Sustainable and Ethical Arab-Owned Brands You Should Try
By: Dani Meyer/Arab America Contributing Writer
The growing need for cheap clothes has taken an immense toll on our environment. According to a recent study, we buy 60 percent more garments today than we did at the beginning of the decade, and we only keep the clothing for half as long. And today, fashion production accounts for 10 percent of humanity’s carbon emissions – and 84 percent of what we buy ends up in the dump every year and ultimately in our oceans. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world.
It’s time to start focusing on making ethical choices in the way that we shop – but how can you get started? Here’s a list of 12 eco-friendly and sustainable Arab-owned brands that are a great way to delve into shopping more ethically and sustainably.
1. Up Fuse
Up Fuse is an environmentally conscious brand based in Cairo. They reduce waste by recycling plastic into their products, and by using local artisans. Up Fuse has upcycled over 250,000 plastic bags since they began in 2013. Up Fuse makes interesting and unique backpacks, face masks, pouches, laptop sleeves, and more!
One and Four Studio was founded in 2017 by 26-year-old Egyptian designer Engy Mahdy. They make men’s and women’s streetwear and focus on the craftsmanship of their pieces. Additionally, they are considerate of sustainability and upcycle many of their pieces. Mainly sourcing materials from deadstock, recycled cotton for t-shirts and sweaters as well as natural dyes, the collection offers a new perspective on how we can interact with fashion.
Precious Trust is a sportswear brand launched in 2017 by Dubai-based Algerian designer and skater, Wathek Allal. His pieces are inspired by Algerian aesthetics. They make all their clothes locally and employ adequately-paid tailors.
BassCoutur is a label based on recycling, upcycling, and sourcing deadstock. “My message has always been to have fun with recycling and stop overconsuming and devastating the planet,” said Riad Trabelsi, creator of the label.
Named after its creator, this label is using traditional Arab embroidery techniques and artisans to increase jobs and perpetuate these crafts. They aim to revalue Middle Eastern textiles and introduce the region in a new light. They have beautifully embroidered pieces, including clothing, bags, and face masks.
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Rebirth is a Paris-based clothing line created by Khadija Ben Achour and Salma Nifen. They create entirely upcycled pieces, which makes everything they sell completely one-of-a-kind.
7. By The Way
After five years spent working in the fashion industry for brands like Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood, Paris-based Algerian designer Lotfi started selling his own designs online during quarantine on Etsy. Adopting a radical approach, his designs aren’t just sustainable – they are also zero waste, cementing that By The Way has high hopes of putting Algeria on the main stage.
The Giving Movement is a hot new athleisure brand based in Dubai. They were created during the COVID19 pandemic, and have an ethical and sustainable line. All of their products are made from an eco-conscious fabric, which is created from recycled water bottles and bamboo.
Antibad’s founder Agatha Lingott started the brand in 2017 after noticing how the luxury fashion movement hurt the environment. Its commitment to green fashion extends even to its carbon-neutral, worldwide shipping. The brand’s mission? “To bring style and substance together again,” per its website.
This great brand creates swimsuits made out of recycled plastic – the only plastic that should be on the beach. They are a family-run company, and donate 10% of their annual profits to Plastic Ocean UK charity.
11. All Things Mochi
All Things Mochi is both youthful and sustainable. They are a boho brand that supports artisans from all over the world. Additionally, they use sustainable materials and ethical production techniques.
12. Sarah’s Bag
Sarah’s Bag creates luxury handbags and accessories in Lebanon. Every bag is unique, and is crafted using sustainable and ethical techniques. The brand also stands for social justice, and aims to empower women through their designs.
If you’re interested in shopping more sustainably and ethically (while still supporting Arab-owned brands), these 12 companies are a great place to start! Is there another sustainable brand you love? Let us know in the comments!
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