You don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability with these sustainable clothing brands that are excellent alternatives to fast fashion.
Ready to curate an eco-conscious wardrobe? The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The myriad of sustainable clothing brands on the market are making mindful shopping and alternatives to fast fashion easier than ever. And they’re churning out trendy, fashionable pieces all while doing good for the planet.
Is sustainable clothing really sustainable?
The fashion industry has a major greenwashing problem. Fashion brands are using misleading terms like “organic” and “recycled” to appease the growing demand among consumers for more eco-friendly products.
From touting recycling initiatives to launching ranges featuring upcycled materials, these marketing ploys are simply the fast fashion industry’s attempt at appearing more sustainable than it actually is.
Take for example, H&M’s Looop campaign. Launched in 2020, the in-store recycling initiative encourages consumers to recycle their used clothing—turning old garments into new ones.
But, similar to British retailer Asos’ circular collection and leading athleisure brand Lululemon’s recent sustainable revamp, the recycling program doesn’t mitigate the environmental impact of the billions of garments it produces each year.
Sustainable alternatives to fast fashion to shop
There are still countless eco-friendly fashion companies that actually go the distance in terms of their commitment to sustainability. Check out these sustainable clothing brands and alternatives to fast fashion that are doing good for the planet—and your wardrobe.
1. Stella McCartney
Since its launch in 2001, this luxe fashion powerhouse’s commitment to creating ethical and sustainable pieces can be seen across all of its collections. From slides made from industrial waste to trousers made from viscose, a sustainable fabric derived from wood pulp, Stella McCartney uses a number of organic and recycled materials.
The label has also eschewed the use of leather, furs, and feathers from the start. In addition to animal welfare concerns, the production of leather, in particular, is rife with environmental implications. The rearing of livestock is associated with deforestation and gas emissions. Tanneries also use highly toxic chemicals like chromium, a known carcinogen.
“People associate leather with luxury, but I wanted to approach things in a different way,” McCartney said in an interview with Nordstrom. “I always wanted to prove it was doable without sacrificing style or design. I think it’s one of the most game-changing things we’ve done in the fashion industry, and we are still the only luxury fashion house providing this type of product.”
Carrying everything from activewear to underwear, this all-natural, organic clothing company knows a thing or two about sustainability. The brand creates its wares from GOTS certified organic cotton and encourages its customers to minimize their environmental footprint with every purchase. Shoppers are given the option of offsetting the carbon footprint of their shipments by purchasing carbon offset credits.
3. One Golden Thread
Equal parts eco-conscious and luxurious, this regenerative clothing brand is on a mission to “create feel-good fashion for the conscious collective.” The company’s “second skin” fabric is made from a blend of Tencel Micro Modal, which is derived from the regenerative tree fiber beechwood, and Supima cotton. One Golden Thread is able to make 108 articles of clothing from one single beech tree. And for each garment purchased, the brand plants a tree with the help of One Tree Planted, its reforestation partner.
But the company is more than just a collection of clothing. A registered Public Benefit Company, social good and giving back is at its core. Portions of proceeds are donated to a number of charities, including Color of Change and Alzheimer’s Association. “Business is sacred, a collective force for social good. And it begins within each of us, choosing to tap into our inner nature to expand ourselves as part of the solution,” the company’s founder, Jeff Scult, told Forbes. “We seek to make it an easefull on-ramp for self-enroll: To do good in the world by doing nothing more than wearing what you love.”
4. People Tree
Founded in 1991, this sustainable clothing brand prioritizes ethical and eco-friendly production practices from start to finish. The brand’s collections feature Tencel lyocell and organic cotton and are made using traditional artisan skills like handweaving, hand embroidery, and hand block printing, which help to provide jobs in rural areas where work is scarce. The company is also non-toxic, using low impact dyes instead.
Is your wardrobe in need of some more stylishly sustainable pieces? Click here for Ethos’ guide to the best recycled clothing brands.