So the other day I was browsing through my usual blog roll when I read about YOOXygen, an arm of YOOX that promotes responsible and ethical fashion. I've heard of YOOX before, and always thought of them as a kind of Net-a-Porter (basically a site that sells designer clothes). I've never shopped at YOOX before but I was intrigued by YOOXygen, which is a curated selection of brands that are either produced ethically or sustainably. There's a kind of hodge podge of brands on YOOXygen, some are well known but most are not. But on each product page, they give a little background as to why this brand can be considered under the YOOXygen umbrella. I think this is a great idea for an online site and would love to see something like this for Net-a-Porter or Shopbop so it makes it easier for the conscious consumer to buy from socially responsible brands. Also this is a great way to discover new ethical brands if you're looking for something different.
So I purchased two items to try. The first was this white organic cotton blouse from a new-to-me brand called Rakha. Here's the blurb that YOOXygen gives on Rakha's ethical standards: Rakha recognizes social and environmental responsibility as an integral part of their strategy and practice. Materials are carefully sourced from partners who share the brand’s values: cruelty-free, non-toxic, fair wages, and helping to build sustainable communities. Rakha’s approach to design and garment making is focused on sustainability, making items in eco-friendly or repurposed materials that are biodegradable or can be recycled. All their organic or sustainable materials are certified, including Woolmark certified merino wools, GOTS certified organic cotton, and RPET recycled fabrics. Sounds awesome right? Sounds like my kind of ethical brand. However, if the product doesn't really hold up, all the great ethics in the world isn't going to make me want to wear the item. And unfortunately this blouse was super transparent and see-through. Plus the sizing was a bit off and oversized. So back it went.
The other garment that I got from YOOXygen was this Wool & Gang black long cardigan. I've heard of Wool & Gang before from Andrea when she knit her own beautiful rust colored sweater from the kit that the brand sent her (you should check it out, it really is gorgeous). But I'm not a knitter (I've tried) so I thought, why not just buy something that's already knit from this awesome brand. Here's the blurb that YOOXygen gives for them: Wool and the Gang is a brand which disruptes the traditional business model by empowering customers to produce fashion at home. The brand work for reducing the impact that fashion has on the environment. Wool is the main yarn used by brand, because of its natural, renewable and biodegradable charachteristics. The collaboration with fashion fabrics helps to repurpose fashion waste into new yarn to reduce landfill. The brand also aim to create a community in which every single customers become a crafter, able to produce its own hat or sweater. And well, I didn't love it. The wool fibers kept coming off on everything it touched and then when I wore it, it just looked so ridiculously oversized with the front flaps kind of pointing out like wings. This is just one of those things that you don't know what it's going to look like until you try it on. So unfortunately I returned this too.
Ah well it was worth trying but I guess when it's a collection of various brands, each with differing standards of quality it can be quite hit or miss. And in this case it was a miss. Luckily like most big online sites, returning items was a breeze (one step online and it comes with a UPS label sticker in the box) though they do take $6.95 out of the refund for the return shipping cost. But it's great to see so many different brands ethical and/or sustainable brands out there now. I have a feeling that this is a field that's just going to keep growing!