Mark my words, sustainability is humanity’s last chance. This beautiful blue and green planet has given us plenty of chances, too many chances in my opinion. We’ve known for more than a century and a half the damage that our out-of-control industrial activity has done to our so-far-forgiving mother Earth, but what happens when she can no longer tolerate the treatment?
We need to reduce the ridiculous consumption we as a society are currently doing, and clothing consumption is a good place to start. Mind you, I’m not advocating for you to renounce clothes and go out naked, instead, I’m encouraging you to support clothing made in a sustainable way, where natural resources are not wasted or tainted for their production. Sustainability matters and your clothing choices too, make the right choice, choose a sustainable clothing brand.
#1 Marc Skid
With Marc Skid eco-friendly underwear, you can better the world one pair of undies at a time. It’s all about everyday people helping everyday people, because anyone can make a difference across the globe – just by wearing undies.
The belief is that brands should have attributes like people we admire, so Marc Skid was created to be a brand that could laugh at itself, but display strong character and live with purpose.
The cheekily named brand teamed up with nine top-rated Charity Navigator charities that support the brand’s mantra to Feed the World, Save the World and Cure the World. With the purchase of each pair of underwear, Marc Skid donates $4 to a partnered charity. What can $4 do? It can feed a child for 12 days in the developing world, it can vaccinate 2 children, it can plant 4 trees, it can deliver $80 in medical supplies, or safe drinking water to a person for 7 years. Now, that’s Making a Marc on the World!
#2 Kind Apparel
Kind Apparel is an eco-friendly women’s outdoor clothing company, designing and manufacturing adventure-ready wearables for #galswhogetafterit. I (Mallory Ottariano) founded the company in 2015 and we make 100% of our products from recycled plastic water bottles, that are milled in the US.
All our manufacturing happens in the US, and we involve a ton of technology in our process to make our practices more environmentally friendly. i.e., printing with non-toxic inks and heat instead of dye and wasting water, and cutting with lasers to minimize fabric waste. All of our scraps are repurposed into other elements of our production, like straps and headbands. We’re also a member of 1% for the Planet, which means we give 1% of our revenue to environmental non-profits every calendar year.
Jackalo focuses on creating sustainable, durable, organic clothing for active children. The materials for their product are ethically sourced. Their organic cotton is both GOTS and IVN BEST certified. The clothing is designed to last so that parents purchase less of it, creating a smaller environmental impact than other children’s clothing companies.
Additionally, they offer a trade up program to take back used clothing once a child outgrows the item. They will then wash, repair (if applicable) and resell at a discount while offering the customer 20% off their next purchase to encourage participation.
Girlfriend, the company, are an amazing group of women who make quality, durable active-wear in inclusive sizes, using fabrics made from recycled plastic, which they promote with beautiful diverse models!
#5 Madi Apparel
MADI Apparel, is a line of elegant, sustainable, eco-friendly underwear, and loungewear, that donates a new pair of underwear to women in domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters and rape crisis centers for every MADI garment purchased. Buy one, give one. MADI is the TOMS Shoes of underwear. Why underwear? Underwear tops the most urgent needs list of nearly every domestic violence and homeless shelter and rape crisis center.
Another plus, the underwear, and loungewear are made in the US from viscose from bamboo, beautiful, high-end fabric that is self wicking, anti microbial and quick drying so women in need can hand wash and hang dry a pair overnight. Not only is the bamboo fabric very sustainable, MADI is a woman-owned small business and they hire woman-owned cut and sew teams to manufacture the underwear in the US, substantially lowering their carbon footprint. Additionally, the line is designed to be a long-lasting, eco-conscious, practical addition to a woman’s closet with pieces that transition from day to night, loungewear to pool or parties.
This is the activewear and outdoor clothing brand you need if you’re looking to make a guilt-free purchase. Their collections are certified Fair Trade, made with organic cotton and founded on environmental sustainability. Patagonia’s brand revolves around its values which are to create the best product while causing no unnecessary harm.
#7 Stella Mccartney
If you’re looking for a luxury brand to spice up the conscious collection in your wardrobe, Stella McCartney is the designer to watch out for. The brand has been creating sustainable luxury fashion for almost two decades and is committed to shaping the future of fashion in a sustainable and conscious way.
#8 Monsoon Blooms
Working to support traditional methods of Ayurvedic cloth dyeing, Monsoon Blooms is leading the charge in plant-dyed fashion. Made in the south of India at a small dye-house in a forest, the dyes contain ingredients like sandalwood, tulsi, neem, aloe vera and rose and are used by sick locals for bathing after the cloth dyeing is complete. The brand’s luxurious organic and Fair Trade fabrics have been crafted into a range of loungewear pieces, that will compliment any wardrobe style.
#9 Fair Trade Winds
The ‘Fair Trade Winds’ is a brand committed to creating quality clothing in an ethical manner. This family owned business supplies it’s seven brick and mortar locations and their online shop with pieces of clothing hand-made by talented and empowered women working in cooperatives. This Fair Trade Federation member offers variety of women’s, men’s, children’s apparel and great accessories at a fair price. I highly recommend this brand to anyone wishing to support a sustainable family business.
360° approach when it comes to ethical and environmental sustainability.
Did you know that 65% of Mongolian grassland is threatened by desertification? One of the biggest contributor to the damage is cashmere goats.
Yashmere offers a sustainable alternative to cashmere clothing. They approach sustainability rather holistically by being less damaging at every stage of their supply chain. Additionally, 2% of the sales goes to environmental projects that aim to regenerate the damaged pastureland.
This Earth Week, tentree is challenging its followers to put their ‘green thumbs’ to work with an interactive digital planting campaign that links the power of saving the environment to the convenience of a smartphone.
I chose this brand because they make sustainable clothing that will last through trends. Most of their items are basic colors and products, but having a few basic items on hand at all times is your best bet when you travel or need to make it seem like you have a bigger wardrobe than you already do. Not only does Pact make sustainable clothing, their minimal choices keep you from buying more than you need, too. The prices are not outrageous which makes you feel like you’re saving the world and your wallet simultaneously.
In addition to Milkbarn having an organics collection, they have also teamed up with Exile International, an organization that restores rescued child soldiers and war-affected children to become leaders for peace through art focused trauma care and holistic, rehabilitative care.
FOLQ has been born out of our admiration for folklore, out of our passion for sophisticated patterns and beautiful colours. It is not only about the looks, but feeling your best in every outfit you wear. We know we have a responsibility to the planet. Your clothes are made of organic cotton and we use partly recycled polyester. Every garment is designed and made to last.
#15 Roma Boots
After nine years, ROMA is ‘America’s Favorite Rain Boot’ with countless practical, yet fashionable rain boots for men, women, and kids. ROMA Boots merges fashion with philanthropy to give poverty the boot. Their mission is to bring impoverished children throughout the world hope, love, and lasting change through aid and education.
For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. ROMA was founded in 2010 by Samuel Bistrian, who wanted to combine his love of fashion and philanthropy to help children in his home country of Romania. ROMA’s ultimate goal is not only to provide aid, but to educate. By doing so we will empower impoverished children around the world to break out of the cycle of poverty and contribute their gifts and talents to society.
#16 700 Rivers
Cathy Gomes, the founder of this growing boutique brand, has blended the best of Bangladeshi and American South fashion to create an affordable, sustainable and ethical brand. 700 Rivers is named for the waters that sustain the life of Bangladesh and the brand work to provide living wages and safe working conditions for Bangladeshi seamstresses–a country remembered for a series of factory fires in the mid-2010s for suppliers of US and European brands. And if all that feel-good karma wasn’t enough…these pineapple-fiber and recycled-sari clothes are incredibly cute!
#17 Olistic The Label
For a more luxury, bohemian feel, Olistic the Label has a gorgeous line of hand-embroidered eveningwear that uses organic fibers and provides sustainable wages and jobs for European embroidery artists. This artisan, bespoke label evokes the feeling of being dressed by the great European designers of the early-20th century but with a modern, earthy bohemian vibe.
The recommendations of products and books within this article where sourced from industry experts. Their names and websites are listed below.
Daniel Barry from Marc Skid
Mallory Ottariano from Kind Apparel
Alicia Ward from Flauk
Sophie Newman from Ethical Fashion Review
Pam Besheer from MADI Apparel
Nate Masterson from NateMasterson
Samantha Kamala from Monsoon Blooms
Ollie Smith from ExpertSure
Nomindari Mendee from Yashmere LLC
Sheila Smith from tentree
Erin Maxson from With Dog She Travels
Scott Cook from Milkbarn Kids
Marissa Chiechi from ChicExecs PR
Brittany Love from 9th & Main Digital Strategy