In today’s world of fast fashion, nearly 60 percent of clothing is destroyed or discarded within a year of production. But consumers are becoming more aware of how their clothes are produced, sourced, and manufactured and are demanding that brands be more transparent. Here are three local brands that are giving back to their communities and creating clothing and accessories in an ethical way.
Maelu Designs This women’s apparel line is designed by Atlanta-native Meghna Davis, who specializes in kimonos, scarves, and bandanas. Davis was inspired to start her line after traveling in India and Thailand. Each item is handmade in India using traditional techniques such as block printing, hand weaving, and screen printing. The brand uses sustainable textiles created with natural fibers and dyes made from ingredients like pomegranate skin and indigo bush. Maelu donates a portion of all profits to the Global Fund for Women, a nonprofit foundation supporting the advancement of women’s human rights around the world. Prices range from $28 for a headscarf to $128 for a long kimono.
Rochelle Porter Design This lifestyle brand offers vibrant, colorful home decor and fashion accessories based on the founder’s own artwork. Porter had no previous design background but found herself drawing and doodling every chance she could. She later learned about surface pattern design, which inspired her to launch RPD. Travel pouches, throw pillows, skirts, and mobile accessories are made with high-quality organic cotton. Prices range from $24 for a zipper pouch to $85 for a skirt, which is certified organic cotton by Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). RPD recently released a women’s activewear collection in playful patterns, with pieces ranging from $35 to $69.
Beyamade This baby clothing brand offers durable, flexibly sized apparel that adapts as children grow and can be passed down to siblings, friends, and future generations. Owner Laurel Thompson used to design clothing for one of the nation’s top kids’ brands, until her daughter Beya was born and she realized how disposable baby clothes are. Her rompers, tops, pants, and dresses are unisex and designed to last three times longer than standard items. Pieces start at $39. The company also raises funds on social media through Cribs Not Cages to support children of migrants detained at the U.S. border.