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Today, Friday 22nd April 2022, marks the annual Earth Day. Founded in the 1970, Earth Day reminds us to be more eco-conscious if we wish to protect the planet that we call home. Earth Day is important to us at Contemporary Fashion because it brings people together to discuss sustainability in many areas of life. From a fashion perspective, the manufacturing of garments often results in clothing items being tossed into the landfill. We spoke to some inspiring sustainable clothing brands and activists about what Earth Day means to them and how they consider the environment at each step of the way.

Nuw — a virtual clothes swap app:

“We started Nuw because we love fashion but know the industry has devastating human and environmental costs – I saw this first-hand when volunteering in India in 2013 (the same year as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh). We wanted to change our habits but didn’t have much money and many sustainable alternatives felt like a luxury we couldn’t afford. So, we went in search of an accessible and affordable solution. Nuw felt like an accessible and affordable solution, empowering members to recirculate the clothes that already exist in our communities and extend the life cycle of our wardrobes. Creating our own network and ecosystem we can enjoy fashion without the negative impact, and each swap offsets 25% of the CO2, water and waste that would have been used in the production of a new item.”

Lydia, owner of Otto & Beeb — a handmade and eco-friendly accessory brand:

“Earth day is important to me as the Earth is our one and only (beautiful!) home and our current habits of consumption are draining all it’s resources, impacting the growth of whole ecosystems and harming life that has no way to fight back. This Earth day – and always – we need to look at our lifestyles and make positive changes to diets, fashion consumption and other daily habits to show the Earth the love it deserves and make sure we’re living as sustainably as possible. In my business, I make use of vintage and deadstock fabrics to give them another life and save them from landfill, and maintain a short chain manufacturing process to limit CO2 output. I also always use biodegradable, compostable and reusable packaging to limit my impact on the environment as much as possible!”

Jess Sternberg, owner of Free the Label — an ethical and inclusive clothing brand:

“Earth Day is much less important to Free Label than meaningful and consistent everyday choices with the earth in mind. Sustainability is a pillar of the company: choosing eco-forward fabrics, timeless styles, and educating the public on how to extend the life of your garments. We believe making good choices often can incite real change.”

Valentina Karellas — an ethical knitwear brand based in London:

“Earth day is important for the brand as it’s the core values of what we do. Taking care of what we do and how we do it is all about the environmental impact our pieces make. To make as little carbon foot print and use as little energy as possible, utilising every fibre in the garments and mending projects. We use surplus yarns that would have gone to waste, as well as making to order, so nothing is wasted.”

Phoeber Yu — CoFounder and CEO, ettitude

”It is Earth Day everyday at ettitude. We are a fabric innovation company, making the world better by cleaning up the dirty textile industry. Our CleanBamboo fabric saves 99% of water and 38% of carbon emissions vs. cotton, and feels incredibly soft to the touch. We have used CleanBamboo in bedding, apparel and bath towels and are excited to bring to market more great products that are better fro you and the planet.”

Kat Day — CoFounder & CEO, ettitude

“Sustainability is in our DNA and we look at our entire manufacturing process to find better ways to do things. Even our brand name means ‘eco-attitude’.”

What does Earth Day mean to you and how can you make a change?