11 Sustainable Clothing Brands Prioritizing the Planet
These sustainable clothing brands are championing change in the fashion industry and bettering the planet in the process.
The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful in the world—which is where sustainable clothing brands come in.
Fast fashion is responsible for about one-third of all microplastics found in the ocean and is producing 20% of global water waste. In addition, 85% of all textiles wind up in landfills every year, and poor working conditions and shipping emissions (and those from returns!) abound.
But the fact remains: we love to shop. Fortunately, along with an endless menu of thrift stores, some of the brands we love most are working to take promises of sustainability to literal levels, putting their materials, production processes, shipping methods, and workers first.
Read on for 11 sustainable clothing brands championing change in the fashion industry and bettering our closets and the planet in the process.
11 Sustainable Clothing Brands to Shop Now
Why we love it: Since its inception, Cuyana has made it its mission to create products responsibly. The brand only makes what it thinks it can actually sell, which has allowed Cuyana to sell through 90% of its inventory with each launch (even with sustainable clothing brands, the industry average is roughly 60-70%).
As for its suppliers, Cuyana's global supply chain consists of craftspeople from Italy to Ecuador. These talented experts make it their business to responsibly source all fabrics and leathers featured in Cuyana products. In 2020, Cuyana pledged to reach 100% sustainability by 2022, and it has officially reached that goal.
Why we love it: Samara is rethinking the sustainability of leather by ditching animal hydes for plants. After experimenting with vegan leather made from coconut husks and pineapples, the brand landed on apples as the perfect material for high-quality handbags and beyond.
Samara works with a small factory in Europe to create its apple leather, which is a combination of PU and apple skins that are a by-product of the juicing industry.
3. Girlfriend Collective
Why we love it: Girlfriend Collective set out to make its footprint in the ever-expanding activewear industry as small as possible. Only 1% of used clothing is recycled across the globe, but with Girlfriend's Recycle.Reuse.Regirlfriend program, the brand is aiming to change that. Customers can send pre-loved sports bras, leggings, and shorts back to the brand, where those items are recycled into new products.
Girlfriend Collective's factory is SA8000 certified, meaning that the operation adheres to strict regulations that keep factory employees well-paid, safe, and healthy. Finally, Girlfriend's recycled fabric is also certified Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX.
Why we love it: Everlane built its brand around radical transparency, sharing the details around production from the start. Its ethical supply chain focuses on making high-quality clothing that's long-lasting and has a minor impact on the planet, reducing waste, chemicals, and plastics that can be harmful to both its workers and the environment.
"We started by measuring our scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions (following the Science-Based Targets initiative) to understand our impact and develop a plan for reduction that’s aligned with what the current science tells us," reads Everlane's mission statement. To further reduce its carbon footprint, Everlane has pledged to lower carbon emissions per product by 55% by 2030, lower absolute emissions in its stores and HQ by 46% by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Why we love it: Outerknown wants to make sustainable garments that last a lifetime. The brand is Fair Trade Certified and has a Fair Labor Association certification, meaning its processes and employees are both first priority when it comes to sustainability efforts.
Because of Outerknown's efforts, more than 1,300 garments have been kept out of landfills and more than 7,000 workers are supported through Fair Trade USA, and the brand is committed to achieving a full report of sustainability goals by 2030. Shoppers also have the option of choosing used garments alongside with new ones when browsing through its site.
Why we love it: Since its launch, Reformation has been vocal about wanting to produce sustainable, inclusive, and trend-forward fashion pieces. In fact, Reformation sends out sustainability reports on a quarterly basis so that its community can track progress together. (Reports as far back as 2016 are available to read on its website, too.)
Reformation's RefScale initiative tracks its carbon footprint by calculating the carbon dioxide emitted and gallons of water used, along with waste generated, comparing those learnings with other brands based in the U.S.
Why we love it: Though at home in our list of sustainable clothing brands, Pangaia describes itself as a materials science company. Its of-the-moment, colorful garments are made with bio-based fibers, plant fibers, technical fabrics, recycled materials, and responsibly produced animal fibers.
Why we love it: Transparency and corporate responsibility are top priorities at Ética, with information on its fair labor practices and certifications available for all to read. The brand also ethically sources all materials and considers every aspect of the lifecycle of each garment when doing so.
And, through its equipment, Ética is able to reduce water usage by 90%, energy consumption by 63%, and chemical usage by 70% when compared to industry standards.
Why we love it: Sézane is a B Corp, and its pieces are also GOTS, OEKO-TEX, FSC, RWS, and RMS certified. On the 21st of each month, Sézane donates 10% of its global sales and 100% of the proceeds from a dedicated design to programs that support access to education and equal opportunities for children all over the world.
Why we love it: Re/Done started out by upcycling vintage Levi's into more modern denim styles, to better further the fabric lifespan. Next came cotton: Since 2016, Re/Done has partnered with Hanes to bring shoppers classic tees, sweatpants, and sweatshirts made from organic cotton.
Today, Re/Done maintains that commitment to its production and sourcing with reduced-water denim, upcycled materials, and handmade pieces.
Why we love it: Cleobella favors heritage styles over finicky fast fashion. Over the past 14 years, its founders have met with artisans across Southeast Asia in Bali and India to ensure that low-waste materials are used in everything from its trims, to closures, to threads, labels, and hang tags.
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