It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when your calendar fills up with holiday parties and events, and your head fills pretty much every night with the age-old “What am I going to wear?” question. Now, before you rush out and buy a bunch of new outfits, consider this: The “throwaway nature” of today’s fast fashion industry is creating a big problem for our environment. In fact, the industry is generating 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse carbon emissions a year — a staggering number that exceeds the amount generated by international flights and shipping combined.
We’re not saying you have to resign yourself to wearing last year’s ugly sweater to ever soiree you attend this year though. There are some amazing fashion brands who are prioritizing ethical, sustainable production methods, and making clothes that not only look fabulous, but you can feel good about wearing them.
Here are 12 of our favorites pieces for this holiday season. Party on!
Since 2002, Rag & Bone has been a brand of integrity. Producing most of their clothing in the U.S., Rag & Bone “prides itself in the time-honored techniques of supremely skilled, local manufacturers at some of the oldest factories in the country.”
Plus, through Dec. 31, Rag & Bone is partnering with the Blue Jean Go Green recycling program. Just bring your old jeans into any of their U.S. stores and receive 20 percent off your jean purchase the same day.
Victor Dress, $550
A twist on the classic LBD, this velvet and silk wrap dress channels the sort of sexy silk robe you may find wrapped under your tree Christmas morning. Pair with sparkly stilettos or thigh-high leather boots and steal the show at your next evening cocktail party.
Prefer to keep your legs under wraps (it is winter, after all)? Channel your inner biker with these high-rise leather pants that cover you up while still showing off those shapely gams.
As a lifelong vegetarian and supporter of PETA, Stella McCartney has built her brand without the use of leather or fur in any of her designs, proving to the world that luxury fashion can also be sustainable. She also makes a point of tackling important ethical and ecological questions as part and parcel of her fashion business.
Lea White Beaded Shirt, $1,095
Beads are the new sequins! These add flair to a crisp, classic white shirt.
Brynn Lurex Skirt, $1,085
Nothing says holiday party time like a little bit of shimmer. Bonus: The adjustable drawstring means you can give yourself some extra wiggle room if you hit the cookie tray a little too hard.
This blinged-out bag will outshine the star on top of the tree this year.
SUSI Studio is a Los Angeles-based vegan shoe company for women that aims to “inspire compassion towards humanity, animals, and the environment through creativity.” They make it their mission to create sustainable footwear that is both stylish and accessible.
Hey Simone Heels, $135
Ankle-strap heels are so hot right now, so why not get a pair that doesn’t hurt the environment? Did I mention Emma Watson wears these exact ones?
Born and made in New York City, Tome focuses on ensuring every piece of their collections is ethically produced. The brand has been involved in “the inaugural CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative from 2015-2017, moving the needle on industry sustainability, and transforming the business into an environmentally and socially conscious vision.”
Who says you can’t wear pink in the winter? In an icy-cool shade, these velvet pants scream holiday chic.
Designer BreeLayne reflects her love of the environment onto the clothing she creates. Her Los Angeles-based brand is made from recycled luxury fabrics produced using environmentally responsible practices. Plus, with every item purchased, BreeLayne plants a tree.
Leilani Jumpsuit, $990
This silk-lined jumpsuit features an attached cape and comes in evergreen, a perfect color for the season.
A newcomer to sustainable fashion, Mara Hoffman wanted to make a change to her brand after she realized how unsustainable her practices were. As the brand continues to shift its gears in the right direction, they are making major strides towards ethical fashion by using certified organic cotton, reducing waste and water usage, and increasing the amount of their products they make in the U.S.
Eva Sweater, $295, and Susan Skirt, $275
This sweater and skirt combo is a perfect office-to-party outfit comfy enough to wear all day, while also oozing enough sophistication for an evening fete.
This Montreal-based company explores the relationship between materials and nature — hence the name Matt & Nat. Since 1995, they have been “committed to not using leather or any animal-based materials.” They also test out different recycled materials such as cork and rubber and, since 2007, have been making all of their linings out of recycled plastic bottles.
Abiko Clutch, $95
As easy to hold as it is stylish, this simple clutch comes in five different colors and works with almost any outfit and occasion.
Reformation works to do their part to reform the fashion industry by using sustainable fabrics and vintage garments while incorporating better practices throughout their supply chain. They use the most “efficient, eco-friendly and pro-social technologies and practices” they can and invest in green building infrastructure “to minimize their waste, water, and energy footprints.”
Bellflower Dress, $218
No holiday wardrobe is complete without a splash of red. This playful little number will turn heads (and really pop in those Insta posts!).
More from Make It Better:
- The Better Gift Guide
- North Shore Native Designs Stylish and Sustainable Swimwear
- 6 Sweaters From Local Stores That Are as Chic as They Are Cozy
Avery Hansen recently graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas where she studied journalism and fashion media. During her time at SMU she was published in the school’s newspaper, The Daily Campus, as well as Beyond the Boulevard and HerCampus. When Avery is not writing, she is playing with her pug, Emmy, or cheering on the Blackhawks at the United Center. She is a proud supporter of PAWS Chicago.