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The Feel-Good Fashion Brand You Should Know About

In a greenwashing-prone industry of “natural” this and “eco-friendly” that, New York–based Irish designer Maria McManus’s calling card is transparency. “The whole thing is a bit of a minefield,” admits the goop shop newcomer, who left the merchandising world to launch her own line of his-for-her classics that are as cool as they are consciously made. Organic fabrics cost more. Alternative materials are harder to come by than their conventional counterparts. Plus, meeting massive minimums for planet-friendly packaging is no easy feat when you’re a small brand working to prevent waste. And then there’s the human element. “When you’re buying a T-shirt for $20, you have to ask yourself: How much was the person who made this T-shirt paid?”

McManus, who helped Lauren Bush Lauren open her first FEED store and also helped get Bono and Ali Hewson’s ethical line, Edun, off the ground, knows that even with the most reputable factories, there’s no guarantee that workers are paid proper living wages because of hidden subcontracting in the supply chain. Still, she tries to be as careful about the companies she partners with as she is about the materials she sources, choosing to stick to certified sustainable factories and progressive European mills that rely on solar energy and water-saving strategies. For textiles, GOTS-certified cotton and OEKA-TEX wool use less energy, chemicals, and water, and Global Recycled Standard–approved cashmere and nylon create less waste.

While shopping sustainably may seem like a no-brainer, McManus is hyperaware of the fact that paying a premium for responsibly made clothing is a luxury not everyone can afford. But she’s hopeful that the more conversations are had about the obstacles faced, the more brands both big and small will band together to collaborate and start holding one another accountable to make real, meaningful change.

“I feel that we can find a solution, that we will figure out how to live synergistically on this planet without destroying it,” she says. After all, there is power in progress—perfection can come later.

IN MARIA’S SHOPPING CART

  1. Soapply LIQUID HAND WASH Soapply, $23
    Soapply HAND WASH Soapply, $23

    “There are only six ingredients, all of which you can eat.”

    SHOP NOW
  2. Baserange BAMBOO TRIANGLE BRA goop, $62
    Baserange BRA goop, $62
    SHOP NOW
  3. Baserange BAMBOO ELASTIC BELL PANTS goop, $35
    Baserange PANTS goop, $35

    “Long been a fan of Baserange’s approach to sustainable materials.”

    SHOP NOW
  4. AGOLDE ’90s PINCH-WAIST JEANS goop, $188
    AGOLDE JEANS goop, $188

    “I love that AGOLDE is embracing advanced washing techniques to manage its environmental impact.”

    SHOP NOW
  5. Dermaviduals ROSE HIP SEED OIL
    Dermaviduals ROSE HIP SEED OIL BeautyMark, $38

    “Can’t get enough of this face oil—it has one ingredient and glass packaging.”

    SHOP NOW
  6. Sophie Buhai CHAIN COLLAR goop, $1,995
    Sophie Buhai necklace goop, $1,995

    “We always use Sophie’s recycled sterling-silver pieces in our photo shoots.”

    SHOP NOW
  7. Shane Gabier 3-PIECE VESSEL SET Spartan Shop, $800
    Shane Gabier VESSEL SET Spartan Shop, $800

    “I am obsessed with Shane’s handmade ceramics and the architectural forms he creates.”

    SHOP NOW
  8. Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen BOOMERANG CHAIR 1st Dibs, $4,475
    Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen CHAIR 1stDibs, $4,442

    “I try to buy only vintage furniture as it’s better to reuse rather than creating more.”

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