Sustainable and ethical clothing is nothing to be sniffed at, with so many independent brands on the horizon that truly are passionate about sustainability and ethically made clothing; it is hard to choose which one to support as they all strive to do their best.
Fast fashion and seemingly cheap items of clothing can be tempting to purchase; especially with mounting pressure to be constantly fashionable and well turned out. This can, however, come at a cost to the lives of others.
Recently, The Fashion Revolution has highlighted the true story behind where so many of our clothes come from.
“We love fashion, but we don’t want our clothes to come at the cost of people or our planet.” – The Fashion Revolution
It is time to read the small print on your clothing and ask the manufacturers who made your clothes, where they were made and how they were made.
It is time to not only look at footprints left by plastic industry on our planet, but also look at the massive footprints left by the fashion industry. The Fashion Revolution was born in 2013 after the fourth largest industrial disaster in the history, as they write on their homepage:
“On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. […]There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. The victims were mostly young women.”
Now The Fashion Revolution is a global movement, and this movement and industrial disaster has inspired and started a lot of sustainable brands. If you missed Fashion Revolution week, don’t worry there are a lot of events happening across the globe throughout the year, head to their homepage to read more.
The importance of equally created clothing is not just a question of whether my clothing is friendly to environment; it is also a question of human rights. Each time you purchase something you can support equal rights and help our environment. To make it easier for you, we have made a list of six sustainable everyday clothing brands that use fabrics that are environmentally friendly and are transparent about the way their clothing is made and most importantly about who made their clothes.
If you want to find out more about fast fashion and why it is as bad for you and our planet as fast food, we highly recommend you to read Slave to Fashion or Naked Fashion by Safia Minney. Other sustainable way of shopping is second hand or charity shops, if you get lucky you can find real treasures there, but you might need to dig.
The list is organised alphabetically. Let us know below in the comments some of your favourite sustainable and ethical everyday clothing brands.
Bleed Clothing is a family run clothing brand that puts sustainability and quality first. This Germany based clothing label makes vegan products using sustainable resources and production methods, they not only make clothing from sustainable and recyclable materials, but also use up-cycled materials and support Surfrider Foundation Europe. Their slogan is simple and true to their ambition that came out of a concept that nature has already bled enough and it has to stop, so “we bleed for nature!”. Makes clothing for men and women, including outdoor clothing and accessories.
Grown Clothing is a relatively new brand, in the market only since 2016, but with its practices it is already making big waves. Based in Ireland they offer men and women’s hoodies, jumpers, t-shirts and tank tops. And for every t-shirt they create they plant a native Irish tree. In addition to that they are also proud members of 1% For The Planet. So they not only make sustainable clothing from natural materials in an environmentally friendly and ethical way, Grown Clothing are also dedicated to giving back to nature as soon as they make something. The company is guided by The Green Plan to reduce carbon emissions, waste, energy and water consumption. Both, women and men can find something to add to their wardrobe.
KnowledgeCotton Apparel is a Danish menswear brand that combines organic cotton and other sustainable materials with eco-friendly manufacturing processes. The brand started their path as far back as 1969 in the city of Herning, Denmark, when a father and son opened a small textile company. But the ambition doesn’t stop there, by 2025 KnowledgeCotton Apparel aims “to become 100% carbon neutral throughout its supply and distribution chain by working with carbon-neutral factories powered by green power”. As mentioned above it sells menswear, including outdoor jackets. One of the most exciting upcoming items from the company is a backpack which generates power through a solar panel. The backpack can then be used to charge electrical devices, such as smartphones and tablets, using completely self-generated, sustainable power.
People Tree is recognised by consumers and fashion industry as pioneers in Fair Trade and sustainable fashion movement. No surprises there, as People Tree was founded by no one else but Safia Minney, the above mentioned book author on fashion, and since day 1 the brand put Fair Trade producers, garment workers, artisans and farmers at the forefront. People Tree have been making sustainable and ethical apparel for 26 years and counting. Make women’s clothing, active-wear, accessories and baby wear. On their homepage they also sell sustainable footwear.
Thought is all natural, sustainable and ethical clothing company based in the UK. They make their clothing not only out of organic cotton but also from such sustainable fabrics as hemp and tencel, as well as other natural materials. Their philosophy is simple: “to design and make beautiful, timeless fashion while caring for our environment”. Their patterns are inspired by nature and art, and made to last, their slogan for each piece is: “wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on”. Their price range is friendly to your wallet and they make clothing for both men and women.