Women Leading Sustainability in Fashion

February 23, 2020

The most current trends in fashion do not involve the latest must-haves but involve the driven forces of sustainability and ethical practices. The demands for sustainably made clothing continues to increase as the negative impact that the fashion industry has on our planet grows. In 2019, the fashion industry contributed an immense amount of 92 million tons of waste. At Frankie, we are continuously inspired by women who are pushing the concept of sustainability. Women have played a major role in leading the movement towards sustainability within the apparel industry. From manufacturing the garments to distribution, women have found sustainable practices to replace wasteful processes. Below, we have listed some women that inspire us to make a difference.


Hannah Jones

Hannah Jones was the Chief Sustainability Officer at Nike for the past 14 years. Hannah made an immense impact on the growth of Nike’s sustainability. Now, about 75% of all Nike apparel and shoes contain some recycled materials. Since 2010, Hannah has helped Nike transform over 3 million plastic bottles into recycled polyester to create products. Hannah was also in charge of the 2018 World Cup operation when every Nike sponsored team was gifted a kit that contained an upcycled soccer uniform. Each uniform in the kit was created from 12 recycled plastic bottles. To help spread her knowledge, she helped Nike launch a sustainably focused app in 2010 called “MAKING”. This app helps designers and creators of companies make more sustainable choices including environmental impacts and material choices. For example, the app rates different materials based on the environmental impacts it has on energy, chemistry, water, and waste.

Download MAKING app here: 


All air soles are made from a minimum of 50% recycled materials and 100% renewable energy. 


Nicole McLaughlin

Chances are, you have seen at least one of Nicole’s creations on Instagram. Nicole McLaughlin is a young creative known for upcycling unusual objects into apparel, household items, and shoes. Some of her most well-known upcycled creations include her tennis ball slippers, Carhartt toque shirt, and The North Face puffer umbrella. Nicole promotes sustainability by encouraging people to bring life to unconventional objects that would otherwise be thrown away. She began her creative outburst by cutting up materials and old samples from her job at Reebok. Nicole sources all her materials from thrift stores or uses damaged products to increase sustainability in her practice. She then saves the scrap materials to use for other projects to eliminate waste. Looking on Instagram now, she has been a large influence for many cut and sew designers today and an innovator in sustainability. 

Nicole's Instagram: @nicolemclaughlin

Tennis ball slippers, Carhartt toque shirt, and The North Face puffer umbrella by Nicole McLaughlin.


Lindsay Medoff

Lindsay is the CEO and founder of LA-based company, Suay Sew Shop. She is a true eco-warrior and is super committed to her craft. Not only is she set out to change the way we view sustainable fashion but she is also passionate about building a highly skilled team who all make good living wages by California standards.  The company focuses on remaking garments by upcycling them into apparel and household items. All of the products Suay creates are curated from a minimum of 85% consumer waste. Some of the items they construct include jackets, pillows, and quilts. Suay encourages its customers to make sustainable choices and make ethical decisions. Their social media platforms are used to inform the public about the wasteful impact that the fashion and textile industries have. They also use their social media to demonstrate how Suay is continuing to make a difference. In 2019 Lindsay launched a huge project with Patagonia’s called recrafted as part of their worn wear initiative. Lindsay upcycles damaged and old Patagonia products that have been returned by customers into brand new items such as jackets and bags. Suay will be opening up there flagship store in LA this month right beside their production facility. Keep your eye on them in the coming months as they have big plans to disrupt the industry.  

Suay Sew Shop Instagram: @suaysewshop

Patchwork leftovers, upcycled Patagonia jacket, and upcycled patchwork pillows by Suay Sew Shop. 


Stephanie Benedetto

Stephanie is the CEO and Co-founder of Queen of Raw. The question that she asked herself that lead to the start-up of this operation was, “What if excess textile stock remaining in warehouses did not end up in the landfills?”. Launching in 2014, Queen of Raw is an online marketplace where companies are able to sell their unused fabrics that were going to end up in the landfill. Stephanie has made a huge impact within the textile industry by saving materials that would end up as waste or be burned. Per each yard of fabric purchased on their website, the customer is helping save 700 gallons of water. The company predicts that by 2025, they will have helped save 4 billion gallons of water and 2 million gallons of chemicals. Located on their website is also a section of fabrics to be purchased that are sustainably made, such as those with natural dyes.

Buy Sustainable Fabrics Here: Queen of Raw

Unused fabrics in the warehouse and cool fabrics from Queen of Raw.


The women listed above include only a small amount of all those who are driving sustainability within the fashion and textile industries. With the fashion industry being a large player in the world’s top polluting industries, these women are making the necessary steps to generate change and we fully support them all. At Frankie, we are proud to be making a positive change alongside all these amazing women.

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