50 Sustainable Ethical Clothing Brands in Europe 2022

Sustainable Ethial Fashion

We all know that the fashion industry generates a huge amount of waste and pollution, with reports citing fashion as the 4th most polluting industry in the world. In reality the fashion industry is likely to be even more damaging that current estimates, due to emissions from transportation of raw materials not being recorded. One study estimates that a t-shirt made in Cambodia could have travelled between 25,000km and a whopping 64,000km (over-one-and-a-half times the Earth’s circumference) before being bought in the UK.

This is partly down to how garments are made but also the sheer volume being produced. According to the management consultancy company McKinsey more than 100 billion items of clothing are produced annually. And it’s not as if we need all of this clothing. Research has found that although people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, they only kept the clothes for half as long. This is mostly likely influenced by the faster trend cycle being driven by fast fashion brands like Zara, who put out 24 collections a year.

It’s always best to buy pre-loved if you can, so check out my list of Irish companies that sell pre-loved clothing! If you can’t find what you need second hand then this article is a list of all the ‘sustainable ethical’ clothing brands in Europe, and non-European with an Irish stockist. I’ve started the process of adding size guides to all the entries, so hopefully this will you fine petite and plus size clothing to suit you as I’ve heard that can be really hard to do.

I appreciate that everyone’s definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ differs. For most of us it includes no fur! For others it means no animal derived products like wool, silk or leather but even if you’re okay with using animal derived fabric you may baulk at mainstream silk which typically involves boiling the silk worms alive when the fibre is harvested. I’ve compiled a separate article on the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types. You can use this to decide your own definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’. Just remember, sometimes all we can do it make the least bad choice.

Nothing mentioned in this article has been sponsored. It’s all just my own personal opinion.

I regularly cull this list, which might sound like a bad thing, it’s not. As more and more sustainable ethical clothing brands come onto the market I think it’s only right that we refine our definition for sustainable ethical clothing. The one I’m going to work off is based on my own understanding of sustainable clothing manufacture and is subject to change as I learn more. For the moment a company has to satisfy at least two of the criteria listed below in order to be added to this article.

  • use certified organic fabric or have GOTS certification for an entire supply chain
  • use recycled fabric
  • use existing fabric (end of roll or offcuts) or upcycle end-of-line or donated clothes
  • make clothes locally from fabric made within the same or nearby country
  • are fairwear or fairtrade certified
  • actively work against fashion cycles and fast fashion selling methods
  • are part of a social enterprise or donate a reasonable percentage of sales to charities or NGO’s
  • have credible waste minimisation procedures for themselves and their customers

You may notice a couple of small independent Irish and UK brands listed that only satisfy one criteria. This is because I believe buying local is central to living sustainably so if an Irish company is making clothes in Ireland from locally grown / raised / sourced fabric I’m going to cut them some slack.

If you’re looking at clothing in stores here’s a helpful guide on how to spot good quality clothing

You might also want to check out our Shopping Guides

IRELAND

organic Irish sweaters

Pure Clothing is an Irish brand offering certified vegan unisex sweatshirts, hoodies, shorts and joggers made from certified organic cotton and recycled polyester in Fairwear and Wrap certified factories. Their clothing is embroidered using wind power in Mayo. Their clothing labels re recycled polyester stitched with organic thread, and their packaging includes recycled tissue paper printed with soy-based ink, boxes is made from recycled card printed with water based ink and product information printed on seed paper. Sizes XS-XL.

Eco clothing Ireland

Sustywear makes sweatshirts and t-shirts from GOTS and OCS certified organic cotton and GRS certified recycled polyester in factories with Fair Wear™ / SA8000 and Peta Vegan accreditation. Their garments are also OEKO – TEX certified as being free of harmful chemicals. They operate a ‘print on demand’ model, reducing the potential for waste. Sizes XS to XXL

Sustainable Fashion Dublin

Grown is an Irish company that aims to only use fully organic, biodegradable and recyclable products. They make t-shirts from Tencel and organic cotton and they plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt that they sell. They donate 1% of our annual sales to help protect the environment and to celebrate Earth Day they planted 150 indigenous Irish trees on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle in collaboration with the Body & Soul festival. They do XS to XXL sizes

Sustainable Fashion Dublin

Fresh Cuts is another Irish owned ethical clothing brand offering garments for men and women in cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, recycled cotton and recycled polyester and rayon. They claim that all of their suppliers are focused on socially responsibility with a zero tolerance policy with regard to child labour, forced labour and excessive working hours, and some of their suppliers of Fair Wear Foundation, an organisation set up to uphold these policies. They also have the GOTS logo for organic cotton and the Soil Association’s Organic logo on their website. You can buy their clothing online or in their store in Dublin 2. They stock sizes XS to XXL sizes. They also sells clothing from other ethical brands including Armed Angels, Dedicated, Mud Jeans, Monkee Jeans.

Sustainable Fashion Dublin

Due South are a new eco clothing brand on the Irish scene – spotted by me at Bloom 2018. They make t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters from organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled post-consumer (very important) PET. The garments made from recycled PET are blended with offcuts from organic cotton. This is a great use of the organic off cuts but blending fibres currently makes the final fabric un-recyclable, which is a pity. Their t-shirts are printed by hand in Ireland. Sizes XS – XXL.

Sustainable Fashion Ireland

Bebhinn is an Irish brand creating a boutique collection of modern pieces made from Irish linen and Irish merino in Ireland. Sizes 6 – 16.

Sustainable Fashion Ireland

The Tweed Project is an Irish based company offering clothing handmade in Ireland from Irish linen and Irish tweed. Garments are available to buy in indigo & cloth in Dublin. Sizes S – XL.

Sustainable Fashion Dublin

Attention Attire made clothing from discarded tents and camping gear. Sizes XS – L.

Sustainable Fashion Waterford

The New Art Tribe offer t-shirts and hoodies made from GOTS organic blended with recycled polyester and decorated with celtic inspired motifs. Sizes S – XXXL.

Sustainable Crewnecks

All Things Fiona Lily sells locally screen-printed sweatshirts / crewnecks and t-shirts from faulty stock that would otherwise be dumped. Sizes S-XL.

Irish eco clothing brands

Zoe Carol makes clothing to order from locally manufacture red, and sometimes locally sourced, natural materials. The company also donates to charities. Sizes XS-XL.

organic cashmere

Wear With offers organic cashmere knitwear made in Mongolia. Sizes XS-XL.

Irish organic hoodies

Dublin-based Skerries Screenprinting print their own designs on organic and fairtrade sweaters, t-shirts, polos and hoodies. I believe they’ll also print onto your own t-shirts if you bring it along to Skerries market. Sizes S-L.

Irish sustainable clothing

Feri is a Wexford based label making small quantities of timeless clothing in Ireland and India. Clothing made in India is created from locally produced GOTS certified organic cotton and GOTS certified organic orange fabric, made from citrus fruit by-products, in a Sedex approved small-scale factory. Clothing made in Ireland is created from locally sourced, vintage, or deadstock fabric. They also upcycle garments and fabric into new items.

eco clothing Ireland

Zizo in Waterford sells joggers, tshirts and hoodies made in a Fairwear factory from organic cotton and recycled plastic marine waste, which they print with toxin-free water based inks. They also donate to an environmental charity with every purchase.

Sustainable Irish Clothing

Afore After is an Irish brand making timeless, long-lasting clothing in Poland from close-loop rayon and printed using water-based inks in a low-energy, close-loop system. The company sources fabric in Europe and close to their factory to minimise emissions. They purchase their own fabric and components, reducing the financial burden of their factory partner. The buttons they use are said to be biodegradable, their labels are recycled polyester, as is their thread and lining. Their swing tags are made from recycled paper, and their shipping is climate neutral and plastic free. Size XZ – XL.

Organic Irish Clothing

Nah Store offers organic cotton casual wear made in Portugal printed with graphics by designers in Ireland. Size S – XL.

eco clothing Ireland

Reunion is an Irish brand of clothing made from organic, fairtrade cotton with labels made from offcuts and printed using plant-based inks.  They also use organic or recycled organic cotton thread, recycled brass chrome-free eyelets and dead-stock laces. They use reusable mailers that can be composted at home, their tags and wrap are made from recycled cotton printed with plant-based ink and their twine is either organic cotton or jute. Sizes S – XL.

organic hemp clothing ireland

Firkail sells clothing made from certified organic hemp and organic cotton in a factory that is AMFORI BSCI approved and in which audits are done every 3 months. Their clothing labels are 100% organic cotton and clothing tags are made of plantable seed paper. The company are working towards being 100% Irish from seed to stitch.

organic cotton tshirts in Ireland

All of Hairybaby‘s unisex t-shirts are Peta approved vegan and made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and comply with the Oeko Tex Confidence in Textiles Standard 100, which tests for certain toxins. Their main factory is Fairwear accredited and their digital based printing methods uses no water, is energy efficient and creates no waste. The dye they use is free of heavy metals, formaldehyde and Alkylphenol Ethoxylates and said to be 100% biodegradable. Also being a print-to-order business they minimise deadstock. They also use plastic-free packaging when mailing out orders.

Sustainable Fashion Dublin

Patagonia is a high-street and online outdoor clothing company that sell clothing and accessories made from recycled soda bottles and organic cotton printed with PVC- and phthalate-free inks. Sizes 6-22.

On their website they give details on how they work with factories and mills to ensure ethical work-practices, good working conditions and processes that are less harmful to the environment. They say they are particularly invested in protecting migrant workings and guarding against child labour and human trafficking. The company also gives 1% of their sales to support environmental organizations around the world.

In an effort to help people move away from the idea of disposal fashion Patagonia launched their ‘Worn Wear’ campaign. They believe that one of the most responsible things that a company can do, is  make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it. The ‘Worn Wear’ program celebrates the stories behind clothes, keeps gear in action longer and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they’re beyond repair. Patagonia employs 45 full-time repair technicians at our service center in Reno, Nevada, which completes about 30,000 repairs per year. They’ve also teamed up with iFixit to create care and repair guides so customers can repair themselves. Recently they’ve begun selling used Patagonia clothing and merchandise in 5 cities in the US with plans to expand this initiative.

There is tons of information on the Patagonia website about the ethical and sustainable way they do business. I found the Environmental Assessment of Materials in Clothing particularly interesting. It talks about the reality behind some fabrics that are being sold as green.

With a philosophy of buying less and choosing well, Theo and George are an Irish brand, designing and selling select pieces made in factories that the company states maintains the highest ethical and sustainable production standards, some in Italy and Portugal, but no independent certification was quoted. They state that all of their packaging is reusable and/or recyclable and that they are committed to never send unnecessary waste. They have also partnered with a textile recycling company in Dublin. Sizes S – L

Alice Halliday is a Cork based ethical fashion designer, specialising in unique made-to-measure Bohemian Bridal Couture & Event Wear. Her range includes dresses, separates, capes, veils & headpieces. Inspired by nature & nostalgia, every piece is created by hand, using vintage, antique and sustainably sourced materials.

Natterjack Whiskey’s merchandise is made from 60% pre-consumer recycled organically grown cotton and 40% post-consumer recycled polyester. Sizes S – XXL

Amo Denim makes clothing from organic and recycled cotton in factories with chemical and water conservation principles. They also source knitwear fabric from regenerative farms. They use compostable polybags and carbon neutral shipping by UPS. Their clothing is available in Ireland from skulpt.ie in Dublin 2.

Northface Clothing have started to sell refurbished clothing from their website. Click the link to learn more. Sizes XS – L.

Wrangler are now selling garments made and dyed with less water and with some recycled denim under the brand indigood. Sizes 24 – 32, XS-L (men)

H&M have done a collaboration with Lee to offer denim garments with a lower carbon footprint than traditionally made items.

Sustainable Clothing Retailers in Ireland
During my research I found a few stores that stock some sustainable / ethical clothing brands.

  • Willow based in Ennis, Co Clare, and online, sells garments that include items made from organic cotton and recycled polyester.
  • Belleetik is a Cork based online retailer of ethical sustainable clothing including brands amana, Deborah Lindquist, FIN, La Vie Devant Soie, Les Fees de Bengale, numanu, People Tree,  and Unicorn Design
  • Fresh Cuts in Dublin stock the following clothing brands, Monkee Jeans, Mud Jeans, Dedicated and Armed Angels.
  • Atrium in Dublin sells brands with organic cotton, vegan or recycled garments and accessories
  • Slowstreet in Blackrock, Dublin stocks the brands liked Armed Angels, Oh Seven Days, Embassy of Bricks and Logs, Beaumont Organic, Poudre Organic, Skall Studio, Fanfare and Underprotection.
  • Oh My Gum in Galway stocks clothing by Thought, Armed Angels, People Tree, Kite and Frugi, Armed Angels and Sea Salt.
  • Organic Vegan Clothing in Wicklow sell organic hemp clothing!
  • Stiall in a Irish online retailer for ethical non-toxic, high quality clothing made from biodegradable or recyclable materials. The brands they stock include Thinking Mu, Armed Angels, Beaumont Organic, Frieda Sand and Knowtow.
  • Comfy Fluent is an online Irish store that stocks Thought, Tranquillo and Blutsgeschwister clothing brands
  • Ethical Souls Boutique is an Irish online store that stocks Alice Haliday, Sophie Rieu, Wear we Wander, Mafrika, Kampala Fair, Elegantees, Sanchos Dress and Komodo

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E

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

17 thoughts on “50 Sustainable Ethical Clothing Brands in Europe 2022

  1. thank you for such a comprehensive listing. I don’t buy new anymore as I got so disillusioned with dubious practice in clothing manufacturer (so I started re-making charity shop buys). Love the upcycled products from sports items as I got rather depressed when I saw that amount of tents left behind at electric picnic

  2. Thanks for all these amazing options! I generally shop second hand, but this is definitely something to consider if I decide to buy new!

  3. Hi Elaine,

    This is a great post! I was just wondering do you buy most of these clothes online or do you know of any shops/ boutiques in Ireland that stock them eg. howies, Bibico. I prefer trying things on before buying if that’s possible!

    1. Thanks Maeve. Thats a great question. I have bought online but I prefer to try on. I’ll email the companies involved and update the post with info. Thanks for that excellent idea!

  4. this is one of the best articals ive read and ive been slogging through them, thank you so much for doing the leg work. i think ill add some effort and email a few of the non certified sites and ask them about whether they have any or are on any lists. it is so easy to say something is 100 per cent this or that but quite another to have that verified. i have been recently looking for ethical fabric to make some clothes for myself and my kids and that has turned into months of researching on the web every few days. i so far havent ordered anything fabric wise, and glad i didnt becaus i only found out today about some of the certifications. its very complicated, but youve made it a lot easier for me, thank you again!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. I’m delighted you found it helpful. Certification is a tricky businesses and it seems to be hit and miss with companies. I aim to buy the most ethical in my price range, sometimes it’s certified sometimes not but it depends on how trustworthy I think the company is.

  5. Most of Woolovers products are made in China. I’m rather dubious regarding the ethics and sustainability. They’re not upfront about where the clothes are made, what they do for assuring sustainability etc either.

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