You’ve decided to buy sustainable, ethical clothes. Yay! Congratulations! Welcome to the club!
Then you start looking…
Where are they?
Never fear! They’re out there. It can just be a bit difficult figuring out which ones meet the sustainability goals in your life.
Here are 10 companies that I’ve researched that can help you build a sustainable, responsible foundation.
The people over at Reformation are doing an incredible job when it comes to thoughtfulness, transparency, and sourcing. They truly understand the impact that the textile industry has on the planet, and they are doing something about it.
They are very up front in acknowledging that truly sustainable clothing comes from a renewable resource, is produced with as little energy and pollution as possible, and then can return to the earth.
The fabrics they use are top of the line in sustainability. With a mix of naturals, and responsible semi-synthetics, they’ve curated garments that will perform well, and look great, for years.
Currently this California-based company produces clothing for women. An exceptionally important feature is their “made-to-order” policy, meaning they aren’t churning out vast quantities of items that might not get sold. They focus on small batches, and garments that can be made one at a time, when the customer actually wants them.
When it comes to ethical production, Nisolo is a heavy hitter. This company has as strong commitment to seeing that every person in their supply and production chain is getting above fair trade wages, health care, and healthy working conditions.
Nisolo specializes in leather shoes and accessories for men and women. Surprised to see leather making the list of sustainable, responsible companies? Nature doesn’t do things in a vacuum. Animals are very much an important part in creating circular systems. Just as wood is an incredible and versatile material made form a living thing, so too is leather. Small scale production using real artisans and craftspeople results is intimately tied to greater respect for the sources of the materials they use.
In addition, the company engages in conservation efforts to protect rainforests. Check it out here.
Domestic production is a component of sustainability that a “global economy” has decimated. Here is a company that understands how important it is for manufacturing to stick close to home.
Todd Shelton strives to source as many of its fabrics from US growers and fabric mills. When they can’t, they only buy from countries that have similar labor and environmental standards to the US. Every item also has a story of where the material is coming from. This is great transparency.
Specializes in menswear. You can find a variety of tops and bottoms made with wool, cotton, and linen. On the pricey side, but offers incredible custom fitting tools. You get what you pay for. Made to order.
Where to begin?? Eileen Fisher has been a leader in the responsible clothing industry since 1984. From creating trusted relationships with suppliers, to ensuring fair trade wages and standards, to sourcing the most responsible fibers, this country is doing it all.
By 2020, the brand is projected to have entirely shifted to organic cotton, linen, non-toxic dyes, and carbon positive production. Truly raising the bar on sustainable clothing.
25% of their garments are made domestically in the US. Eileen Fisher is a women’s clothing brand, with apparel for all seasons.
This UK based company comes right out and tells you – “we believe in slow fashion.”
With every item, you see an emphasis on long lasting, quality made, quality materials. They feature clothing for both women and men. Their fabrics include hemp, wool, organic cotton, tencel, rayon, and recycled polyester.
Thought Clothing builds long-term relationships with their supplies. These relationships create a dynamic scenario of two way communication and growth. Very affordably priced.
Here is a brand that is all about the minimalist wardrobe. Less is more. Cuyana pieces are geared towards using the highest quality fabrics with simple timeless designs that will last for years across numerous settings.
One of the amazing things about this brand is their spirit of giving. With their Lean Closet movement, they will send you a linen bag that can be filled with any clothes you are looking to get rid of. Send it back to them with the included return address label, and get a $10 credit for every item you give. All donations are used to support victims of abuse.
Cuyana works with skilled craftspeople to ensure that their products are made with love and care. They have a tightly knit maker network throughout Europe, South America, China, and the US.
As a company founded on the ideals of doing fashion better, they really mean it. Fair Indigo makes clothing and accessories for women, men, and babies. Pieces meant to last, in styles that are always in.
Their products are primarily made with Peruvian pima cotton and free-range baby alpaca, as well as the safest available commercial dyes. The company communicates up front that they want nothing to do with fast fashions cheap materials and constantly changing trends.
In addition to sustainable, they also strive to be ethical, providing fair-trade prices and building close relationships with their producers. The also seek to minimize the carbon footprint of their products my manufacturing the cloth as close to the source as possible.
What it cares about is right in the name. People. And the planet. People Tree wants every customer to know who is making their items. With an incredible network of artisans and craftspeople around the world, this company emphasizes fair trade practices and sustainable materials.
People Tree partners with various initiatives around the world to empower people with traditional skills, such as weaving, to make a living with their abilities. There is value in doing things by hand, and People Tree wants its producers and customers to know that.
This company specializes in women’s apparel and accessories. You can find wool, organic cotton, fair trade cotton, and tencel in their lineup of materials.
Here is another ethical company that recognizes the value of the high quality pima cotton and alpaca fiber that is grown and raised in Peru. With an eye for what a material means to the people that raise it, Indigenous connects to what’s important in life, community.
Indigenous doesn’t just make sure the people in their supply chain are being paid well, they make sure they are able to make a better life for themselves, as well as their families and villages. They provide trainings and resources to help their contacts lift up their entire community along with them.
Aaaand last but not least…in fact possibly my favorite, Elsawool. Simple wool clothing for real people. Made with purebred cormo wool.
This small company works directly with growers of cormo sheep, a breed developed in Australia using Corriedale rams and Merino ewes. The founder, Elsa Hallowell is dedicated to providing customers with high quality wool clothing that is soft, comfortable, and durable.
I love this company so much because it’s “no frills.” They aren’t out to compete with mainstream brands. They are out to connect people with good clothing. Plain and simple. And it’s clothing that is sustainably sourced, ethically produced, and can return to the earth.
Is there a company, artisan, craftsperson, or brand that you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.
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