11 Sustainable Fashion Designers Who Should Also Outfit Your Home
It happens–sometimes an article of clothing seems too darn gorgeous to be stowed away behind closet doors. But for those of us who find garment-rack closets or Coveteur-like surroundings a bit impractical IRL, it’s a good thing that several of our favorite sustainable fashion brands are now dabbling in interior design, too.
Producing home goods provides a respite from “the (short!) fashion schedule,” says Ellen Van Dusen, who unveiled her debut line of bedding, bath and home accessories this spring. “In this first collection, I brought back some of my favorite prints from past seasons, which was really nice because I was able to extend their lifespan,” she told Sight Unseen.
Whether your pad could use some new pillows, a wall lamp or a hanging flower pot, look to the same designers who are leading the way in responsible fashion to bring sustainable style into your home.
1. Ace & Jig
Considering the painstaking process behind Ace & Jig’s custom textiles (not to mention the cult-like devotion they inspire), it would be a shame to let a single scrap go unused. But wastefulness would be uncharacteristic of designers Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson, whose Bazaar line of home goods expertly mixes and matches the duo’s greatest fabric hits in the form of patched pillows, double-cloth quilts and their popular “flags”–oversize fabric swatches strung together to create playful banners.
Our Instagram pals might remember Shabd Simon-Alexander’s Earth Day upcycling project, in which the fashion designer and textile artist worked some of her tie-dye skills on customers’ used bedding. Simon-Alexander treated old sheets and pillowcases to colorful makeovers, later returning them to their owners as more “magical, colorful” versions of their former selves. Though that service is no longer on offer, the Shabd shop is still stocked with pillows, napkins, throws and tea towels created by the woman who taught Martha Stewart how to tie-dye (true story!).
3. Dusen Dusen
The decorative potential in Ellen Van Dusen’s colorful prints is off the charts, and it’s something she clearly knows. “I like the scale of these kinds of items, their longevity in a home, and the idea of creating a space full of color and pattern,” she says. Among the towels, throws, rugs, bedding and poufs in Dusen Dusen’s debut home line (which launched on its webshop this month), loyalists will recognize the label’s signatures scribbles, geometric patterns and distinctive Alphabet print.
In a few short years, Kalen Kaminski’s collection of shibori scarves has grown into an incredible range of Vogue-approved clothing, plus home decor items like floor pillows, table runners and organic cotton duvet covers. This summer, Kaminski partnered with Brooklyn boutique owner Jill Lindsey on an exceptionally cool blanket collab. Made by artisans in Nicaragua using locally sourced materials, the fringed throws are woven on 90-year-old looms, then dyed by hand in NYC.
5. Under the Canopy
Most chemicals are absorbed through the skin, which is a big reason that Under the Canopy is committed to safe, sustainable textiles–if you don’t want toxic pesticides or carcinogenic chemicals on your clothes, you probably don’t want them on your sheets and towels either. Our go-to brand for GOTS-certified, organic-cotton basics has a bedding and bath collection that reflects the same sensibilities: classic and neutral colors, pure materials, functional design, plus some fun mixed in via printed and embellished pillows.
6. Proud Mary
After finding inspiration in both the indigenous peoples and brightly colored textiles of South America, Charlestonian Harper Poe channeled her design talent into global artisan collaborations aimed at craft preservation. If there’s anything we could possibly covet more than Proud Mary’s recycled-denim sandals or Lesotho-made ponchos and vests, it’s the brand’s indigo blankets from Mali and huipile pillows from Guatemala–both the embodiment of an aesthetic Poe calls “ethnic modern.”
7. Indego Africa
Indego Africa has a two-prong approach to breaking the cycle of poverty in Rwanda: selling handcrafted pieces made by female artisans, and investing that income into education programs for those same women. The nonprofit has created jewelry and accessories for the likes of Madewell and Nicole Miller, and its home offerings are just as compelling. Think wooden bowls and woven baskets, drinking glasses made from upcycled cow horn, and even embroidered art.
Study’s Tara St. James took the runner-up slot in last year’s CFDA / Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge for the many ways she advances ethical and sustainable fashion. Among those contributions? Her commitment to zero-waste. One of the ways St. James keeps her excess fabric cuttings from ending up in landfills is by turning the pieces into hand-stitched patchwork quilts. Study has even collaborated with likeminded brands Fait la Force and Osei-Duro on some quilts, thereby salvaging some of their textile surplus also.
Bohemia’s clothing has a free-spirited flair worthy of its name. The aesthetic carries over to the Scottish brand’s collection of bold home accessories, but it’s expressed with more restraint: look for fringed hammam towels made by artisans in Turkey, canvas storage pots that were block-printed in Rajasthan, and pom pom pillows and blankets handloomed by Moroccan weavers. If your inclinations are more minimalist, look to the surprisingly spare line of kitchen utensils, carved in Marrakech from unvarnished wood.
10. Ivana Helsinki
Did you ever have a dress you loved so much you wanted to turn it into a lamp? The quirky thought occurred to Ivana Helsinki designer Paola Suhonen–a tireless creative collaborator who’s previously teamed up with everyone from Volvo to snowboard brands. This time around, she worked with Finnish lighting company e.lite on a group of floor, table and ceiling lamps featuring prints from her past collections. It’s mood lighting on a whole new level.
In the darkest days of winter, few things feel more precious than an insulated layering piece à la Kelsy Parkhouse, who sources reclaimed vintage quilts and turns them into one-of-a-kind, borderline-magical vests and coats. Once the fabric for the vests and coats has been cut, there are leftover pieces that are too small to turn into outerwear. Voilà: Carleen quilt pillows, which even ring in at under $100.