Proenza x Birks & All The Sustainable Designer Fashion Collabs On Our Wishlist

Another day, another dispatch from me, about sustainability. This time, make it *high* fashion. The news today? Proenza Schouler has partnered with “ugly-shoe” favourite Birkenstock for a Proenza x Birk limited-edition collab. As if this wasn’t up my entire alley enough, the collection has been captured by legendary photographer Juergen Teller and art director Peter Miles. 

While high-fash collaborations aren’t exactly new, it’s exciting to see a new spate of designer and cult labels taking note of increasing consumer awareness and demand for goods that do a little more good in the world (or at least, contribute less to the bad stuff).

It reflects a growing trend amongst the industry: we saw a lot of green initiatives at this past fashion week and hopefully, these collabs signal a move to generally raise the bar and profile of sustainable clothing, especially in the world of designer fashion. 

We’ve mentioned before the ethos of buying less but better when it comes to fashion but it’s worth remembering that designer ≠ always sustainable or ethical by any means. These are the collaborations where susty brands have lent a little of their credentials (whether that’s transparent manufacturing, sustainably sourced materials or more ethical business practices) to the high fashion pack. And vice versa, where higher or cult fashion has lent some cool to sustainability.

Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock

Proenza Schouler birksenstock collaboration

Birkenstock is a long time susty fashion footwear choice. Many of the materials used in their products come from sustainable sources, including cork, natural latex, jute, leather, wool feat, copper and brass. 

And while Birks have been a long-time pick of models off-duty and when they’re schlepping between shows at fashion weeks, the Proenza collab edges these shoes into ones we think would be just as home in ~fancier~ settings. 

Shop it on NET-A-PORTER.

Rick Owens x Veja

Rick Owens Veja sneakers shoes sustainable fashion collaboration

One for my minimalist health goths out there, get yaself around the Rick Owen and Veja collaboration. The cult French shoe line has been embraced by those in the know who care about the enviro-creds of their kicks for a while now. 

The certified B Corporation brand focuses on transparent manufacturing in Brazil, staying close to where materials like wild Amazonian rubber and organic cotton are sourced. The Rick Owen’s collection features a casual knit sneaker and a more “hiking-hoe” sneaker style, both of which feature elements made from recycled bottles and natural rubber.  

Shop it on SSENCE and Farfetch.

Karen Walker x Outland Denim

karen walker outland denim sustainable fashion collaboration, image of the white jacket and pants

Another B Corp (we stan a B Corp at Syrup HQ), Outland Denim makes primo jeans with a social conscience. The brand employs sustainable employment and training opportunities to women who’ve experienced exploitation. Fast fashion is a feminist issue, after all, as it’s manufacturing disproportionately affects women and girls employed in unsafe or exploitative conditions in the global south. 

The collection w sleek designer Kiwi label Karen Walker (of sunnies fame) also uses organic cotton. Big love. We’re especially fans of the double denim white-on-white look. High vibrational dressing only in 2020.

Shop it on Karen Walker.

New Balance x Reformation

new balance reformation

The ebb and flow of New Balance shoes snapped on street style blogs may vary, but our love of the uber-comfy dad sneaker is forever. And it makes perfect sense to pair a casual sneaker w your feminine (but relaxed) dresses and sleek blazer suits from sustainable fashion darling Reformation. Juxtaposition, you know?

The collab features sneakers that are made “using eco-friendly materials like post-consumer recycled polyester in the linings, laces and labels, chrome-free suede, and shoe inserts made from a combination of EVA foam and BLOOM algae,” according to the Ref site. The colourways are also, of course, *chef kiss*. 

Shop it on Reformation.

MM6 Maison Margiela x The North Face

maison martin margiela mm6 the north face runway collection

Outdoorsy, but make it fashion. MM6 Maison Margiela is getting ready for extreme weather conditions with its collaboration with heritage outdoor and technical-wear brand The North Face. The collection with The North Face will be unisex (MM6 is technically a womenswear line but don’t let that stop you) and builds on the brand’s signature Expedition System which uses detachable and layered pieces to help wearers brave the elements. 

The line features recycled down insulation and includes an MM6 rework of the Denali Jacket, Himalayan Coat, Mountain Kaban and the classic Nuptse puffer jacket. 

The only sad? We have to wait till it’ll be available to shop in September 2020 online and in-store at key retailers. Take a peek at the collection here in the meantime. 

Stella McCartney x Hunter

stella mccartney hunter sustainable rainboot gumboot wellington

Look, if the floods earlier this year were anything to go by, it might actually be time to invest in a rainboot? Stella McCartney, long time sustainability and animal rights advocate has linked up with Hunter (makers of the rainboot) to produce a gumboot with incredible environmental thoughtfulness. 

The rugged-minimalist boot is “handcrafted from natural rubber that’s sourced from sustainably-managed, certified forests in Guatemala,” according to the Hunter site. This “guarantees that no rainforests were culled to farm the rubber trees and that the workers and local communities’ wellbeing is protected.”

Not stopping there, the inner sock is made of a new material called Yulex™ which “replaces traditional neoprene and generates 80% less climate-altering carbon dioxide,” without compromising on performance and elasticity. Fucking love that for us, and the planet. 

Shop the unisex boots on Hunter.

If you’re still in the market for feel-good fashion, check out this round-up of our favourite sustainable fashion brands.

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.

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