However, we do have some house rules. It’s our belief that all brands should trade ethically and fairly while making responsible decisions around environmental care and minimising waste. This means we won’t dish out brownie points for these requirements alone. Instead, our curated edit shines a light on the forces for good that are going the extra mile to create real change.
Every brand in The Forward Lab’s shop passed our three minimum requirements and its products meet at least one of our 7 key attributes.
These products spotlight circular design, zero-waste processes and disruptive business models. A broad and optimistic category thanks to endless possibilities, these forward-thinking designs have been crafted with longevity, repair and cyclability in mind. This attribute supports industry disruptors with pre-order or zero-waste business models and it celebrates the potential of blockchain and ‘smart tags’ when it comes to transparency around supply chains.
These products celebrate extraordinary makers, artisanal skills, traditional craft and each have their own story to tell. Maybe they’ve been handmade by artisans using traditional time-honoured techniques, or perhaps they showcase unique and unrivalled creativity. This attribute shuns mass-produced items in favour of those carefully created at a much slower pace.
These products are from brands who’ve achieved (or are clearly working towards) net-zero carbon emissions. We also highlight products which support reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across business functions. Other considerations include items made locally or those crafted using smarter supply chains to reduce emissions from manufacturing, shopping and logistics. Check out the McKinsey Fashion on Climate report for more information.
These products are from companies who share our values and operate in a way that benefits people and the planet. These companies support a regenerative fashion and design industry by promoting ecosystem health, equitable wealth and prosperity. This attribute takes into account sustainability reporting and benchmarking of results, transparent pricing, which promotes a fairer industry for stakeholders and consumers, and commitments to pledges like 1% for the Planet. It highlights certified B-Corps and not-for-profit organisations.
These products support investments in local economies through design and manufacturing and combine purpose and provenance. The way they have been made should support local communities and demonstrate equitable investment in the local economy and environment. Considerations for this attribute also include locally sourced materials, vertical manufacture and brands engaging communities through co-operatives. Employing local women and providing opportunities for skills development, empowerment and leadership is important here, along with design activism, advocacy, diversity and inclusivity.
These products showcase considered animal alternatives: no animal-derived materials, ingredients or components. You won’t find items made from real leather, suede, exotic skins or shearling badged with this symbol, nor anything that’s padded with down plucked from geese and ducks. Nothing crafted from silk, wool, cashmere, angora or yak will be included, and the Vegan attribute also accounts for pearl, casein, beeswax and gelatin that can be used in trims or glues. Keep your eyes peeled for anything with a PETA certification.
These products prioritise organic, natural, recycled or reclaimed materials.
Organic fibres are produced without the use of toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and GMO seeds that can impact biodiversity, cause infertile soil or damage the health of farmers.
Natural materials (like hemp, jute, wool and silk) come from plants and animals. The raw materials are spun into threads and yarns, then woven or knit into natural fabrics.
Recycled or reclaimed materials help to reduce waste. Everything from rescued abandoned fishing nets to post-consumer plastic bottles are undergoing radical transformations into textiles, and most recycled content requires fewer resources and less energy to make