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Living Intentionally Socially Conscious Brands

4 Ways You Can Tell If A Brand Is A Conscious Brand

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Almost gone are the days of shopping fast fashion brands. Companies from industry leaders to emerging brands are focusing on their societal impact now more than ever. These conscious brands care about people, the planet, and profits.

Here are the 4 ways that you can tell if a brand is a conscious brand…

1. Its donates products to those in need through a Buy One, Give One promise

You may recognize this model because TOMS famously created it. For every pair of shoes TOMS sold, it donated a pair of shoes. Since then, other conscious brands like ROMA and Bombas have taken on the Buy One, Give One promise.

This model works best when the donations do not undermine the local economy, as TOMS found out when its shoe donations undercut local shoemakers in the community.

2. It donates money to a specific cause

Brands take on specific causes and donate a percentage of sales or profits to organizations that help that cause.

For example, Patagonia donates 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. While it may not sound like much, Patagonia has donated $140 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups since 1985.

Another example is Olori, a conscious brand that donates a percentage of sales to provide tuition for girls in Africa.

3. It uses sustainable materials in its products

This model is the most blurry, as many brands claim to be sustainable. However, when done right, this model is the most impactful.

The truth is that fashion is incredibly wasteful. Most clothes you wear are made from material that will sit in landfills for hundreds of years. They were made using a process that wastes tons of water and emits tons of carbon. This contributes to environmental issues that affect our health and the health of our descendants.

Conscious brands are solving this by using natural materials, recycled post-consumer materials, or green processes. While donating to environmental causes is good, it just replaces the bucket under the overflowing sink. Being sustainable actually turns off the sink.

For example, SAOLA is a conscious shoe brand that makes kicks from recycled and bio-based materials like natural cork, natural algae, and recycled plastics.

4. It provides opportunity to disadvantaged people

The brands you know likely take advantage of disadvantaged people. These brands give overseas factory workers poor working conditions and poor wages, then turn around and sell their products back home for a hefty profit. Unfortunately, only 2% of garment workers around the world make a livable wage. This means they can’t afford basic needs.

A conscious brand gives opportunity to disadvantaged people. They empower their workers to get out of poverty, avoid human trafficking, or get an education.

For example, Daria Day is a conscious jewelry brand that works with artisans living in the remote mountain communities in the foothills of the K2 Mountain in Northern Pakistan – some of which are the most isolated and poor communities in the world. “By supporting the economically disadvantaged, Daria Day hopes to make a difference by breaking the cycle of poverty and to show that we are all connected.”

Another example is Fox & Robin, a conscious activewear brand that audits all the factories that handle its products and is the only activewear brand that publishes the wages of workers. Its goal is to ensure 100% of factory workers are paid a livable wage. “Two of our (eight) factories do not pay what we deem to be a livable wage to all employees. Additionally, the average workweek of our factory workers is 55-60 hours with one day off. As a small brand, we do not have a lot of leverage with these factories, but as we grow and gain more leverage, we are committed to pushing our factories to continually improve workers’ compensation and workplace conditions.”

Here at Choobs, we categorize brands by their cause. Some brands support environmental causes, while others support women’s causes. Whatever cause they support, all brands we sell are conscious brands!

You can find out more about how we select brands to sell on Choobs here or check out all the other cool conscious brands we support too.

RELATED: Conscious Clothing: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

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Choobs News Socially Conscious Brands

Kicks That Kick Back: Introducing An Awesome Conscious Brand

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We’re excited to offer another awesome conscious brand to the Choobs marketplace, and we think you’ll love them too!

SAOLA is on a mission to design casual kicks that look good, feel great, and are made with as many eco-friendly materials as possible. They are outdoor lovers, parents of future generations, and they are dedicated to making a difference.

SAOLA makes sustainable kicks that kick back. Here’s why they’re so great…

Super comfy, Extra light shoes

SAOLA shoes are super comfortable and extra light. They’re so soft, you can even wear them barefoot! The insoles are made from natural cork, which makes you feel like you’re walking on a cloud.

These shoes are light as a feather! They weigh less than 0.4 pounds – lighter than Allbirds!

Fairly priced

SAOLAs are priced fairly compared to other shoe brands, especially other conscious brands. You can get a great pair of shoes for as little as $69, and the maximum you’ll pay is $99.

A bonus is that you’ll get free shipping!

Sustainably made

SAOLA knows that sixty to seventy percent of the environmental footprint of a pair of shoes is a result of the product’s materials, so they’ve made eco-construction the central pillar of SAOLA’s shoe development. They carefully selected the materials that go into the shoes…

As mentioned, the comfy insoles are made of natural cork. An advantage of natural cork is that the bark can be harvested without cutting down the trees! These trees continue to grow and generate a new bark which can be taken again a few years later.

The uppers of SAOLA shoes are made with recycled plastic bottles, otherwise known as PET. When recycled, PET goes through a cleaning, grinding, and melting process that results in a thread, giving second life to plastic and reducing trash in our landfills. And what happens to this thread? Well, it’s then woven into various fabrics to create the comfy and stylish uppers for SAOLA shoes. Depending on the style, each pair of SAOLA shoes contains between 3 and 7 recycled PET bottles.

If that’s not enough, check this out… Rising temperatures and excess chemicals in our lakes and rivers contribute to the growth of algae – harming the lives of plants, animals, and humans. SAOLA partnered with the team at Bloom Foam to harvest harmful algae and create eco-friendly, bio-sourced materials for the insoles and outsoles of their shoes. Bloom Foam removes harmful algae from the water and puts it through a process that dries, crushes, and converts it into powder. This powder is then mixed with EVA (a synthetic material) to become Algae Foam, used for sole construction. Using Algae Foam allows SAOLA to use fifteen to twenty percent less synthetic materials in their soles, cleans lakes of harmful algae, and prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Now that’s what we call a win for mother nature and a win for your feet!

Oh, and the laces are made from organic cotton.

Gives back to wildlife preservation

Not only can you buy shoes that are comfy and sustainable, but you can also help support SAOLA’s social mission. SAOLA has been committed to the preservation of wildlife since its creation. It’s even in the name… the Saola is one of the rarest animals found on our planet with only 700 or so animals left.

the-saola-description
The Saola – a critically endangered “Asian unicorn” that lives in the mountains between Vietnam and Laos.

This conscious brand donates one percent of sales to wildlife conservation projects so that in another 40 years, our planet’s animals are not a thing of the past.

SAOLA donates this money to MWALUA WILDLIFE TRUST, a grassroots organization in Africa that is fighting droughts to supply sustainable water systems to wildlife communities, while also promoting human-wildlife coexistence. Volunteers work with communities to raise awareness about conservation, promote ecological restoration, and increase ethical economic opportunities to protect Kenya’s nature and biodiversity.

Machine washable

Like all my favorite things, SAOLAs are easy to clean! Throw them in the wash (on cold) and you can also tumble dry them on low.

SHOP ALL OF SAOLA HERE!

RELATED: Shop Consciously: Karma Collective

Choobs is an online marketplace for shopping socially conscious brands!

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Choobs News Socially Conscious Brands

SHOP CONSCIOUSLY: Karma Collective

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We’re very excited to welcome another incredible socially conscious brand to the Choobs family, and we think you’ll like them too!

This brand is spreading good karma, so scroll down to learn all about Karma Collective!

Karma Collective is a lifestyle apparel brand on a mission to empower people to live their best life

One look at their designs and it’s pretty obvious – Karma Collective is here to share the positive vibes! Whether you’re rocking the ‘Happy’ Terry cotton pullover or our personal favorite, the ‘Trust The Universe’ crop tank, you’ll be sure to stay uplifted while wearing these inspiring reminders!

The brand was inspired by a silent meditation retreat

After completing a 10-day silent meditation retreat in the rain forests of Hawaii- Karma Collective’s founder felt evoked to share her experience with the world by spreading good vibes and impacting change. This got her thinking, what better way to express yourself than by style?

The brand’s name is also inspired by the retreat

The concept of donating, not paying, to take part in the retreat is like sharing good karma points which persuaded Karma Collective to inspire others to support their communities.

Karma Collective donates a part of their profits from every item they sell

In fact, 10% of the profits donated go to World Housing, a hybrid organization that provides safe homes to families in need around the world!

It’s all about the positive vibes

All Karma Collective designs have a positive meaning to them that empowers each person who wears them to take part in small acts of kindness and positivity because they can make a big difference!

They believe in trusting the universe

Karma Collective is all about following your passions, listening to your gut, and trusting the universe- so if you’re looking for a sign – this is it!

Shop Karma Collective here!

RELATED: 5 Up-and-Coming Mission Brands To Watch

Choobs is an online marketplace for shopping sustainable brands!

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Living Intentionally Socially Conscious Brands

8 Chicago Based Sustainable Brands You Should Know

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Whether you’re in Chicago or not, we know you’ll appreciate this list of local sustainable brands.

Have you opened your closet recently and thought “Ok, I NEED a style upgrade”? Well, we hear you!

Those looking to elevate their style this year listen up. Sustainable brands are the answer. Sustainable fashion is on the rise and is loved for using high-quality, ethically sourced materials that will last a long time. That’s something fast fashion does not do and we all know it!

The thing you should know about fast fashion is that items are generally mass-produced, which lowers its quality. On the other hand, sustainable, socially conscious clothes are authentically made and unique. All while taking the initiative to save the planet!

With the emergence of socially conscious brands, consumers are really thinking about ethical clothing nowadays, and how looking into sustainable brands is an important factor in making purchases. It kind of comes down to wanting to shop while supporting brands that give back.

The people have spoken and they really want fashion brands to take social and environmental responsibility in helping keep our planet clean, and in turn, consumers are more than ever expressing their style by wearing clothes that they know where and how they’re made, and by who.

The good news is, sustainable brands are popping up all over and that makes us so excited! That’s why we’re going back to our Chicago roots to shine a light on the amazing local talent that is helping keep the fashion industry’s ethical standards high.

So, if you are on board and ready to invest in some gorgeous statement pieces to add to your closet, keep reading to check out 8 Chicago-based sustainable brands you can support!

MOD + Ethico

What: This popular Chicago-based clothing store can be found all over the city and is a great place to check out local artists and designers that support ethical standards. Founded by Candice Collision in 2015, her company is for the busy and active women who don’t want to compromise their style for their values of quality, sustainability, and fair wages, and we agree with that statement!
Good for the planet: They support emerging designers with the same vision to meet better standards for fashion like being made in the USA, fair trade, ethically sourced, and fair wages.

Divinity 7

What: This Chicago-based lifestyle clothing brand started in 2012, with the vision of building ‘consciousness’ through social awareness. They believe art, fashion, and design should go hand in hand, which is why they are embodied through their clothes. They’re the place to go search for that perfect authentic statement piece!
Good for the planet:
Donates a percentage of sales to organizations that support and assist in social issues like poverty, homelessness, and hunger.

Gemini

What: This Chicago store carries collections of thoughtfully curated clothes and accessories that are intentional with quality, style, functionality, and sustainability. They work with talented designers from all over to help you choose pieces that’ll last you a long time!
Good for the planet:
Gemini carries items made by designers that follow sustainable standards whether that’s made in the USA, paying fair wages, or using organic/ethically sourced materials.

Squasht Boutique  

What: This women’s boutique is founded by Chicago’s very own top designer Lesley Timpe and carries locally designed, professionally hand-crafted clothes and accessories that will fit anyone’s personal style! They’re totally affordable too which is great if you’re in the market for affordable sustainable pieces to highlight your style. The store also carries Squasht brand clothing, which is created from start to finish right here in Chicago!
Good for the planet: Women-owned and operated, carries hand-made, Chicago-made items, and supports independent-brand designers.

Vihanga Co

What: This sustainable brand is created by duo Miles Jackson and Vihanga Sontam, and like many on this list, also has its roots in Chicago, before heading to LA. The style is influenced by Vihanga’s childhood in a small town in India where they wore and tailored their own comfy, breathable clothes. Nothing like being in style, helping keep the planet clean, AND being comfortable in what you’re wearing!
Good for the planet:
All pieces are handmade by Sontam and the brand is brown-led, materials are sourced locally from LA or sent in small quantities from India and they use carbon-negative biodegradable package.

Felt Chicago

What: This local brand highlights a diverse mix of emerging and established designers and their approach is to individualize every client’s style! They simultaneously support causes and charities like Gabriel’s Light and other community outreach programs.
Good for the planet: Hand-made and designed right in Chicago! They support charities and organizations.

Valani

What: This vegan sustainable fashion brand started out in Chicago and is currently producing all made-to-order, hand-made items in California. This conscious brand is passionate about creating clothes that feel fun, flirty, and beautiful while saving the planet all in all!
Good for the planet: Everything is vegan, made ethically, supports eco-friendly practices like using low-impact Oeko tex certified dyes, repurposed or recycled fabrics, and non-toxic chemicals. They also support their seamstresses in remote collaboration and with fair wages and flexible hours consequently,

High End Junkie

What: For those who might find this brand familiar, you might’ve seen it on a bunch of celebrities throughout the years, for example on NBA Champion Iman Shumpert and Chris Brown! High End Junkie is the brainchild of Q. Hudson, a Chicago-based visual artist who launched the company in 2013 and makes bold and bright 1:1 custom hand-painted apparel & accessories.
Good for the planet: Makes handpainted custom designs that are exclusively available online and in pop-ups, making the brand direct-to-consumer, maintained quality, and affordable. On top of that, they support charities, community initiatives, and independent designers.

RELATED: How 4 College Dropouts Used Quarantine To Start A Viral Clothing Brand
RELATED: 5 Up-and-Coming Mission Brands To Watch

Choobs is a Chicago-based online marketplace for shopping sustainable brands!