Leaders of the Ethical Fashion Movement

In the retail world, 2014 seems to be the year of ethical fashion movement and we couldn't be more thrilled. Ethical fashion need not only be associated with dreadlocks and patchouli anymore. It's going mainstream in a very big way. A wave of socially conscious, eco-friendly and fair trade companies have been launching to take responsible fashion into the 21st century. More and more local, national and global businesses want to do their part to support American factories, artisans in the developing world and our planet. These businesses aren't just ethically minded—they are  fashion-forward as well.

Meet a few of the key players—we love following their respective stories as they shape this expanding retail space. Hopefully they'll inspire you as well!

zady

Zady: This a lifestyle destination for conscious consumers has been leading the ethical fashion pack, launched offering an array of clothing, accessories and gifts that are sourced carefully. One of the co-founders, Soraya Darabi, also co-founded Foodspotting, so as expected, Zady is full of goods stylish enough to make your mouth water. They partner with a nonprofit called The Bootstrap Project so when a purchase is made, an artisan in the developing world is provided crucial funds needed to grow their business and keep their traditions alive. So really, their model not just a win-win—it's a win-win-win.

Cuyana: A unique take on ethical fashion, Cuyana focuses on one country at a time, sourcing a rotating cast of beautiful, reputable goods from all over the world.  They've blazed through ten one-of-a-kind collections thus far, from Argentine leather clutches to Scottish cashmere.  Their philosophy is eco-friendly at heart as well, touting wardrobe simplicity with fewer, but better things. They also launched a campaign earlier in the year called the Lean Closet Movement, urging women to edit down their wardrobe and begin investing in quality, not quantity.

Conscious Commerce: Thought this site is still in the beta stage,  it's hard to keep something quiet when the co-founder is a Hollywood celebrity like Olivia Wilde. Wilde and her co-founder Babs Burchfield are poised to point consumers in the direction of cool and ethically sound businesses, pairing awesome brands with small, locally run organizations that are doing good. We love a good collaboration and can't wait to see what's to come from Conscious Commerce.

If you're in the fashion or retail industry, what does this movement mean to you and your small business? Let us know in the comments!