In the spirit of Christmas, and with an optimistic outlook for the New Year, we want to share 8 of our favorite environmentally-friendly fashion brands. Sustainability lies at their core — these businesses are true pioneers in their industry and each has an impressive range made using ethical practices and innovative eco-friendly materials.
Whether you’re looking for a gift for Christmas or a treat for yourself, these brands provide the opportunity to gift with pleasure and be a part of the future, today.
Out with the old, and in with the new
We all want to look good. Our personal style plays a role in telling the world who we are — it’s part of our identity — how we express ourselves.
Depending on how you feel or what you’re doing on a particular day, you prefer to wear one outfit over another. Because when you look good, you feel good; and when you feel good, you look good. Our clothes give us confidence. They’re important.
But in the western world — we’ve crossed the line. We’re over-consuming. On average, we wear a piece of clothing just 7 times before throwing it away. We get bored of our clothes easily, and we keep buying new ones even when we know that we’ll soon get bored of these too.
The problem is, this cycle is having a disastrous effect on our planet.
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. It is a major contributor to water pollution, plastic pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the fashion industry.
Every second, a garbage truck full of clothes is dumped in landfills across the world, and only 1% of all textile production is made using recycled materials.
So bear this in mind this Christmas. Because Christmas is all about giving. But it’s also about giving back — why now gift something meaningful, durable, and sustainable?
If you need a little inspiration, here are some of our favorite brands that are revolutionizing the fashion industry and provide ethical, eco-friendly clothing that is also comfortable, durable, and beautifully designed!
Sustainability is the only reason why the Outerknown brand exists. The company was founded by creative director John Moore and 11-time Word Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater, who channeled his competitive energy towards a new mission:
“to create a pioneering company that made great clothes with a radical commitment to sustainability. Five years later, Outerknown is proving that you don’t have to compromise on sustainability or style.” — Kelly Slater
Outerknown was born following over two years of diligent searching for the right partners that shared the company’s values — these guys really walk the walk.
Their whole t-shirt line is created in a Fair Trade Certified™ facility, meaning their workers are paid a premium that’s used to improve the lives of their families and their communities. What’s particularly cool is that workers have a direct say on how to use these funds.
Plus, almost all of their t-shirts are organic cotton tees; 90% of the fibers they source are organic, recycled or regenerated, and all of their trunks are made with 100% recycled or renewable fibers. Outerknown was the first to launch ECONYL® clothing, transforming fishing nets into endlessly regenerative fibers, with the ambitious and impressive goal of cleaning up the oceans.
Get to know: Outerknown
TALA is all about durable, affordable and stylish clothing that you’ll want to wear forever. They’re committed to reducing the speed at which consumers purchase new clothes and throw away ‘old’ ones, by providing garments that their customers will love and wear for as long as possible.
“TALA is the brand you always knew you wanted but could never quite find — affordable, sustainable styles without the need to compromise on high-performance pieces and flattering fits.” — TALA
Their clothes are made with an impressive array of environmentally sustainable materials, including Q-Nova®, Recover®, and Lyocell, several of which are certified by the Global Recycling Standard (GRS), EU Ecolabel, and their impact measured by the Higg Index. Their materials really are some of the best sustainable fabrics out there!
For a little more context — Q-Nova example recycles regenerated waste materials to create lightweight, breathable fabrics, and Lyocell is an environmentally friendly fiber made from wood pulp, which requires up to 50% less water in its production than virgin cotton. It’s also amazing for people with sensitive skin and is resistant to picking up smells.
In our eyes, TALA has truly nailed it on the style front too!
Get to know: TALA
3. Stay Wild Swim
Stay Wild Swim is the future of swimwear. Founded by lovers of scuba diving, snorkeling, and the marine world, Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk, are two women are on a mission to protect the ocean.
“Not only are our pieces created using regenerated ocean plastics through the most sustainable practices possible, they are made into clean cut styles which are designed to flatter every woman.” — Natalie & Zanna
Their swimsuits are produced using ECONYL® regenerated nylon, a fabric created from waste from around the world, including fishing nets that otherwise end up littering the ocean. Wherever they can, they also up-cycle deadstock fabric in their swimwear collection and t-shirts.
The business’s factory exceeds industry ethical standards by providing world-class working conditions and higher wages for workers, and the brand only collaborates with ethical suppliers. Importantly, they also use biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging, and their shipping is carbon neutral.
Stay Wild Swim is committed to producing durable, high quality, and flattering swimwear that customers will want to wear for years. Besides being beautifully designed, their pieces are investments that truly advocate for conscious consumption.
Get to know: Stay Wild Swim
“We just want to show the world that affordable fashion and sustainability can coexist.” — nu-in
At nu-in, they ensure that the factories they partner with invest in clean energy and innovative methods to reduce waste where possible. The brand fervently believes that people are the heartbeat of the business, and they’re all about transparency; soon, they’ll even be offering factory tours to show people where and how their products are made.
The owners have invested 25 million euros into state of the art technology that allows for the recycling of mixed composition clothing. Plus, their jeans manufacturing process uses 80% less water than standard industry methods, thanks to their very own in-house fully sustainable washing unit.
They too use a range of environmentally sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled cotton, and Seaqual — one of the most eco-friendly fibers in the world, made from plastic recovered from the sea and old plastic bottles.
Again, in terms of style, nu-in is a top contender on our list.
Get to know: nu-in
5. Amour Vert
It means “Green Love” (well, ‘Love Green’ literally — ‘Green Love’ in context). They make ethical fashion, from dresses, winter coats, pajamas, jeans, and more.
Sustainability really is at the core of what they do. Aware that 60% of a garment’s environmental impact happens at the fiber and manufacturing level, they partner directly with mills to develop fabrics that are sustainable, soft and durable, using the most sustainable and raw minerals available.
Their dedication to sustainability covers every step of the way from the factory to your door. They were one of the first companies to use compostable protective bags to store and ship their garments, and all their packaging is made from recycled materials.
Our favorite part is that for every tee you buy, they plant a tree! In collaboration with American Forests, they’ve planted over 320,000 trees in North America — that’s 137,000 tons of CO2 have been sequestered from the atmosphere (equivalent to taking 29,662 cars off the road each year).
Plus, 97% of its products are manufactured locally in California.
Get to know: Amour Vert
6. Organic Basics
According to our brother, The Organic Basics T-shirt was a hands-down winner gift! Not only is the texture super soft and comfy, but their activewear also stays fresh all day.
The Danish brand has nailed the ‘every-day is an active-day’ look with durable designs that provide both comfort and style, and their ethical and sustainability practices are impressive.
They go above and beyond when it comes to transparency. Organic Basics provides a detailed breakdown of their employees’ workload, sharing everything from their vacation days the hours worked, and they regularly visit their factories to ensure employees are happy and well.
Most of their garments are made using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, and use recycled nylon and sustainably-sourced silver for others. Yes, that’s right — silver. Their Silver Tech active T-shirts are blended with sustainably-sourced silver which adds to the garment’s durability, heat-regulating capacity and anti-odor properties.
They also offer carbon-neutral shipping worldwide through their offset schemes. For more information, read their impressive 2019 Impact Report.
Get to know: Organic Basics
7. Groceries Apparel
We love the Groceries Apparel collection! However, not all of their garments are made from environmentally sustainable materials. That being said, they make a wide range of tees, and their 100% California-grown GOTS organic cotton California Tee is great!
They purchase 8% of their materials from local LA-based vendors to support the local economy, and they created their own certification to embody their beliefs; Seed to Skin:
“We are redefining transparency and human responsibility by supporting family farms, localized manufacturing, living wages and GMO-free, organic ingredients. We empower human beings through fair-trade, fair conditions and fair treatment across our entire supply chain, and by providing full transparency to our customers. We operate our own factory to ensure that we are able to follow through with our claims. We are the future of our industry and we are here now to create a demand for our values and would rather go out of business than compromise.”
Get to know: Groceries Apparel
prAna is part of Columbia Sportswear, and an outdoor activewear brand with a broad range of items. They have everything from dresses, swimwear, sweaters, and particularly great yoga and climbing lines.
They use a range of sustainable fabrics, including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and hemp. Although they still use a few less sustainable fabrics, like spandex, their website allows you to filter their products with specifications such as ‘Organic’, ‘Recycled’, ‘Bluesign certified’, and ‘Responsible Forest Material’. It’s worth noting that although not all of their garments are Fair Trade certified, you can also filter your search to ensure you’re making the right choices.
They’re an official Bluesign partner, which means they invest resources into ensuring they provide a safer working environment, minimize the chemical output into the environment, and diminish the toxicity of any final product.
Get to know: prAna
These brands are truly worth your time. If you’re looking for a special something to gift your partner, your sibling, your friend, yourself…these brands have something for everyone. Here’s where you can check them out: