10 Sustainable Clothing and Shoe Brands You Should Buy Today

sustainable clothing

By Tricia McKinnon and Ben Rudolph

Do you know if the shirt you are wearing was made with environmentally sustainable practices? There is still some debate as to what sustainability means, but in essence it is about creating, manufacturing and selling merchandise that is less harmful to the environment. With this in mind consumers are increasingly looking for brands that are environmentally friendly.

Gone are the days when most sustainable fashion was reserved for luxury shoppers. Now there are a range of brands from the low to high end that sell clothing and footwear with sustainability in mind. If you are looking to make more environmentally friendly purchases here are 10 sustainable clothing and shoe brands you should checkout today.

1. Outdoor Voices

Credit: Outdoor Voices

Credit: Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices which was founded in 2012 primarily sells workout clothing for women that is stylish enough to wear anywhere.   Sustainability is a key focus for the brand and merchandise such as its Hudson Shorts are made from 86% recycled plastic.  

The factories that makes its clothing focus on minimizing water consumption as well as emissions that pollute environment. If you want to workout, look fashionable while helping to save the environment then this brand is for you.

Buy it here.

2. Stella McCartney

Sustainable brands

Stella McCartney has focused on sustainability since she launched her ready-to-wear women’s clothing line in 2001.  For example, the company reduced its environmental impact by targeting its use of virgin cashmere in the manufacturing process. Virgin cashmere used to create the highest environmental impact for the brand. To reduce this impact the brand eliminated the use of the material.  Its knitwear is now made from re-engineered cashmere.  

The company has said that: “cashmere is one of the most valuable natural materials in fashion and we are helping to protect the future of this incredible material by redefining ‘waste’.”  A recent collection by the brand with Adidas was its most sustainable to date using 70% recycled materials.

Recently the brand teamed up with Hunter to create a 100% vegan rubber boot.

Buy it here.

3. Reformation

Credit: Reformation

Credit: Reformation

Founded in 2009, Reformation is a women’s clothing retailer that makes edgy and sexy clothing and is known for its “it girl” summer dresses. Reformation’s Founder, Yael Aflalo, has said that: “I think that climate change is the biggest issue facing our generation.”  "I'm not an energy expert or an engineer but I do know how to make ... a sustainable fashion brand." Reformation considers itself as sustainable and fast fashion, using a quick production process that prevents waste in real time. This includes making limited collection runs before seeing demand and how pieces perform. 

Reformation plans to recycle 100,000 garments this year, and you can even tour its LA factory to see how it uses discarded and leftover fabrics in its products. When you are browsing clothes to try on in store, smart displays will show you the clothing’s “RefScore”. This is a measure of the selected clothing’s water usage, waste generation, and amount of carbon emissions that were generated in the manufacturing process for the piece. Other environmental features include packaging that is made of 100% recycled paper and its “Carbon is Canceled” campaign that awards shoppers gift cards for reducing their carbon footprints.

Buy it here.

4. MATT & NAT

Credit: MATT & NAT

Credit: MATT & NAT

Founded in 1995, MATT & NAT which stands for MAT(T)erial and NATure sells fashionable clothing and accessories with a minimalist design. While at a distance MATT & NAT’s signature bags look like they are made from animal products they are actually made using vegan leather. 

All of the linings of the bags it produces are made from 100% recycled bottles with approximately 21 bottles used in every bag it produces.  

According to MATT & NAT: “it’s important for us not to use leather. Simply put, we don’t like hurting animals and we care about the welfare of the planet”. MATT & NAT is also continually sourcing materials such as cork and rubber to make its products more sustainable in addition to cruelty-free.  

Buy it here.

5. Everlane

Credit: Everlane

Credit: Everlane

Everlane is a clothing company which was founded in 2010 that mostly sells high quality basics (cashmere sweaters, cotton t-shirts and jeans) but at lower prices than retailers such as J.Crew or Banana Republic who sell similar items.  

Everlane plans to eliminate all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021.  On Everlane’s website it says: “there are 8 billion tons of plastic on the planet. And once it’s made—it never goes away. So today, we’re making a commitment: No new plastic in our entire supply chain by 2021.”  The first step towards achieving that goal was Everlane’s launch of a line called ReNew, a collection of puffer jackets and fleece that is made from three million recycled plastic bottles. For items within the collection Everlane shows how many plastic bottles were “renwed” in order to make a particular jacket or top. For example, Everlane’s ReNew Long Puffer was made from 60 renewed plastic bottles.

Everlane’s goal is to recycle 100 million plastic bottles within five years. 

Buy it here.

6. People Tree

Credit: People Tree

Credit: People Tree

People Tree is a women’s clothing retailer that launched back in 1991. It sells timeless designs as well as more contemporary pieces. It has focused on sustainability for a long time and in 2006 the company achieved the Soil Association Certification for having the first integrated organic supply chain in the fashion industry.

93% of the cotton used in People Tree’s merchandise is Global Organic Textile Standard Certified Cotton (GOTS).  Merchandise that is GOTS has adhered to strict environmental and social criteria.  Organic cotton farming is important as it eliminates the use of manufactured fertilisers and pesticides and generates as much as 94% less greenhouse gas emissions. 

The retailer has even launched a 100% organic denim jean collection that uses 87.2% less water in the production process.

Buy it here.

7. Patagonia

Credit: Patagonia

Credit: Patagonia

Patagonia has been in business for 40 years and it has pioneered many sustainability efforts.  For example, it was the first outdoor clothing company to turn trash into fleece by making recycled polyester from plastic pop bottles starting in 1993.  

The company takes its sustainability efforts to the next level by allowing customers to return any Patagonia item to the company they no longer want.  Then Patagonia will recycle the clothing and turn it into a new fabric to be used to create a new product.  

Buy it here.

8. Adidas Parley

Credit: Adidas

Credit: Adidas

Adidas Parley.  Parley for the Oceans is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on protecting our oceans.  Adidas and Parley first collaborated together in 2015 and according to Adidas “every piece [in the Adidas x Parley collection] is made of plastic trash collected from remote beaches and coastal communities”. In 2018 alone Adidas sold one million pairs of shoes using Parley’s recycled ocean plastic.  Adidas has increased its sales goal for the collaboration to 11 million pairs for 2019.

Buy it here.

9. Allbirds

Credit: Allbirds

Credit: Allbirds

Allbirds is a shoe company that started out with a wool sneaker with a minimalist design in 2016. They became a Silicon Valley staple then Allbirds went on to sell one million pairs within two years.  Its shoes are made of natural and environmentally friendly materials including eucalyptus tree fibre and merino wool.  Its shoes are also comfortable with Time magazine calling them: "the world's most comfortable shoe."  

Last year Allbirds launched a flip flop called SweetFoam with soles that are made from sugar cane.  Tim Brown, Allbird’s Co-Founder has said: “our thought is, if we can put a man on the moon, you should be able to make a T-shirt and a pair of sneakers that are carbon negative or carbon neutral”.  

Buy it here.

10. Veja

Credit: Veja

Credit: Veja

Veja was founded in 2004 and the brand is also known for its minimalist shoe design. The company was founded with the mission of “using the most ecological materials and ethical suppliers they could find.” 

Recently Veja launched its first ever sustainable sneaker which is made of 53% recycled materials and its upper sole is made from recycled plastic bottles and not wanting to leave the midsole out from its sustainable practices it is made from sugar cane, rice waste and banana oil.

Buy it here.

Tricia McKinnonTrendsComment