Sustainable Ethical Menswear 2020

Recent research at Utah State University indicates that American and Chinese men resist ‘green’ behaviour because they see it as unmanly. As if caring for our home and wanting it to exist for our children and our children’s children is wimpish! Well I think men in Ireland are more enlightened and more comfortable in their sexuality than this research would suggest, but I do think that they tend to be – what would I call it? – energy-efficient. Now I know this is a huge generalisation but I’m going to say it anyway, in my experience men tend to prioritise convenience over most other considerations. If something is too much hassle it just doesn’t happen. So please do me a favour; forward this post onto all the men in your life, and ask them to forward it onto their friends. The aim of this blog is to make it easier to live sustainably in Ireland. Lets spread the word.

Eco Clothing Brands
There are tons of eco clothing brands around the world so I’ve decided to focus on Irish or European companies or brands that can be bought in Ireland or Europe.  As always the definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ is open to interpretation so I’m listing all relevant information so you can make the choice that suits your values best. I’ve also compiled a separate post on the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types.

Ireland

Navy top with embroidery detail

Grown, an Irish company that make t-shirts from Tencel and organic cotton, and plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt that they sell.

Organic Devolution sells organic Fairtrade t-shirts with graphics by Irish artist Ian Jermyn from it’s website and in The Design House in Dublin 2.

Fresh Cuts Clothing

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 also sells clothing from other ethical brands including Armed Angels, Dedicated, Mud Jeans, Monkee Jeans. You can also buy some of their garments in The Design House in Crow St, D2

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.

Attention Attire made clothing from discarded tents and camping gear.

upcycled polymide spotswear

Wear Fianna make garments from upcycled polymide and they plant a tree for every order made. I asked if their material was post or pre-production and they weren’t clear.

recycled rash tops

Rashr make short and long sleeve tops from recycled materials

Patagonia jacket

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.

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.

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

Swedish brand Nudie Jeans, which can be purchased in Brown Thomas in Dublin, offer free repair of their jeans for life

US brand G-Star, which is available to buy in stores in Ireland make some garments from organic and recycled fabrics. The garments made with recycled fibres are generally a blend which, given current recycling technology, are not recyclable at the end of their life.

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

Timberland now offer mens clothing made fully or partially from recycled plastic.

Wrangler are now selling garments made and dyed with less water and with some recycled denim under the brand indigood.

UK

Blue shirt worn by bearded man

Thought (formerly Braintree), UK-based clothing brand that 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.

UK-based Komodo make garments in GOTS certified hemp, meusling-free wool, bamboo, rayon, Tencel, linen, soya and GOTS certified organic cotton. They also use recycled rubber in their shoes.

Plaid Shirt and Jacket worn by bearded man

Finisterre is a UK-based company that promises innovation built to last from responsibly sourced fabrics and factories while developing relationships with people they believe in. In 2005 the company decided to place wool at the centre of Finisterre’s fabric development. They forged a relationship with Lesley Prior, a small UK-based farmer of Bowmont Merino sheep. Once the sheep are sheared, they transport and hand deliver the bales of fleece to the spinners in Yorkshire, where it is scoured, combed and spun into yarn. It is then dyed and knitted into jumpers and beanies in Scotland. True to their philosophy of building things to last the company offers a repair service on their jackets. They also offer swimwear made from ECONYL®, a nylon yarn recycled from old fishing nets and other waste material and they donate 10% of profits from the sale of ECONYL® swimwear to Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental charity protecting UK waves, oceans and beaches.

Tshirt with shark motif on it

Rapanui was started in a shed on the Isle of Wight with £200 by brothers Rob & Mart. The products they design and produce are made from organic cotton, recycled PET bottles or British Wool, using low waste printing technology in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory. Their products can be traced from seed to shop and they give credit notes to anyone who freeposts one of their garments back to them at the end of its life. The also support employement for residents of the Isle of Wight and have made their supply chain open-access so that anyone can build a businesses using their tech and supply chain, for free.

THTC is a UK clothing label that produces eco-friendly, politically conscious street wear from hemp, carbon-neutral organic cotton, and recycled salvage plastic fibres. They also resell organic cotton from Stanley & Stella, who are members of the Fair Wear Foundation – an organisation that helps ensure that garment workers are paid a fair wage. All of their cotton garments are GOTS certified, and their  company is ranked in the Responsible 100; an index of socially and environmentally responsible companies in the UK.

Most of Lost Shapes t-shirts and sweatshirts are from the EarthPositive range by Continental Clothing. EarthPositive Apparel is 100% organic with 90% Reduced CO2, and Fair war Foundation approved. The company also prints on Continental Clothing’s Salvage range – sweatshirts and t-shirts made from recycled organic cotton and recycled polyester. Some of their tops are made from Tencel fibre made from eucalyptus fibre, while others are produced by the trade company Stanley and Stella clothing, who use only Fair Wear certified organic cotton, or other sustainable fabrics such as tencel or recycled polyester. They ink used by Lost Shapes does not contain CFC’s, HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile solvents, lead, heavy metals or any toxic chemicals , and is suitable for vegans. And as they do not use photo emulsions for their screens they are also able to do away with the need for solvents in the cleaning process. They also provide plastic free packaging, all of which is recyclable, and most recycled.

Kuyichi make garments from GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester. Kuyichi has joined Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to improving labour conditions for garment workers around the world.

Man in pale green hoodie with surf board

Silverstick make long-lasting adventure clothing from GOTS certified organic fabric dyed with azo and chlorine free clothing dyes and made in an accredited factory in Portugal.

Wales based Howies offer casual clothing made from organic cotton and recycled polyethylene.

UK based Earthmonk make and print built-to-last organic cotton t-shirts in Portugal and fairly-made mulesing-free benies by women in Nepal. They used water based dyes and biodegradable mail bags. They also donate 10% of profits to the Chaikuni Institute, a non-profit, grass roots organisation which works to preserve the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, its biodiversity, indigenous people and their culture.

The Green Wave is a sustainable UK surfing brand offering clothing made from GM free, certified organic cotton, made in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory and hand finished in the UK. They only work with companies that are working towards creating an environmentally friendly industry. Endeavour to reuse or up-cycle any disposal materials they encounter as part of their business and all orders are dispatched using bio-degradable and/or recycled packaging. They also sell flip flops / sliders by Reef that are made with water-based glues and are free of PVC.

Visible Clothing make all their garments under the 10 principles of Fair Trade. They also turn their paper and fabric refuse into handmade paper, books, and boxes made by Tibetan refugees.

Asket is an unusual clothing company in that it’s focus is not on fashion but on offering a long-lasting permanent wardrobe for it’s customers, which customers can build on each season. They encourage their customers to repair their garments and offer some how-to videos on their website.

Cock and Bull Menswear make all of their garments in the UK from animal-free materials that are substantially (70%) organic when natural and substantially (70%) recycled when synthetic. They are committed to fair practices in manufacturing and donate a percentage of their profits to charity.

Monkee Genes offer organic jeans from Indonesia, ethically produced jeans from Turkey and grassroots jeans made in England. You can buy some of their garments in Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2 (see above)

Hiut Denim makes it’s jean in Wales, some of which are made with organic cotton.

Seasalt Cornwall were the first fashion company to have garments certified by the Soil Association and have a few garments in natural fibres in their Unisex section, but nothing organic.

All Riot  (see top photo) make political statement t-shirts that are Wrap certified and made from textiles that comply with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which certifies that the textiles were tested for harmful substances and were found to be made in environmentally friendly conditions. They do not however offer organic cotton. In addition to OEKO-TEX standards, they also use environmentally friendly inks in our London brand HQ.

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.

Bam Bamboo Leisurewear

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.

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 independent certification on the website, except for the Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo.

Ethcs make t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants from organic cotton in fairwear certified factories. They say that they use little packaging and no frills to keep waste to a minimum.

Wawwa Clothing make fairtrade and vegan certified clothing from recycled polyester and organic cotton. They use factories that use sustainable energy such as wind and solar power, plant a tree for every printed item ordered and donate hats and other garments to the homeless. They are also a living wage employer and the packaging they use is plant-based and compostable both in an industrial composter and a home composter.

Lyme Terrace make simple understated capsule clothing from organic and recycled fabrics in factories in England.

Doc Cotton make garments, to order, from sustainable cotton in London. All of their staff are paid a living wage. They also give apprenticeships to those that live locally.


Zaramia Ava are against fast fashion and state that all of their garments are designed to be timeless, most of them lined to increase durability. They are season-less made to be worn any time of year, produced with quality, and made to last.  They also try to minimise waste at every opportunity and most of their garments are handmade to order in the UK, unless stated otherwise. They use end-of-roll fabrics and organic fabric and pattern cutting and fabric cutting is done to eliminate the amount of waste. They also recycle what they use including all fabric-off cuts, samples, pattern paper, card etc

Where does it come from sell organic cotton shirts made from cotton grown in India and spun and woven by hand by workers in a local co-operative, part of the khadi movement promoted by Gandhi to support traditional skills and empower rural workers, particularly women.  Virtually no carbon is used during production plus they use low water techniques and eco-friendly dyes. The shirts are 100% plastic free with either wood or shell used for the buttons. They package their orders using recycled tissue and double thickness re-usable posting envelopes and have worked with the Tiny Box Company to create shirt boxes from recyclable cardboard. Wherever they do use plastic they’re working to eliminate it. The company is a Fairtrade company and a member of British Association of Fairtrade shops and suppliers, which assesses their sustainable and ethical procedures annually. They work with a fairtrade accredited supplier Moral Fibres for their children’s denim clothing range. The company also collaborate with charities on fundraising initiatives.

Rozenbroek handmake clothing to order from organic, vegan and sustainable fabrics using solar power in a factory in East Yorkshire. The company state that products are designed to be durable and have a long lifespan. They also offer lifetime guarantees on some of their garments.

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 un-recyclable. They’ve also have a range of hoodies, earthcolour, dyed with plant based dyes instead of petrochemical dyes. I’m mentioning them here because they have stockists in the UK.

Although not all of the clothing from UK brand The Level Collection satisfies my definition of sustainable, quite a few do and I like their socially positive business model.  Their 100% organic crew neck sweaters are manufactured using only renewable green energy from wind and solar power and their printed garments are done by hand in the UK using water-based eco inks. Although not all organic, all of their T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies are FairWear Foundation approved. The beanies they sell are handmade in Romania in collaboration with a social enterprise creating opportunities for families to help themselves out of poverty. They also hand-make backpacks from weather proof Scottish waxed cotton, which they claim doesn’t crack or transfers onto your clothing or other surfaces. The leather detailing they use is hand-cut British vegetable tan leather and their stainless steel buckles are laser cut and polished in their hometown, Sheffield UK.

Gnarly Tree make all their clothing in factories affiliated with the Fair Wear Foundation from GOTS standard organic cotton, Tencel and Modal, and printed with water-based inks. They also use recyclable sleeves and paper bags for packaging.

Sustainable Ethical denim

Outland Denim is an Australian brand with a UK outlet working to offer sustainable employment and training opportunities to women who have experienced exploitation in Cambodia, through the sale of long-lasting organic cotton jeans made with water and energy saving production methods. It is also a B-corp.

organic hoodies and organic sweat pants

The Pangaia make t-shirts, sweatpants / track pants, sweatshirts and hoodies in a wide range of colours from organic and recycled cotton, using dying technology that saves water and ensures no toxins are discharged. Some of the dyes they are from food waste, plants, fruits and vegetables.They also plant one mangrove tree for every order and use biodegradable packaging.

Sustainable Ethical Jumpers knitwear

Charl Knitwear make knitwear from British wool, Alpaca from Peru and cashmere from Mongolia in two factories; one in London and one in Italy. They say the Alpacas and cashmere goats are reared to the highest ethical standards, with some of the cashmere wool being from an organic farm. Some of the cashmere is un-dyed, while some is dyed with plant dyes. The company produces limited edition production to reduce waste and any leftover yarn is used to knit hats. The garments are stored in in unbleached tissue paper using natural lavender moth protection. When posted the order is tied using ribbon made from recycled plastic bottles and packaged in 100% natural recycled packaging, with tickets and care labels made from recycled un-dyed card.

circular sportswear

Presca Sportwear make long-lasting sports and cycling gear from recycled material in Europe and the UK, mostly in a factory run on 100% renewable energy. They are launching a circular range in 2020 and intend to have all of their garments circular by 2022. Once complete this means that you’ll be able to return worn-out clothing to the company for recycling. They currently mail garments in home-compostable packaging and are working to make the company carbon neutral.

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.

UK brand Peak & Flow make a few active wear pieces for men from recycled polymide obtained from marine waste and Italian elastane in a factory in Sri Lanka.

Insane in the Rain makes rain resistant jackets from recycled plastic for men, women and children. The recycled plastic fabric they use is called RPET, which stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET.

Labomono is another company making jackets from recycled drinks bottles.

Cariki make t-shirts for men and women from organic cotton, Tencel and recyled polyester which they source from factories that have Fair Trade or Fair Wear policies and are WRAP (worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified. They also state that they try to reuse and reduce waste as much as possible throughout the lifecycle of their products.

Origin Africa print African inspired motifs on carbon neutral, GOTS, Oeko-Tex and Fairwear certified organic cotton t-shirts and hoodies using organic dyes so we have complete confidence that the entire garment is planet friendly. 100% of our profits fund community driven, needs based projects which support the tribes from which our fabric originates.

UK Based Green Fibres sell a few pieces of clothing in organic cotton. Organizations that supply Greenfibres must comply with the Code of Conduct as contained in the Global Organic Textile Standards, and the company make every effort to use local and small-scale labour as much as possible. Furthermore they are against increasing disparities of incomes and undertake to never have the highest earner in the company making more than 5 times the wage of the lowest earner. They also use banks and phone companies that are ethical, renewal electricity companies and use a high post-consumer content recycled paper in all their stationary and catalogues. They also participate in the following forums: the Soil Association, the Fair Trade Foundation, Pesticide Action Network UK, Environmental Justice Foundation, Global Organic Textiles Standards, Labour Behind the Label, and the Organic Trade Board.

Epona make leisure wear using Fairtrade certified cotton.

The White T-shirt company offers plain t-shirts – ironically in lots of colours – made from GOTS certified organic cotton.

The Hemp Store offer a range of clothing made from hemp, organic cotton, Tencel, rayon and bamboo.

The Hemp Shop also offer clothing made from 100% hemp or hemp blended with other fabrics.

Namaste Clothing offers a few bohemian-styled cotton shirts. They claim to only sell clothes that have been made fairly but it doesn’t appear to be accredited as such by any independent organisation, although it says it is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops as a fair trade importer. Their products are printed with azo-free dyes and they say that many of their products are made entirely from recycled materials.

Hiut Denim Co offer repairs for life on their Welsh made jeans.

One Denim sells jeans made with less carbon emissions and water than traditional jeans. According to them their production methods use 98% less water wasted in our production process and achieve a 92% reduction in greenhouse emissions. They also state that their cotton is grown with 65% less water and with no pesticides. Some of their fabrics are organic and some recycled. They also use recyclable shipping boxes.

Eco Wear sells GOTS organic cotton and recycled polyester garments for men, women and children.

Weekday is a H&M spin off selling clothing in organic cotton and recycled fibre. They’ve stores worldwide with the closest being in the UK.

Holland / The Netherlands

Dutch brand Hood Lamb make vegan clothing for men and women from GOTS certified organic hemp and recycled materials. They are a PETA approved brand and support Sea Shepherd in their defence of marine wildlife worldwide. They also donate at least one percent of annual revenue ‘to help create a more healthy planet’.

Kings of Indigo are a Dutch brand making long-lasting, fairtrade jeans, and other clothing for men and women with a high percentage of sustainable fabrics.  They are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and BSCI and they state that their products are made from materials consisting of (at least) 90% sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled wool, organic wool, TENCEL®, MODAL ®,hemp and linen. They use laser and ice blast for abrasion, rather than water, ozone for a washed effect and eco chemicals instead of chemical sprays. As water waste is huge in denim production, all of the water used in their laundries is intensively cleaned and recycled where possible.  All of their paper tags and packaging are made from recycled paper and they use recycled boxes for shipping their bulk goods. The company also repairs and recycles garments.

Mud Jeans don’t sell jeans, they rent them! And when the jeans have reached the end of their life they recycle them in factories in Spain or Italy. You can watch how they recycle the old jeans here. They’ve also managed to remove the need for damaging chemicals (potassium permanganate) in the treatment of jean fabric. Instead they use a laser and ozone, which is converted back to ordinary oxygen before being released back into the environment. Also the companies claim that using Ozone over chemical bleaching or stonewashing reduces the number of washes and rinses down from the standard 6-7 to 2-3, and that  this new techniques results in stronger jeans because the yarns are damaged less than it would be by the manual brushing employed with the traditional sandpaper and potassium permanganate technique. The fabrics they use contain at least 98% of cotton, they only use printed logo’s, use hangtags made out of recycled paper and buttons made out of recycled cotton on their knits. The company also avoid polybags in their packing and only use send out its products with RePack, a returnable and reusable packaging. The company doesn’t appear to be certified as Fair Trade but there is an audit report of one of it’s factories in Tunisia available on its website. You can get some of their jeans from Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2.

Unrecorded use GOTS certified organic cotton and closed-loop dying processes that are free of toxic chemicals in making their garments. They don’t design seasonable collections, encouraging us to wear a clothes longer and minimising fabric waste in the factory. They also give vouchers for any returned garments, which being a single fibre fabric is fully recyclable.

recycled cotton clothing

Loopalife make clothing from recycled cotton (salvaged from post-consumer clothing) and closed-loop Tencel or recycled polyester, in Europe. Their sorting and manufacturing processes saves them having to dye the fabric they use.

France

Picture Clothing

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.

Sustainable Mens Clothing

The company 1083 is named after their goal to make and sell clothes that travel no longer than 1083 km; the furthest distance between two towns in France. They sell jeans and t-shirts made from organic cotton woven and dyed in France, with the jeans being washed with lasers run on renewable energy instead of water. They also offer a fully circular service by taking your jeans back at the end of their life for recycling. They also offer French made runners / trainers / sneakers.

Germany

Living Crafts is a German fair and certified organic clothing brand. Their organic textiles are certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) along the whole value creation chain. They say that they also pay attention to the working conditions of the producers and to fair trade and the company is an official member of the Fair Wear Foundation . They offer a range of clothing for men, women and children, including underwear and some homeware made from organic cotton, organic wool, organic linen or silk.

Thokk Thokk is a German brand offering menswear 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.

Armed Angels is a German brand making ethical fairtrade clothing for men, women and children using only sustainable materials such as organic cotton, organic linen, organic wool, recycled polyester, Lenzing Modal® and Tencel®. They have been GOTS certified since 2011 and work with Fairtrade and Fair Wear Foundation to ensure they are working to ethical standards.

Engel Sportswear

UK based Hejhog and Cambridge baby sell German sportswear brand Engel, which is made from organic wool and silk.

Wunderwerk is a German men and women’s clothing brand using only certified fabrics such as organic cotton and low-carbon fabric like beech wood and eucalyptus. They avoid using plastic in all of their accessories such as zips, tags and packaging. More than 90% of their production and finishing takes place in Italy and Portugal or other European manufacturing facilities and using innovative and environmentally friendly denim-washings methods they have reduced water consumption per jeans from 90 to 160 litres down to 3 to 9 litres. They also use less damaging dye techniques and restrict the usage of polluting chemicals like chlorine and potassium permanganate in their manufacturing processes.

Germany company Langer Chen makes coats from organic cotton, eco-wool, Tencel, organic linen and recycled polyester in their own factory in China. With the goal of making demonstrating that not all clothing from China needs to be fast fashion in 2009 the founders of this company opened a Jiecco textile plant just outside of Shanghai. Now the Jiecco facility is a GOTS certified organic and fair facility that specialises in the production of sustainable fashion. Some of their garments are blended with synthetic fibres which would make some of them non-recyclable and non-compostable.

Spain

Thinking Mu is a Spanish brand offering fairtrade certified clothing, some made from organic cotton or organic merino for men and women. Unfortunately their website doesn’t list the fabric used to make each garment.

Two Thirds is a Spanish brand offering clothing from men and women, some of which are made from organic or recycled fabric. Their buttons are made from vegetable ivory (corozo), their zippers come from a company that only manufactures in Europe (YKK) and the padding in their jackets is raw cotton and therefore 100% biodegradable. They also avoid using leather on their clothing and have vegan backpacks made from canvas.

Ecolaf Jacket

Ecoalf is a Spanish clothing brand for men and women that uses recycled wool, recycled cotton,  recycled polyester (from plastic bottles) and recycled nylon (from fishing nets) to make clothing. They even combine used coffee grounds with recycled polyester to make yarn and make flip flops from Recycled Tyres. Through it’s foundation Ecoalf are involved in a project to clean our oceans of waste called Upcycling the Oceans

Denmark

Knowledge Cotton Apparel is a Danish men’s clothing brand making fair, ethical fashion from organic and recycled fabrics. Their garments are independently certified by Ecocert.

Colourful Standard simply make colourful simple t-shirts and jumpers from organic cotton in Portugal. They also donate 5% of their profits to a charity football club and activity centre they set up for kids in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sweden

Dedicated make clothing and headwear for men and women from organic and certified Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester from plastic bottles. On their website they provide information on the certificates each of the factories they use have, some of which don’t appear to have independent certification for fair working conditions. Also although their cotton is organic it isn’t certified as such, it’s only certified as Fairtrade.

Fjallraven is an outdoor wear company for both men and women. They design to last and offer a limited repair service along with guides on how best to care and repair their garments. They use material like recycled wool, recycled polyester, organic hemp and Tencel. They don’t use Flurocarbons in their clothing and ensure that their down is not obtained using live-plucking. They are members of Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an industry-wide group of more than 80 leading clothing and footwear companies and NGOs, and the Fair Labor Association (FLA), whih promots workers’ rights and improves working conditions globally. They buy carbon credits for some of their garments and business travel and aim to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Nudie Jeans makes jeans from GOTS and Fairtrade certified organic cotton in a water and energy efficient manner in Fair Wear certified factories. They also reuse denim from old Nudie jeans, either using them as patches or turning them into shorts. Some of denim is recycled and integrated into the fabric for new jeans. Their knitwear includes recycled merino wool and they offer free repairs on all their garments for life. They’ve also replaced their leather waist patch with a vegan friendly paper one.

sustainable ethical sportswear

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.

sustainable ethical menswear

Flippa K is working towards a fully circular model. They make long lasting garments designed for repair and recycling, from natural / organic / recyled materials. They take back worn garments to sell in some of their stores. Some of the offcuts of their garments are recycled into new fabric. They have a very informative section on the materials they use on their website. They are a member of Fairwear, but no other independent certification was visible on the website.

Swedish company B-Light make long-sleeve tops, short, jogging pants and hoodies from organic cotton.

Tretorn have some rain jackets made from Econyl, which is plastic recycled from salvaged fishing nets.

E-tailers
Sometimes it makes sense to buy directly from the brand, but check out these online retailer before clicking the buy bottom. I’ve sometimes spotted items at lower prices on this online department stores than you get directly from the supplier.

  • Social Supermarket (UK) stock clothing by Kathaa jackets, Know the Origin and Hopeful Traders
  • The Big Issue (UK) sells organic cotton clothing designed by formerly homeless artists and 100% cotton shorts made by community cooperatives in Africa.
  • Spirit of Nature (UK) who stock Thought, Patagonia and Boody.
  • Natural Collection and Frank and Faith (UK) stocks Thought and Patagonia, Silverstick, All Riot, Limebox Tees and Boody.
  • The Natural Store (UK) stocks Kommet, Fabryan, Kiab, The White T-shirt Co, Environmental Justice Foundation, Edun, No Balls, Bam Bamboo and Silverstick
  • The Ethical Superstore (UK) stocks All riot, Komodo, Matt & Nat, Natural collection select, Onyx & green, Pachamama, Patagonia, Silverstick and Thought,
  • Fab Organics sells men’s underwear from the German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Ethical Market (UK) is an online marketplace for small makers of ethical goods, including clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children.
  • The Keep Boutique (UK) stocks brands Armed Angels, Thought and Thinking Mui
  • Brothers We Stand (UK) stock Silverstick, Ecoalf, and Mud Jeans amongst others.
  • Compare Ethics (UK) is more than an etailer, it’s a portal that matches consumers with brands that share their ethical values.
  • Mamoq (UK) is a portal for ordering clothing by a range of sustainable ethical brands. Unlike other e-tailers they don’t hold onto stock themselves, instead the individual brands post the item out to your directly. This might impact on delivery costs if you’re ordering from a few brand.

Swimwear
The following brands offer swimwear / boardshorts, mostly made with recycled polyester fabric, sometimes salvaged from the oceans.

Underwear
And sure where would you be without some organic cotton undies? I’m not including photos with this section because my ads in Facebook are odd enough following research for my lingerie and swimwear posts. Plus I’m not sure my 44 year old constitution could take it!

  • BlueBuck make long-lasting boxers, vests, t-shirts and socks from handpicked organic cotton, and recycled marine waste in factories in Europe using mainly renewable energy.
  • Sloanie make underwear from OEKO-TEX® certified (toxin-free) biodegradable TENCEL™ Modal. For more information on this fibre check out my post on sustainable ethical fibres and fabrics. Their garments are cut, sewn and finished in factories audited by the Fair Wear Foundation, and they use 100% recycled mailing bags and recycled boxes printed with eco inks.
  • Arlo Hudson in the UK also offers underwear made from Tencel. Their garments are made in Portugal in a family owned, GOTS organic certified factory. They’re packaging is 100% recyclable and promised to be recyled soon too.
  • UK based By Nature is an online department store selling organic cotton underwear German company Living Crafts (see above) and bamboo underwear by Bam Bamboo.
  • UK Based Green Fibres (see clothing section above)
  • He Must in the UK uses OEKO-TEK certified modal, which is said to use 20 times less water than cotton, and Corozo (plastic-free) buttons to make their garments, which they ship in 100% recyclable and re-usable packaging.
  • Just Wears makes long-lasting underwear from closed-loop biodegradable (not compostable though) Modal fabric from Austria. Their packaging is recycled cardboard, which is recyclable and compostable.
  • Finisterre (see clothing section above)
  • Patagonia (see clothing section above)
  • Thought (see clothing section above)
  • The Hemp Shop offer boxers set made from organic hemp and organic cotton.
  • Pure Natural are on online department store offering organic cotton knickers, vests, t-shirts, long pants and pyjamas from the German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Fab Organics is an online department store that offers underwear made from organic cotton from German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Bamboo Bamboo Clothing is a UK-based company offering underwear made from bamboo. 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.
  • Hejhog sell knickers, bras, vests, t-shirts, long pants, nightwear and sportswear in organic cotton, organic wool or organic silk.
  • Howies (see clothing section above)
  • Cambridge baby sell underwear in organic cotton, organic wool and silk.
  • The Natural Store is an online department store selling women’s knickers in bamboo, fairtrade cotton and organic cotton including the brand Kerala crafts.
  • The Ethical Superstore and The Natural Collection are online retailers selling underwear and nightwear from the following brands; Thought, and Boody. These two websites seem to be run by the same company and I often find that you can pick up items cheaper here than on the home company’s website.
  • La Redoute is a UK etailers with a couple of options for organic brief and boxers.
  • French brand Do You Green offers a few items made from pinewood fibres from sustainable forests, which the company says absorbs perspiration twice as much as cotton and is softer than any other cloth. They don’t give any information on how they make their fibre, they simply state that 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. I emailed the company to see if the fabric they use is actually Rayon, a very popular cellulose based fibre but didn’t receive a response.
  • Peau Ethique make brief, boxers, vests and pyjamas in organic cotton.
  • German Company Living Crafts offer reasonably priced organic cotton bras, knickers, vests, t-shirts, long pants and pyjamas.
  • Organic Basics in Copenhagen uses GOTS certified organic cotton grown in Turkey and recycled nylon from Italy. The company states that their factories are audited annually by a third party to ensure employees are treated fairly but they don’t say by who but on a webpage about their factories they list the certificates each factory hold. Package wise the company use a poly mailer made from 100% recycled plastic.  They say it’s 100% recyclable but that would depend on local recycling policies but it has a dual adhesive strip so can be used a second time.
  • Adam Underwear in Amsterdam offer stylish boxers and socks in GOTS certified organic cotton.
  • All Swedish Eco products are made from the GOTS certified organic cotton grown in Turkey. They also only use Oeko-tex 100 standard colouring which excludes any harmful substances.
  • The White Briefs in Sweden make organic cotton briefs and boxers for men.
  • Swedish company B-light offer organic cotton boxers.
  • Swedish brand Nudie Jeans sell organic cotton underwear.
  • Underwear Concept is an online underwear retailer that offers organic cotton from Nukleus at very reasonable prices. Maylasian based Nukleus make underwear and basics from eco-friendly materials such as GOTS certified organic cotton, Lenzing Tencel and bamboo and all Nukleus core components are certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100. The boxes used by Nukleus are made from FSC-certified paper and printed with vegetable-based ink and have a fully recyclable PETE 1 plastic for its box ‘window’.
  • Boody is an American brand of bamboo underwear and socks. Boody claim to use a close-looped system meaning that no chemicals or water leaves the system. They also use plant dyes and a computer based knitting system that produces no waste. Their bamboo is grown by the Hebei Jigao Chemical Fiber Company and grown in accordance with the international organic standard of OCIA / IFOAMand the USDA National Organic Program. The raw bamboo is also certified as organically grown by Ecocert. The final fabric is certified as being organic by The Organic Crop Improvement Association(OCIA) and has been tested for toxic chemicals by the private company SGS.  Boody’s website claim that bamboo fibre (rayon) is biodegradable at the end of it’s life. My research has shown otherwise and I see no evidence of independent testing on their website to back this up.  The company says that it’s factories reach the gold standard for employee conditions as set out by the independent organisation WRAP, but it’s unclear as to whether this means they’ve been independently assessed as being so. Similarly Boody’s website does state that the production in their factories complies with ISO 14001 Regulations but doesn’t say if they’ve been accredited with the standard. You an buy their goods directly from the company or from UK based e-tailer U Organic or the Dublin based store Hopsack in Rathmines, Dublin 6.
  • You could also do a search for organic cotton, bamboo or ethical underwear on Etsy for Amazon.

Shoes

Other Useful Resources
I also came across some useful additional resources in relation to this area, they include;

Finally buying sustainably is only part of the equation, making your clothes last as long as possible is another. Not only does the website Love your Clothes have guides on how to buy the best quality, they also have tips on how to care and repair your clothes. Alternatively find yourself good tailor or seamstress to take care of your mending needs. Repairmystuff.ie is a handy website for sourcing such things.

E

Published by livinglightlyinireland

I am a reformed interior architect that now campaign for and write about sustainable living in Ireland.

4 thoughts on “Sustainable Ethical Menswear 2020

  1. For synthetic free European skiwear that will put a serious dent in your wallet you can look at: https://mover.eu/en/ – they have high tech water resistant anoraks and ski trousers in cotton with wool lining (some jackets seem to have a nylon blouson and some have coyote fur trim but others are just cotton and Swiss wool and they are made in Europe. We can’t afford them at the moment but they might be good for others.

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