Here at No Kill Mag, we recognize the importance of shopping sustainably. Admittedly, it is much easier to drown in the pool of greenwashed brands. Yet if you momentarily climb out of the muck, you might notice a whole ocean out there, which warrants saving.
We understand it is difficult to grasp the toxic pool’s rungs. The water is murky. Often, it is hard to tell which brands, launching misleading green claims, are singing false songs to lure you back underwater. We are not saying we can disarm the fast fashion beast quickly. Like it or not, it is a massive effort that requires worldwide coordination.
In the meantime, though, we can throw you a life vest by recommending 13 brands.
That’s right; we’re ready for made-to-order. The arch nemesis to that dark swamp creature of capitalism, made-to-wear designers create custom clothes for unique individuals –like you. Among the most eco-friendly practices, there is no scummy excess inventory, just good vibes.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let the conformist tentacles ensnare you. Instead, swim to the surface, stand out and dress to (no) kill.
As a self-proclaimed “street rat”, designer Janelle Abbott predicates her brand JRAT on a zero-waste philosophy. Her pleated, boldly-clashing designs are sourced from thrift stores, garment factories and even boxes from the street. Notably, through her Wardrobe Therapy initiative, Abbott works with clients individually to reconstruct garments they love but don’t wear enough. That’s not all – she also makes wearable furniture. In conversation with No Kill’s Leah Flannery, Abbott detailed her endeavors, including a project fusing climate anxiety and fashion, “The future needs you now, you need the future” – a prime example of style as a political statement.
As a study in contemporary refinement, Hilda Ereaut effortlessly surpasses the rough tides of the trend cycle. Founded in 2021 by Georgia Pratt Holier, the brand reflects her global conception of home between Aotearoa, New Zealand and New York City. Her garments are designed, cut, and sewn by hand in New York and crafted with subtle attention to detail that makes them stand out – think full sleeves, french seams, and bias cuts. In the picture of perfect tailoring, the Hilda Ereaut woman is sure to turn heads thanks to her elegantly provocative style.
If you like your fashion served with a side of irony, Carmen Slaver, aka @uglybeige, has you covered. According to the Vancouver-based designer, “Hot People Wear Ugly Garments”, who are we to disagree? Traditionally feminine elements like massive bows, baby doll dresses and Peter Pan collars are set delightfully off-kilter with rebellious Gen Z flourish. A mesh sports jersey revamped with lace into a prairie dress, a plaid baby doll dress that proudly states ‘I am ugly’ paired with chunky Mary Janes. The overall vibe is as if the Grady Twins were disaffected 21st-century teens – and we’re glad they’ve come knocking. Here’s ugly!
Born and bred in New York City, these upcycled corsets are as individual as they come -much like the ads for the latest Barbie movie. This corset is a coquette Lana Del Ray fan! This corset is a Trash and Vaudeville-style punk! This corset is a cat tapestry! To us, designer Sydney Schroen Williams truly understands the power of clothes to tell stories. Unlike those basic, sometimes ill-fitting and always ill-advised Urban Outfitters corsets that whisper conformity, a corset with Mona Lisa’s face on it will never not be a conversation starter. It may even prompt an artistic meet-cute. Life imitates art, so you might as well start wearing the latter.
Designer Megan Ellie’s knitwear brand WHATMEGKNITS specializes in making that one really great jumper that all of your friends and casual acquaintances lust after. They make intense eye contact with it, and you may be taken aback by how many times they reach out to stroke your arm. Where did you get it?” they ask about your ethically-sourced sweater embroidered with a ‘Have a Nice Day’ takeaway bag/cheese dress / Snoopy crochet crop top. Feeling overprotective, you can smugly remark, “Oh. This is one of a kind”, without worrying they will go out and buy it at the mall. Fools – thinking they, too, can be the big cheese. Yet much like a good takeaway, WHATMEGKNITS has an expansive menu of custom designs to please every shopper.
Eclectic knitwear to the max. Designers Alicia + Baptiste hand-knit their collections from their atelier in Lille. In a vintage throwback, they knit using hacked sewing machines from the ’80s. Fusing new techniques and old appliances, Alicia’s passion for balloon sleeves and Baptiste’s knitting skills, the brand is perfect for everyone – an unexpected pop of color in the minimalist landscape, accessible to both people who remember the ’80s and their younger peers searching desperately for another era to glamorize a la Y2K. If you give someone the cold shoulder, they should consider themselves lucky – now they will be treated to a view of your gloriously Elizabethan-style inflated shoulders. Completely custom orders are available; send the team a ‘sketch of the garment of your dreams.’ Like a wish from your fashion fairy godmothers, if you seek balloon sleeves for days, that’s what you’ll get – strings attached.
With her irreverent approach to mass consumer culture, designer Lyz Olko aims to drive action through her latest collection, No Gods No Algorithms. Her made-to-wear line is entirely hand-sewn, dyed and created from found objects. Playfully mixing and rebutting themes of technological and divine control in her graphic-printed and tie-dye hoodies, tees and bags advising readers to, among other activities, ‘prepare for the apocalypse’ and accept its a ‘no world order’ – Olko proves fashion’s utility as a darkly humorous coping mechanism.
Subversively basic; basically cool. This Polish brand offers a cyber-infused twist on wardrobe classics, from a little black dress upgrade with cutouts to baby tees with text in a spiraling font. Do you know the saying, that actions speak louder than words? Well, so can your clothes. These sleek staples, worn here by moody water goddesses, are crafted with sustainable fibers like Tencel, bamboo yarn and deadstock vintage fabric.
They’re made-to-order and ready to wear with attitude. “Dear Elon,” the Anti Space Race baby tee snaps, “We know you’re obsessed with Mars. But we’re not over Earth.” Enough said. With its down-to-planet approach, Draus rocks sustainability in stilettos. Mother Nature’s daughters do not come to play.
Mother, daughter, House of Frisson. Babe, wake up; your new cardi has arrived. Needles to say, the ladies behind this New Zealand-based knitwear label are making their names in style. Stitched together by an intimate production process, founder Charlotte Jennings kept operations small to minimize waste and maintain a tightly-wound community dynamic. Most knitters – each appreciated for their unique work process – have been with the team since the brand began in 2017. The overall effect is warm and fuzzy, like knitting in front of the tv with your mother, which is the brand’s origin story. Like the Taylor Swift song, these sweaters and cardigans are ready to be put on and hear that they’re your favorite. Unlike Taylor’s boyfriends, they are cruelty-free so that you can rest and relax in peace.
Literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin once coined the term “heteroglossia” to describe the existence of multiple sublanguages within the same language. This concept seems tailor-made for New York designers Claire McKinney and Sophie Andes-Gascon – after all, fashion translates across both their style identities.
The geographic diversity of their upbringings is apparent within their designs; McKinney’s Oregon upbringing inspired her to favor heavyweight fabrics, while for Brazilian-raised Andes-Gascon, weaving, crocheting and quilting feel most natural. The end result is strange and exciting. A mash-up of patchwork and metallics to create a new Frankenstein who feels at home in the city that never sleeps. Navigating streets and sidewalks where different languages are the norm, the SC103 wearer does not bat an eye even as the lights change. Unlike other languages, their fluency in the sartorial mother tongue is universally understood.
Who loves the sun? We care what it does at Pierre Rioufol, who gorgeously transfers the natural world to the abstract motifs on his leather garments. His label features jackets with a star trailing rainbows, fireworks, and a blazing sun shining down over the open road. Wearing these stunning designs, you can embody the fairest of the seasons – rain or shine.
When life gives you lemons, put them on your head. While undeniably an unconventional approach, all hats are off regarding designer Dedais; we would rather wear theirs instead. In our opinion, many ordinary activities become far more interesting when accompanied by a whimsical hat. Grocery shopping with a miniature picnic balanced on your head is an exciting way to share a love of local produce with your fellow shoppers.
Fend off unwanted attention while wearing a green bee beret, subtly advising men to “buzz off.” Conversely, you don’t have to choose between following your head or your heart when you can wear a purple beret with candy hearts over your hair. This third option is the best of both worlds; it becomes even sweeter knowing that the berets are handmade from sustainably sourced wool in England. As a bonus, the brand also produces eco-friendly straw and knit bags for storage when it’s time to change hats – after browsing this site, we know you’ll want to wear so many.
Barcelona’s slow fashion label LR3 is one for the ages. In stating this, we illustrate the literal intent of designers Louis Rubi and Daniel Corrales: their label is for everyone, aiming to be ageless, sizeless and genderless. Spending two years developing their project, the designers made a list of everything they didn’t want to do with their brand before transforming the negatives into positives: no fast fashion / SLOW FASHION; no to the seasons / PERMANENT COLLECTION; no just models / ONLY REAL PERSONALITIES. At No Kill, we deem their vision dauntless, more relevant than ever in our utopian/dystopian world.
Masa Toro is a college student hand knitting and tufting clothes that look like they came straight out of a children’s book. Inspired by Japanese pop culture visual culture she uses motifs that bring her joy such as bunnies, pixelated hearts, strawberries and even tamagotchi characters. She knits sweaters and vests with pictographic patterns and embellishes vintage finds with embroidery and tufted patches. Masa Toro has creative autonomy on her custom orders which lets her create a sweet and unique one of a kind garment.
“Corsets were never a torture device” is the mantra of Rachel Erin’s craft in emulating soft regality in her custom order corset tops. Rachel Erin’s dedication to capturing the essence of vintage charm is seen in her choice to source antique and deadstock fabrics for her garments. Aside from her commissioned corsets she is studying the construction of intimate apparel such as lingerie, nightgowns and other kinds of garments we hope to see her explore in her custom order business.
Hosting her own YouTube channel where she shares her journey as a young designer, Natalia Trevino Amaro is emphasizing the intimacy of garment making. Her audience and clients know who is making the clothes they will wear and can understand the process from idea to product. The seamstress as someone not far removed from the consumer is key in Amaro’s design identity. She offers custom orders for any kind of garment from day dresses to bridal gowns. From casual to formal, Natalia Trevino Amaro shows that custom orders are not just for haute couture and art house.
The whimsy and play of folk aesthetics are embedded in Rosie Evan’s work. She calls herself a high fantasy designer which rings true in the way her garments could belong to a Renaissance woodland fairy. Her corsets are made of recycled and vintage fabrics causing limited availability for the same design. Rosie Evans is a one-woman brand that emphasizes the act of craft and patience. For Rosie Evans the fleeting nature of vintage textiles brings excitement and anticipation with her designs while reminding us of traditional garment sewing.