These days, there really is no excuse to not be conscious about our purchases. With ethical and sustainable brands now widely available and easily accessible, it is easier than ever to make a positive difference for the people involved in the making of our clothes and goods.
The stories of tragedies related to the unethical production of clothing and the pollution happening during the process have been in the news for years now, but in what degree are we questioning how are clothes are made on a day-to-day basis?
From the last fashion items you bought, do you know for sure who has made those clothes and in what kind of conditions these people had to work? Probably not. I must confess that I can also not answer those questions, and I know I should.
Documentaries such as “The True Cost” can give you a real insight on how the fast fashion industry depletes the earth’s resources and leverages slave labor to be able to produce cheap items to the end consumer such as you and me.
But these days, there really is no need to not be conscious about our purchases. With ethical and sustainable brands popping up, it’s becoming more and more easy to make a positive difference for the people involved in the making of our clothes and goods.
We asked some of our favourite bloggers for their personal recommendations of ethical clothing and accessory brands:
Adidas Originals by Parley
Adidas is working with Parley for the Oceans to keep plastic out of the ocean by transforming waste into fashionable high-performance sportswear. Upcycled waste becomes stylish shoes, track pants & more, with a full product line of outdoor clothing expanding in 2018. It was our favorite brand of the recent Outdoor Retailer trade show.
Suggested by Bret & Mary from Green Global Travel
People Tree have been ethical and sustainable producing clothing for the past 26 years, way before people even considered where and how their clothes were made. They have also shown that ethical clothing can be fashionable as they have been featured on the front cover of Vogue.
Suggested by Paul from GlobalHelpSwap
Emily and Fin
Emily and Fin create beautiful high-quality vintage-inspired dresses for women of all different sizes that are made ethically. I’ve worn their dresses for years and despite regular use, they still fit perfectly. I’m always pleasantly surprised by their travel inspired prints as well as their takes on classic silhouettes. Whether you’re looking for a lightweight dress to travel with or a formal dress for a nice occasion, Emily and Fin dresses are perfect for ethical people trying to look fashionable.
Suggested by Karen from Wanderlustingk
O My Bag
O My Bag sells beautiful leather bags, produced in an eco-friendly and fair in India. By providing fair wages, O My Bag offer the chance of a better life for the women who work there. O My Bag is a creative brand and their leather bags and accessories are gorgeous: classy, fashionable and one of a kind! It’s definitely not your ordinary bag!
Suggested by Manouk from Bunch of Backpackers
I first heard of Fjällräven after receiving their Totepack No. 1 as a present – it’s my daily use laptop bag and has been with me on every trip since I’ve got it and shows no signs of wear at all. The Fjällräven products are durable and what’s important to me is that they’re made with the environment in mind – they believe that products that last longer are better for the environment and leave as little an environmental trace as possible. They also have a line of down jackets that are ethically-sourced with their chain of production being 100% traceable.
Suggested by Christabel from Where’s Bel
I love their colourful prints and designs that are inspired by African tradition. Their clothes are made in Malawi, where they work with the charity ‘Mayamiko Trust’ to help people overcome poverty.
Suggested by Nadine from The Kindest Way
Kuhl designs clothes that are perfect for the outdoor and adventures, but that are at the same time stylish. Each and every item is incredibly comfortable: it feels good on the skin; it fits nicely and it is just cozy. And to top this off, the clothes are ethic: only high quality ethic (fake) leather; ethic goose down feathers; ethically produced cotton and wool.
Suggested by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
I love so much about tentree! They got their name because they plant 10 trees for every purchase made and are hoping to have planted 1 billion trees by 2030. They also have many eco practices, and eventually, want to become one of the most environmentally progressive brands on earth. Every item is made with sustainable materials such as cork and recycled polyester. tentree are a Canadian company but ship to many countries so try them today!
Suggested by Craig from No Real Plan
Beyond the Backpack
I love Beyond the Backpack because their t-shirt material is made with recycled ocean bottles, yet it’s super soft! 50 percent of profits are donated to animal conservation charities, and production takes place in fair trade factories making sure workers are not exploited. The designs are super cute and stylish, and they also make an ethical range of bracelets made with recycled materials.
Suggested by Margherita from The Crowded Planet
TwoThirds is a clothing brand that constantly analyses their materials in search for better alternatives. Their aim is to reduce the environmental impact with every garment they introduce. I love the explanation of the brand that “two-thirds of our planet are covered by ocean”. They take this as a reason to make people aware of the immense value of our oceans.
Suggested by Clemens from Travellers Archive
All of Dorsu’s clothing is designed and produced at their studio in Kampot, Cambodia. They hire and train Cambodian women in a variety of jobs within the company, who work under fair conditions and earn a living wage. Staff design, pattern make, sample, cut, sew, package and sell all clothing under one roof at the production site. Clothing quality is high and pieces are made to last. Nothing is wasted and even scraps are turned into unique pieces to sell.
Suggested by Jen from Two Can Travel
FIG Clothing is a small French Canadian women’s active and travel wear company that creates stylish clothing that are great for travel. They also work hard to create ethical and eco-friendly clothing.
Suggested by Jessica from Independent Travel Cats (read a review of this brand on her blog!)
Nisolo’s minimalist yet timeless styles are what drew me in at first but it was their commitment to the craftsmen and artisans that make their shoes and accessories. Forming close relationships with their workers in Peru, Mexico and Kenya, Nisolo (which means not alone) provides a fair living wage and benefits in communities where this is not the norm. Some shoemakers have experienced a 400% increase in income, greatly benefiting their families and communities making Nisolo fashion you can feel good about.
Suggested by Brianna from The Casual Travelist
Patagonia seems to be on the right track towards being as sustainable, responsible and ethical as possible. They have programs such as ‘Worn Wear’, where they encourage their outdoors fanatic customers to reuse, recycle and repair their products. They manufacture really high quality stuff that lasts a long time with e-fibers as recycled wool, organic cotton and hemp. Patagonia is also Fair Trade Certified and pays living wages instead of minimum salaries to their employees around the world.
Suggested by Inma from A World to Travel
Backed by stylish products and a commitment to improve people’s lives and the environment, Panda is an easy brand to love. The brand first started with sunglasses made from bamboo. I thought that it is very clever to use a sustainable material for a fashion accessory that is usually made with plastic. Panda Sunglasses are comparably lightweight and float on water too. For every pair sold, they would donate an eye exam and new glasses to someone in need. They also have bamboo watches, which supports programs that make education accessible for all. It’s like changing the world in style.
Suggested by Yamy from GoFamGo
Uniqlo is one of my favourite clothing brands due to its great quality that really reflects to their product. Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing company that also care about the sustainability, social awareness and responsibility integrated to their company’s mission. They are pro-actively engaging to various sustainable activities that promotes the responsible, sustainable and ethical practices in the clothing industry.
Suggested by Ryazan from Everything Zany
I love their spirit and values but I also love their designs: comfortable, colourful and very pleasant to the touch. I love that they are the perfect companion for travel, both as in-flight outfit as well as to be worn while exploring.
Suggested by Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey
Besides making the best adventure clothing and camping gear on the market, Kathmandu is committed to sending zero waste to landfill, are shifting the materials used in their products to be completely recyclable and sustainable and have turned their stores and offices into 5-star green eco buildings. They also host city clean-up days and hold global events (like treks in Nepal) to raise money for the Australian Himalayan Foundation.
Suggested by Jarryd from NOMADasaurus
Being a kiwi, I love to support products made in New Zealand or from New Zealand materials. All Birds shoes make use of what NZ has in abundance – wool! Merino wool is the perfect material as it is light-weight, soft, it regulates temperature and doesn’t absorb odor. The merino wool runners designed by All Birds are super stylish, comfortable and most importantly ethical and environmentally friendly.
Suggested by Rohan from Travels of a Bookpacker
I love the way that MountainDesigns is creating wearable outdoor wear in a unique way. Considering the environment and durability. Australian owned and designed it’s great to see the little companies putting in the time and energy to creatively design eco friendly adventure gear. My favourite jacket is a knee length down jacket which combines ethically sourced duck down with recycled coffee bean fibre to provide eco-conscious insulation. It’s a win win situation!
Suggested by Jean from Traveling Honeybird
I love Cotopaxi for a few reasons: they treat their workers well (they’re a B Corp which is sort of like Fair Trade for coffee), they source their wool sustainably, and they actually have a line of products that use up leftover materials. Not only that, their design really stands out and I get a lot of comments whenever I wear their products (jackets and sweaters).
Suggested by Jill from Jack and Jill Travel
Thought (Formerly Braintree)
Thought Clothing are a modern and ethical clothing label whose ethics apply not only to the materials they use to make the clothing, but also to how they treat their staff and business partners. Their range covers everything your wardrobe could need, from t-shirts and tops to trousers, socks, and accessories like scarves and hats. Although ethical, sustainable, and everything else that’s pure, their clothing is just as contemporary and stylish as any other brand – if not more so. And, unlike most other mainstream brands, Thought Clothing is manufactured to last for as long as possible.
Suggested by James from Worldwide Shopping Guide
If you have any additional suggestions, we would love to hear from you in the comments!