March marks B Corp month, a time to shine a light on the businesses that are putting the planet and its people before profit. If ever there was an industry to come under scrutiny for its ethical practices, it’s the world of fashion. Mass consumerism has resulted in both exponential environmental damage and abusive labour practices. But there are a few key fashion brands that are being transparent and actually taking their environmental and social responsibilities seriously. Here, we bring you the pioneering B Corp fashion brands leading the way.
When you’re trying to spot truly sustainable brands, there’s one label you need to look out for: B Corp Certification. We would all love to do our bit to shop in a more ethical, eco-friendly way, but sometimes it can be a minefield trying to decipher who’s actually doing their bit, and who’s simply guilty of greenwashing. Are their supply chains as transparent as they should be? Do they really incorporate sustainable practices at their core? Do they pay their workers a fair wage? That’s where the B Corp label comes in.
Companies that are awarded B Corp status have committed to using their business to work towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy, as well as striving to reduce inequality, lower poverty levels and create a healthier working environment. It’s not easy to achieve the accreditation – since its launch in 2006, more than 150,000 businesses have signed up for the B Corp Impact Assessment, yet only 6,000 have been certified – making it all the more valuable.
That number is only set to rise, though. Britain has one of the largest and fastest-growing communities of sustainable businesses in the world, and there are now over 1,000 Certified B Corporations in the UK alone. To put that into context, that’s the same number of B Corps as the whole of mainland Europe. With over 500 across the capital alone, London is also proud to be the city with the most B Corps in the world.
More and more brands are now trying to find ways to make products with the planet’s long-term health in mind, looking at how they can reshape their supply chains and take action to create a positive impact. From luxury fashion houses to eco footwear brands and sustainably sourced jewellery, these are the certified B Corp fashion brands who are working hard to make a difference.
B Corp Fashion Brands
When Chloé’s creative director Gabriela Hearst took the reins at the French maison in 2023, she pulled off quite a coup, turning the label into the world’s first luxury fashion house to attain B Corp Certification. Since Hearst’s arrival Chloé has quickly become a pioneer of sustainability within the luxury world: case in point, her latest A/W23 collection, which featured recycled Nylon capes and dresses embellished with multicoloured graphics by Mumbai-based Chanakya International embroidery studio, which provides women from low-income backgrounds with high-quality education and jobs in embroidery.
Their sustainable practices are felt throughout the entire business. Around 60% of the fabrics they use are “lower impact” materials, and Chloé no longer sells cotton t-shirts, in a bid to avoid the water-intensive production of that fabric. Cashmere has been replaced by recycled cashmere, and denim by circular denim, which is made of a mix of recycled cotton and either hemp or linen. It’s a giant step forward for the luxury world, with Chloé leading the way when it comes to bringing sustainable fashion to the industry’s biggest stage: Paris Fashion Week.
The Paris-born resale platform Vestiaire Collective prides itself on housing the best in pre-loved fashion, with a vast offering including everything from Chanel bags and Dior jackets to Alexander McQueen scarves. They’re also the first second-hand fashion site in the world to become B Corp Certified. The retail platform has led the charge in transforming the fashion industry with cyclical practices ever since they first launched in 2009, and as part of their founding mission are now challenging other resale platforms, fashion brands and industry players to commit to getting the prestigious certification.
The brand was particularly recognised for its significant achievements in the ‘Workers’ and ‘Governance’ areas. The company boasts over 500 employees across France, Germany, America, Hong Kong and Singapore, and 60% of their staff are women, with all staff covering 48 nationalities. Last year, the company appointed a chief sustainability and inclusion officer and launched five employee diversity and inclusion task forces, including Ethnic diversity, LGBTQIA+, Women empowerment, Disability and Equal opportunity.
With Nothing Underneath
Founded by former Tatler editor and Vogue stylist Pip Durrell in 2017, With Nothing Underneath was started with one goal: to create the perfect shirt. Inspired by men’s tailoring, British heritage and timeless style, the brand is all about simplicity. Created to be as sustainable as possible from the very beginning, the London-based label achieved B Corp status last year thanks to its ethical business practices.
The brand’s supremely stylish shirts are made from a range of fabrics, including GOTS certified 100% organic cotton, recycled silk and Tencel derived from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees. All of their buttons, meanwhile, are made from wasted by-products of the food manufacturing industry and are biodegradable. They also donate a portion of their net profits to charity every year, helping to support initiatives like Luminary Bakery, Smart Works and Heart Research UK.
Wolf & Badger
In 2021, Wolf & Badger became the first B Corp Certified marketplace in the UK. Founded in 2010 by brothers Henry and George Graham with a boutique in Notting Hill, they’ve since opened sites in Mayfair and King’s Cross, as well as across the pond in New York and Los Angeles. Together their stores house more than 2,000 independent brands from around the world.
The business was built on the pillars of skill and craftsmanship, and this is the place to come if you’re looking to source ethically produced jewellery, fashion and accessories from talented emerging designers. Their Vetting Team works hard to ensure all the brands they work with adhere to their ethical guidelines, while also making sure that designers are incentivised to source and manufacture sustainably. It’s all part of their wider goal to ensure every element of retail is fair and frictionless for everyone.
British jewellery designer Laura Lambert founded Fenton in 2019 to give consumers fair access to high quality, responsibly produced fine jewellery, specialising in ethically and sustainably sourced coloured gemstones as an alternative to traditional diamonds. Customers can choose from a variety of stones, metals and cuts to create their own personalised design, with all of the gems sourced directly, thereby cutting out the middlemen to provide top stones at a lower cost.
They’re one of only eight British jewellers to be a certified B Corp, which they earnt thanks to their impressive 10-part responsible sourcing manifesto. The brand ensures that they only obtain stones from companies that are world leaders in ethical mining, as well as ones that actively support the local habitat and environment. Their beautiful designs and ethical practices have earnt them high profile fans including Jasmine Hemsley, Tess Ward and Sharmadean Reid.
Cult Copenhagen-based brand Ganni has long been known for its laid-back approach to fashion and its effortlessly cool collaborations, which has seen the label partner with everyone from Juicy Couture to Priya Ahluwalia, with the latter working on a collection that reimagined Ganni’s surplus stock. Last year the brand had its sustainability credentials formally recognised when it became a B Corp Certified company.
The Scandi brand scored particularly well in the environment section, thanks to its use of lower-impact and recycled materials, as well as its commitment to circular business models, such as resale and rental. But don’t expect the brand to rest on its laurels – the company has committed to reducing its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2027 and aims to ensure 100% of its materials are certified recycled, organic or trademarked fabrics that have a proven lower environmental impact by 2023.
This fair trade trainer brand has been an ethical pioneer ever since it first launched in 2015 – and thanks to its eco-friendly credentials, it was granted B Corp status shortly after. The brand was established with the aim of creating a shoe that would stand the test of time without compromising on sustainability, which meant working with unusual materials like wild rubber from the Amazonian Forest for their soles and recycled plastic bottles to create a new kind of mesh.
The business operates with full transparency across every stage of their production, from the wages they pay to the way they source their materials. By working directly with small scale producers in Peru and Brazil, they’re able to cut out the middleman and agree a price for the rubber and cotton they use in advance, thereby ensuring the producers can earn a decent living and reinvest in their farms.
Inspired by British surfers and founded in Devon in 2003, Finisterre has created a brand around an innovative waterproof and windproof fleece designed to warm cold souls fresh from the sea. The outdoor clothing label works hard to create sustainable supply chains and resurrected the British merino wool industry in 2005 after searching for a way to bring their manufacturing closer to home. They now have a flock of over 300 Bowmont sheep, the only breed capable of producing a fine merino wool with the hardiness to survive the British climate.
Their impact on the environment is taken into account with everything they do, including their garment bags, which are part of their ‘Leave No Trace’ initiative. The water-soluble bags took over a year to develop and are recyclable, biodegradable and break down harmlessly into non-toxic biomass in soil and sea. They’ve also created a special sea suit, which was designed to overcome barriers to surfing in countries where modesty laws make access to the ocean difficult for women and young girls.
This east London-based label was founded in 2014 as half social enterprise, half direct-to-consumer fashion brand, and was award B Corp status in 2022. Their unique business model works on a made-to-order basis, with all of their limited-edition pieces created from their team of talented workers across the capital. Their knitwear, for example, is made by older women at an Age UK community centre, while dresses are crafted at community arts charity Stitches in Time in Limehouse.
Set to officially re-launch in mid-April, for now they’re focusing their efforts on creating customisable organic cotton t-shirts, printed in-house by their team with all proceeds going towards training their pool of makers from refugee backgrounds. Order one to have it shipped to your door within five to seven days, complete with a label signed by the person who made it.
The outdoor clothing company has been B Corp certified for over a decade and has long been known as an industry leader when it comes to environmental advocacy and sustainable practices. The mission-driven brand was the first California-based company to sign up for B certification in January 2012 and passionately advocates for other businesses following suit in what they refer to as a time of ‘sustained environmental and social crisis’.
Their leaders are unfailingly honest when it comes to how much work there is still to do in the sector, as well as within their own business, and they operate a self-imposed Earth tax, through which they donate 1% of their annual sales to grassroots environmental groups. And in a truly ground-breaking move, last year their pioneering founder Yvon Choinard announced that he was giving away the entire company to a uniquely structured trust and non-profit, designed to pump all of the company’s profits into saving the planet.
Faithfull the Brand
Founded in Bali in 2012 by friends Sarah-Jane Abrahams and Helle Them-Enger and B Corp Certified in 2021, Faithfull the Brand was set up to create timeless dresses that were affordable and made sustainably. The brand works with local communities and Indonesian artisans to craft their beautiful handmade products, which all evoke the heady nostalgia of vintage wardrobes of summers past.
Inspired by their forever muse Marianne Faithful (hence the name), the retro-inspired pieces were made for sun-seekers and romantic dreamers, and each collection evokes the spirit of travel, centring around a new location, from Byron Bay to Sardinia. Both the founders are based in Bali, where the brand’s HQ is, and every single garment is hand-made and hand-dyed there, with prints dried in the blazing Balinese sun.
After seeing first-hand the incredible properties of merino wool, New Zealand native Tim Brown couldn’t understand why the sustainable resource wasn’t being used in the footwear industry – so he decided to do something about it. The shoe brand – whose trainers are often referred to as ‘the world’s most comfortable shoes’ – prides itself on using natural materials, with ranges made from eco-friendly eucalyptus pulp and moisture-wicking merino wool that is ZQ-certified (meaning it meets stringent standards for sustainable farming and animal welfare) and uses 60% less energy than synthetics.
Alongside this the brand has reimagined their packaging, using 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard that serves as a shoebox and shopping bag all in one, and work with charity Soles4Souls to ensure their gently used shoes find new homes in some of the poorest communities around the world. They have big plans for the future, with their Allbirds Flight Plan aiming to cut their carbon footprint in half by 2025, and reduce it to near zero by 2030.
Founded by three brothers – Ed, Paul and Lawrence Bird – in Devon, Bird became the first certified B Corp eyewear brand in the UK in 2020. Dedicated to designing beautiful glasses that both look great and do good, their frames are created using the highest quality sustainable materials, including certified woods, bio-based acetate, renewable cork and recycled aluminium, and come with cleaning cloths made from recycled plastic bottles.
For every pair bought they distribute solar light to families in Zambia and Malawi, replacing the use of fossil fuel burning lamps through their Share Your Sun partnership with SolarAid, and they are committed to creating a truly circular economy. All of their bamboo and wooden frames can be composted, while their laminated wood and aluminium frames can be separated out and the aluminium layers can be recycled.
When ex-banker Joanna Dai founded her eponymous label in 2017, she was on a mission to create chic, elevated workwear pieces that were as comfortable as her yoga kit. Enter the brand’s best selling Power Move trousers, which are stretchy enough to Downward Dog in while looking refined enough to wear in the boardroom. The label earnt its B Corp status in 2020 thanks to its innovative approach and ethical credentials.
The label’s stats speak for themselves. Eighty-eight per cent of the brand’s textiles are eco-certified, while 72% of their suppliers are powered using renewable energy sources. In 2021 they committed to offsetting 100% of their carbon emissions, as well as increasing their use of recycled fabrics to make up 50% of their core performance fabrics. They also offer complimentary repairs on all their products, in a bid to extend the life of their garments and reduce waste.