Eco, Ethical & Sustainable Style for Men
‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. Amidst the chaos of Christmas shopping, gift-wrapping, endless entertaining and party-hopping which can be downright overwhelming and exhausting, there’s a spirit of giving that fills the air during the holidays. People seem to be kinder to one another, there’s a return of pleasantries and politeness and a spirit to just ‘be better people’ — if even only for a few fleeting weeks.
With shopping on overdrive, it’s a perfect time to introduce the men in our lives to the slow fashion movement in the spirit of being better.
While women’s fashion has been at the forefront of sustainable style, there are some equally incredible ethical and eco-chic men’s brands worth investing in. Holiday gifts are a great way to introduce your brother, father, husband, boyfriend and other awesome dudes you care about to experience for themselves the benefits of ethical, eco and sustainable style. Many men want to make more conscious choices with their personal shopping, but often don’t know where to start. Here are five super cool brands to test drive the world of men’s ethical & sustainable style.
I discovered Tenfed just a few short weeks ago at The Gentlemen’s Expo held at the Metro Convention Center in downtown Toronto. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Tenfed is a clothing company that offers unique yet simple, everyday apparel. Since its launch in August 2015, the company mission has been to help feed as many hungry children as possible while continuously raising awareness on poverty around the world. And they are doing just that. For every Tenfed item that is sold, TEN nutritious meals are provided to feed hungry children around the globe with the help of their charity partner, Kids Against Hunger Canada. For long-time friends and co-owners, Mike Wallis and Kory McLaughlin, Tenfed is more than just a clothing brand – it’s about having meaning and purpose behind what you choose to wear. So far to date, Tenfed has been able to help provide over 60,000 meals to hungry children around the world, including locally here in Canada. Their goal is to help feed 100,000 children in 2017.
Founded in North Carolina in 2009, it all started with a bicycle. Bill needed a new road bike, and John had one to sell. The two formed a friendship and began riding together regularly. They soon realized that they were both passionate about doing things the right way. The better way. Especially when it came to conducting business and taking care of the planet. They developed a 360° process for their sustainable apparel — from design to manufacturing to fulfillment. Recover would minimize dyes; significantly reduce the use of chemicals, water and energy; and completely eliminate plastic packaging. It is truly 100% recyclable apparel. 8 plastic bottles = 1 shirt. Here’s how they make it happen. First, they collect and sort plastic bottles. Next, they salvage cotton from discarded industry scraps, which are also sorted by colour and blended with polyester. The reclaimed fiber is then spun into yarn and knit into fabric, which is ultimately cut and sewn into a garment. Recover works with partners in the US, Haiti, and Guatemala. They believe environmental and social issues are a global responsibility so they strive to make products in areas that can have the most positive impact.
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, MY SISTER is a group of badass feminists tired of exploitation. The mission: “To prevent sex trafficking, educate communities, empower the population, provide aftercare for survivors, and offer growth opportunities to at-risk youth and women through the sales of our statement-making, ethically-sourced apparel and accessories. ” Since launching in May 2015, MY SISTER has raised over $104 000 for their non-profit partners, funded over 2,671 hours of survivor employment and connected with tens of thousands of people to educate and raise awareness on sex trafficking of girls and women around the world. Pretty badass, I’d say.
This was another great find from The Gentlemen’s Expo — and well, the name says it all. From their first handcrafted design and the resounding ‘OMG’ response to the ‘All We Need is Love’ stud earring, the company name was born. OMG is about love and passion. Creator, Philip Knight offers over forty years of production experience with an artisan mind to bring the world the best in luxury crafted wooden jewellery — and all OMG products are lead free, cadium free and designed to last a lifetime. Nothing fast fashion about OMG, its a slow labour of love for these studs.
Founded in 2014, MATTER began simply with the intention to make where and why something is made, and by whom, matter. The Singapore-based socially motivated brand, is driven by purpose and provenance. Currently, the focus is on producing seasonless styles, championing sustainable production practices, and preserving artisan crafts. Against the grain of fast fashion, MATTER produces in small quantities, only replenishing when needed. The mission is to impact change beyond textiles — to make rural artisan production sustainable, shift designers’ approach to their process, and inspire customers to value provenance. It is simply beautiful clothing and accessories with a story and soul.