This is another blog entry under the theme of ethical sustainable clothing brands, this time in the realm of yoga, active and leisure wear. It seems that most of the clothing from companies featured here are a combination of bamboo, cotton – some organic, wool, silk and recycled synthetics. I’m very conflicted about the sustainability of bamboo in particular but I’ve compiled a post on the the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types, which might help you to make your own decision on what suits your values best.
Organic Movement blend organic cotton with elastane to make their leggings and tops.
Asquith clothing in the UK (see photo above) make yoga and activewear from bamboo and organic cotton in a GOTS certified factory in southern Turkey. Asquith claim to recycle everything they can and package everything so that you can do the same. They do not use animal products and nothing is ever tested on animals.
Based in the UK and Norway Noctu makes 100% organic cotton fairtrade lounge wear and nightwear for men, women and children. They say that their factory is committed to helping those who have been affected by the chemicals and fertilisers used in growing crops by establishing a dedicated cancer hospital. All of their cotton products are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) FairTrade and SA8000 certified.
Simply put Gossypium makes yoga clothing from bamboo and organic cotton in Britain.
FROM Clothing are an active and yoga lifestyle brand, based in the UK. Their current active wear designs use GOTS certified organic cotton grown in India, then shipped to Portugal for manufacturing. Their Merino Wool is certified as ethically sourced from South Africa. All sheep farms adhere to a non-mulesing policy as part of a continuous effort to ensure the health and welfare of the sheep. The merino wool is then spun into merino yarn, knitted into fabric, and made in Portugal. Blended with Lenzing TENCEL® – a cellulose fibre made from regenerated Eucalyptus tree plantations grown specifically for fibre production. They claim that plantations are continuously regenerated using integrated management practices, ensuring health soil maintenance, as well as providing local community employment.
UK company Thought (formerly Braintree) sells lounge wear made from either bamboo or organic cotton. This company aims to ensure that their fabrics and how our garments are designed, made and delivered is carefully considered and done so ethically, with the greater aim of minimising their environmental footprint. The dyes they use are free from Azo (which they say is a harmful carcinogen) and they claim that their finishes are as environmentally friendly as possible. Each piece of their collection is made in the same country so never needs to be shipped from place to place and when it is time to transport them they claim to choose a slow option with great consideration for the environment. They’re also a founding member of the Ethical Fashion Forum.
Marzipants is a UK based company that specialises in Thai fishing pants which are made in India in accordance with fair trade principles in a 400 year old family-run workshop using traditional methods to hand dye, cut, sew and block print many of their garments. Unfortunately the company doesn’t appear to offer organic cotton and or any external accreditation or certification.
Launched in London in 2014 Starseeds are committed to creating designs using sustainable natural fabrics crafted fairly in Europe.Their garments are made from Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo, organic cotton, linen, Ramie, hemp and recycled polyester. They also claim to use all-natural, non-toxic dyes and a ‘Cold Bath Patch’ dyeing technique, which is less damaging to fibres. There was very little mention of independant certification on the website, exceptfor the Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo.
Bamboo Bamboo Clothing is a UK based company offering knickers, socks and leisure wear made from bamboo for men and women. The company say that they are committed to everyone being treated fairly and responsibly, from garment maker to customer but there they don’t appear to have any independent accreditation or certification.
UK based By Nature is an online department store yoga wear by Bamboo Bamboo Clothing.
Patagonia is a high-street that yoga and leisure wear from recycled nylon printed with PVC- and phthalate-free inks. 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. 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.
The New Zealand brand Kathmandu, who have stockists in the UK, buy carbon credits to offset their air travel and recycled 100% of their polybags in New Zealand. They also work with small cooperatives that provide employment to disadvantaged individuals and say that they’re working towards being Zero Waste. They have few garments made from recycled fibres and organic cotton, but some are blended fabrics, making them recyclable. They’ve also have a range of hoodies, earthcolour, dyed with plant based dyes instead of petrochemical dyes
Select styles of ROXY boardshorts are now made with REPREVE, a recycled fibre made from recycling plastic bottles. ROXY is a brand that’s easily found in high-street sport stores.
Northface Clothing have started to sell refurbished clothing from their website. Click the link to learn more.
Scimitar have a range of running and cycling tops recycled polyester (Eco:1 range).
Presca Teamwear is another UK based company making cycling tops from recycled polyester.
Sundried offers two activewear collections which are made from 100% recycled materials. Eco Core is made from recycled plastic bottles while Eco Charge products are made from recycled coffee grounds. It is unclear as to whether the recycled coffee ground fabric is recyclable at the end of it’s life.
Peak + Flow sell mens short made from recycled marine waste, industry waste and plastic bottles.
If you’re in the UK Adidas are now buying back your old Adidas gear if you download a particular app and have over £20 worth of merchandise to sell back. They say that items they receive back will be repaired and resold or if beyond repair recycled into something new.
Holland / The Netherlands
Zen by Sen stands for EU produced fair fashion from organic cotton or recycled polyamid, which they get from ocean waste.
Pure by Luce is a Belgium brand making active wear from recycled materials in ethically-managed factories in Portugal. No independent certification was mentioned on their website.
French brand Do You Green offers lounge and yoga wear made from organic pinewood fibres sourced from sustainable forests, which the company says absorbs perspiration twice as much as cotton and is softer than any other cloth. All of their materials are made in France, as is the dying, and both are is done to the Oekotex standard. Their packaging is also plastic free. It’s interesting that the company uses the term organic pinewood fibres but doesn’t give any details on the process involved in converting them to fibre. I wonder if the fibre they’re using is actually Rayon, a very popular cellulose based fibre. There is nothing wrong with making Rayon from sustainably sourced forests to Oeko-tex standard, but if this is the case i wonder why the company haven’t declared it. I emailed the company with this question but they never replied.
Picture Clothing is a French brand of clothing offering organic, recycled & bio-sourced products for snowboarding, skiing, surfing and the outdoors. They recover and re-use all production scraps and raw materials during manufacturing and integrate them into the linings of their jackets. 95% of the cotton they use is certified either GOTS or Organic Content Standard certified. The remaining 5% are made in India with recycled cotton. All of their technical products are made from a minimum average of 50% recycled polyester from plastic bottles and they use the Greenplus Taiwann certification to guarantee recycled rates of each product and Bluesign Approved Fabric to guarantee that they do not contain harmful chemicals. They state that their garments are PFC free and that the factories they work with have all signed the Picture RSL (Restricted Substances List), a list of chemicals that they have banned in their products. They also state that they carry out random tests to make sure the RSL is fully respected. The company also states that the factories they use are all engaged in an improvement process with Fair Wear Foundation and that they visit them 2-3 times a year. The company works to repair garments instead of replacing them and they work with several repair stations throughout the world to deliver that service. You can’t buy from the company directly but i’ve listed them because they are stocked by quite a few online retailers. including Surfdome.ie in Ireland.
Thokk Thokk is a German brand offering sport and yoga wear made from organic cotton, sometimes blended with synthetic fibres. They have a Fairtrade Licence for its basic shirts and is certified as being organic by GOTS. They also offer free shipping.
Loud + Proud in Germany make hoodies and jogging pants from organic cotton.
Under the Same Sun are a Swedish brand creating sustainable yoga and leisure wear (and swimwear), in factories in Portugal. They use low impact textiles such as recycled polyester, tencel, and organic leather. The recycled polyester that they use is OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified and the Renew Prime fabric that they use is a polyamide yarn made of 100% recycled material made in Italy. The cashmere that they use in some of their garments is attained by brushing the goat in Mongolia once a year; a technique that the company claims does not compromise the well -being of the animal and results in the best quality yarn. The company also claim that they use a printing technique that is safe for the environment and the worker and produces zero waste.
Houdini make activewear from natural and recycled fabric, which they cover with a lifetime guarantee and take back at the end of their life. Most of their production takes place in Europe using fabrics from Taiwan, Italy and Japan. The company lists their suppliers and factories on their website.
B-light in Sweden offer leggings, shorts sweatpants made from organic cotton blended with lyra. The blending with synthetic fibres does make the organic cotton un-recyclable.
Cream and Co are online department store that sells bamboo tops, leggings and yoga pants. Their website says that their organic cotton is spun in a factory in Portugal but there doesn’t appear to be independent evidence that the factory is fairtrade or that the bamboo they use is sustainably grown.
Reve En Vert in the UK sells clothing by a few makers of sustainable ethical activewear.
If you’re based in America or Australia Eco Warrior Princes lists 11 Ethical Organic Cotton Athleisure Brands on their website.
Rankabrand is a very useful website that, as the name suggests, ranks brands based on their sustainability.