It’s no secret that the fashion industry is one of the most damaging to the environment. One pair of jeans alone takes 1,800 gallons of water to go from a cotton plant to smushed in the back of your closet. In the direction we’re going, it’s extremely important to start thinking about how we as fashion consumers can lessen our impact on our planet. The easiest solution to that is to begin shopping at sustainable and eco-friendly brands. So, instead of immediately jumping to Forever 21 to get some trendy clothing for cheap that isn’t so kind to the earth, let’s take a look at ten brands that won’t weigh on your guilty conscience the next time you want to update your wardrobe.
Sustainability and Reformation go hand in hand. Using their RefScale system, Reformation tracks their carbon footprint, water usage, and waste generated to better improve their production. Each piece of clothing on their website has a section that reveals the sustainability impact of that garment. Transparency like that is crucial when talking about sustainability since many big-name brands tout sustainability or environmentally friendly practices but do not actually follow through on those practices. Plus, the clothes are super cute. They sell everything from your everyday basics to bridal dresses.
Patagonia is well known as a sustainable activewear brand. Being one of the first adopters of the use of organic cotton in their clothing, Patagonia has only continued to improve in sustainability practices. Each piece of clothing on their website gives you insight into what it is made of and where it is made, and the brand offers both reselling and repairs of their clothing. This is important because being able to repair your clothing instead of completely replacing it is a well-known sustainability practice.
3. Zero Waste Daniel
New York-based Zero Waste Daniel is a pioneer in sustainable fashion. ZWD uses pre-consumer waste, including fabric scraps and other hard-to-recycle materials, to create unique pieces of clothing. Since each piece is handmade in the ZWD make/shop in Brooklyn, no two pieces will ever be the same. ZWD also keeps all scraps until they’re used in another piece of clothing. Each piece is also gender-neutral, another way ZWD is trailblazing through the industry.
For women who find themselves enjoying the selection of men’s clothing more, Tradlands is the brand for just that. Each piece of clothing is a timeless wardrobe staple that is also elegant and trendy. The brand is committed to working in small batches and with ethical manufacturers. The clothing, best of all, is made to last. With Tradlands, you won’t be replacing your wardrobe every few months because these are clothes made to stand the test of time in both quality and style.
Another company that focuses on sustainable fabrics, Thought is also committed to creating lifelong partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers. This extremely simple philosophy has paid off for the company, allowing them to create fashionable yet ethical clothing in fun styles that everyone will enjoy. From sustainable socks to the latest sleek looking jacket, Thought makes sure you look good and feel good about what you’re wearing.
6. Back Beat Co.
Yes, you can even get that California surfer look and still be environmentally conscious. If that’s the style you crave, then Back Beat Co. is where you want to go. Based in the Golden State, Back Beat Co. works to give you that breezy, comfortable look that California is known for while still caring about where their clothing comes from. Back Beat Co. uses many low impact fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and Tencel to create its clothing, and even its packaging is recyclable. Talk about hitting all the bases, Back Beat Co. does it easily.
7. Vege Threads
Low impact dyes? Check. Sustainable materials? Check. Cute and comfortable? Vege Threads has you covered. Based in Australia, VT is a great place to update your basics. Like many brands on this list, they also participate in smaller batch manufacturing, reducing the amount of waste produced in each batch overall. Many of their materials are from local sources, and even those that aren’t are usually recycled. Even their intimates are made from deadstock fabric- i.e. fabric that usually ends up on the cutting room floor.
8. Alternative Apparel
#DoGoodFeelGood is Alternative Apparel‘s mantra, and for good reason. Recycled cotton, hemp, and cotton modal are all featured heavily in their pieces. If you’re looking to be comfy chic, AA is where you want to be shopping. Their clothing is very simplistic, making it trendy all year round. The best part? Their prices are easily affordable for everyone. A lot of times, more sustainable clothing comes with a higher price due to the materials or creation, but AA makes sure that everyone can afford to look good without breaking the bank or the planet.
Another zero-waste brand, Tonlé is for those who want to make a statement. Every piece is made with reclaimed fabric- even the clothing tags are made with the tiniest scraps. The brand’s use of natural dyes also makes both the manufacturing process and actually wearing the clothing safer overall. Tonlé’s team is also paid fair wages and the company acts more like a family than a brand.
10. Girlfriend Collective
While it is the last brand on the list, Girlfriend Collective is certainly not the least. Focusing on women’s activewear, each piece of GC clothing is made from recycled materials. Yes, that means every piece. Their leggings and bras are especially special, being made from post-consumer plastic bottles. Just because the clothing is made of old water bottles doesn’t mean any quality is sacrificed. The brand is also size-inclusive, so there’s no need to worry if they’ve got your size, because the brand ranges from XXS all the way to 6XL.