Thanks to an increased focus on climate change, finding the best sustainable clothing brands has gotten a lot easier—but it still takes work. A brand may use organic fibers, for example, but have little knowledge of the labor practices in its supply chain. Or they could pay a living wage to all workers but use non-renewable packaging. Here, we sorted through the fine print to find the very best ethically-minded clothing brands for women, men and kids, so you can shop with peace of mind.
Frankly, the only sustainable shopping is less shopping. But even the most minimalist person will eventually need a new pair of underwear or jeans, and the best sustainable clothing brands work hard to make the complicated business of fashion a lot cleaner. From fiber to fabric, labor to shipping, retail to packaging, no clothing brand gets everything right. Still, these 13 conscientious brands are putting in the effort. Read more about how we choose the winners at the end, and we frequently update this story with the latest information so check back here if you need to refresh your wardrobe or buy gifts for others.
- The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Women: Reformation, Christy Dawn, Mate The Label, Girlfriend Collective, People Tree
- The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Men: Outerknown, Ministry Of Supply, Patagonia, Nudie Jeans
- The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Kids: Jackalo, Monica + Andy, Kyte Baby, Winter Water Factory
Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Women
The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Men
The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands For Kids
How We Chose The Best Sustainable Clothing Brands
Our culture is one of over-consumption, and it’s devastating for the planet’s natural resources and ecosystems, as well as the low wage workers (mostly women) at every step of the apparel production process. Is it enough for a brand to buy carbon offsets to be “sustainable,” or does it need to actively reduce at every step of the supply chain to earn the designation? As we mentioned earlier, no clothing brand gets everything right. But as a shopper, you can choose to support companies that put in the effort to match your own code of ethics, whatever they may be. In compiling this list, we considered three primary factors:
Materials: What are the clothes made of? Is the cotton organic? Is it certified by an outside party like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)? Is the polyester recycled? Can the brand prove it comes from post-consumer plastic? What dye methods and chemical treatments are used on fabrics? Is water use—and waste—considered?
Labor: Who makes the clothes? Are they paid a living wage? Do they get proper rest periods between shifts? What about health care? Can they unionize, or collectively bargain? Is the factory certified by a third party like Fairtrade International? Is there any shady sub-contracting going on?
Production: What is the environmental footprint of production? Is fabric waste considered? Is the supply chain all over the globe, requiring lots of freight? Do they use virgin plastic in their packaging? Have they taken efforts to integrate renewable energy in factories, stores or offices?
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