How Eco-Friendly Brands Make Sustainable Living Stylish

From: Tyler Trunnell
December 11th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Contrary to what many people think, sustainable living doesn’t mean cutting back on the nicer things in life. You don’t have to sell all of your possessions for a sustainable life. Want proof? Just look at how eco-friendly brands are incorporating both stylish design with sustainable principles.

Why Does It Matter If Eco-Friendly Brands Are Stylish Or Not?

Sure, it’s true that there is a portion of the population who will always pursue eco-friendly solutions to their clothing, housing, and transportation needs. Unfortunately, the majority of people will simply follow whatever is fashionable. (Need proof? Just look at how many people drive cars that are bigger than they need. Think of how much carbon emissions could be reduced – and how much fuel we could save – if consumers were less interested in driving popular cars.)

As Ecouterre editor Jasmin Malik Chua writes, there are three main reasons why sustainability and style go hand-in-hand:

  1. Environment. The types of products we consume directly affect which environmental resources we use and what effect we have on the world around us. By choosing sustainable materials, we’re choosing to reduce our environmental impact.
  2. Humanity. People are just as important as the planet and profits. If we support sustainable manufacturing processes, we’re helping to improve the lives of those who physically build our products.
  3. Fashion and Design. The majority of people make purchasing choices based on what’s fashionable. If sustainable practices are coupled with stylish design, these products are more likely to be used over a longer period of time and chosen by consumers over less-eco-friendly products.

Any product can incorporate these three elements. Here are just a few examples of brands who do it right.
Reusable Bags You Actually Want to Use

Finding shopping bags you can use more than once isn’t hard – in fact, every grocery store seems to have their own brand they sell. But finding bags that look attractive? That’s a different story. And once you find bags you like, will you actually carry them around with you? Many of us have purchased reusable bags in the past but simply forget to have them with us when we go shopping.

Bag manufacturer Bag The Habit hopes to provide a bag that’s both stylish and easy to keep with you when you shop. Designed to fold into a self-contained pouch, their bags are small enough when folded to carry in a purse. It’s the equivalent size of carrying 3 normal grocery bags, so you won’t need more than one or two for most shopping trips. By keeping a reusable bag or two in your purse at all times, you’ll always have reusable bags on hand when you go to the story. It’s a habit this company hopes you’ll develop.

Sustainable Sunglasses You’ll Wear

Though wooden frames have been around for years (and frankly don’t always look great), new advancements in biodegradable materials have made it possible for sustainable eyewear to look more like high-fashion replica sunglasses.

One company trying to merge fashion with eco-friendly science is Zeal Optics. Their new Ace sunglasses not only look sleek, they’re also made of an innovative bio-material that comes from 100% US-grown cotton. Everything from the frame to the lenses is 100% biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about these sunglasses sitting in a landfill forever if you’re ever done with them.

Of course, if you do want wooden frames, check out the Waiting For The Sun’s bamboo frames. Though the glasses aren’t completely biodegradable (they feature Carl Zeiss lenses), at least the frames are.

Chic Clothing That’s Eco-Friendly

Knowing whether or not a brand is actually eco-friendly and uses sustainable manufacturing processes can be tricky. Many manufacturers use labeling to make it seem like their clothing is more eco-friendly than it really is. Though there are apps available to help designers choose the best fabric for their clothing, consumers like you and me don’t have many solutions to tell which products best meet our ideals.

Fortunately, bloggers have done the work for us. Greta Egan’s site FASHIONmeGREEN features product recommendations for green clothing and accessories. Self-described as a “style site for the fashionably conscious,” the site finds the best in eco-luxe fashion and shares it with readers.

There are plenty of other eco-friendly brands that aren’t mentioned here, and more companies make the decision to incorporate more sustainability practices every year. Thanks to these brands, sustainable and stylish don’t have to be exclusive.