Forget fast fashion and keeping up with the Kardashians. There’s a fashion movement that’s here to stay. It’s more than just a style statement; it’s a conscious choice that says a lot about your values and the future of our planet. I’m talking about eco-friendly clothing and fashion, of course!
Join me in the closet as we undress how some top eco-friendly clothing brands are changing the fashion world and why you should cover up in them today.
Our brand picks at a glance:
Why Eco-Friendly Clothes?
Due to our increased focus on climate change, every aspect of our lifestyle is changing. The demand for eco-friendly and ethical purchases is growing, led by an army of young eco-conscious consumers who want to save the world.
The fashion industry has listened, and we’re now witnessing an influx of eco-friendly brands. But what makes them eco-friendly?
Mindful design, production, and distribution
Eco-friendly clothing is defined as garments and accessories responsibly designed, produced, and distributed to reduce negative environmental impacts.
Eco-conscious brands source eco-friendly materials that are environmentally responsible with lower environmental impacts. This can include organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, recycled polyester, and even pineapple leaves!
Authenticity & transparency
Unfortunately, not all eco-friendly brands are serious about their environmental commitment. Some have been found guilty of “greenwashing” their products to improve sales and fulfill the eco-conscious label and demands.
‘Greenwashing’ is misleading consumers into believing they’re buying an eco-friendly product using false information or not living up to their values.
Authenticity is vital when buying from an eco-friendly brand or a brand that says it is eco-friendly. From what I’ve seen, if an eco-friendly brand knows it can do better, they’re generally upfront about it and work hard to reach its improved goals.
You also don’t see eco-friendly brands pretending they’re perfect. Still, they will strive to improve their production and reduce their environmental impacts.
Quality Goods with Longevity
A common misconception surrounding eco-friendly fashion is that using eco-materials sacrifices quality. This is not true, and, in most cases, the quantity is sacrificed first!
Eco-friendly brands aim to create durable, practical, and long-lasting clothes to uphold the green ethos of reduced consumption and waste.
Eco-friendly clothing is often associated with fair labor practices to ensure that the people involved in the production process, from farmers to factory workers, are paid fairly and have safe work conditions.
Reduced chemical use
As with the eco-friendly living ethos, eco-friendly clothing avoids or minimizes the use of toxic chemicals and synthetic dyes that harm human health and the environment.
Animal welfare is high on the list for many eco-friendly clothing brands and involves directly reducing animal-based materials. Instead, brands opt for eco-friendly materials like cork leather.
Clothing brands striving for positive change
Here are some brands with eco-friendly practices that we love, particularly for men and women. You may also want to check out our article on the best eco-friendly clothing brands for babies.
Pact is known for producing a wide range of apparel items, including for men, women, and children, as well as homeware like bedding and bath products.
Suitable for: men, women
|Things we love about Pact|
|☑️ Environmentally friendly Vela packaging.|
☑️ No animal furs or leathers.
☑️ ‘Give Back Box’ program to support non-profits in need.
☑️ Zero net carbon commitments with SimpliZero.
☑️ Focus on organic or recycled materials (mostly organic cotton).
☑️ Most products are Fair Trade USA certified.
☑️ Have Fairtrade Premiums that allow workers to choose where pooled money is spent.
☑️ Processes to ensure subcontractors meet Fair Trade requirements.
☑️ Willingness to disclose when products aren’t 100% organic cotton and when Fair Trade certification can’t be provided.
Nation Ltd has traditionally been on my radar as an eco-friendly brand. Still, I’m impressed with their progress over the last 5 years and wanted to include them as a rising women’s sustainable clothing brand.
Suitable for: women
|Things we love about Nation Ltd|
|☑️ Partnerships to promote up cycling and second-hand purchasing by customers.|
☑️ 100% certified compostable shipping envelopes.
☑️ Net zero carbon commitments.
☑️ Aims to work only with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WARP) certified factories to ensure humane and fair labor practices.
☑️ Ownership for how products are made, who makes them, work conditions and their impacts.
☑️ Honesty about the use of factories not currently fair trade certified.
☑️ Fabric grading system to stay accountable to progress over perfection.
Boody started in Australia but has become the first underwear brand to become a certified B Corp in the U.S., and is on a personal mission “to make you feel good.” Boody is best known for its organically grown bamboo range, but it has expanded into organic cotton and LyolyteTM.
Suitable for: men, women and babies
|Things we love about Boody|
|☑️ Low waste cutting techniques to maximise fabric use.|
☑️ Focus on toxic-free, organic materials.
☑️ Code of Conduct outlining their approach to ethical sourcing and production, to ensure safe, fair, and respectful working conditions.
☑️ PETA Vegan approved.
Patagonia has pioneered incorporating environmental and social responsibility into its outdoor clothing and gear brand.
One of my favorite things about Patagonia is that they realize they are part of the consumerism problem and aren’t afraid to discourage people from buying too many of their products!
Suitable for: men, women, kids, babies
|Things we love about Patagonia|
|☑️ 1% for the Planet partner|
☑️ Trade-in program to allow customers to recycle their clothing and extent the life of products.
☑️ Formal animal welfare policy with Five Freedoms
☑️ >85% of products are made in Fair Trade factories with Fair Trade Premiums for factory workers.
☑️ Fair Labor Association (FLA) found and accredited member.
☑️ Names and locations of supply chain facilities disclosed.
☑️ Releases annual reports on progress, challenges, and goals around sustainability and fair labor.
With a brand name that nods to its core philosophy, tentree pledges to plant ten trees for every item purchased and have planted over 100 million trees to date!
Suitable for: men, women, kids
|Things we love about tentrees|
|☑️ Uses only organic or recycled materials.|
☑️ Certified B Corporation.
☑️ Transparent factory list on their website.
☑️ Code of Conduct for suppliers.
☑️ Community engagement through tree-planting initiatives.
Harvest & Mill
Grown and sewn on home soil, Harvest & Mill works directly with American organic cotton farmers to ensure their fibers are as low waste and minimally processed as possible.
Suitable for: men and women
|Things we love about Harvest & Mill|
|☑️ Organic dye-free and bleach-free cotton products.|
☑️ Carbon neutral.
☑️ Plastic-free, compostable packaging.
☑️ Low waste cutting techniques.
☑️ 100% traceability of their supply chain.
Colorful Standard is a Danish brand with arguably the most extensive color range for an eco-friendly clothing brand – they have essentials in 50 different colors, one of which you’re bound to like!
Suitable for: men and women
|Things we love about Colorful Standard|
|☑️ They own their own factory and pay their clothing makers a living wage.|
☑️ Zero waste initiative where they don’t produce more than they sell and use recycled materials where possible.
☑️ 100% organic cotton or recycled merino wool.
☑️ OEKA-TEX certified dyes – colour without harmful chemicals.
For Days has been embracing circularity from day one, encouraging customers to send in their old clothes to be recycled/repurposed.
Suitable for: men, women, kids, and babies
|Things we love about For Days|
|☑️ 100% recyclable fashion in.a zero-waste, circular system.|
☑️ They have a ‘Take Back Bag’ program where you can return unwanted goods and receive cash to spend on their store.
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Clothing Brands
Sustainable fashion is really about progress over perfection. No matter how eco-friendly a brand is, they are still producing a product that could end up in waste. This is why circular product practices are the best. Thankfully, most eco-conscious brands are continually striving to embrace circular practices.
The success and ongoing presence of brands that supply eco-friendly clothing prove that customers care about how their clothes are made and how brands impact the environment.
While buying second-hand and less will win you the best-dressed award for the planet, a little research can help you make more environmentally and socially responsible choices. It’s about dressing responsibly – not just for you but for Mother Earth too.