When it comes to fashion, it can be difficult to know what’s truly sustainable. The best way is to purchase less or buy second-hand clothing, but if you’re set on buying new, these sustainable fashion brands are excellent choices.
If you’re wondering what it means for a brand to be sustainable, take a look at Green That Life’s post on Sustainable Fashion. It provides an explanation of sustainable fashion and a guide for how to spot reputable sustainable fashion brands.
Sustainable Fashion Brands
A Note on Prices and Eco-Certifications
I’ve categorized price ranges loosely on generally accepted price point categories:
- Budget: under $75
- Moderate: Generally $75-$150
- Designer: Generally $150+
The list of eco-certifications that companies toss about can be overwhelming. Which are a legitimate stamp of approval of a brand’s commitment to sustainable practices? The ones included here are from reputable, accredited certification agencies. For more detailed information, see Green That Life’s overview of independent certifications and guides.
Amour Vert emphasizes sustainability in all aspects of their business operations. The company addresses the environmental impact of the full lifecycle of the garment from production and distribution, to ultimate disposal. They partner with local mills (in fact, 97% of their products are made in the company’s home state of California) to create their four signature, recycled, organic, and traceable fabrics. The company packages orders using only recycled materials and compostable bags, and they use soy-based ink for print. Amour Vert has also partnered with American Forests to plant a tree for every tee shirt bought on their site. Their clothes are comfortable, versatile, and guilt-free!
Eileen Fisher, a brand that makes effortless yet beautiful pieces for women, is a prime example of a sustainable fashion brand that has truly dedicated itself to taking responsibility for its environmental impact. The company website displays an expansive “Behind the Label” section detailing its commitment to sustainability, transparent supply chains, and human and workers’ rights. Eileen Fisher uses organic linen and cotton in their U.S. factories, recycles their own (unused and used) materials and fibers, purchases renewable energy credits for 100% of their store and corporate energy consumption, and has a “Regenerative Wool” program that partners with farmers in Patagonia whose methods restore grasslands. Eileen Fisher, a brand that already adheres to sustainable business practices, is constantly striving to reduce its environmental impact.
Kuyichi Pure Goods
Kuyichi Pure Goods started in 2000 in Peru when the founders were shocked to discover how much pollution and poverty filled the cotton industry. They took it upon themselves to become the first clothing brand to make 100% organic denim, as “the most commonly worn product made of cotton is a pair of jeans.” Since then, Kuyichi has expanded its company to offer hundreds of classic men’s and women’s styles, all with a dedication to sustainable, organic, recycled, and ethical materials. The brand is partnered with several industry environmental initiatives, has earned many certifications and accreditations, and even released a Covid-19 plea for the fashion industry to respect its workers and products.
Pact is a cotton-focused sustainable fashion brand that has committed itself to manufacture Fair Trade, organic products. They offer women’s, men’s, and kid’s styles, as well as bedding. Pact has partnered with an eco-tech company to calculate carbon offsets for the carbon footprint of the brand’s shipping processes. They also offer a donation program for customers to donate used clothes and reuses any packaging received. Pact is a company with a mission to build Earth’s favorite clothing company. They seem to be on the right path with their sustainable and affordable cotton apparel and their beautiful, classic styles are perfect for summer!
Reformation, one of the most popular sustainable fashion brands, began as a small vintage store in L.A. and grew into a large business that never lost its focus on environmentally-friendly clothing. The company has been calculating and posting sustainability reports since 2016, carbon neutral since 2015, and is partnered with Native Energy and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to offset what they’ve already produced. Reformation is also committed to Fair Labor practices and even built their own local factory in L.A. to ensure that their own standards are upheld. Reformation is an excellent one-stop shopping experience for any new products you might need, without the guilt of fast fashion!
Stella McCartney, an approachable luxury brand with gorgeous, unique designs, has been using the Environmental Profit & Loss Tool since 2012 to quantify their impact on the environment and use that data and to make smarter decisions that work for their company and the earth. They have close relationships with their factories, workshops, and suppliers, ensuring that every new facility follows the UN’s Business and Human Rights Guiding Principles. They have also committed themselves to the transition to a circular economy, which involves a restructuring of the deeply-rooted linear, wasteful nature of the fashion industry. Luxury brands can easily avoid the public scorn associated with fast fashion, but Stella McCartney is making active efforts towards sustainability.