When you start caring for the planet, you start becoming conscious of where your clothes come from and how they are made. You look at the eco-friendliness of the brands that you choose to add to your closet. You don’t run after changing fashion trends, instead, you try to keep up with the climate.
More and more brands are becoming conscious of their impact on the environment and embracing eco-friendly practices and slow fashion is becoming a thing now. We’ve carefully handpicked 20 such fashion brands that are ethical and conscious.
Outerknown is a beach-style sustainable clothing brand co-founded by the surfer Kelly Slater. The brand makes more than 90% of its products using either natural or regenerated or recycled materials. All of their trunks are made with recycled fibers in the spirit of keeping the oceans clean. Outerknown abides by the regulations of Fair Trade USA and is accredited by the Fair Labor Association. They offer a lifetime guarantee on the S.E.A. JEANS by offering repair, replacement, or recycling of the used item.
Proclaim is a Los Angeles based nude lingerie brand made with sustainable fabrics. They use earth-conscious materials including Cupro, a regenerated cellulose fabric, Tencel™, a wood-pulp derived sustainable fabric, and Repreve®, a recycled polyester derived from pet bottles. All pieces are made locally in LA in fair work conditions. The packaging is 100% recyclable and made with 100% recycled materials. Even the label fasteners are made with hemp fibers instead of plastic.
Everlane creates ethical fashion meant to last years instead of changing trends. It partners with the most ethical factories worldwide and sources the best materials. Everlane has a policy of Radical Transparency, where they share the cost of each item with the price they charge as well as traditional prices for the same item.
They work with suppliers who have safe chemistry certifications such as Bluesign, Oeko-Tex, and ZDHC as well as processes certifications such as GOTS, OCS, GRS, RCS, RWS, RDS, and environmental impact certifications such as ISO 14001, Higg FEM, and LEED.
97% of the polyester and nylon in Everlane apparel is made using recycled fibers. 45% of the plastic in their footwear components is made using recycled materials. Their packaging is made with FSC-certified paper or 100% recycled plastic. The brand is constantly striving and working with its partners to develop recycled elastane and other alternatives to virgin plastic in its supply chain. They have developed a fellowship program ‘The Next Collective’ to find out ways to achieve the ‘No New Plastic’ goal.
Initially started as a storefront, Reformation has turned into a sustainable women’s clothing brand with a high focus on minimizing waste, energy footprint, and water consumption. Just like all companies publish their profits each year, Reformation shares its sustainability report with the public each year and with its subscribers every quarter. The brand measures the environmental impact of each item and shares it on each product page as RefScale. The brand supports clean energy projects and water filter projects.
Since 2015, they have made their operations carbon neutral. Now they’re working with an organization Climate Neutral to get it certified. Its facility gets electricity from wind power suppliers. They’ve installed Energy Star-rated appliances and LED lights in their offices. They compost their organic waste and recycle 75% of their scraps with an aim towards zero waste.
Apart from giving hourly wages and health benefits to its staff, Reformation gives Metro passes to all its headquarters team to encourage the use of public transport. Their hangers are made with recycled paper and they offer totes instead of plastic bags. Reformation has obtained green business certification for six of its California retail stores. They’re a part of the California Green Business Network.
More than 50% of the cutting sewing for the brand is carried out in LA and the majority of products are made in their facility. Other products are manufactured by US-based or abroad responsible partners.
Reformation also collaborates to support green initiatives such as Blueland and New Balance and LA Protects.
Unspun is a custom jeans manufacturer brand that claims to make the best fitting jeans with the help of robotics. The company doesn’t mass manufacture its garments, instead, it makes custom jeans only for customer orders. Therefore, there’s no inventory and no waste. All pieces are custom fit. This is a great way to minimize environmental impact.
Nube is an activewear brand. All of its products are made with recycled materials such as recycled polyester rPET. The brand is 100% local and women-owned. They keep applying sustainable practices in their production to minimize their environmental impact. To create awareness about the environmental crisis, the brand has partnered with designers and artists worldwide to create prints about the cause to inspire action. They are in the process of developing their take-back program to collect preloved items to recycle and upcycle them. The packaging is 100% recyclable and recycled and all paper-made stuff is biodegradable. Nube uses lead-free, non-toxic dyes with the least possible impact. The brand strives to create less fabric waste and also partners with scrap buyers and designers to make sure the waste is utilized in some other way.
MATE is a sustainable fashion brand based in Los Angeles that provides essentials made with natural, organic, and non-toxic materials. Their slogan is ‘Spread Love, Not Chemicals.’ Their clothing is free from any pesticides, carcinogens, formaldehyde, endocrine disruptors, or microplastics.
The brand upholds 8 sustainability ethos known as the Mate Eight, which include: Clean materials without any harmful chemicals, Essential designs and color palette that are seasonless to last whole year-round, Organic fabrics and dyes, Ethical processes for workers and the environment, Women-centered, Plastic-free labels and packaging, Circular recycling and upcycling program for Mate products and even their cutting scraps, and Local processing of the garments within 15 miles from their LA office.
Nadjarina is a luxury fashion brand that uses ethical sourcing of natural materials with a minimal synthetic or chemical impact. This ensures that all pieces decompose naturally. All items are hand-made in Los Angeles. The clothing is durable to last long in your closet and passed down to the next generation. The brand also has a program where if a customer wants to let go of a piece, they ask them to ship it back to them and get a 20% credit on their next purchase. The returned pieces are either recycled, upcycled, or donated to empower local women.
9. Momo New York
MOMO NEW YORK uses ethically sourced fabrics like repurposed or upcycled clothing and vintage garments to create unique fashion apparel. The design is done in New York and the manufacturing in Thailand and some parts of America using eco-friendly processes. The brand follows fair trade practices with its workers.
10. Latierra Alpaca
LATIERRA is a Canadian women’s alpaca knitwear and outerwear brand founded by a mother-daughter duo Susana and Christina Chi. Alpacas are South American camelids. Their hair has amazing soft, silky, thermal, and durable qualities. It is a natural fiber that needs no chemical treatment from sourcing to manufacturing. The alpacas shearing is done in the spring season once every year. By the time winter arrives, the hair grows back to give them warmth throughout the cold season. There is no harm to the animals in the shearing process. Shearing is good for the alpacas to keep them cool during the summers.
The brand also uses Pima cotton for sustainable luxury apparel. All pieces have understated silhouettes and minimalist designs to make them timeless.
11. Crann Apparel
Crann Apparel is a sustainable kids’ fashion brand that makes comfortable, stylish, and durable kids’ clothes sustainable. It was founded by a concerned father striving to find comfortable clothing for his kids with sensitive skin. Their fabrics are sustainable including hemp, TENCEL™ lyocell, and 100% organic cotton certified by GOTS. To ensure ethical production, Crann Apparel applies small batch cut and sew manufacturing certified by GOTS. The designs are timeless. The mailers they use are recyclable and recycled. There is no use of polyester in any of the fabrics to make sure nothing irritates the sensitive skin of children. Cran Apparel donates 1% of its revenues to environmental causes.
Curate is a sustainable online boutique for women’s clothing and accessories. It partners with ethical and sustainable brands that adhere to eco-friendly and labor-friendly practices. The sustainable practices of its brand partners include:
- producing clothing with the help of recycled materials,
- using biodegradable and compostable fabrics,
- hand-drawing and hand-making garments upon order,
- using less water or applying circular water usage,
- zero toxic chemicals, low waste processes,
- minimizing fabric waste, zero plastic usage,
- wind-powered manufacturing facility,
- living wage for workers,
- GOTS certified organic cotton,
- safety and cleanliness of working concerns,
- recycling PET bottles to make garments
- and donating to green initiatives supporting organizations.
Toward is a luxury fashion store that helps you buy stylish fashion responsibly. It partners with brands that demonstrate a clear commitment towards reducing their environmental impact, fair workers’ treatment, and animal welfare. Customers can see certain responsibility symbols on each product page to depict exactly how responsible is the product they are going to buy. You can check what each responsibility symbol means on this link.
Wearwell is an ethical fashion brand that works towards being sustainable and fair towards the workers. It chooses its brand partners that have a great standing for their eco practices and worker’s rights and ethical certifications including GOTS certification, Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, B Corp, and BlueSign. Wearwell makes sure its partners use organic materials and deadstock fabrics and apply zero waste processes, use natural and non-toxic dyes, have carbon-neutral manufacturing facilities, and apply circular or low water usage.
Wearwell also has a secondhand program called wearwellagain that salvages and upcycles preloved wearwell pieces. Customers can ship their gently used items back to the brand and get a discount code for their future purchases. The upcycled pieces are sold with wearwellagain label at affordable prices. If a preloved piece doesn’t pass the standards for recycling or upcycling, wearwell donates it to a non-profit partner.
15. Buffalo Exchange
Buffalo Exchange is a family-operated privately-owned fashion resale brand that buys and resells used clothes. It was founded by Spencer and Kerstin Block in 1974 with their first store in Tucson, Arizona. 45 years later, they have 40 stores throughout the US. By Recycling and reusing clothing, Buffalo Exchange contributes towards a sustainable planet.
ECONYL® is regenerated nylon created from nylon waste from old carpets that would have otherwise ended up in landfills and fishing nets from the fishing industry and the aquaculture and ghost nets. Econyl is just like new nylon and is 100% recyclable again and again into new products with old new resources. Compared to the material from oil, Econyl reduces nylon’s global warming impact by around 90%. Being infinitely recyclable opens ways to unlimited possibilities for a sustainable future.
For every ten thousand tons of ECONYL® raw material, they save seventy thousand barrels of crude oil and avoid sixty five thousand of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
thredUP is a sustainable online thrift and consignment store for women and kid’s apparel where people can upgrade their fashion while creating less waste. Many of us often have a situation where our closet is full of clothes and we still have nothing to wear. thredUP rejects the culture of throwaway fashion and gives you a smarter choice to shop and sell. You can choose from up to 35 thousand brands from Gucci to Gap and save up to 90% off the estimated retail price.
They call their system the circular closet where a hundred thousand unique items can be processed each day, 2.4 million items can be listed anytime, and their distribution centers can store up to 5.5 million items.
So far thredUP has processed 100 million garments, displaced 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, and provided savings of approximately 3.3 billion dollars off the estimated retail value. You can dress like celebrities and do good for the planet at the same time. You can also free your closet and let thredUP give a new life to your used clothes.
Bill Johnson and John Riddle founded Recover in 2010 to give an outlet to their passion for protecting the environment and outdoor sports. The brand uses eco-friendly and socially responsible fabrics, including 100% certified organic cotton that’s grown and processed locally within a 250-mile radius from their North Carolina headquarters, as well as a 50/50 recycled polyester/cotton blend, and 100% recycled polyester blend.
Here’s how typically they recycle plastic bottles into a Recover shirt:
And here’s a summary of the brand impact on the environment so far:
Hadobody is a brand based on positive affirmations to promote energetic intentions. The founder Dianna is a cancer survivor. She is fascinated with metaphysical studies and practices daily meditations and mindfulness. She has made Hadobody to create sustainable and comfortable clothing that unleashes the power of thought and helps you get into vibrational alignment with your desires via love, light, and gratitude.
The brand is a member of the slow manufacturing community. All the products are locally manufactured and sourced. They source 95% of their fabrics from Los Angeles manufacturers within a 10-mile radius of their manufacturer’s location. More than 80% of their clothing is made with the fabric Lenzing™ Modal, which is naturally made, biodegradable, and requires very less water. For packaging, they have partnered with Elevate Packaging and use cellophane bags that are 100% biodegradable, vegan, non-GMO, and sourced using FSC outlined sustainable forestry principles. Hadobody has partnered with Better Packaging and Tishwish for their mailers to create 100% compostable mailers made from bio-based and plant-based polymers.
20. The Dirty Seahorse
The Dirty Seahorse is an eco-friendly fashion brand based in Canada. They have shown a strong commitment towards the planet by making their practices eco-friendly. Their materials are sustainable and traceable. Their fabrics are renewable and non-toxic. They make timeless lifestyle items that can be reused so they don’t end up in landfills quickly. The dirty seahorse gives a portion of its sales to ocean cleaning and conservation endeavors.
With so many sustainable fashion brands to choose from, we can all make better choices. Just don’t forget to throw some thrift store runs in the mix.