The fashion industry is not exactly known for its positive effect on the environment. On the contrary. As much as we all love to dress well, it’s important to understand that the textile industry is responsible for as much as 10% of global CO2 emissions. And as we buy more, that number only goes one way.
One small step we can all take to reduce our footprint is to be a little bit smarter about what we buy and where we buy it – shopping with brands that have a demonstrable commitment to reducing their impact on the environment, either through their manufacturing process, quality and recoverability, recycling or a combination of all of the above.
But who are these brands? And beyond their sustainability credentials, why spend your money on them?
Below is a selection of our favorite sustainable fashion brands, ranging from rugged outdoor gear to well-made wardrobe basics to high fashion.
Californian outdoor brand Patagonia has a proven track record when it comes to environmental responsibility. So much so that it has actively run advertising campaigns telling people to fix their old Patagonia gear instead of shopping for more. This is backed up by the brand’s signature rugged build quality and the Ironclad warranty, which promises to repair, replace or refund any garment with manufacturing defects.
There’s also a cool program called Worn Wear that allows customers to buy and sell their vintage Patagonia gear, further reducing the need to produce new stuff.
Founded by an ex-FBI man, Corridor is a New York City brand committed to producing stylish, high-quality clogs while keeping their carbon footprint small. Using sustainably sourced materials as much as possible, the label has actively moved away from plastic, going so far as to include marigold seeds in its hangtags… and encourage customers to plant them.
The clothing itself is great too, which is evidenced by the fact that some of the coolest menswear stores in the world like Oi Polloi, Hip and Urban Industry have chosen to stock it.
The unique business model of the Spanish brand Comovita makes it sustainable in ways that other brands just can’t be. Instead of making clothes in bulk, Comovita makes its clothes to order. This means that there is no need to dump unsold inventory in the landfill, as it only produces what it sells.
The clothes it makes, the quality is also extremely high which means they are likely to last a long time. This in turn means that you need to purchase less, which further reduces the environmental impact. That’s called a win-win.
ISTO is a relatively new brand that, in its own words, has had little time to ruin the planet. But from the start, the Portuguese premium basics label has been committed to minimizing its impact on the environment. This is achieved through a mix of local production, the use of organic materials and by limiting the amount of chemicals and water used during production.
It also ensures longevity thanks to high build quality and abandoning fashion trends in favor of timeless styles that can be used season after season, year after year.
Uniform Standard’s responsibly sourced sneakers are a great alternative to Common Projects’ for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint without settling for less footwear. The brand partners with Italy’s best tanneries to source the leather for the uppers and recycle everything else. We’re talking outsoles, insoles, dust bags, footbeds and even plastic-free packaging.
Neutral produces genderless clothing inspired by life on the Mediterranean. It is a Spanish label that keeps its collection small and produces locally. The goal is to empower people to buy less by making timeless clothes that last and ignoring the fleeting fads fast fashion is built on.
Garments are simple, versatile and available in a muted, neutral (clue is in the name) color palette.
If you’re a fan of the Reebok Club C but enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your shoes have been ethically and sustainably sourced, SAYE is for you. The brand specializes in making high-quality shoes using recycled and vegan materials and brings them together in Portugal – a country known for its exceptional clothing and footwear production.
Located in Biella, the knitwear capital, ArtKnit Studios only works with the best Italian suppliers and factories to deliver the best knitwear in the world. It is also committed to zero-waste manufacturing and uses only natural fibers to keep its environmental impact low.
Being a direct-to-consumer brand, it offers great value for money as there is no retail middleman. Expect to find everything from cardigans to trousers, all made from organic cotton, merino and premium cashmere fabrics.
Sustainability was central to the philosophy of Swedish denim brand Nudie long before it became an industry buzzword. Nudie uses almost exclusively sustainable fabrics, reuses most of its residues, extends the life of products by offering in-store repairs and actively encourages its customers to wash their jeans less.
In addition, these jeans are extremely robust and built to last, meaning they will take much longer to repair or replace compared to less brand denim.
Christopher Raeburn is an English fashion designer with a unique approach to clothing. His designs are known for being reworked from recycled and surplus materials, and he has previously used everything from old military supplies to parachute canopies to create his pieces.
His eponymous label has won several awards for its responsible approach to design and manufacturing, and while some of its garments may be a bit ‘out there’ for more understated dressers, the brand ethos is something we hope to see spread to all corners of the menswear world. .
Veja is a French shoe brand dedicated to producing animal-friendly, eco-friendly sneakers. It has come to prominence at lightning speed since its launch in 2005 and the iconic ‘V’ logo is now a common sight on city streets around the world.
It was actually the first sustainable footwear brand – paving the way for countless others – and is known for making premium sneakers using only recycled materials, sustainable leather and organic cotton.
ASKET is one of our favorite labels when it comes to premium wardrobe basics. The Swedish brand offers a tightly curated collection of basic items, all made to a very high standard. It is also making good progress in the field of sustainability. Clothing is handmade to reduce environmental impact, packaging is eco-friendly and most of its products use non-toxic dyes.
There are plenty of reasons to love ASKET, and the sustainability credentials are another.