By now, you're probably aware there's a 50/50 chance that brands who tout their sustainability efforts aren't actually telling the truth. You also know that faux fur, for example, is actually pretty harmful to the environment. And that shopping consciously isn't exactly cheap. But there are some brands out there, however, that are radically transparent with their supply chains and wear their ethics on their sleeve, so to speak. Outerknown, the fashion brand co-founded by surf legend Kelly Slater and John Moore, has everyone beat. And the mid-range label is fêting the launch of its women's line.
Founded in 2015 as a menswear company, Outerknown's commitment to sustainability has grown far beyond making tees out of recycled plastics and organic cottons. They were the first company in history to join the Fair Labor Association before selling a single product (meaning workers are compensated fairly, given legitimate time off, and provided with clean working conditions), they use Econyl® (virgin quality, recycled yarn recovered from nylon waste, like fishing nets, fabric scraps from mills, and carpets destined for landfills), waste- and pesticide-free hemp, and so much more.
And its newly launched women's line is no different. Reasonably priced, its debut collection consists of 17 styles — everyday tops, throw-and-go dresses, and bottoms (including their S.E.A. jeans, made in the Saitex factory and guaranteed for life). But, perhaps the most important part: The entire collection is made of 100% benefit fibres, meaning organic, recycled, and/or regenerated textiles. Additionally, some of the pieces were produced in collaboration with Piece & Co., an organization that works to empower women around the world through textile manufacturing, and is committed to partnering with artisan groups and small businesses around the world to create a global supply chain of sustainable jobs.
"We started Outerknown to prove that we could make great clothes using fair labor practices and materials that are not harmful to the environment," Slater says of the launch, via press release. "Our growing business shows us that people want to make conscious choices about their clothes—you don’t have to harm people or the planet for the sake of fashion." Moore adds that Outerknown saw interest in a womenswear line from a lot of their female customers buying and borrowing from their men's offering: "We thought it was time to give them pieces they could call their own."
Ahead, we've got some of our favourite Outerknown women's items in one place. Sure, they may not be decked out in Swarovski crystals or designed with the latest trends du jour (tiny sunglasses, ugly sneakers, or any other '90s nostalgia) in mind, but they do have a clean conscience — which should be top of mind for any aesthete who knows the difference between blue and black waste bins. And with an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic already in our oceans, and 8 million metric tons more being filtered into them each, the time to shop smart is... yesterday.