Sustainable is the watchword of the fashion industry, and rightfully so. With landfills overflowing with fast fashion, we can all do a better job of finding out where our clothes and accessories come from and support the brands doing the right thing. Austin makers have been paying attention to the timely trend so that you can shop sustainably in the city.
Fortress of Inca makes beautiful shoes… or rather, they work with family-owned and operated factories and workshops that are safe and pay a living wage to their craftsmen. Shoes are fair trade, handmade in Peru, and absolutely stunning. Their showroom in Central Austin is a delight to wander around in so stop in and try on some kicks. And if the prices are a bit steep, they also sell pre-loved Fortress of Inca styles online.
Newton Supply Co. makes durable, chic bags; sourcing their materials locally when possible. The waxed canvas is made with local beeswax and anything screen printed is done in Austin or San Antonio. They have everything from market totes to purses, dopp kits to cosmetic pouches. They also work with Open Arms (part of the Austin-based Multicultural Refugee Coalition) to help produce many of the items.
The good folks over at Raven + Lily are committed to responsible production and are members of Fair Trade Federation. You can scope out the designs in their South Congress location or online. Their craftspeople use regionally sourced, natural, and sustainable materials in their products. It feels good to buy a beautiful blanket or a sleek bracelet and know that anything you purchase helps them in their effort to champion women from all backgrounds and cultures.
SUAVS are like hugs for your feet. Ethical, comfortable hugs. The sneakers are really lightweight, “knit” with 100% post-consumer recycled water bottles and vegan materials. They’re priced well and while you’re prancing around in your SUAVS, you can rest easy that they ensure safe and fair working conditions in their Fujian-based manufacturing facilities. The company keeps innovating ways to be even more sustainable and donates unsold shoes to those in need through organizations like Soles4Souls and LifeWorks.
Ubuntu Life is an incredible collaboration between two pastors who met outside of Nairobi and started the company to help empower and employee maker moms and women in Africa. Their collection ranges from jewelry and crafts to shoes and bags and can be purchased at several Austin boutiques and online. Their Africa Espadrilles are a cult favorite because they’re cute, sturdy, and come in adorable patterns.
Accessorizing has never felt so good as it does with Vada, a female-founded high-end jewelry and eyewear brand. You can find their pieces online and at both of ByGeorge’s locations in Austin. The handmade and vintage pieces use recycled materials and post-consumer diamonds so you can feel fabulous and not disrupt your karmic balance.
Ready for a shopping spree? Find more Austin stores and small businesses to shop here.
Contributed by Kelly Stocker.