September 30, 2020
Fashion fix with Kasia Johnson:
Miami’s Sustainable Brands
The global pandemic highlighted troubles that fashion industry has had for a while- the overproduction, pollution, working conditions of manufacturers and moral aspect of sweat shops. The fast fashion bubble had to burst, and now more than ever we are talking about sustainability in fashion. Let me introduce a few of my favorite sustainable fashion and accessories brands from Miami that are choosing to do some good for the planet without compromising style.
Started by owner and designer Caro about 5 years ago, Jetlagmode was born from the idea of giving opportunity to people in her native Colombia. It is a jewelry house whose pieces are mostly designed by Caro are hand-crafted in Colombia, in the homes of the artisans themselves.
Over the past 10 years, Caro Baena has been educating herself on sustainability, and she decided to use sustainably sourced or recycled materials for Jetlagmode’s jewelry. Buying the leftovers from metalsmithing factories and mixing them with silver has become the base for her pieces.
Jetlagmode’s jewelry is built to maximize the usage of each piece. Ear cuffs can be worn as rings, statement pieces can be repurposed to studs, and the list goes on. Not for the timid, Jetlagmode’s jewelry is for those who love to stand out in a crowd.
In the end, Caro hopes that she and Jetlagmode will inspire people to make more conscious choices, and she cannot stress enough the importance of the seemingly little decisions we make every day.
Synonymous with tropical knitwear, Krel combines sustainability and glam to reveal energetic yet delicate fashion pieces. While knitwear is suuuper trendy right now, the brand has been around for 16 years! Big on the sustainability factor, Krel uses materials that are at least 50% sustainable, with Tencel yarn- the most sustainable in growth and production processes among them.
Started by Miami native and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Karelle Levy, Krel never overbuys materials, keeping the sustainability quotient high for the brand. For Levy, sustainability is the new way of life for us all. Living in a more conscious era, she finds that people care about where their clothes come from and what impact they have on the earth.
Krel’s clientele is a dedicated one, not just buying the clothes to wear, but rather to collect as well. Fans range in body type (knitwear will shape to fit your curves) and age, from 20-somethings all the way to 80-somethings, and typically share one common trait: they’re a bit edgier and fashion-minded than your average shopper. Glow-in-the-dark knitwear, anyone?
Imagine shopping in a store where the focus is sustainability and local designers with 30 different brands from which to choose. Pivot Market is just that. Divided into three categories- artisanal, beauty and local designers. Pivot features sustainable brands to help them grow.
One of the brands it carries, Nomad Tribe, repurposes old denim by shredding it and creating a new yarn. Its pieces are then made in Guatemala. Also of note is Pivot Market’s collaboration with Madewell in which you can donate your unwanted denim. It then gets recycled to become an insulation material.
With the customer’s experience in mind, Pivot Market makes sure to tell the stories behind each brand it carries. Knowing the histories behind the products enriches the shopping experience, causing its customers to appreciate the pieces more.
Their latest venture to enhance the sustainability experience for the local community came in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic: The Museum of Sustainability. Showing that they support the community of local designers and artists in such uncertain times, the project was so impactful that many designers reached out wanting to be shown, too. On exhibit are pieces that exemplify the essence of sustainability, including a piece made of lotus flower (incredibly soft and more sustainable than cotton) and another made of a special type of polyester that decomposes after only 4 years instead of 400.
Vaed, by Veronica Arroyo
Veronica Arroyo may have just turned 21, but she has a talent- and sewing skills- well beyond her years. The founder and creative behind sustainable fashion brand Vaed, Veronica dreamt of becoming a fashion designer since she was little. Her mother taught her how to sew, and she soon began to upcycle clothes from thrift stores. She continued to work to pursue her dream through internships with local designers. When Veronica discovered that the industry she wanted to dedicate her career to is one of the most polluting, she decided to become as sustainable a designer as it gets.
Veronica created Vaed to educate others on the impact the fashion industry has on the environment and give back to communities in need, all while creating one-of-a-kind, fashion-forward pieces. Each item is handmade to order to keep waste at a minimum and to offer custom sizing to achieve that perfect fit. As a slow fashion brand, Vaed’s pieces are made by Veronica using fabrics that are either scraps or sourced from thrift stores. Even Vaed’s packaging and labels are plastic-free and made of recycled materials.