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There’s no doubt sustainability is a word that has been thrown around casually in recent years, especially in fashion, which is one of the largest polluting industries. Of course, the greenest thing we can do is not buy anything, but as we’re living humans who need to be clothed, it’s unavoidable—plus, getting dressed is fun! The next best option is to consume consciously and intentionally, purchasing from the best sustainable clothing brands.
Those eco-minded companies are transparent with their practices and supply chain, making it easy for shoppers to learn about and track their efforts. They also source and use sustainable materials, such as natural fibers, recycled nylons, and polyesters derived from plastic, waste remnants, or other innovative fabrics. Being good to the environment also extends to caring for the people making the garments. Conscious brands commit to fair and ethical labor practices (some hold certified B-Corp status, which means they are making a meaningful social and environmental impact).
Sustainability comes in many forms and also includes buying quality items that have a longer life span (yes, some of the brands may cost more because of the quality and labor). But if any of your clothing runs its course, consider closing your personal loop by recycling, reselling, donating, or upcycling. From everyday basics like T-shirts and underwear, to eco-friendly swimwear and trendy summer dresses, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the stylish offerings (and check out our Oprah Daily green product picks in honor of Earth Month). Here are some of our favorite sustainable fashion brands to embrace and shop today for a better tomorrow.
Our top picks
- Best for Basics: Pact and Everlane
- Best for Activewear: Girlfriend Collective
- Best for Special Occasion and Evening: Reformation
- Best for Denim: DL1961
- Most Affordable: Amazon Aware
- Best for Underwear: Knickey
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Who can resist a matching activewear set? We certainly cannot, especially when it’s also earth-friendly. Girlfriend Collective is loved for its colorful compression leggings, functional sports bras, and other cute separates that fit every body shape and size. Not only will you feel confident during your workout, you’ll feel great knowing that everything is made from recycled materials derived from plastic bottles, fishing nets, or cotton waste in certified facilities.
If you’ve ever embarked on the search for the perfect wedding guest dress, chances are you know Reformation. Romantic floral frocks may be the brand’s hallmark, but don’t let its pretty looks fool you—they’re of substance, too (the good kind). The extensive collection is made from low-impact fabrics, deadstock materials, or repurposed vintage wares in sustainable facilities (including one in Los Angeles). What’s even cooler is that shoppers can track the environmental footprint of each style and the certified climate-neutral company releases a quarterly sustainability report with its progress.
Everlane was founded in 2010 on the premise of offering quality wardrobe essentials ethically produced at transparent (read: affordable) prices directly to shoppers. The brand is popular for its versatile selection including T-shirts, cashmere, leather accessories, and more, but fans also appreciate the honest disclosure with supply chain breakdown—you can see exactly how much it costs to make each item and where it’s made on its product page. In addition to committing to several sustainability initiatives, such as their No New Plastic goal, Everlane aims to use eco-conscious materials with low-impact methods where possible (most of the clothing is made with recycled materials or natural fibers). And don’t miss the swimwear and vintage-inspired denim—while “conventional” jeans require an excess of water and chemicals to produce, these pairs are produced at clean denim factories that pass environmental regulations.
Yes, that’s right—Amazon has its own eco-friendly line of apparel. Newly launched Amazon Aware, the capsule consists of versatile wardrobe essentials like casual dresses, T-shirts, sweats, and sleepwear all made with sustainable fabrics (there’s also men’s, beauty, and home goods like bedding). Plus, everything has third-party certification through the retailer’s Climate Pledge Friendly program. Alexa, add to cart.
Respected as an early leader of sustainable fashion, Eileen Fisher set out to design clothing that is timeless and endlessly versatile in its mix-and-match potential (the brand is synonymous for its breezy silhouettes that appeal to women of all ages). When these pieces are also constructed with responsibly sourced materials for durability, they possess longevity and reduce the constant need for new. If you do want to extend the life span of your piece after its stay in your closet, send it back to the company—through their circular model, it will either be repurposed, resold, or donated through the Renew and Waste No More programs. And as a certified B-Corp, environmental and social impact is top of mind at Eileen Fisher—it’s all about feel-good fashion at its finest.
Pact specializes in casual apparel, from cute day dresses to lined camisoles to loungewear, at affordable prices—most pieces are under $100. While that’s already enough of a draw, everything is made of certified organic cotton that uses less water than conventional crops. The company also partners with fair trade-certified factories to provide safe working conditions and support workers in building sustainable livelihoods. Plus, when you make a purchase, Pact invites you to offset your package’s carbon package and donate your gently worn clothing to nonprofits with a free pre-paid label—it doesn’t get any easier to close the loop.
Featured as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2021, this cloud-like matching set elevates loungewear to the next level. Not only do they feel “like a marshmallow,” per Oprah, but they are also made from a stretchy fabric that contains recycled nylon generated from fishing nets. Other eco-conscious pieces in the collection are made with materials derived from raw beech wood and even coffee grinds (yes, really: it’s infused into yarn). The company also partners with a Taiwanese Canadian family-owned factory that uses renewable energy and pays its workers over 15 percent more than the industry standard.
With a name translating to “all-inclusive earth,” you’ve got to have the goods to back it up. Most known for its colorful sweatsuits loved by celebrities and influencers, Pangaia describes itself as a “materials science company” that uses innovative materials and technology to create earth-friendly fashion. Bio-based fabrics such as a down fill derived from wildflowers, a biodegradable eucalyptus pulp and seaweed-based fiber used in the tees, and a cotton-like fiber made of fruit waste are a few of the impressive standouts it has developed. With a range of hoodies, sweats, T-shirts, jackets, and more, there’s no better time to upgrade your loungewear.
It makes sense that you’d want your undergarments to be made of natural, good-for-you materials. Enter Knickey. Stock your top drawer with beautifully cut underwear and bralettes constructed with certified organic cotton that is free of harmful chemicals and toxins. But our favorite part? The carbon-neutral company offers a first-of-its-kind recycling program that accepts your worn intimates, tights, and socks from any brand and repurposes them into insulation, furniture batting, and carpet padding (and you’ll get a credit for a free pair of undies).
Cofounded by pro surfer Kelly Slater, Outerknown embraces the laidback lifestyle California surf culture brings to mind while remaining committed to sustainability. The brand is accredited with the Fair Labor Association and uses eco-friendly materials including Econyl (which turns fishing nets and other plastic waste into regenerated fibers), organic cotton, and ocean plastic buttons in the denim. Though it started as a menswear label (hint: the recycled swim trunks and flannels make great gifts for your cool dad), the women’s offerings have grown robust as well; our picks are the cozy blanket shirts and relaxed jumpsuits. Plus, a majority of the collection comes in well under $200.
For seasonless pieces that will take you from weekday to weekend, look to Aday. The sleek tops, pants, and dresses are made of innovative performance fabrics, and over three-quarters of the collection is crafted from recycled, regenerated, or natural materials—plus, everything is Bluesign® or OEKO-TEX® certified, meaning harmful chemicals are not released into the environment. Notable pieces include the recycled scuba joggers and pullovers (shown here and featured in O Quarterly previously), plant-based modal T-shirts, and stretch crepe pants. Hint: The pieces are commuter- and travel-friendly.
J.Crew is making strides in environmental and social responsibility through its Re-imagined initiative, which set the goal of using 100 percent sustainable fibers by 2025. Currently, the capsule assortment uses a wide range of eco-conscious materials such as Tencel, Econyl, recycled nylons and poly, organic cotton, among many others. They also work with fair trade-certified factories that meet safe working conditions, and aim to recycle their fabric scraps and donate design samples to reduce waste. Now you can purchase your favorite J.Crew designs in confidence!
Premium denim brand DL1961 oversees the production of its jeans from start to finish. In addition to the use of eco-friendly materials and clean dyes, its family-owned and vertically integrated overseas facility buys post-consumer waste and old denim to create regenerated fibers. Efficient renewable energy is used throughout, while waterless laser construction techniques are employed to finish each pair. According to the company, an average pair of jeans uses about 1,500 gallons of water in the manufacturing process, while theirs use less than 10 gallons—wow!
Athleta is loved for its inclusive activewear and athleisure staples, but did you know that many of the offerings are constructed from sustainable materials such as recycled fabrics derived from plastic bottles and nylon fabric scraps? The B-Corp also believes that when you empower women and girls, the potential to sustain communities increases. As such, it invests in uplifting initiatives such as a water alliance for the women workers in India and the Power of She fund, which provides grants to programs that encourage connection, movement, and inclusion.
As indicated by the name, this Canadian company plants 10 traceable trees for every purchase, with over 73 million trees planted to date. But it doesn’t end there. The brand aims to produce the collection with the smallest environmental footprint by using eco-conscious materials such as Tencel, recycled polyester, organic cotton, and hemp in all its casual designs (shoppers can track the impact of these through their Eco-Log calculator, which measures water usage, carbon emissions, and waste). As a certified B-Corp, it also upholds ethical labor standards to ensure safe workplaces with its partner factories. On top of this, most of the comfy separates are under $100, making it a win all around.
Known for the relaxed, boho aesthetic that transports you to sunny days (don’t miss the poncho hoodies), Faherty weaves sustainability throughout its collection. Third-party-certified, eco-friendly fibers such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, recycled poly, and ethically sourced cashmere are used in the bulk of the styles. In addition, the family-owned brand collaborates with Native American and Indigenous artists to showcase their craft, and partners with organizations like 1% for the Planet and Surfrider Foundation to protect the environment.
Iconic American denim brand Levi’s needs no introduction, but it’s worth pointing out that it has amped up its sustainability efforts. In addition to sourcing more responsible materials across the board (including hemp, Tencel, and recycled plastic), much of the denim collection employs a waterless technology to lend that broken-in finish. If your beloved pair needs repairs, bring them into a store for repairs, customization, or to be upcycled. And because there’s nothing cooler than vintage Levi’s, you can also hunt for that perfect pair through the website’s Secondhand platform.
Founded on the premise of being a zero-waste fashion company, For Days offers closet essentials that are 100 percent recyclable. How does it work? The organic and recycled cotton tees and separates can be sent back to the brand in its Take Back Bag (along with worn clothes from other brands), before they’re inspected and repurposed or recycled. Apart from promoting circular fashion, For Days started a fund to build a tuition-free school for the children of their factory workers in Morocco.
With “Honoring Mother Earth” as its modus operandi, Los Angeles-based dress company Christy Dawn is striving to evolve from being a sustainable company to a regenerative one. The vintage-inspired pieces are crafted from organic cotton and rescued deadstock fabric, and its own regenerative cotton is grown through its Farm-to-Closet initiative in India. Plus, a majority of the collection is hand-finished in L.A. by skilled dressmakers who earn livable wages. Embrace the dreamy bohemian aesthetic in an airy frock (which is also offered in both petite and extended sizings) and feel good that you’re investing in something that supports a community.
As you may be able to guess from the name, Kotn is focused on all things cotton—from classic tees and tanks to soft lounge pants, all at affordable prices. What’s more, it cares about making a positive impact in the communities built around the crop. The certified B-Corp sources the cotton directly from family-run farms in Egypt and Portugal at guaranteed prices (often above-market) and works with them to set up practices for organic farming. When it gets to the production stage, it commits to paying a fair and equal wage and supporting workers in building long-lasting careers. Proceeds from every order go toward schooling for children of the farm communities—to date, Kotn has built and funded 17 schools in the Nile Delta region, primarily for girls.
Nashville-based ABLE’s mission is to employ and empower women through slow fashion. From providing jobs with livable wages to disadvantaged women and creating ethical working conditions, it strives for positive social impact. As for the goods, casual separates like organic cotton knits and eco-conscious denim to upcycled leather accessories are customer favorites (and well-priced)—and to prove it stands behind its products, everything comes with a lifetime guarantee.
British brand Boden has a loyal following for its whimsical prints and wearable silhouettes. The company strives to use earth-friendly fabrics when possible, including eco-viscose and responsible cotton (it even eliminated sequins and glitter so they don’t end up in the ocean), and has a goal of using all sustainable materials by 2025. All its suppliers sign a Responsible Sourcing Commitment and agree to maintain ethical labor standards. To prevent clothing from ending up in a landfill, unsold items and samples are donated to various organizations, spreading the joy that colorful clothing has the ability to impart.
Female-founded and family-owned, Connecticut-based Dudley Stephens epitomizes East Coast ease. Though it is most known for its signature turtlenecks in recycled fleece, the collection has expanded to include other candy-colored pullovers, jersey tunics, and packable dresses—all made with recycled fabrics that have diverted millions of plastic bottles from landfills.
From the beginning, Cuyana adopted the idea of building a capsule “lean closet” with fewer, quality items that stand the test of time. Everything from elevated apparel to minimal handbags is thoughtfully executed by artisans in countries that specialize in that particular craft. Along with the goal of achieving 100 percent sustainable and responsibly sourced materials by this year’s end, the brand lets customers give their preloved Cuyana pieces a second life by reselling or donating through their Revive platform. Or give your closet a spring cleaning and send any gently worn clothing to ThredUp for a Cuyana site credit so you can treat yourself.
Inspired by the covetable Malibu lifestyle, Bleusalt is all about luxe basics that can be mixed, matched, and layered. Offered in goes-with-everything neutrals, the easy pieces are completely made in the USA of breathable Tencel derived from botanic tree fibers. And trust us: You’ll want to wear these super-soft separates and cozy oversize wraps all year round.
Using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as guideposts and as a vertically integrated, female-owned brand, Grey State places emphasis on sustainability and ethical labor in its manufacturing process. The production factory is solar-powered and LEED-certified for energy efficiency, while the collection uses USA-grown cotton (which is held to strict government regulations) and upcycled textile waste in its casual offerings—we bet you’ll love the cute dresses and comfy sweatshirt blazers. In addition, the brand donates one dollar from every purchase to One Tree Planted, a non-profit that is focused on reforestation, and funds a girls’ school in Bangladesh near the factory.
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