Are you looking for clothing companies that are the opposite of “fast fashion,”—with commitment to the environment front and center of their mission—without sacrificing style? Look no further than these five sustainable clothing retailers.
What makes a brand sustainable can differ depending on which aspects a company targets, including:
- Sourcing certified environmentally friendly materials
- Commitment to carbon neutrality
- Humane treatment of workers
- Product durability, which reduces waste
- Use of eco-friendly dyes in production that are safe for workers
- Reduced energy use, including water consumption, in manufacturing
- Recyclability of materials or components
- . . . and more
Different companies will prioritize different aspects of sustainability, so it’s important to check their websites to understand how they back up their eco-friendly claims.
Here are five sustainable clothing brands that you can feel good about wearing while also looking good.
The venerable outdoor clothing and gear retailer has set a goal to link clothing with activism. For starters, the company pays a self-imposed “Earth tax” to 1% for the Planet, a nonprofit global network of organizations working to address climate issues.
Patagonia also offers used gear for sale in their shop, Worn Wear. This reduces consumption and all of the environmental impacts associated with discarding reusable items in favor of buying newer gear. Additionally, the company outlines several ways it’s working to reduce its environmental footprint, including through social responsibility, materials sourcing, and supply chain solutions.
While they launched as an athletic shoe company featuring colorful and comfy kicks, Allbirds expanded into apparel for women, men, and kids. The company has several ways of committing to the environment, including carbon offsets, use of renewable materials (and a commitment to increase the amount of them to 75% by 2025). As far as corporate energy use goes, Allbirds has committed to converting to 100% renewable energy sources for its facilities and finished goods manufacturers by 2025. You can also purchase upcycled shoes from the Allbirds Rerun™️ store.
For a different take on sustainable clothing, look to brands that only sell recycled fashion, like ThredUP. By embracing the “reuse” portion of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” eco-triad, ThredUP’s business model is built on extending the life of clothing rather than sending it to landfills. Customers can also send their clothing to be recycled for store credit or a cash refund.
4. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective believes “good things come to those who don’t waste.” The brand offers stylish and comfy apparel and accessories for women and men made from recycled plastic–including bottles and fishing nets. Girlfriend Collective uses 100% recycled packaging and lists the amount and type of recycled materials on product pages. They also openly disclose how they work to keep their brand sustainable through certifications and textile sourcing.
When asked to think of brands that do good, TOMS is often one of the first names to come up. With the motto “Wear Good,” the company was founded on the principle of giving back to others—a model that’s proven successful for the retailer. For example, they started out by donating a pair of shoes for every pair they sold. Today, TOMS donates 1/3 of the company’s profits to grassroots organizations “to drive sustainable change.” In addition to unique shoes in a variety of colors and quirky styles made with Earthwise™️ materials, TOMS offers some apparel and accessories.
We want to hear what brands you support due to their environmental commitments – share your top picks in the comments!