selection of ethical-renowned suppliers, as well as collaborations with several environmental conservation organisations and NGOs, including Parley for the Oceans and Wildlife Works.

2. The Social Outfit

Eco-Luxury Values | Social responsibility, community engagement, waste reduction

Sustainable Materials | Repurposed and reused fabrics, donated deadstock

Australian-based brand, The Social Outfit, are a social enterprise and charity with an amazing mission. The label provides employment and training to refugees and migrant communities in all aspects of the fashion world, from clothing production to marketing. In many cases, working at The Social Outfit will be their first paid job and the first step of integrating into the Aussie way of life.

They also take their sustainability seriously. With a focus on waste reduction, they have saved tonnes of waste from landfill, through their goal to repurpose and reuse fabrics destined for the skip. So far they have partnered with over 28 Australian brands in this mission, including Alice McCall and Bec & Bridge!

3. Vivienne Westwood

Eco-Luxury Values | Environmental and human rights campaigns, cutting-edge sustainable technologies

Sustainable Materials | Silk, organic cotton, hemp, coir, tencel

Practising exactly what she preaches, Vivienne Westwood’s legendary label is setting an example to fashionistas across the globe by slowly transforming her brand into a sustainable masterpiece. How? Through adopting recycled and eco-friendly fabrics and using the label’s voice to educate people on Human Rights and Climate Change.

Her latest initiative is one that embraces modern-day sustainability, using collaborations and catwalk events as platforms to create awareness, encouraging ethical fashion fans to protect Mother Earth. The campaign focuses on three areas; Quality V Quantity, Gaia and Arts & Culture.

4. Eileen Fisher

Eco-Luxury Values | Transparent supply chain, non-hazardous dyes, workers rights, sustainable fibres

Sustainable Materials | Organic cotton, Recycled fibers, responsible wool, lyocell

Eileen Fisher has been creating elegant and ethical womenswear since 1984. She designs luxury sustainable pieces with a focus on minimalism and inclusivity, that flies in the face of constantly changing fashion trends.

Always leading from the front, her company started their first recycling programme back in 2009, taking back old purchases to repair, clean and sell at discounted prices. Now a Certified B Corp corporation, the brand has a strong focus on supporting women, the fair treatment of workers and creating a circular fashion economy that reuses and replenishes the resources involved.

5. Rare & Fair

Eco-Luxury Values | Sustainable natural fibres, social responsibility, community engagement, transparent supply chain

Sustainable Materials | Natural cotton, organic cotton, community silk, handwoven fabrics

This boutique slow fashion brand focuses on the promotion of handmade clothes and accessories, created by artisans using sustainable, raw materials. Their aim? To embrace the ethical treatment of workers, use planet-friendly materials and reduce waste.

Their hand-loomed, natural clothing and products come straight from the hands of the artisans, then directly to you. Opting for this method allows Rare & Fair to fully back artisan communities and handloom weavers.

The styles, despite embracing traditional methods, boast modern designs, allowing customers to look and feel great, knowing that they’ve done their bit towards supporting these ancient production techniques.

6. Reformation

Eco-Luxury Values | Local production, carbon neutral, waste reduction

Sustainable Materials | Repurposed clothing, upcycled fabrics and salvaged deadstock

LA based contemporary fashion label, Reformation, was doing sustainable before sustainable fashionable! All of their production stages, from design to shipping and everything in between, takes place at their innovative eco-facility in downtown Los Angeles.

Each collection is made using salvaged deadstock, offcuts, upcycled fabrics, repurposed vintage clothing or new sustainable materials. Their gorgeous new leisurewear, Ref Active, is produced using recycled plastic bottles.

Find out more about all of Reformation innovations and materials they use here.

7. Dai

Eco-Luxury Values | B-corp certified, Living wage guarantee, waste reduction

Sustainable Materials | Eco-certified textiles, recycled fabrics

It's always been a problem finding sustainable office wear, especially that also ticks the comfort box as well. Dai's creator, ex investment banker Joanna Dai, was so unimpressed with her workwear that she decided to create her own. Setting out on collections that delivered performance, versatility and function but which she was as comfortable to wear as her yoga pants!

The brand is also big on the sustainability front. 88% of their textiles are eco-certified and their Eco Luxe Essentials range is made from trees certified sustainably managed forests, meaning biodegradable and compostable. On top of that, they pay all of their staff above the London Living Wage.

8. Acne Studios

Eco-Luxury Values | Sustainability targets and reporting, External monitoring of labour conditions

Sustainable Materials | Recycled and repurposed fabrics, organic silk, organic linen, lyocell

Celebrated for their contemporary, uber-cool style, Acne Studios increased their collection in 2020 with the addition of a sustainable line titled ‘Repurposed’. Using a series of discarded offcuts and recycled fabrics, which otherwise would have gone to waste, the Swedish brand has created a variety of capsule lines, which have since been launched quarterly.

Acne Studios have been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) since 2008, who supports the brand to monitor and improve labour conditions, including an external and independent ‘Brand Performance Check’. This means the brand is open to their faults and constantly trying to improve year on year, all of which can be found in their annual sustainability report.

9. Re/Done

Eco-Luxury Values | recycling and repurposing, heritage marketplace, free repairs, waste reduction

Sustainable Materials | Recycled and repurposed demin, cotton and upcycled mixed fabrics

Re/Done, another guilt-free, sustainable brand, offers on-trend pieces made from recycled materials. They first hit the scene in 2014, and have been renowned for upscaling worn Levis into bespoke, contemporary styles ever since.

The eco-conscious brand is extremely focused when it comes to adopting the latest tech to create the best sustainable fashion results. Since its launch, their offering has grown in a big way. On top of their celebrated jeans, they now design high-quality t-shirt styles, sweats and dresses, as well as a select few suits.

Often seen hanging off celebs, this cult sustainable brand is a must buy if you’re looking for a guilt-free, chilled vibe with affordable price points.

10. Maggie Marilyn

Eco-Luxury Values | Sustainability strategy, locally produced, transparent supply chain, circular production

Sustainable Materials | Organic cotton, ethical silks, FSC viscose

Maggie Marilyn is a New Zealand based designer who creates glamorous luxury designs using organic cottons and ethically produced silks. All manufacturing is done in her home country of New Zealand. She is on a mission to transform the fashion industry to one that is "transparent, circular, regenerative and inclusive".

What we love about this brand is that they don't just talk the talk. They produce their own

sustainability strategy

in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as a suppliers code of conduct. This isn't a box ticking exercise for the brand, with regular updates on the performance of their strategies and new targets set annually.

Hopefully you've managed to find your next perfect ethically-made luxury item within this list. It would be great to hear from you what is your favourite eco-luxe label or the latest sustainable initiatives from your favourite brand. Comment below!

Luxury Fashion Boutiques & Shops

History of Miami Fashion

Miami has always had a bold fashion culture – bright colors, big ideas, and luxury styles. The history of Miami fashion is ubiquitous with trendsetters and trailblazers. It should come as no surprise that the Miami Design District has become an influential destination for the fashion-forward crowd.

Stroll the streets of The Miami Design District and you’ll see fashion boutiques featuring the biggest luxury fashion names such as Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Celine, Dior, Prada, Burberry, Cartier, Fendi, Givenchy, Rolex, Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, Lanvin, Tod's, Tom Ford, Lanvin, COS, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, and Louis Vuittonn. These designers bring cutting-edge fashion to their boutiques in Miami by adding compelling new chapters to the city’s fashion history.

What Experience Can You Expect in an Upscale Miami Fashion Mall like the Miami Design District?

The Miami Design District is unlike any other mall or boutique in Miami. We are a carefully curated mixture of art, design, fashion, and furniture, which makes us stand apart from your traditional shopping destination or “mall”. Everything about the District neighborhood – including meticulously maintained landscaping, art galleries, and sculptures integrated into the neighborhood, and even the interior design of the shops themselves – is an artistic expression. You’ll love how intentional the design is, and you might even feel transported to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, or Bond Street in London, or Fifth Avenue in New York, but you’ll be right at home. That’s the beauty of The Miami Design District.

Local Upscale Miami Fashion Stores & Boutiques

Miami’s new luxury destination brings together the biggest names and most exciting trendsetters in the worlds of fashion, dining, and art. The fashion designers at the District feature a spectacular array of clothing and accessories. From the sophisticated ladies apparel that is a hallmark of Louis Vuitton and Dolce and Gabbana to the premium accessories at Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels or Hermes, the Miami Design District has something for every shopper.

You don’t just visit the Miami Design District for the shopping – you come here for a full immersion into art, culture, and gourmet food. With restaurants like Michelin star chef Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier and Le Jardinier, to David Grutman and Pharrell’s SWAN, to local James Beard nominated chefs Michael Schwartz and Brad Kilgore’s eateries, The Miami Design District is a foodie haven. The District is also home to the ICA, an impressive collection of contemporary art in Miami. The District is also proud to host Swampspace Gallery, the brainchild of artist Oliver Sanchez. This memorable purple building calls itself the Un-Gallery because it makes its own rules, creating a rich experience for viewers that is both sophisticated and unvarnished.

If you are an art, fashion or design lover, you should visit the Miami Design District whenever you’re in need of a new handbag, shoes, clothing, furniture, and overall inspiration. This creative neighborhood promises to inspire and amaze you at each corner.

Design Bundles names Gucci most influential luxury brand

Search Intelligence has reported Gucci is the most influential luxury fashion brand, according to new research. The brand has over 73 million total mentions from Instagram hashtags, search volume, and article mentions. Following behind Gucci, Chanel takes second place with 1400 article mentions and 70.9 million Instagram hashtags. The third is Louis Vuitton, with over 8 million searches a year and 41 million Instagram hashtags.

The study by creative resource Design Bundles analyzed 76 different luxury brands based on the number of times they have been hashtagged on Instagram, how many times they have been Googled in the UK, and the number of articles mentioning the brand in the media over the past year.

Dior takes fourth place. The designer brand shows a strong online presence, with the third-highest number of Instagram hashtags, at 55 million, which contributes to their online mention total of 58 million.

Balenciaga ranks fifth with almost 4.5 million searches, placing it third highest in Google searches on the list and 27 million hashtags on Instagram. Balenciaga has become popular among many due to the high-demand items and pieces being hard to get hold of.

Sixth place is Prada, with 45 million total mentions, from 1.3 million annual searches, 665 article mentions, and 44 million from Instagram hashtags. Burberry is seventh in the ranking from Google searches and Instagram hashtags which total more than 31.5 million, along with placing fifth highest in the ranking of article mentions.

Eighth place goes to Michael Kors, with Google searches of 2.9 million, and hashtags on Instagram of 24 million contributing to their count of 27 million online mentions. Valentino follows in ninth place, and the Italian fashion house Fendi, founded in 1925, is tenth in the list.

Commenting on the research, a spokesperson from Design Bundles said “It’s fascinating to see how luxury brands influence culture and their use as status symbols that people are often keen to flaunt on social media to showcase their wealth or signal their fashion credentials. Gucci tops the list as the most influential thanks to consistently high numbers across all three categories, demonstrating that despite extremely tough competition it is at the top of most people’s minds when it comes to luxury brands.”

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

Leave a Comment