By Sofi Cisneros
From February 10-15, fashion’s hottest brands congregated all over NYC to present their Fall/Winter 2023 collections as part of New York Fashion Week. But which brands are really taking the biggest strides in their efforts to cultivate a more sustainable fashion industry? Read on as we take a look at the brands that dominated the sustainability game this season during NYFW.
PH5 is a knitwear brand based in New York and China founded by designers Wei Lin and Zoe Champion. From Lin’s mother’s knitwear mill in Dongguan, China, PH5 knits each look’s patterns using 3D printing in the exact shape desired so that they don’t have leftover fabrics. Any leftover yarn is used for future looks. The yarn itself is also made from ecoverso viscose, recycled nylon, or GOTS cotton, all which require 50% less water than traditional fibers.
PH5 believes in holistic sustainability, and have made efforts outside of their designs to save the planet such as their one tree planted per sold product policy, 100% compostable mailers, and membership in the WWD Green Design Force.
For their FW23 collection which debuted on February 11th, PH5 curated a deep-sea theme. Using discarded plastic from friends and family, the designers created each look to feel as though one were watching a jellyfish move underwater instead of models posing on the runway. Tufted plastics, wire-edged hems, and kelp, oceanic, or sand-like hues make up PH5’s aquatic FW23 collection, and reminds us to be more conscientious of how our everyday waste affects marine life.
2. Collina Strada
Collina Strada is a New York based brand that integrates their mission for sustainability into everything from their clothing to their practices. Using only biodegradable fabrics like Rose Sylk, deadstock fabric, and recycled cotton, designer and founder Hillary Taymour envisions a realistic fashion industry where brands should at the very least strive for sustainable perfection and do the best they can. The brand also partners with the OR Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to create a circular economy within the fashion industry.
Taymour said in a 2020 interview with Vogue that “You can have fun and still be [eco] conscious” which was evident in her FW23 collection that hit the runway on February 11. Titled “Please Don’t Eat My Friends”, the collection was inspired by the natural connection between humans and animals and “how we’re all in this together” read the show notes. Models jumped, pranced, and hopped down the runway in scarily real animal prosthetics and brilliantly hued clothing. Collina Strada’s collection definitely got the message across that with sustainability comes our human responsibility to protect and live harmoniously amongst our animal friends.
3. Oak & Acorn
Oak & Acorn is the first sustainable denim-based brand in Harlem, New York. Designer and founder Miko Underwood uses only eco-fibers like Hemp, Refibra & Tencel, recycled & repurposed denim, natural indigo artisan textiles, and deadstock fabrics in her designs. Through their clothing, Oak & Acorn additionally sheds light on the unseen efforts that indigenous Americans and enslaved Africans have contributed to the fashion industry, and particularly to the production of American denim.
On February 12th, Oak & Acorn debuted their FW23 collection. Each look demonstrated denim’s surprisingly stylish versatility, as unconventionally flattering looks such as full denim bodysuits, bleached denim jackets, and criss-cross denim halter tops were on full display.
Identical twins Bruce and Glen Proctor founded their environmentally-friendly brand BruceGlen in 2019. Their commitment to sustainability can be seen in their partnership with Resonance Brands, one of the most sustainable manufacturing systems up and running today. Their use of digital printing to create their designs utilizes only a fraction of the ink employed and water in more typical processes like screen printing or batch dying. All materials are made of natural fibers and are 95% biodegradable. In addition, the twins have implemented a made-to-order policy, so no rolls of pre-printed or pre-dyed fabric go to waste.
For their FW23 collection as premiered on February 13, BruceGlen debuted vibrantly colored, geometric patterns on various sets, dresses, jackets, hair accessories, and more. Inspired by the “90s church fashion, the black woman, and triumph through faith”, the twins’ collection ethically resembles stained glass and captures the essence of faith and nostalgia.
5. Cynthia Rowley
Cynthia Rowley’s iconic beach-themed infused fashion reflects her utmost attention to her clothes’ impact on the environment. Limited quantities of each piece are produced to avoid excess inventory waste. The brand’s signature swimwear is made using recycled material like polyester yarn from plastic bottles, carbon black neoprene from scrap rubber tires, and dyed molten plastic instead of traditional dyeing methods.
For her FW23 show on February 13, Rowley presented her sustainably made pieces on famous female comedians while they performed live stand up comedy routines. “If you can be funny, you can feel confident. If you love what you're wearing, you feel confident. And if you can have both, even better,” said Rowley, who strongly promotes female empowerment all throughout her brand coupled with her mission for a greener fashion industry.
NYFW’s Fall/Winter 2023 season was a masterclass in sustainable fashion, and proved that quality clothing doesn’t have to come at the cost of our environment. For more articles related to sustainable brands check our Shop Repurpose Blog.