Love it or hate it (who doesn’t love wearing stretchy clothes all day long though, seriously?) the athleisure trend continues to reign supreme. This month while we cheer on our favorite athletes competing in Rio, it is the perfect time to get to know a few ethical brands that can meet all of your athleisure needs.
PHOTOGRAPHY © Alberto Maddaloni / Indigitalimages.com
This Brazilian sports label founded in 1989 by orthopedic physician Oskar Metsavaht should be lauded not only for its sophisticated design as a luxury sports brand but also for its innovative fabrics and the philanthropic endeavors of its founder.
Oskar Metsahaht, who is also the Creative Director of the brand and photographer for the brand’s campaigns and films, first launched Osklen as a winter sports brand after he devised a permeable fabric that could withstand icy conditions and offered extended protection against the cold. A decade later Oskar rebranded with a focus on the luxury market while still infusing athleticism into the brand’s redesign. The result is chic luxury sportswear that has been shown in both New York Fashion Week and Sao Paulo Fashion Week.
Not only is Oskar responsible for building one of the most successful luxury fashion brands to come out of Brazil, dubbed in 2012 by Forbes as “Brazil’s first global luxury brand,” he is also a champion of sustainability. Metsavaht is the founder of Instituto-E, a non-profit organization based in Brazil that encourages sustainable human development, with projects including the development of socially and environmentally friendly fabrics. In 2012, UNESCO named Mestavaht a Goodwill Ambassador and an official representative of Rio +20.
The Osklen SS16 collection, entitled “Ashaninka,” was inspired by the tattoos and original fabrics of the Ashaninka people, an indigenous people who live in the Peruvian and Brazilian rainforest. By paying the tribe for the right to adapt their traditional symbology, Osklen empowered local communities and supported indigenous culture. With the funds raised from the collaboration with Osklen, the tribe was able to make major improvements to their community, including building a school.
PHOTOGRAPHY © Bassike
Bassike is a high end lifestyle label that flies in the face of the notion that sustainable fashion is inherently uncool or unwearable. Its jaunty organic tees, separates, and denim are the embodiment of Australian ease while incorporating clever design, functionality, and fashion cred. Established in Australia by Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan in 2006, Bassike is committed to sustainable manufacturing and materials across their collection as well as engaging local industry in producing most of their products locally in Australia.
Now most likely to be admired and worn by fans of conceptual trendless brands such as Comme de Garcon or Ann Demeulemeester, Bassike began as a t-shirt brand intent on dispelling the stigma of sustainability. Their organic fabrications have remained durable and comfortable from the very first tee and remain the cornerstone of their appeal today across the basic and mainline collections. Unsurprisingly, Bassike has a legion of loyal customers, including many celebrities, who can wear their pieces season after season without the quality or cool-factor waning.
Not only is Bassike a member Climakind, a carbon price-trading scheme that allows companies to offset their carbon emissions through the emission trading scheme, but the founders are also supporters of The Mirabel Foundation. The Mirabel Foundation is the only of its kind in Australia, a not-for-profit charity which provides support to children who are orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family members or kinship care.
PHOTOGRAPHY © Amour Vert
For anyone who has enjoyed sitting under, amongst or in trees Amour Vert is the brand for you. As the name Amour Vert (French for Green love) suggests, the heart of this brand is Linda Balti and Christoph Frehsee’s love of trees and the environment. Former engineers, Linda and Christoph hail from Europe but the married duo and their label now call San Francisco home. The fusion of cultures is evident in the aesthetic of Amour Vert, which is a hybrid of Cali-cool athleisure and European simplicity.
Amour Vert not only guarantees the softest and most luxurious tees in the business, but their background in engineering has also helped them to cultivate a culture of problem-solving so that their business model adopts sustainability and ethics from conception to completion. They use specially engineered textiles, blended fabrics, and low-impact dyes while adopting a zero-waste design philosophy. All garments are assembled locally in San Francisco in factories that ensure the fair treatment of workers and Creative Director Linda Balti works closely with those who make the garments, personally visiting the factories regularly.
Amour Vert has an impressive celebrity client list that includes Olivia Palermo, Anne Hathaway, Alicia Keys, and Emma Watson. In 2014, Blake Lively collaborated with the brand to build a capsule collection of summery tees and dresses. Watch this space for the announcement of more exciting collaborations coming in 2017.
Our favorite thing about Amour Vert is the buy a tee, plant a Tree program. In partnership with American Forests, for every t-shirt bought, Amour Vert plants a tree. So far, more than 100, 000 trees have been planted. If you love trees and well-priced athleisure wear, then Amour Vert really is your one-stop shop.
PHOTOGRAPHY © Yannis Vlamos Indigitaltv.com
British designer Christopher Raeburn is a self-described, “designer inspired by the idea of remaking something new and premium out of what others consider waste.” His eponymous label launched at London Design Week in 2008 with a capsule collection of reversible garments and redefined the way we view sustainable fashion and upcycling as a design ethos.
Raeburn became renowned for his re-appropriation of military fabrics and his street inspired outerwear created from retired parachutes. His brand has continued to push the boundaries of conventional design by remaking surplus garments into modern, wearable pieces. His latest collection sent gray sweatshirts down the runway with the instruction to reduce, reuse, recycle, a testament to his ability to bridge the gap between the message of sustainability and high end fashion.
Christopher Raeburn has won a slew of design awards, including Designer Business of the Year at the UK Fashion and Textiles and Awards and most recently Best Emerging Designer at the GQ Men of the Year Awards. His status as a British fashion darling has helped to launch the conversation of sustainability in fashion to a broader audience. His brand is the perfect pairing of luxury with integrity.