15 Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands from Around the World

January 29, 2021 By tsr admin


Fashion remains one of the biggest threats to the environment, climate, and the future of life on this planet, which is why we’ve created a complete guide to ethical and sustainable clothing brands. In it, we mentioned several brands that are working to make a change, but with more and more environmentally-minded individuals and businesses beginning to do what they can to aid in this worldwide effort, we present you this list of even more brands that are endeavouring, each in their own way, to create sustainable clothing. Some are very focused on a single fabric or type of clothing, and some are up-and-comers to this growing trend.

For more details about certifications and terminology that relate to sustainable clothing, and a brief overview of sustainable fabrics, see our Glossary. Alternatively, for a more complete breakdown of sustainable fabrics, read our complete guide on the topic.

If we’ve missed your favorite, please let us know. I’m sure our readers would love to learn about them in the future!


By Ellen Rubin

Family Brands and Casual Clothing

Alternative Apparel

Woman taking off cardigan by Alternative apparel, a sustainable clothing brand

Alternative Apparel’s key words are “soft, simple, even more sustainable”, and #DoGoodFeelGood. They focus on eco-fabrics and blends, classically styled basics, and inclusive sizing made in factories that adhere to their strict ethical and sustainable Code of Conduct. Their site also sells other brands of sustainable clothing, eyewear, home products, jewelry, bags, footwear, and beauty products.

Mission: To always strive to lessen their impact by creating new fabrications while ensuring that their workers are treated ethically. They go beyond their clothing’s sustainability by looking for ways to lessen the impact of packaging.

Certifications: WRAP certified factories, Fair Labor Association Guidelines & Workplace Code of Conduct adhered to by their factories. GOTS Cotton, OEKO-Tex Certified

Transparency: Ensures fair, safe & clean workplace conditions for their employees through audits. They are joining the Fashion Revolution.

Fabrications: GOTS organic cotton, upcycled and recycled cotton, cotton-Tencel modal interlock, post-consumer recycled polyester, hemp/cotton blended jersey, low impact dyes, water conserving washes.

Proprietary Fabrics: Eco fabrics include cotton Tencel Modal Interlock, Eco-Fleece™ (recycled polyester-cotton blend), Eco-Jersey®, Eco-Teddy (resembles polar-fleece), and Eco Toweling

Products: Casual men’s (S-2XL), unisex (XXS- 5XL, OS), women’s (XS-2XL), and youth (S-XL, YS-YXL)

Recycling Program: They use oxo-biodegradable mailer bags and have implemented a program to reuse and recycle materials from their vendors.

Amendi

Amendi is a Swedish company founded by three friends. The name comes from the word amendment. The company looks at clothing phenomenologically or “relating to an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience”. In other words, fashion can be sustainable.

Mission: “To make clothing that you can love, trust, and cherish for years and years”, done through transparency, traceability, and a commitment to responsibility. Total transparency is the key to building a truly ethical and trustworthy business. Their goal is to go beyond sustainability to rejuvenation. Through innovation and partnering with trusted charities, they want to prove that a good business can give more than it takes.

Certifications: GOTS organic cotton, OSC 100, OEKO-Tex Standard 100, GRS , SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, BSCI.

Transparency: Their fabrication facts tag, attached to every piece of clothing, lists essential information about its fabrications, how the cost is distributed, and approximately how many people worked on it. They trace where the raw materials were harvested, where it was woven, assembled, and delivered from the loom to your closet. All of their suppliers have signed their Code of Conduct for high employee working standards and innovative sustainable practices.

Fabrications: GOTS organic cotton (including their denim), nylon, upcycled wool.

Products: Men’s & Women’s (S – XL)

Filippa K

Filippa K logo

Filippa K is a Swedish company that designs long-lasting wardrobe staples. They have a permanent Core collection that never goes on sale, as well as seasonal collections. The company was founded in 1993 by Filippa Knutsson as a solution to the stress of dressing. Their sustainable clothing values style and comfort equally with an eye on minimalism and sustainability.

Mission: Circularity is the foundation of the company. The follow the 4 Rs: reduce, repair, re-use, and recycle. They encourage mindful consumption, and will help customers repair their clothing.

Certifications: OEKO-Tex 100, they insist on total compliance with Filippa K’s Code of Conduct from their suppliers, Fair Wear Foundation.

Transparency: Each product page gives extensive care directions, sustainability factors, and product origin including the address of the factory where it was made.

Fabrications: cotton (organic, pima, or recycled), cupro, down, leather (vegetable tanned within the EU and a byproduct of existing food production), cashmere, polyester (recycled & virgin), wool (mulesing- free merino wool, recycled, and Swedish), yak, polyamide (recycled and virgin), viscose, camel hair from Mongolia, linen, lyocell, Refibra, modal, alpaca.

Propriety fabrications: Swedish wool is a byproduct of the meat industry. It is an organic resource from local Swedish farms. Their wool is untreated, and the color is completely natural to the original wool. Swedish leather comes from a locally and fully traceable supply chain to ensure animal welfare. It is chrome-free and organic vegetable tanned using bark from mimosa trees. It is biodegradable.

Products: Men’s (XS-XXL or 44-56) & women’s (XS-XL or 32-44) active wear, leisure wear, shoes

Recycling Program: They have a secondhand shop in Stockholm. In 2015 they launched their Collect program which will give customers a discount on future purchases when they bring in pre-loved pieces. They recycle cutting waste. Their supplier in Italy recycles wool and suiting cutting scraps into new yarns as part of the Re.Verso™ process. They have upcycled some of their fabrics, such as silk scarves into shirt cuffs and shortened a jacket for a new collection.

MyIntox

cartoon rendition of mother and son wearing sweaters

MyIntox combines the latest trends with high-quality materials and innovative design. More than most collections, it is based on the enjoyment of nature and the love of endangered animal species. Owner, Christine Stegmann designs all of the graphics herself.

Mission: To combine exciting design and high-quality fabrications with sustainability while highlighting and working to protect endangered species.

Certifications: Fair Trade, Fair Wear

Fabrications: Sustainably produced Mongolian cashmere and Australian merino wool, cotton, organic cotton, recycled polyester

Products: Men’s (limited to sweaters & t-shirts), women’s (XS-L), children’s and accessories such as handbags and jewelry. They heavily feature embroidery and appliqués.

Giving Back: The company donates part of their proceeds to animal welfare organizations that work toward protection of species threatened with extinction.

Brands for Women

Girlfriend Collective

5 women standing on the beach wearing different coloured activewear
Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective focuses on transparency – from the raw materials to their carefully chosen partners. They are an active wear and underwear brand for women.

Mission: To create a collection of eco-friendly clothing that is made in a sustainable and ethical way for their inclusive clientele.

Certifications: The factory that makes their t-shirts and tanks is SA8000 certified which guarantees safe working conditions, fair wages, and zero forced or child labor. Their fabrics are OEKO-Tex certified.

Transparency: Each product page has a sustainability report

Fabrications: recycled polyester, nylon, and cotton

Proprietary Fabrics: Compressive leggings and bras are made from 79% recycled polyester (RPET) & 21% spandex. The polyester comes from recycled post-consumer bottles. 83% of their LITE leggings are made from recycled fishing nets and other waste using Econyl yarn and 17% spandex. Their t-shirts and tanks are made from Cupro, using waste cotton fabrics made in a zero-waste, zero-emission factory in Japan.

Products: Women’s casual, activewear (including unitards), some outerwear, and underwear – including maternity. Inclusive sizing goes from XXS – 6XL, and 2 inseam lengths. They also make and sell a washing bag or filter that attaches to your washing machine to catch all the non-particles shed from their fabrics to reduce the microfiber plastic pollution in our waterways. They use eco-friendly dyes and their wastewater is carefully cleaned and cooled before it is released into the environment

Giving Back: In line with their philosophy of inclusivity, Girlfriend Collective has begun donating to #BlackLivesMatter; listing places to donate, organization involved in the movement, resources, and other companies that support the cause.

Recycling Program: Girlfriend Collective offers a recycling program, ReGirlfriend, for when you are finished wearing your purchase. By buying a shipping label for a $15, you get a credit toward a future purchase. They recycle and upcycle your returned item.

Lacausa

Woman in white standing in the street

Lacausa is a California-chic brand for women. They want to redefine basics by blending romantic silhouettes with a contemporary bohemian twist.

Mission: Adhering to the name of their brand (la causa means the cause in Spanish), they keep most of their manufacturing in the Los Angeles area to ensure that workers get fair, livable wages, and healthy, human working conditions. They believe in low waste, equality, transparency, and a more ethical future for fashion.

Fabrications: viscose, rayon, cotton (some organic). Their tie-dye clothing uses 60% Post Industrial Cotton / 40% RPET (recycled plastic bottles). They also create items from deadstock fabrics.

Products: A complete women’s line with sizes ranging from XS – XL

Giving Back: They choose different organizations to donate to each quarter or for certain holidays, for instance, mother’s day. Most have to do with women, children, or the environment – many are local. To see a listing of their past donations, see Causes

Sand Cloud

Sandcloud logo, sustainable clothing

Sand Cloud is a San Diego company built around the ocean. It all started with designing a new beach towel that is sand resistant, yet ultra absorbent. Their choices and mission reflect this passion. They use sustainable materials and donate a portion of all sales to marine conservation charities.

Mission: To protect the oceans and marine wildlife.

Certifications: GOTS Cotton

Fabrications: Their towels are made from 100% organic Turkish cotton. They dry 3 times faster than traditional towels and are sand resistant. Athleisure is made from 78% Repreve Certified recycled polyester and 22% spandex. Hoodies are made from GOTS 100% Turkish Organic Cotton (French terry). Graphic T-shirts (available in children’s also) are made from 85% recycled cotton/15% recycled polyester from water bottles.

Products: It all started with beach towels, and moved to women’s athleisure, hoodies, and t-shirts. Sand Cloud now also sells eco-friendly beach accessories such as reef-safe sunscreen, reusable glass water bottles, sunglasses, and metal straws. They feature tie-dyeing on their clothing and towels.

Giving Back: They support marine conservation charities and have been names Philanthropists of the Year by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Not only do they donate 10% of their profits toward marine conservation, they will take 15% off your first order when you register at #Savethefishies. They have created an Ambassador’s program for customers who help with their ocean clean-ups who also help with product creation for the company. Their charities include: Marine Conservation Institute, Surfrider Foundation, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, San Diego Coast Keeper, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, and Ocean Connectors.

Recycling Program: They work with Ryan’s Recycling on Community Beach clean-ups.

Vetta Capsule

Woman in black sitting on wooden floor
Vetta logo, sustainable clothing

Vetta Capsule offers a unique way to shop. Their sustainable clothing is offered in 5-piece capsule collections. The items in each collection can be mixed and matched to create 30 outfits. This is an easy way to purchase a complete, coordinated wardrobe. Of course, items can be purchased separately, or you can create a custom capsule. Their capsules include: The Everyday, London, Minimal V. 1, Luxe, and Lounge options. They even have a style quiz to help you determine your true style.

Mission: To help women build a more thoughtful, sustainable wardrobe. When choosing fabrics, they consider water and pesticide usage during fiber growth, renewability of resources, energy and chemicals used during processing, disposal techniques, care requirements, fabric longevity, and biodegradability.

Certifications: FSC certified boxes for shipping, BCI Cotton, FSC and PERF certified wood fibers for their EcoVero. The factory they use in India for intricate lace work is SA8000 certified, their other Indian factory partner is Fair Trade Certified.

Transparency: Their woven clothing is made in a family run factory in New York City, Sweaters are knitted by their partner factory in Los Angeles and is audited annually for social and environmental compliance and 70% of their energy is from solar power. Their packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, boxes are from FSC certified materials. There are extensive details of fabrics used, fit, and place of manufacture on each product page.

Fabrications: Tencel, linen, BCI Supima Cotton, organic cotton, recycled polyester, EcoVero (sustainable viscose made by Lenzing), and deadstock fabrics which are left over from other designers.

Proprietary Fabrics: Modal Ponte (modal replaces the rayon, Econyl replaces the nylon)

Products: Women’s casual to business wear in sizes 0 – 18 or XS – XL.

Highly Fashioned Clothing and Formalwear for Women

Nanushka

Nanushka logo, sustainable clothing

Nanushka demonstrates that highly styled clothing can still be sustainable. They use luxurious and sustainable fabrications that drive their fashion forward collections. Their Fall/Winter 2020 collection “filters intellectual ‘70s classics through the anarchic lens of ‘90s grunge, contrasting the sensual and the tough, the sober and the subversive.” Founder Sandra Sandor, born and raised in Hungary, created a contemporary house for the modern human by mixing confident ease and subtle femininity. Her style is more European, although her clothing is sold through free-standing stores in 30 countries, and through their website.

Mission: Their mission is to develop holistic products and services that nurture nature, communities, and the soul. The want to create clothing that fulfill their function, yet are bohemian, rebellious, free-spirited, and progressive while protecting the planet. Their business is built around craftsmanship, experimentation, and progressivism.

Certifications: FSC certified fabrications.

Transparency: Each product page gives very specific fabrication, down to what products are used to make their buttons. (Interestingly, potato dust is one of the ingredients.) There is a tab for sustainability which enumerates which fabrics are sustainable.

Fabrications: They use a wide assortment of fabrics. The most sustainable include: organic cotton, fabrics labeled “responsibly forested”, regenerated leather, wool, and baby alpaca. Their vegan leather is made from polyester and polyurethane.

Products: Men’s (XS – XL) and women’s (XXS – XL) clothing

Giving Back: Nanushka supports non-profit organizations such as the Bibi Fund, which researches aggressive childhood brain cancers, and Bagázs, which works to eliminates socio-cultural disadvantages in the Roma community. They also donate unused fabric to theaters and universities.

Recycling Program: Nanushka has joined with Eon’s CircularID™ program to track the circularity of their clothing. By scanning the QR code the customer can learn about the process the garment went through in its manufacturing processes, care instruction, and how they can eventually repair, resell, or rent out the item.

Ivy & Oak

Ivy & Oak logo, sustainable clothing

Ivy & Oak is a German company that specializes in sustainable wedding clothing – elaborate gowns, maternity bridal wear, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, and city hall brides. Everything wedding. They also have mummy and mini collections, leisure wear, everyday, and business looks. They have created a brand that is for “women who value quality, simplicity and style”. Their clothing is available in 28 countries.

Mission: Sustainability, fairness, and honesty are the core of Ivy & Oak. They believe in style, not trends, so they create clothing that will last. Their clothing is: intentional (full traceability of their products and clothing that is designed for circularity), impactful (fair employment in their supply chain, eco-friendly fabrics, eliminate hazardous chemicals, reduce, reuse and eco-friendly packaging), inclusive (diversity and equality, honest prices), and inspirational (promote systemic change in the fashion industry, live sustainably).

Transparency: They are open about their prices and how much each garment costs to make at each stage from raw materials through packaging and transportation. Their leather-goods are completely traceable – from farm to factory. The tannery in Turkey uses 100% chrome-free tanning. They are working on their Leather Working Group certification. All leather is a by-product of the meat industry. Each product page explains exactly what materials are used, and, if applicable, where each step in the manufacturing process takes place – from design to fabrication to production. They have a CSR Roadmap that sets their goals and targets for the near future and the actions they are taking to fulfill them.

Fabrications: Wedding collections contain cotton, polyamid, polyester, viscose lining, and Tencel lyocell. Their leisure wear collection features baby alpaca, and recycled wool from Italy; other collections feature mulesing-free wool, wool/cashmere blends, linen, recycled polyester, cupro, viscose, chrome-free Napa leather, organic cotton, and wool blends.

Products: Women’s clothing sized 32-46 (XXS – 3XL). There is also a small selection of girl’s dresses to match some of the women’s styles.

Swimwear & Underwear

Araks

Araks logo, sustainable clothing

Araks offers lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear, resortwear. Araks Yeramyan started her company with the belief that the most intimate layers of clothing will help a woman feel beautiful – even if the garments won’t be seen by others. She combines a love of art, design, and color in her understated approach to style. What makes her intimates different is her combination of sheers with the bold use of color. Her philosophy has won her many celebrity devotees. Each collection is meant to work interchangeably with pieces from the past and those to come.

Mission: To design and construct garments meant to last – pieces to be loved and worn until they simply can’t go on anymore. The concept of mindfulness and economy permeates the company – from design through completion.

Certifications: The company was assessed by Bluesign. They use an OEKO-Tex 100 certified mill in Spain. Other mills have EPD Environmental Certification or EPD Climate Certification, ISO 14001 Certification.

Transparency: Their philosophy is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, in that order. Unused fabrics are reworked into future seasons rather than discarded. This eliminates waste and allows customers to integrate future purchases into their current wardrobe.

Fabrications: Items are designed in New York, but made with the finest Italian sheer layers, with unexpected colors and textures. GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled nylon (Econyl makes up 50% of their swimsuit collection), linen

Products: Women’s lingerie, swimwear (XS -Lg-D cup) , sleep wear, and clothing in XS – XL

Giving Back: They donate unused materials to schools and other charitable organizations.

Recycling Program: While they don’t have a recycling program per se, by making past, present, and future collections interchangeable, new pieces can be worked into a wardrobe when part of an older set wears out.

Maaji

Gloved women after a beach cleanup, with bags of collected waste

Maaji is a Columbian company that offers an extensive selection of sustainable clothing in the form of swim, beach, active, and sleepwear for the family.

Mission: To make every day earth day by leaving the environment better than how they found it. They are committed to doing more to minimize their environmental footprint and doing more for social good…ethical and sustainable practices. They identify land, water, and souls as the three factors that they want to improve. Souls includes their community, clients, and suppliers.

Transparency: They are committed to treating employees with dignity and respect, ensuring a living-wage and providing opportunities to those that live in underserved communities. They expect their suppliers to provide the same standards.

Fabrications: Nylon, spandex, rayon (pajamas), polyester, cotton, recycled cotton, Tencel, recycled polyester from plastic bottles, modal knit.

Propriety collections: The Return swimwear collection is made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles using Eco Digital printing. This reduces water use by 98% and produces 80% less CO2. Their activewear Community collection has leggings and sports bras made from 20% post-consumer recycled yarn from plastic bottles. The shirts are made from 36% eco-friendly fibers such as Tencel Refibra™ and Uni-Repreve™ and recycled cotton. Their Earth Pact collection uses 100% sugar cane fiber and is free of bleaching chemicals reduces water usage by 9.3% water and energy usage by 13.5%.

Products: Swimwear, beachwear, pajamas, and activewear for the entire family. They offer matching outfits for children and their parents. Their sizing ranges from XS-XL, so it isn’t as inclusive as some companies. For instance, women’s swimsuits sizes include bust sizes from 33-40, hip measurements from 35-41”. Bikini tops and bottoms are sold separately so you can get customized sizing. Another unique feature is that some of their swimsuits are reversible. Girls sizing is 2-16.

Giving Back: They have planted more than 100,000 trees and support local causes. They’ve protected 10 spring water sources, rebuilt the habitat for many endangered species, and led more than 5 beach clean ups in Columbia, the US, Guatemala, and Israel.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a California swim and lounge wear company for women. Their innovative fabrics include recycled and plant-based materials. They get technical about the fit and style details to ensure that their swimwear is supportive and dependable. Their products are manufactured locally to reduce emissions and enables them to build strong relationships with their manufacturers who maintain the highest standards of workplace ethics and environmental responsibility.

Mission: “We’re all about feeling good, looking good, and doing good. From design to production, distribution, and charitable partnerships – Vitamin A is the sustainable choice. “

Certifications: All fabrics meet global OEKO-Tex standards for safe textiles. They work with Fair Trade artisans globally for those products not made in California.

Transparency: Their site reports the resources saved by embracing sustainable practices: 651,294 gallons of water, 75,981 pounds of waste diverted, 708,106 pounds of emissions avoided, and 1,011,621 kWh of energy saved. They have partnered with a “green team” to audit their materials and supply chain. They provide a sustainability report on their site.

Fabrications: Organic cotton, organic hemp, linen, recycled cotton, Tencel, plant-based polyamide, lycra and cashmere (sustainably made in California from recycled Italian yarns using a water saving closed loop process). They use digital printing, rather than traditional wet printing. This reduces the amount of water used and fabric wasted since they don’t have to adjust the placement of pattern pieces when cutting. Their packaging is 100% recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable.

Proprietary Fabrics: Eco Lux™ is a premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibers.

Products: Women’s swimsuits (supportive tops accommodate up to DDD sizing) whose tops and bottoms are sold separately so you can choose the style, support and exposure you want; and a full line of loungewear including dresses, tops, bottoms and jumpsuits.

Giving Back: They partner with 1% for the Planet so part of every sale goes to organizations that protect the oceans. They also host beach cleanups.

Brands Built around Bamboo Fabrications

Boody

people standing in field, by Boody, a sustainable clothing brand

Boody is an Australian company dedicated to sustainable everyday basics that are made from soft and comfortable bamboo viscose.

Mission: “To design a superior essential. A softer fabric, A comfier fit. We set out without ego to change the way you think about your clothing choices. And we did it keeping the environment in mind.”

Certifications: The bamboo they use for their viscose yarn is certified as organically grown by Ecocert, and comes from FSC-certified forests. They are PETA Vegan Approved. Their fabrics are independently tested by SGS to ensure they meet health and safety standards in each country where they are sold. Among the things they test are for formaldehyde-free content, a chemical ‘scratch’ test of 46 chemicals and elements, flammability, lead, phthalates, sharp points, toxins in packaging, amount of recycled paper in the packaging. Their dyes are azo free. WRAP Gold standards met, ISO 14001 and 9001 compliant.

Fabrications: Their sustainable clothing is made of organic bamboo viscose.

Products: Men’s (S-XL), women’s (XS-XL), baby, underwear, casual apparel and dresses, activewear, sleepwear. Most styles come in black, white, gray, and a fourth color.

Giving Back: They support local communities and environmental causes – keeping in mind the three priorities of flora, fauna, and people. They want to save and protect biodiversity. They give back 1% of all sales 1% for the Planet.org.

Tasc Performance

Man and woman wear training cloothes

Tasc Performance creates performance clothing and casual wear made from bamboo and cotton. They believe that plastics “suck” so this New Orleans company decided to focus on creating fabrics that are comfortable and made to last without relying on synthetics. They also feature, golf, running, and tennis clothing that all begin and end with the unique properties of bamboo – a cloth that doesn’t rely on chemical finishes.

Mission: “We believe in simplicity. We believe in needs, not wants. We believe in quality over quantity.”

Transparency: 100% of the power required to run their knitting and sewing facility is generated from solar and wind power, 99% of their wastewater is recovered, treated, and reused in a closed-loop process so the treated water is kept out of the ecosystem. 72% of their products use natural fiber (predominantly organic cotton).

Fabrications: Bamboo viscose, beech viscose, organic cotton. Bamboo viscose rayon fibers are soft, don’t require harmful chemical processes yet have desirable characteristics and are hypoallergenic.

Proprietary Fabrics: BamCo® process means that their bamboo viscose/cotton fabrics wick moisture, are anti-odor, have superior breathability, and provide UPF 50+ sun protection – all without chemical finishes. They have created more than 15 unique fabrics in varying weights, blends, and textures – always insisting on comfort. Their fabrics are also thermal regulating because bamboo fibers are filled with tiny gaps that increase ventilation and moisture absorption so you stay cooler and drier in warm and humid conditions, and warmer in cooler and drier conditions, while still being breathable and wrinkle resistant.

Products: A full range of everyday wear plus athletic wear for men (S-XL) including Big & Tall, and women (XS-XL)

Giving Back: Their long-term (22 year) relationship with their family-owned factory in India means that the workers there are paid higher than average wages, have healthcare, subsidized housing and food, skill development and advancement opportunities, and a training program for the disabled.