From dresses to jeans to hats to running shoes. Our pick of sustainable clothing brands.
We all have our old favourites, but every once in a while it’s necessary to buy a new garment— “far thee well, loyal jeans.” This is especially true when it comes to heavy-wear items, like running shoes, that are hard to pick up second-hand.
We have a new fashion line launching this spring and we wanted to point you in the direction of some brands that our team admire for their approach to creating sustainably made clothing and apparel. Things to look out for when choosing a sustainable brand are:
- Sustainable materials e.g. natural, organic, recycled
- Sustainable production processes e.g. low energy, renewable energy, no harmful chemicals
- Fair treatment of workers across the whole supply chain
- Carbon neutral or negative
- Quality of items—is it designed to last?
- Circularity or re-commerce programmes—can garments be recycled?
- Transparency—underpins any sustainable business.
Denim: Nudie Jeans
Happy to recommend some fellow Swedes in this list! Nudie makes great quality jeans, jackets, shirts and t-shirts. They take sustainability extremely seriously and are thorough and transparent regarding their operations. They’re close to carbon neutrality, 93.8% of all the fibres used in their garments is Organic, Fairtrade or Recycled cotton, and they pioneer further developments with their materials tool.
Like with us, their approach is creating timeless designs and they run a scheme whereby you can trade-in your used jeans for a discount on your next pair. They’ll either refurbish and resell them or recycle the denim into another pair. Nice!
Perhaps the OG sustainability brand, an inspiration to us all. Patagonia specialises in outdoor apparel covering a wide range of environments, so they have an inherent connection with nature. Their processes and materials—recycled, organic—are laid bare for all to see, they run entirely off renewables in North America and donate 1% sales donated to environmental restoration.
They’re pushing ahead with pioneering carbon-trapping cotton farming techniques and, like Nudie, they make it easy for you to trade in your old items which they’ll recondition and resell in their WornWear range (they look really cool!). Further, Patagonia is very active politically and they filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for reducing America's national parks.
If you’re after a new pair of running shoes that are designed with quality and sustainability in mind then look no further. We’re impressed by their attention to detail when it comes to choosing materials, and all but two are sourced within a 100km radius of their factory. When your pair have run their last race, they’ll buy them back from you and use them to make the next lot. Further, they offset all their (reduced upfront) carbon emissions so, like us, they’re carbon negative. Pretty impressive!
As teased above, we’re putting into production a line of timeless basics made from a mix of organic and recycled materials. The line includes T-shirts, vests socks and underwear (we have more in the pipeline too). As usual, all our materials and production processes are transparent, and we almost pulled the plug before ensuring all factory workers are treated well. The clothes are designed to last, but when they’re eventually worn out we will accept them back and recycle them into new garments as part of our circularity programme, A Good Loop.
Paul McCartney’s daughter is a force in her own right, marrying sustainable fashion with beautiful design. Her eponymous fashion brand uses sustainable materials, including synthetic spider silk, and she’s also a key proponent of circular fashion, using infinitely recyclable ECONYL® yarn to make bags. Importantly, the company actively measures their impact every year and makes it public to provide transparency into their environmental impact and to make improvements going forward.
Ecoalf are a Barcelona based hipster brand that makes trousers, sweats, sneakers, yoga gear and backpacks for eco-conscious yuccies. They champion recycled materials including plastic bottles, fishing nets and car tyres. In fact, they've developed over 300 fabrics recycled from different types of waste. Like us, they setup a foundation to designate a percentage of sales to remove plastic from the ocean.
Will & Bear is a groovy antipodean hat brand that makes headwear for keeping your barnet cool and the sun from your eyes whilst traversing the Australian outback. Materials are organic cotton, organic hemp, TENCEL & recycled cotton and they forge strong relations with their suppliers. They also plant ten trees for every order.
Remake Stockholm is a non-profit social enterprise that takes donated clothes and either repairs them or uses the material to make awesome one-off pieces. Money from sale is used to alleviate people from poverty and homelessness. Awesome stuff!
There you go, all your wardrobe needs covered. Of course, it’s always better to repair an item or to buy second-hand. Shop slow!