7 Sustainable Clothing Brands That Complement Your Zero Waste Journey

7 sustainable clothing brands and what we love about them to help you revamp your wardrobe with more sustainable, ethical pieces that will last you a long time.

Estimated Read Time: 8 Minutes

Humans have been wearing clothes for a really long time. Throughout the centuries clothing has served different purposes. Pre-modernity, sustainable clothing referred to all clothing. It was made from whatever was around and was used to keep people protected from the elements. 

As humans advanced, so did clothing and the way it was made. Eventually clothes came to be used as a form of expression. A representation of what makes you unique and how you want the world to see, and think of, you. 

Rack of clothing inside a store

But just as with anything, the improvements technology brings also has a dark side. For clothing, that dark side is fast fashion.

The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors of global waste. And although the majority of the negative environmental impacts happen before the clothes are even made, fast fashion is designed to be cheaply made and mass produced; to be worn only a few times contributing even more to global waste.  

You have the ability to not only reduce your own waste but support sustainable clothing brands that are working on ways to deliver slow, ethical fashion. 

But sustainability means different things depending on who’s talking about it, so how do you know what brands are truthfully making sustainable clothing? Here are 7 sustainable clothing brands highlighting the practices they’ve implemented to create beautiful, ethical pieces that will last you a long time. 

1. Conscious Step

Conscious Step socks with sloth, monkey, and toucan patterns
For: Men, Women, Kids

What: Socks

Why We Love It:

These socks with a cause will not only keep your feet warm but will keep your heart warm and fuzzy as well. Every purchase supports an amazing cause such as LGBTQ, Mental Health, Sloths, Oceans, and many more. 406,474 trees planted so far. Made with organic materials — free of harmful chemicals & pesticides and certified fairtrade — no child labor, ethical working conditions and salaries for all employees, Conscious Step takes sustainable clothing to the next level by finding ways throughout the production process to protect the environment and their employees. Certified vegan, and a member of 1% for the planet, these just might be your new favorite socks! 

2. Rothy's

3 pairs of shoes lined up - two pairs of black sandals and one pair of white sneaker

Image by Rothy's

For: Men & Women

What: Shoes & Accessories
Why We Love It:

Known mostly for their flats, Rothy’s is creating sustainable fashion essentials for wherever life takes you. Each product is crafted from single-use plastic water bottles, specifically bottles collected within a 30 mile radius of coastlines and marine habitats. In addition to their San Francisco headquarters, they own and operate a production facility in China. This allows them to be extremely involved during the whole process and ensure sustainable standards are being followed and met. Every Rothy’s insole is created from recycled materials which includes scraps from other parts of the production process. Using a unique knit stitch rather than a cut and sew method they’re able to reduce waste by 30%. Just as the best among us do, they have an intense future plan. Starting with a recycling program for end of wear items in 2021. By 2022 the goal is to be a zero waste facility using twice recycled material and by the end of 2023 have a full circular production line.

3. Made by Minga

Woman in white one piece bathing suit with taupe flat rimmed boiler hat and long leather strap.

For: Women & Kids

What: Hats, Bags, Accessories

Why We Love It:

A women-run company based out of San Diego, Made by Minga is a sustainable fashion brand partnering with artisans in Ecuador who use techniques passed down from generations past. The fibers for the pieces come from sustainably harvested cactus in the Andes Mountains, dyed using only native and natural plants to give each hat, bag, wallet, and accessory a unique touch. The leather is added to each piece by a family run leathersmith. Using only high quality leather, it is also naturally dyed and free of chemicals giving each bag a distinct look with natural imperfections. Each bag is handmade and will naturally wear over time becoming even more unique and beautiful. Copper mining was introduced in Ecuador years ago and the industry exploits cheap labor and local resources. Made by Minga artisans are paid fair, living wages and each purchase provides ethical, environmentally-conscious jobs for the locals helping to preserve the environment.

4. The Standard Stitch

Female model in pale pink crewneck tshirt and black pants

For: Women

What: Loungewear, Tees, Tanks

Why We Love It:

The Standard Stitch takes sustainable fashion to the next level with loungewear that lets your conscience relax right along with you. Everything is made locally in Los Angeles — specifically within 10.3 miles. This not only reduces production emissions, but vendors can be vetted to ensure practices align with The Standard Stitch’s standards which includes fair wages and safe working conditions. Taking waste reduction a step farther, they use non-toxic, low impact dyes combined with biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable natural materials to make the clothing. Passing on synthetic fibers to focus on natural ones helps to keep microplastics out of our waterways. Each purchase comes with care instructions that empowers customers to learn about their carbon footprint and how it can be reduced when it comes to clothing maintenance. The sustainability doesn’t stop there! Your order is shipped in compostable packaging that works with home (or industrial) composting. Even tags and labels are recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.

5. Endangered Tees

Folded white tshirts resting on top of each other. The bottom one says earth based babe in in earth tones and the second says protect our pollinators with a flower and garden image outline

For: Men & Women

What: Hats & T-Shirts

Why We Love It:

Treat yourself to a T-Shirt that not only looks like it saves the planet, it actually does! Incorporate these sustainable fashion tees into your wardrobe and rep your favorite cause. With each purchase, Endangered Tees will donate 10% to a partner charity dedicated to saving the planet. Spun, dyed, and knitted in the United States, each tee is made with sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled plastic water bottles. To help reduce waste, this sustainable clothing brand prints in small batches with water soluble ink. Thanks to their environmentally conscious production techniques the manufacturing process of each tee saves 145 gallons of water and prevents 4KG of CO2 emissions. With plastic-free packaging, even the hang tag is sustainable. Made from recycled material, printed with water soluble ink, each tag contains Non-GMO wildflower seeds. Simply plant the seeds in soil to watch them grow! Can your other T-Shirts do that? 

6. Tentree

Folded white tshirts resting on top of each other. The bottom one says earth based babe in in earth tones and the second says protect our pollinators with a flower and garden image outline

Image by Tentree

For: Men, Women, Kids

What: Everything!

Why We Love It:

No matter your sustainable clothing needs, Tentree has something for you + your family. Just as the name suggests, Tentree plants 10 trees not only for every item sold, but for every item produced. To date they’ve planted 57 million trees partnering with charitable organizations who help with the tree planting and rehabilitating natural ecosystems. They could stop there and call it a day, but they’re taking things further. They use eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester made from recycled plastic water bottles to make their clothes. By doing so, a Tentree sweatshirt takes 75% less water to make than other conventional sweatshirts. As a Certified B Corp they voluntarily meet the highest standards for transparency, social and environmental purposes. This also means workers are compensated with living wages, not just minimum wage; they have access to insurance coverage; and have safe workplaces. Since everyone has to have goals, Tentree is aiming to eliminate all single use plastics and virgin packaging materials from their entire supply chain — not just consumer shipping — by 2023. 

7. Wolven Threads

Folded white tshirts resting on top of each other. The bottom one says earth based babe in in earth tones and the second says protect our pollinators with a flower and garden image outline

For: Men & Women

What: Activewear, Loungewear, Swimwear

Why We Love It:

Wolven is shaking up the sustainable fashion industry with athleisure and swimwear made from recycled post-consumer water bottles. Their pieces are so soft you’ll want to brush up on your science to figure out how they do it. For every order they collect 1 pound of ocean bound plastic; sewn in LA you can find 27 plastic bottles in each legging. Using recycled post consumer plastic bottles and wood-pulp fibers that are sustainably harvested, their pieces contain no pesticides, no microplastics, and use significantly less water than cotton. While it’s clear Wolven is conscious of what goes into their pieces, they’re ready to level up. Wolven measures their carbon emissions and offsets their emissions with carbon credits that support rainforest conservation, landfill methane-capture, and other environmental practices. As a 1% for the planet member, they’re taking operations a step further and implementing a plan to continue to reduce emissions as they move forward. Once on its way to you, your order is wrapped with minimal packaging in either a 100% recycled poly mailer or a biodegradable paper box with the contents wrapped in a simple piece of hemp twine. 

Sustainability is never perfect, especially in the fashion industry. What’s most important is supporting the companies who are fighting for sustainable and ethical fashion. Start by researching what is most important to you and support companies that match your standards as much as you can. The best way we can all be sustainable is by buying fewer new items, and keeping what we buy for as long as possible. Happy sustainable shopping! 

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