Sustainable fashion focus: The new guard

Has a sustainable outlook become one of the most crucial practices in the fashion industry in a quest to cultivate a landscape of conscious consumption? Taking stock of what drives their commitment to a more considered fashion economy, seven change-makers share their philosophies and designs for a buy-less-buy-better future. By Jackie Burger

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
70’s Japanese dress R1,250 and Gucci silk scarf R1,650 

“Shopping second-hand or vintage is a solution to meet fast fashion demands in a sense. This is such an important role to be playing, since fashion is the second biggest contributor to environmental damage. It also satisfies our conscience, in the current economy, to buy recycled clothes instead of throw-away fashion. These include the well-cut designs and quality fabrics that we find more in our older, vintage garments.” Afraid of Mice

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
Beige smocked top R3,400 from Lara Klawikowski

“I’ve integrated a sustainable approach by CREATING original and extraordinary designs in a conscious way, being mindful of every step of my creative process and limiting waste by designing only what is needed. My designs are bespoke, slow fashion garments made from unusual, thought-provoking textures and fabrics – either natural or recycled, upcycled and re-fabricated materials – that spark curiosity and an appreciation of design and the craft of fabric and fashion.” Lara Klawikowski

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
Asymmetrical maxi dress in oversized seersucker cotton (POR) from UniformZA

“I try to incorporate sustainability into my collection at every point. I am wary of saying something is 100% sustainable (as some brands claim), but I believe if that is the goal, it can be achieved over time. This season we collaborated with the master artisans of Barrydale Hand Weavers, who create by hand with no electricity, producing a textile that has sustainability at its core.” – Luke Radloff

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
White 100% cotton percale multifunctional shirt R1,100 and volume fine wool trousers R1,365 from Studio Çoise

“As a slow fashion label, our vision is to equip our clients with the knowledge and platform to be stylish with a conscience, because we believe making sustainable choices is an investment in your future and ours and in the well-being of our planet.” – Françoise Jeanne de Villiers

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
Recycled lace polyester dress R799 made from PET plastic bottles at H&M

“The H&M Fall Fashion 2021 collection is an exploration of the beauty and innovation behind recycled materials and is yet another step towards H&M’s goal to use only recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030. The whole collection is proudly built around more sustainably sourced materials – the recycled polyester, recycled nylon and recycled wool come from textile waste, plastic waste or a mix between them – giving new life to old PET bottles, old garments or textile off-cuts.”  – H&M

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
Workwear jacket R2,400 and wide-leg trousers R1,400 from Stiebeuel

“Our fabrics are all sourced locally in South Africa, supporting local cotton mills and in effect also saving on our carbon footprint because they’re not imported. All our garments are made by small-batch manufacturers nearby or at our small studio atelier. Compared to many international manufacturers, South Africa is surely pricier but we are more than happy to support our local market and pay our way for quality garments and fair trade. The way we look at the world has shifted and therefore what and how we choose to consume has shifted, too.” – Nico Nigrini

Sustainable fashion, Jackie Burger
Cotton tee R399 at Trenery paired with high-waisted maxi skirt (linen, silk and cotton mix) R2,299 and cotton flatform sandal with leather lining R1,099 both at Country Road (sandal featured throughout)

“As the Country Road Group, we aim to embed sustainability into everything we do, from our relationship with suppliers and sourcing of raw materials to energy efficiency and waste reduction within our stores, head office and fulfilment centre. There are a number of initiatives we include in our commitment to be a more sustainable business, including Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Leather Working Group and our mills.” Country Road Group

Fashion team

Editor: Jackie Burger
Photography: Damon Fourie, Supernova Creative Management
Model: Maddy A, FANJAM Management
Make-up: Algria with vegan beauty products from ARC
Hair: Jeanette Genis
Shot on location: Johannesdal 1207, +27 (0)82 729 1402

Fashion directory