Alternative Apparel: Building a Community of Stylish Activists

By Amanda Sperber

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a day at the ENK trade show in New York. Built to bridge the gap between fashion buyers and sellers, the show is a forum for designers to showcase new goods. With hundreds exhibiting their upcoming collections (I’m talking 6 blocks worth of nothing but clothes) at the enormous Javits Center, the event is truly a dazzling sight to behold and a wonderful opportunity to witness the result of massive amounts of creativity and hard work.

I was thrilled to see the socially conscious, eco-friendly Alternative Apparel showing. With clean lines, comfortable fabric and a completely current fit, Alternative’s look is truly boho-chic. Inspired by playful designers like Marc Jacobs, artists like Banksy, and influenced by music with a vintage vibe, Alternative is doing an amazing job of designing distinctive and versatile clothes.

Besides designing clothes and bags so cool that they’ve turned me into a Selena Gomez convert, Alternative works to create a real community with core values steeped in sustainable consciousness. The company is clear about its commitment to social responsibility and fair labor practices and backs up its claims on the interwebs and off with an active blog for sharing and highlighting organizations like Harmless Harvest, local artisans at Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market and efforts like a T-Shirt Recycling Program to benefit Upward Bound House.  In 2007 Alternative launched its sustainable Alternative Earth Line that uses eco-friendly materials including recycled polyester and organic cotton. Today, Alternative Earth makes up 30% of the entire company, and a portion of the proceeds benefit a variety of environmental organizations and charities. 

Alternative Apparel describes itself as a “global company looking inward, outward and all around” and the steps it’s taken to build an integrated group of socially aware consumers deserve praise. It’s wonderful to style and activism working together.

Amanda Sperber joined the team in NYC last week, and her series of brand profiles will be appearing on the blog over the next few weeks.  She tweets @hysperbole

*Editors note: I own 3 shirts and a vest from Alternative Apparel.  The vest is organic cotton, and two of the shirts are modal.  They’re all fantastic.

Ariel Azoff


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