The Duchess of Sussex gives a sartorial shout-out to sustainable fashion during her first royal tour.
It's not every day that you'll find TreeHugger raving over the fashion choices of a royal. But then again, it's not every royal who opts for sustainable, ethically made fashion – so here we are.
On Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first royal tour, a 16-day jaunt through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga – the Duchess sported a number of great brands that are known for their eco-conscious and ethical approaches. It's beyond heartening to see a person who wields so much fashion influence promoting, by simply wearing them, brands that are dedicated to making the world a better place. I expect we'll be seeing many more sustainable pieces in Markle's wardrobe, but for now consider the following.
1. VejaWe love Veja! And apparently, so does the Duchess, as can be seen above when she donned a pair of Veja V-10 sneakers aboard a boat in Sydney Harbour to watch an Invictus Games sailing event. Years ago, I fell in love with the look of Vajas and was thrilled to find that they talk the talk and walk the walk. The company pays attention to every detail in the chain of production, making what they call, "environmentally friendly sneakers, made with raw materials sourced from organic farming and ecological agriculture, without chemicals or polluting processes." They have a great vegan line of sneakers, too. Price: $150, see the details here.
There has been speculation that perhaps Markle slipped off her signature pumps and slipped into a pair of flats because of her pregnancy – but that she was about to board a boat may have had something to so with the decision? Regardless, her choice of Rothy's black pointed toe flats is a positive one. The company makes shoes from 100 percent post-consumer water bottles; the foam of the insoles is made from other recycled shoes; adhesives are vegan and non-toxic; and their soles do not contain the black carbon they say are found in most shoe soles. Price $145, see the details here.
3. Stella McCartney
McCartney is one of the earliest pioneers in high-end sustainable fashion, and has been pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a responsible luxury brand. As noted in their mission statement: "Each decision we make is a symbol of our commitment to defining what the future of fashion looks like. From never using leather or fur and pioneering new alternative materials to utilising cutting edge technologies, pushing towards circularity, protecting ancient and endangered forests and measuring our impact with ground-breaking tools." And yes, the $2,000 price tag may make this dress out of reach for us mere mortals, there are always luxury consignment sites – like the beloved The Real Real – where we may chance upon more affordable options.
4. Outland Denim
Not one afraid to re-wear the same thing, Markle was spotted in a pair of high-rise skinny jeans from Outland Denim on several occasions, much to the delight of the company. (She's wearing them in the top photo as well.) The Australian brand is innovative in their use of all organic materials, but also for their dedication to ethical production. Noting that they know all of their seamstresses by name, the company says that they have created "a clean, bright training and production facility in Cambodia from where we manage our manufacturing operations and oversee the holistic care of our staff through wage, training and personal development initiatives."View this post on Instagram
What a week for Outland Denim! Never could we have imagined the overwhelming support shown to our brand, our team and our mission since the Duchess of Sussex wore our Harriet jean not once but multiple times during her stay in Australia for the Invictus Games. This quiet, dignified, but determined support for our brand - and the humanitarian cause it represents - means the world to us, to our beautiful seamstresses, and to the 15 young women who are now feeling the empowerment of employment thanks to the "Markle Effect"! Meghan's modelling of positive change through the power of fashion sets a precedent for all other people with a public profile. Now to enjoy watching the Royal couple in New Zealand along with the rest of the world! 🌎 #madedifferent #zeroexploitation . . . . . 📸 Annette Dew/Newspix, Samir Hussein/Getty images
As described by Vogue, "By choosing an ethical denim label – knowing full well the online frenzy with which her looks are covered – Markle in effect performed a quiet act of fashion activism, far greater than the price-conscious royals who preceded her." Price $195.00, see the details here.
Markle's last day in Australia was spent in the ankle-length linen "Pineapple" dress by Reformation. This sustainable brand pays attention to the tremendous impact of fast fashion, and works hard to combat all the negative attributes. "Fashion is the 3rd most polluting industry in the world. We’re cleaning up," they proudly proclaim. What I love is that with each product on the site, a shopper can check the RefScale to see the eco footprint of the item. For the Pineapple dress, it notes: "11.9 lbs. of carbon dioxide savings; 1227.2 gal. of water savings; 1.6 lbs. of waste savings." Price $218, see details here.