While the most sustainable product is the one you already have, once in a while you might need to buy new clothes. The first (and best ) option is from a second-hand shop. The second best is buying high-quality items from sustainable fashion brands. Here I’m going to talk about the latter one.
There are more sustainable fashion brands emerging as people are becoming more aware of the impact of fast fashion on our world. Here are just 12 of the best ones, most of which are at a reasonable price.
Why should you buy from these?
There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t buy from fast fashion shops. Aside from the huge environmental impact, most do not manufacture their clothes in an ethical way and they exploit and underpay their workers.
I do not want to be supporting large companies who are bringing destruction and unhappiness into the world. Why should someone or something suffer for you to look pretty for one night? It’s not fair.
In terms of the environment, the fashion industry contributes massively to climate change, pollutes the water, and send heaps of clothing to landfills every day.
That’s why you need to 3start shopping from sustainable fashion brands. Because these are trying to reduce their environmental impact and some even give back to the earth every time you make a purchase.
12 Sustainable Fashion Brands
01. Happy Earth
I love this one. This fashion brand takes sustainability to another level. Happy Earth puts the planet first at each stage.
You’ll also be happy to know that this company does not contribute to climate change as they are carbon neutral. They achieve this through carbon offset methods like tree planting.
But not only do they make clothing in an ethical and sustainable manner, but they also give back to the planet. They remove trash from the ocean, plant trees as well as invest in technology to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. So every time you buy something, you can be sure that your money is used to protect the environment.
But it doesn’t end there. All their clothes and accessories contain no plastic. Everything is natural. Even their cotton is 100% organic.
Rapanui, like other sustainable fashion brands, has adopted the circular design model. This means that when you don’t want a piece of clothing anymore because it’s all worn out, you can send it back to them, and they will remake new clothes from them.
Additionally, another feature that is amazing about Rapanui, is that everything is made to order. Meaning they don’t mass manufacture clothes. They only make something once you have ordered it. This prevents unnecessary waste from going to landfill. This is how we should be using technology. To help the planet, not to destroy it.
Another thing that makes them stand out, is the fact that they run on renewable energy. This one is one of my favorite brands for sure.
This is one of the most famous sustainable brands out there. Patagonia is for outdoor clothing and gear mostly and they are amazing for so many different reasons.
First of all, they have the Patagonia Worn Wear scheme where you can send back your used Patagonia clothes or gear which they can then resell for a reduced-price to others.
Or if you want to keep something, but it is broken or ruined, you can send it back for them to fix and they then send it back to you as good a new. This is definitely something I would want to see more brands doing in the future. I think this idea is so simple yet so genius.
Of course, they use sustainable materials but perhaps you might be surprised to hear that right now 68% of the material they use is recycled. This includes recycled cotton and recycled polyester.
Moreover, they have a target to go carbon neutral by 2025.
So, if you need something for your next outdoor adventure, go to Patagonia.
Pact is another well known sustainable brand. They have various features that make them very environmentally friendly. For example, you have the option to pay to offset the carbon emissions of what you will buy.
Additionally, if you have any clothes laying around that you don’t want anymore, they offer you a solution to do something good for the world. They have what they call a give back box. You fill it with your old clothes and they send them to non-profits.
Their packaging is made from mainly recycled materials and after you’re done, you can recycle the packaging material too. The poly bags they use in their packaging are biodegradable so they will not release harmful toxins into the environment and after a few years they will have broken down.
05. People Tree
People Tree produces ethical and sustainable clothing for women. Everything is organic, vegan, and fairtrade (as everything should be).
This is a very unique brand. One of the reasons is because everything is made by hand. Instead of mass-producing clothing, People Tree gives creative people a livelihood. Clothes are handwoven, hand, knitted, embroidered, etc. By providing families with an income, they are improving local communities in developing countries. This goes without saying but all workers are paid a good wage and work in fair conditions.
Making garments by hand is also more beneficial for the environment since it reduces how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. While garments take longer to be made, it supports the slow fashion model.
Everlane is a company that promotes transparency. Everything they do, they disclose to their customers so they know how their clothes are made. Transparency is becoming more important in a society where so many companies are greenwashing.
They have a target that by 2021, they will not use any new plastic. And they are doing pretty well so far. 90% of the clothing that used to contain new plastic now contains recycled plastic. This is important since our world is being taken over by plastic.
On their website, they clearly state all their third party certification which I find really important. Everlane also aims to become zero-waste and by doing this, sending no waste to landfill.
They make quality garments that last a very long time and that do not have to be replaced after a few wears.
To top it all off, their stores (and offices) are powered 100% by renewable energy. This company is definitely one to check out.
Everything they produce is made in Canada.
If you are searching to create your very own capsule wardrobe, go have a look at Encircled. Their clothes are versatile and simple. Personally, I love their collection because I love the minimalist look. Having a capsule wardrobe is a common choice among those people trying to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
They are also very transparent which means they tell you everything there is to know.
Additionally, they use sustainable materials such as hemp, Lyocell and organic cotton.
08. Eilleen Fisher
Eileen Fisher is another brand focusing on circular fashion and one of the most famous ethical/sustainable fashion brands too. They make simple but great looking garments that are sustainable by design. To achieve a circular model. they have two great features on their website. The first one is called Waste No More. They have items like bags and cushions which were made with waste materials of clothes people sent back.
The second feature is called Renew. Here you buy used clothes which are in perfect condition but that were sent back. Innovative ideas like these are keeping clothes from ending up in landfills.
09. Thought Clothing
Thought Clothing also plays its part in a circular fashion and slow fashion. Rather than creating pieces that are made to be replaced, they make clothing that lasts for a long time. They have clothing for both men and women but have a bigger collection for women.
This brand again tries to minimize how much waste they produce. For example, they turn leftover fabric into headbands. It’s small changes like these that we need to see more of in order to make the fashion industry more sustainable.
This is definitely a brand trying to help and protect the planet.
Able is for sure a company that wants to help people and give all its workers good wages and a good life. In addition, they are continually trying to improve themselves and make the process more sustainable. They will soon start to produce all 100% organic cotton jumpers and remove plastic from their packaging.
Denim is a material that is usually considered anything but sustainable. However, they have managed to make it sustainable by working alongside Monty Mexico who also recycles all the water that is used.
They make handmade jewellery too which all look amazingly good.
When you are done with one of your Tonlé pieces and you don’t want it anymore, you can send it back. I absolutely love how more and more companies are doing this.
Tonlé is committing to producing the least amount of waste possible. Throughout the process, from cutting the materials to creating the packaging, they aim to reduce how much waste is produced. They cut the fabric by hand and they use hand processes like hand weaving, embroidery, and knitting to make their clothes.
There’s limited availability on some of their clothing, because of how they make it. This is another thing I like about them. Why mass-produce loads of the same, cheap garments, when we could produce unique looking clothes?
Tonlé is one of my favourite sustainable fashion brands and I think you’ll like it too.
12. Amour Vert
Amour Vert is a sustainable brand based in the USA. They focus on sustainability at every stage of their clothing throughout its lifecycle. 97% of everything they manufacture is actually made in California.
Amour Vert gives back every time you make a purchase by planting a tree in the USA. This is not a new concept but one that I find great. By doing this, they are offsetting part of their own carbon dioxide emissions.
Sustainability starts right from the beginning, from acquiring the materials needed to make fabric, which is why they only sustainable fabrics including ethical wool and Mulberry silk.
I love their packaging too, I must say. That’s because it’s both compostable and biodegradable.
Why are they (usually) more expensive?
The one thing that all these have in common apart from all of them being sustainable is that they tend to be more expensive than typical high street brands.
There are various reasons for this. First of all, it’s because they pay fair wages to all their workers. While most companies try to make their products cheaper by exploiting those in developing countries, that’s not what ethical clothes are about.
Also, everything is high quality and even made by hand in some cases. To make good-quality clothing, it’s often more expensive.
Lastly, when you go into a fast-fashion store, you usually buy half the store because of the extremely cheap prices. Sustainable fashion on the other hand promotes slow fashion. They want you to buy good clothes that last for many years and for that reason, prices are higher.
What are you waiting for?
If you think this is too expensive, think about how many clothes you buy throughout the year. The whole point of being sustainable is to buy less and buy things that will last. So in the long term, you will buy fewer clothes.
We must raise our standards. We cannot keep buying from companies that are destroying the world and are exploiting their workers. Start buying less but better. The way to do that is by shopping at sustainable fashion brands.
Finally, most of these brands offer gift cards, so why not give one to your friends in order to make them more sustainable. What a great way to make your Christmas more sustainable.
All images from Unsplash