When someone uses the phrase “sustainable fashion,” what comes to mind first? If what initially pops into your head is a far cry from what you’d be teeming with excitement to wear, well, you’re definitely not alone.
Rachael Wang is working on changing people’s minds about sustainable fashion. “It was important to me to demonstrate that wearing un-bleached hemp tunics aren’t the only options for people who want to shop in a way that represents their values,” she tells me. She’s referencing, of course, the persistent stereotype that shrouds the sustainable fashion movement in an image of clothing that’s frumpy and decidedly anti-trend. That’s because for way too long, it was pretty much a given that shopping according to ethical and sustainable standards meant sacrificing a lot of options—and, consequently, a certain level of style.
For the New York–based stylist, there’s no reason those two should be mutually exclusive anymore. Considering the plethora of new sustainable brands flooding the market and the many established names now making it a top priority, Wang has made it her project to bring an elevated approach to ethical fashion and transform the relationship between the two (often disparate) worlds.
Naturally, when we had the opportunity to shoot actress-slash-activist Shailene Woodley as our next monthly cover star, Who What Wear tapped Wang to style the shoot and bring to the table her vast encyclopedia of the coolest sustainable brands in existence. “I wanted to honor Shailene’s advocacy for social and environmental change by making thoughtful, transparent, ethical, and sustainable brands the rule and not the exception at her cover shoot,” she shared.