These are some of our favourite sustainable fashion and activewear brands – some local, some from further afield – that are putting sustainability at the core of what they do, through using environmentally friendly materials and ethical production processes, and doing it without compromising on style.
IDEN collections start with the jeans - the brand makes its versions of key shapes, ensuring they fit and flatter. The denim is also sustainable, thanks to the use of natural and recycled fibres, a reduction in water usage and eco-friendly washes on the jeans, and a small supply chain with factories in Portugal and Turkey.
Stay Wild Swim
Stay Wild is helping fight the scourge of plastic in our oceans with their eco-friendly swimwear made from a genius little thing called ECONYL®, a yarn crafted from regenerated fishing nets collected from the ocean as well as other scrap materials, which is turned into high-quality fabric. The factory is based in north London and it's a social enterprise that brings women from disadvantaged backgrounds in and trains them in clothing production.
Good News is all about making shoes that last. The trainers themselves have recycled rubber soles, organic cotton uppers and an eco-friendly footbed made from recycled rubber and bio-oil. On top of that, the brand donates any deadstock to the homeless and people in need, so you really are doing a good deed by sporting a pair of these kicks.
Sundried makes technical activewear that can cope with the demands of exercise and the brand does it sustainably too. Pieces in the Eco Core range are made from recycled plastic bottles, whilst the Eco Charge range makes use of recycled coffee grounds. They've even made a fully biodegradable t-shirt that's sill durable.
It takes around 4 – 10,000 litres of water to create your average pair of jeans, which is a hell of a lot. E.L.V. is tackling that issue by making jeans from two old pairs that have been stitched together to make a fresh new pair in a completely new style. No two pairs are ever the same and for even greater customisation there’s even a fitting service available so you can get a pair made to fit you perfectly.
A wholly ethical fashion brand, ELLISS was born out of a desire to create clothing using conscious design methods and minimal waste. The clothes are made from soft, natural fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, which are light and have as low an impact on the earth as possible. Designer Elliss also shares a building with their manufacturers, allowing the production process to maintain a low carbon footprint.
This Aussie brand is all about quality activewear that's ethical and environmentally friendly. The COMPRESSLITE range features pieces made with fabric created from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles - each pair of leggings uses six bottles and each sports bra uses two, with Nimble estimating they've saved over 400,000 bottles from landfill in a year.
Marine Layer's Re-Spun collection features tees made in an entirely waterless, closed loop production process. The shirts are made from 50% recycled cotton t-shirts and 50% other recycled and sustainably sourced virgin fibres, and thanks to a technique developed by Spanish factory Recover, they are broken down and re-spun into new yarns without the need for water or dyes.
Sir Plus started in 2010 after Henry Hales discovered the surplus material from shirtmaking could be used to make pants. Yes, the amount of material was perfect for making a nice pair of boxers and used up fabric that would have otherwise been chucked in the bin. Fast forward to 2019 and Henry now has a whole smart menswear range made from surplus materials, including waistcoats, jackets and grandad shirts.
Y.O.U (which stands for Your Own Underwear)is all about creating undies that make you look good and feel good, whilst also doing good. The pieces are made using 100% organic, fair trade, sustainably sourced, PETA-approved cotton; the company only uses ethical manufacturers; and all the packaging is recyclable. As well as promoting body positivity by not airbrushing their campaign imagery, Y.O.U also gives back by donating two pairs of pants to Smalls For All for every item purchased.
Doc Cotton's marketplace allows designers to launch their own store in minutes by applying their own prints and patterns to pre-designed garments, made from 100% organic cotton by seamstresses in Peckham, with the entire production process managed by Doc Cotton. All garments are made to order, so there's never any excess stock lying around, and Doc Cotton reuses or upcycles all old garments returned to them
This Canadian brand has created unisex trainers that are made from vegan materials and are totally biodegradable. The Plant Shoe is made from cork, corn, eucalyptus, hevea (natural latex) pineapple husk, linen and organic cotton. The company has also pledged to make each and every one of their shoes 100% life cycle managed by 2023.
This Chilean eyewear brand makes frames from natural and recycled materials. The ECONYL plastic polymers they use are made from fishing nets in Patagonia as well as other waste collected by local people, so not only is this waste plastic being recycled, the locals are able to earn money too.
London company Birdsong, founded by Sophie Slater and Sarah Beckett, offers an inspiring alternative model for how the fashion industry can work, in a protest against the practices of the global chains and its abuses. They work with skilled women makers in the UK that face barriers to employment, and pay them a fair wage. And the brand is transitioning into a pre-ordering system to ensure zero waste stock.
Pangaia has created a range of sustainable wardrobe essentials made from bio-materials, recycled plastic bottles and natural botanical dyes, delivered in compostable packaging. They have t-shirts made from seaweed fiber and puffer jackets stuffed with FLWRDWN, a material made with (responsibly harvested) natural wild flowers.
Brazilian sneaker brand Cariuma takes inspiration from surfing, skating and Rio street culture, and makes sustainable kicks in classic designs. Natural materials like bamboo, cork, organic cotton and mamona oil as well as recycled PET plastic are used throughout the shoes and for every pair of shoes bought, the brand also plants a pair of trees in the Brazilian rainforest.