The fast fashion industry is problematic for many reasons. Not only do most major brands severely underpay their employees in sweatshops, but it’s also awful for the environment. When we treat our clothes as cheap, disposable goods, so much more winds up in landfills, because the majority of people don’t donate their clothes. We also have to consider the use of water, coal, and other resources in the manufacturing of goods in the first place.
However, if you’re looking for sustainable, affordable alternatives to fill out your wardrobe, here are some clothing brands you can feel awesome about wearing.
There are countless reasons to wear hemp products. Humans have been cultivating hemp for centuries to use in everything from clothing to sunhats to rope. Hemp is a strong, durable fiber, and it uses much less water and energy to grow than cotton. It’s weather-resistant and affordable, too. Here are some of the best hemp clothing brands out there.
Jungmaven’s founder wanted to do something about deforestation and learned that industrial hemp could actually combat it since it’s much for sustainable than growing or cutting down trees for our products. The company is committed to bringing awareness about hemp to the masses, which is why they make comfortable and affordable clothing for men and women.
Recreator’s clothes for men and women are immensely comfortable. They offer basics like tees and sweatshirts. Recreator has a powerful slogan on its website, “From seed to stitch.” They’re committed to ensuring the hemp in their products is made as sustainably as possible, and they work directly with farmers and processors. The company is also active politically, helping to push the US to legalize hemp farms around the country.
Other Sustainable Brands
While the companies below don’t offer as many hemp products, they are still brands committed to sustainable fashion.
Wolven’s clothes for women and men are funky, fun, unique, super comfortable, and they’re made with sustainable practices. Many of their leggings, sports bras, festival playsuits, and tops are made from recycled PET fabrics, which are created by turning recycled plastics into fine yarn. Their clothes are also made with carbon-neutral modal fiber, derived from beechwood pulp. Wolven writes, “Beech trees propagate on their own, so no artificial irrigation or planting is required—making beechwood forests a completely natural and sustainable source of raw material. These carbon-neutral fibers also require less land per ton and maintain a water consumption level that’s 10 to 20 times less than cotton.” It also helps that their customer service team is fantastic and responsive!
Pact’s clothes are supremely comfortable and made from organic cotton with no harmful chemicals. They are fair-trade certified and process their products with a method that uses way less water than traditional cotton manufacturing. They offer great items for women, men, babies, and kids — everything from underwear to sweaters to bath towels. They also have recycling programs to help you find ways to reuse your old clothing and household linens.
Everlane is a bit more pricey, but the quality and look of their clothes are worth it. They partner with ethically run factories around the world and are transparent with the costs behind every aspect of their manufacturing and production process. They offer classic, high-quality items with styles from all over the world, like Italian shoes, Peruvian Pima tees, and corduroy cropped pants.
This brand has become one of the trendiest shoe companies of the year, and it’s partly because their shoes are unbelievably comfortable. In addition, their shoes look sleek and cool and can be dressed up or down for a casual look or something more upscale. Allbirds is also a certified B Corp with a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. They’ve partnered with leading organizations like ZQ Merino to make sure the wool in their shoes is held to high standards of farming, land management and animal welfare. They also make their shoelaces from recycled plastic bottles. They even ship their products in 90 percent post-consumer recycled cardboard.
This company focuses on ethically made, sustainable clothing basics at fair prices for both those creating the garments and purchasing them. Kotn sources the cotton for their clothes from farmers in Egypt and pays them a fair wage. They work with 690 smallholder cotton farms directly. Kotn is also a certified B corporation. They offer clothes for men and women in a variety of styles and colors. Although the patterns are simple, their basics are bold, comfortable, and fun.
Another great, sustainable option is to go thrift or second-hand shopping. You can often find high-quality goods in second-hand stores, and that way, you’re reusing clothes that have already been manufactured and saving those production and shipping resources. (It’s also sometimes easier on your bank account!)
Whether you’re buying new or second-hand, it’s important to remember how our purchase choices ultimately affect the environment, especially when it comes to fast fashion. Buying from any of these brands above takes out that guess factor, so you can feel confident in your purchase.