Hunting For Hidden Gems in the West Coast Craft Fair

A list of interesting (and non-mainstream) ethical clothing brands and products I found.
Photo by West Coast Craft.
Photo by West Coast Craft.

West Coast Craft is an event that happens a couple of times a year in San Francisco. It is such an amazing place to discover new ethical and often sustainable brands. And not just in the fashion industry but also in home decor.

To be honest, not all these brands are new to me. But surely seeing their products IRL makes a big difference and made me even more curious and informed about their level of ethic and sustainability. And also some brands may be new to you!

It was hard to see so many beautiful pieces and not having the budget or the need for them, but here I am, sharing these amazing fashion brands with you — brands that totally deserve a space in our minimalist wardrobes.

Ali Golden

It started as a one-women operation entirely designed, produced and sold in Oakland, California, where it’s still designed. Their production now includes California, a woman-owned knitwear co-op in Peru, and a small, fair-trade certified factory in India.

Maintaining the highest possible standards of ethics and sustainability remains the mission of the brand. The style of their garments are linear, almost to embody a modern and easy-going lady uniform.

Ali Golden has nowadays two retail locations, in Oakland and Los Angeles. Both retail shops feature an extensive selection of the Ali Golden line, as well as other like-minded and conscientious artists and designers.

Favorite Pieces

V-Neck Maxi Dress
Kimono Cardigan Sweater
Raw Silk Jumper

Babaà Knitwear

If you love cozy, thick, and oversized sweaters, you may already know this brand.

Babaà is a family owned brand that makes every item in Spain with 100% natural materials – meaning that no acrylics or other synthetic fibers are used. The result is warmer, longer lasting clothes that even improve with wear.

Their knit are made in a small workshop and in one of the best family run knitwear factories in Europe, both of which are located in the northeast of Spain. Every piece is washed and dried flat, they’re all assembled and finished by hand and then sent to their customers aka us.

At Babaà, they only use high-quality yarns, mostly local or organic. They use local virgin wool, which is washed, spun and dyed locally, and gets treated with a special wax to make it softer, yet remaining stable and resistant; their organic wool and alpaca come from a traditional Italian wool company and their yarns are so warm, soft and light; their organic cotton comes from a company in Girona, Spain, which has been working with it for more than 20 years and has now its own plantations in Brazil; they also recently introduced their first Spanish Merino stock – usually merino is processed in China and sold from there.

But they don’t stop at the yarns, their labels are made from undyed cotton printed with water-soluble inks and their buttons come from natural organic materials.

Sweet detail, all of their samples are donated to CEAR (Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado) for their refugees center in Getafe, Madrid.

Favorite Pieces

Coat
Jumper
Trousers

Back Beat Rags

This brand started as a shop specializing in vintage tees but soon transitioned into easy, wearable tees, sweatshirts, and dresses, infused in vintage-inspired details done in a fresh and modern way.

Cues from old-school California surf ‘n’ skate culture are mixed with what’s currently going on in the streets, resulting in that effortless cool factor California girls are known for.

All their clothing is made in LA from locally knitted fabric with small, family-owned businesses. This not only supports local makers but minimises their environmental imprint too.

They also use low-impacts fibers like organic or recycled cotton, hemp, and tencel, and 100% post-consumer recycled mailers and clothing bags for shipping.

Favorite Pieces

Tencel Easy Robe
Hemp Utility Jacket
Rib Mock Neck

Bliss and Mischief

This brand was born in 2014 by Hillary Justin, who worked for over a decade in fashion design. Her desire was to create clothing that felt both nostalgic yet fresh, pieces that felt modern, yet timeless. That’s BAM.

Its style mix Westernwear and 1970s culture with a modern palette inspired by the desert sky and the use of sustainable materials and processes.

Everything is designed, sawn and hand-detailed entirely in Los Angeles, using headstock and working with local sewers and manufacturers, cutting down in this way their carbon footprint.

Favorite Pieces

Long Flight Suit
Bliss Tee
Western Trousers

Figge

I’m not a mama yet, but I couldn’t not notice those racks full of tiny little garments.

Figge (pronounced “figgy”) is a Los Angeles based lifestyle brand, focused on slow fashion, sustainable practices, and ethical production.

A small team of local seamstresses give life to items with clean lines, uncomplicated designs, and muted colors. Everything is produced in small runs from high-quality remnant and deadstock fabric.

Favorite Pieces

Tee Tunic
Field Dress
Overalls

First Rite

The brand was launched in 2015 in San Francisco by designer Nikki Garcia.

The focus of the collection is on simple shapes that create an ongoing series of interchangeable sets both within the same collection and from season to season so that the line can be thought of as one large collection of timeless pieces that can be worn throughout the year. Kinda perfect for our capsules!

The cut and sew collections are designed using high-quality textiles from naturally derived fibers and all garments are produced in Los Angeles, while the sweaters are made by a woman-owned and operated factory in Lima, Peru with yarns sourced from the communities that surround.

Favorite Pieces

Stripe Crew
Crop Turtleneck
Corduroy Work Jacket

Freda Salvador

Founded by two women in Sausalito (a little pretty town on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge), the brand produces handmade footwear that’s designed in California and hand-crafted in Spain.

Their style is unconventional but just so slightly so that their shoes can be worn every day. Almost like a statement necklace.

Their footwear is crafted at a tiny family-run factory, in the town of Elda, Spain and only use the finest Spanish and Italian leathers, working with techniques that have been refined over centuries of shoemaking.

Favorite Pieces

Hike Combat Boot
Keen Mule
Dorsay Oxford

Hozen

I’m always skeptical when it comes to vegan leather but seeing the adjective “sustainable” on top of their rack made me stop and dive deeper into the matter.

Their fake leather is made of biopolyoil, which has a grain base as opposed to petroleum, therefore is more eco-friendly. Zippers and thread are sourced from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, natural rubber, and remnant rope; labels and packaging are made from organic cotton and recycled paper, all sourced from factories around the world with high standard of ethics and responsibility.

Each piece is produced in small batches at a fair-wage factory in Los Angeles and 10% of all profits are donated to Mercy for Animals.

Favorite Pieces

Duffle Blue
Belt Bag
Bucket

Only Child

Another super local (for me) brand, Only child produce simple and versatile basics in a small workshop in Oakland, Ca. They only use natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, and wool, providing a limited environmental impact.

Everything is made-to-order, which is one of the best ways to eliminate waste and makes that garment pretty special too, IMO.

The style kind of reminds me of Elizabeth Suzann, with simple lines and that “I’m-an-artist” look – am I the only one seeing it in that way? Like something a painter would wear?

Favorite Pieces

Hooded Coat
Palo Wrap Dress
Charlie Top

Ozma

This brand, female owned and operated, focuses on sustainably sourced natural textiles and is ethically produced in California.

They make beautiful, luxury, and minimal pieces. Their designs always look perfect and so feminine.

Favorite Pieces

Atelier Jumpsuit
Duster
Ballet Top

Sugar Candy Mountain

Their main focus is to leave as small a footprint as possible on the environment. This includes using techniques such as french seams (if you are not a sewer, it’s a sort of double seam that makes a garment pretty strong) and all natural materials that guarantee the long life of a garment.

They wrap our garments in recycled paper for the shipping rather than non-reusable plastic bags that are the industry standard.

Their designs somehow remind me of the Little House on the Prairie with a modern twist.

Favorite Pieces

The Nico Dress
The Gwen Top
The Sienna Wrap Top

Vamvas

If you’re looking for an eco alternative to your Converses, Vamvas is the brand for you.

Their commitment to our planet translates into work relentlessly on sourcing the highest quality natural materials in a responsible and sustainable way. From the design to the making, they focus on extreme efficiency to reduce carbon footprint.

As materials, they’re made of all-natural cotton and natural rubber. They come in different colors and suit both men and women.

And for every pair sold, they plant a tree!

Favorite Pieces

Women’s Black Lotus
Men’s Kakao
Men’s Navy Iris

Vincetta

The concept behind this brand is the belief in curating pieces to thoughtfully build our core wardrobe. They are a season-less brand and makers of limited-run capsules.

They intentionally and strategically create fewer pieces with better fit, higher quality, more functionality, and less waste.

Kinda The Minimalist Wardrobe’s manifesto.

They use natural and deadstock materials and make their clothing in Brooklyn and North Carolina, putting care in every step of the production process.

As for style, it’s linear and simple, but with a modern something to it.

Favorite Pieces

Galleries Shell Black
Lilian Kimono Ivory
Patti Trouser Black & White

Whimsy And Row

Another Los Angeles based eco-conscious brand founded. Their target is the modern creative woman.

Everything is run in limited batches and handcrafted under ethical conditions using only locally sourced deadstock materials, as eco-friendly and durable as possible. We’re talking about low impact fibers as linen, viscose, tencel, and rayon – they biodegrade faster than synthetic fabrics and use substantially less water to create.

With the leftovers from their production they create bandanas and top to use the excess of fabric – if you have ever sewn a garment, you know how much waste you produce!

They also care about packaging! They re-use all the supplies they’re received from their vendors and use 100% recycled and recyclable materials for shipping to their customers. Even neck labels and hangtags are made from recycled materials.

Favorite Pieces

Lola Wrap Dress In Rust
Liz Jacket In Toast
Flora Pants In Rust

Young In The Mountains

Last but not least, my friend Mariele with her amazing jewelry. She only uses conflict-free stones – yes, diamonds too – coming exclusively from American mines.

Her suppliers have earned certification from the Responsible Jewelry Council, verifying that they are in compliance with the Kimberley Accord and that their stones, their supply chain, and their facility meet the high standards of the RJC Code of Practices. Her gold and sterling silver are 100% recycled, how cool is that?

The pieces she creates are so unique and timeless. She has very expensive (and stunning) engagement ring sets but her silver collection is way more affordable and makes a perfect self-gift for Christmas.

Favorite Pieces

Peacock Turquoise Solis Ring
Dark Star Dusted Sol Set
Small Silver Helena Bracelet

I really hope you found new brands and maybe new items to put in your conscious wishlist – that kind of wishlist where items are checked every few months and only when really needed – because I surely did.


Let me know in the comments what’s your favorite brand discovery among these and which item(s) you are craving now!

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