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Shopping Tips

The RLS Guide to Sustainable Fashion

In case you hadn’t heard, green fashion is red hot! So what exactly is sustainable fashion? Well, there are multiple angles here, including: transparent and ethical labor practices, using recycled or organic materials, less-toxic dying and manufacturing processes, and green building infrastructure.  Some brands focus on one mark, others hit many. If you are looking to make more intentional fashion purchases, we’ve compiled an updated, expanded list of sustainable fashion websites for your shopping pleasure with explanations of what let’s them make the sustainable claim.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Happy Sustainable Shopping!

Brands that Focus on Quality and Transparency

Everlane has developed a bit of a cult following for it’s fairly priced, high quality clothing. They put an emphasis on their transparent pricing and manufacturing, ethical factories and premium materials. They also don’t follow every trend, and instead try to create designs that will transcend them, allowing you to wear their clothes for years.

Everlane Wide Leg Crop Pant, $68

Everlane Cotton Long-Sleeve Crew, $55

Everlane Day Market Tote, $165

Everlane Kick Crop Jean, $78

Everlane Relaxed Silk Shirt, $60

Grana is similar to Everlane in their commitment to high-quality fabrics at reasonable prices in timeless designs. Think Italian wool, Peruvian pima cotton and Chinese silk. Ethical clothing for the office? We’ll take that!

Grana Tencel Duster, $149

Grana Worsted Wool Tailored Blazer, $175

Grana Tencel Wrap Skirt, $79

Grana Chinese Round Neck Zip Top, $119

Nisolo has been featured on our blog a few times before, as we’re totally in love with the design of their shoes. They’ve also always been totally transparent about their factories, the wages of their employees, and the impact of their supply chain.

Nisolo Dari Boot in Black, $248

Nisolo Sarita Wedge Sandal, $158

Nisolo Elayna Sneaker, $148

Nisolo Elizabeth Slide, $158

Brands that Focus on Eco-Friendly Practices

Reformation is a favorite of young cool celebrities like Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. It definitely has a cool, L.A. early 20s girl vibe, but there are a few pieces that work for any age group. And you’ll be inspired to wear the clothing, because they truly prioritize sustainable practices. Between green building infrastructure and recycling the water from dyes, they are doing everything possible to bring their environmental impact down to zero.

Reformation Palma Top, $128

Reformation Liza High Straight Jean, $118

Reformation Violet Top, $128

Reformation Jenny Jumpsuit, $178

Reformation Bermuda Short, $98

Nau focuses on the versatility of their products in addition to sustainable fabrics and a smaller footprint. Their slogan is that their apparel does more so you need less. To read more about their technical fabrics, click here to see where they  source every material that they use.

Nau ASYM Tank Dress, $98

Nau Sleeveless Slublime Tunic, $58

Nau Slight Long Sleeve Shirt, $125

Nau Quintessentshell Waterproof Trench Coat, $298

Amour Vert means Green Love in French, which speaks to the brand’s founding principle. Everything is manufactured in America using non-toxic dyes and sustainable fabrics. The clothes are also very casual chic French girl.

Amour Vert Anna Marie Blouse, $168

Amour Vert Beatrice Pant, $118

Amour Vert Angie Dress, $248

Amour Vert Adrienne Silk Blouse, $158

Amour Vert Hillary Dress, $158

Brands that Sustain Developing Economies

Zuri has been written about in the blog before, and we’re still just as obsessed as we were last year when we read about it in the NYT! After the founders spent 8 years in Nairobi, they decided they wanted to create a uniform for women using the beautiful textiles from Kenya. All of the labor and materials are sourced from Africa, with the goal of supporting a long-term, sustainable economy. They originally started with just one style, focusing on the many ways you can wear it. Now they have the original dresses as well as a shirt style. They also carry an extended size range, with new patterns appearing all the time!

Zuri Wavelength Dress, $145

Zuri Life Aquatic Dress, $145

Zuri Concrete Jungle Dress, $145

Zuri Footprints Shirt, $110

Zuri Fan Club Shirt, $110

Raven + Lily employs at-risk women in impoverished countries to make garments with sustainable and recycled materials. That’s a magical combination! Click through the slider to see their perfect silk tee and accessories.

Raven + Lily Sunita Jumpsuit in Avo Print, $228

Raven + Lily Athena Long Drop Earrings in Petrified Wood, $112

Raven + Lily Ana Silk Tee in Navy, $138

Raven + Lily Aster Clutch in Birch, $268

Raven + Lily Mini Aeden Ring Bag in Black, $298

Kotn uses only one material in their designs (hence the name): authentic Egyptian cotton. Because of the move towards cheaper fabrics in the last decade, there has been a decline in demand for the cotton farmers and weavers in Egypt. Kotn works directly with the cotton farming families to provide a fair wage. They even built a school in the Nile Delta in order to stop the cycle of child labor. I am obsessed with the black turtleneck I bought from them this winter!

Kotn Fitted Turtleneck, $45

Kotn Cropped Sweatshirt, $75

Kotn V-Neck T-shirt, $32

Kotn Culotte Sweatpants in Alabaster, $90

Mata Traders is another fair trade company made by artisans in India and Nepal. Look no further for fun prints in western silhouettes! We got one of our clients the Kimono Jacket from Oak boutique in Kensington, MD and it was beautiful on her!

Mata Traders Pintucked Away Dress in Slate, $95

Mata Traders Montague Shorts in Teal, $59

Mata Traders Cecilia Dress in Cream Ikat, $95

Mata Traders Odessa Trim Top in Midnight, $59

Mata Traders Aurora V-Neck Dress in Poppy, $59.99

Brands that Resell Used Clothing

Because clothing is tossed so frequently, purchasing gently used clothing is always a way to support giving clothing a longer lifespan. A few of our favorite resell sites are Poshmark, The Real Real, Ebay, Thread Up, and Swap. At the end of the day, the most sustainable moves you can make are to buy higher quality clothes you can wear longer, dress intentionally, and wear everything in your closet.

Need help with the process? Email me for a free phone consultation about our different services at

Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and serve clients nationwide. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.

Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!

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