Welcome to our Sustainability Shop! On this page, you’ll find all recent articles that have to do with sustainable style (how to reuse pieces you already own, profiles on brands who are doing sustainability well, etc.,) a few resources for buying secondhand and recycling your clothing, as well as a list of sustainable brands (or products) that we personally know and love.
Disclaimer: This was a really tricky page to put together. If you haven’t yet checked out our “mission statement” on our sustainable values — head there if you have any questions about this page or our choices (as well as the origin story for this page). As always, we welcome your input and we’re eager to hear what you’ve learned in your quest for earth-friendlier fashion.
*We are not experts. We have to trust the companies (and the media) that the retailers and products on this page are as sustainable as words and pictures tell us they are. And we hope you’ll trust yourself to know what “sustainable enough” means to you.
LATEST IN SUSTAINABLE STYLE
Top Ten Eco-Friendly Products Of The Month
Eco-Friendly Brands & Retailers We Know & Love
Adidas | ASOS | AG jeans | AGoldE | AllBirds | Amour Vert | Athleta | Cariuma | Citizens of Humanity | DL1961 | EILEEN FISHER | Emerson Frye | Everlane | H&M | Levi’s | Lolë | Mara Hoffman | Melissa Joy Manning | Naadam | Pact | Patagonia | Peony Swim | Petite Studio | Re/Done | Reformation | Rothy’s | Summersalt | Veja | Voloshin
Out of all the brands we researched, Adidas was the happiest surprise. Instead of just coming out with a line of pieces made from recycled clothing (although they have those too), Adidas has actually focused making their entire production line more environmentally friendly. They also score among the top 5 companies when it comes to transparency, which makes it easier to take their word for it.
This one is tricky. In 2019, AG Jeans converted two of their factories (in Mexico and LA) to use a new water filtration system which recycles 100% of the water needed to make their jeans. (As a point of reference, denim production is notorious for using tons of water.) While there’s no way to tell which pair of jeans comes from those factories, we’re thrilled to support a brand that is so obviously on the right track.
AGoldE makes vintage-inspired denim with eco-friendly practices to reduce water consumption (laser technology, ozone machines and efficiency wash methods). This brand is a cult favorite, and here at TME we’re realllly starting to get on board.
We’re big fans of AllBirds. Their shoes are made from all-natural fibers (tree fibers or wool — in partnership with ZQ Merino to ensure ethical farming practices), the laces from plastic bottles, and the packaging from 90% recycled cardboard. Oh, and their shoes feel like wearing slippers, too, even without socks.
We’re really into the Amour Vert aesthetic. And with clothing made from eco-friendly fibers like modal (sustainably harvested from beechwood), Tencel (lyocell), cupro, and clean silk & organic cotton…what’s not to like?
In addition to carrying other earth-friendlier brands…many of the pieces in ASOS’s own line of clothing are made from recycled plastic bottles, and their cotton pieces are made in partnership with Better Cotton Initiative. BCI provides farming-practice training and promotes things like water efficiency and reducing the most harmful chemicals. While ASOS’ fast-fashion model is not sustainable, we applaud their efforts to produce sustainable products that are also affordable.
At the time of this writing, 60% of Athleta’s items are made from sustainable fibers (although they are claiming organic cotton as a sustainable fiber…even though its production uses more resources than, say, Tencel). Their goal is to get to 80% by 2020.
Brazilian-based Cariuma makes the cutest sustainable sneakers from fair-trade cotton, natural rubber, and chrome VI free leather (that isn’t from an area deforested by cattle farming). They ship everything in packaging made from 100% recycled materials, and purchase carbon offsets for each package shipped out.
Citizens has long been a friend of fair labor practices, though Good On You rated them ‘not good enough’ where the environment was concerned, citing their lack of use of environmentally-friendly materials. Citizens must have been working on it, though, because the new line of denim is comprised of sustainable lyocell, organic cotton, and recycled polyester.
Ahhhh I was SO freaking happy to find that DL1961 – my new favorite brand of denim – is a sustainable denim brand! In fact, they’re killing it. Their jeans, on average, only require 10 gallons of water to make…and 98% of it gets recycled (typically denim manufacturing requires 1500 gallons of water). Additionally, their factory uses solar power, they’ve switched all of their packaging to use fully recyclable and compostable material and they upcycle their excess fabric. The jean composition is GOTS cotton as well as renewably sourced fibers (Tencel, Model etc). And I haven’t even started on the fit of these freaking jeans! OMG…their instasculpt line is MAGIC. (I’m gushing, I know.) Read more about their sustainable process here or here.
This is another brand making large-scale changes across the entire supply chain. Committed to using all eco-friendly fabrics by 2020, shifting away from toxic dyes (40% of product will be off by 2020…and working with other brands to make the shift, too), they have some of the best fair labor practices we’ve seen, and they have a huge resell program to keep their clothes out of landfills. High-freaking five.
This brand is an awesome example of slow fashion. We’ve been fans for years, and have loved seeing their process develop. This is a small, independently owned business, who crafts in very small batches. If you are interested in a product, the best way is to sign up for the products’ pre-order. his is the opposite of fast-fashion and we are ALL FOR IT. (Sidenote — I’ve personally found that Emerson Frye tends to run a bit long. It’s REALLY good for tall Mamas.)
While we love Everlane’s cost transparency, the sustainability of their collection is a little murkier. However, their ReNew line of coats and hoodies, and their new sneaker line both get an eco-friendly thumbs-up. The sneakers in particular are a TME team fav (see our review here), and I’m a HUGE fan of their ReNew Puffy Puff coat. If interested in details of how Everlane’s pieces fit, you can find all of our Everlane coverage here.
H&M is a little controversial when it comes to sustainable ideals, but they are making progress. They’re a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, they offer a recycling program, and they use renewable energy for part of their supply chain. They also have goals to eliminate hazardous chemicals and solvent-based glues from their products by 2020. However, the majority of their materials are not eco-friendly and their fast fashion model is not sustainable. That said, if you’d like to support their foray into sustainable fashion, the H&M Conscious line does use a bunch of recycled materials (and it’s GOOD). H&M is one the lowest-cost retailers who have been trying to make themselves more eco-friendly.
Levi’s is another brand who is trying to make their entire process more sustainable. At this point, more than 67% of their inventory is made with their patented Waterhere.
I’ve worked with Lolë before, and not only are their clothes really high performing, but I remember being impressed with Lolë’s environmental commitment overall. Their website doesn’t make it easy to figure out which pieces are recycled, etc., so we limited the choices below to just the pieces their website directly mentions as sustainable. (I own a bunch of these — they’re seriously soft, too.)
This brand happens to make some of my VERY favorite swimwear. It’s insanely well-made, comfy to wear, and the colors are gorgeous. Happily, it’s also made from recycled fabric. In fact, Mara Hoffman is completely committed to making her label as sustainable as possible. Each collection is made in socially responsible conditions using certified organic and recycled fabrics.
There’s no doubt that this stuff is pricey…but it would make a seriously good gift (hint hint MIKE). It has that sort of delicate, timeless design that I never get sick of. And all pieces are made from responsibly sourced materials and recycled gold.
We’re straight-up obsessed with Naadam. Not only is their cashmere the thickest, softest and most high-quality we’ve found (see my full review here), but this company is seriously committed to sustainability. From oversight throughout their entire supply chain, to ethical treatment of the goats (and paying the goat-herders a fair wage) to actively combating desertification…we can totally stand behind these guys. Read more about their sustainable practices here.
Pact makes the most affordable affordable basics for women, men, kids and some home. Almost all of the collection is made from GOTS cotton and/or Fairtrade certified organic cotton. They manufacture their clothing in India (the same place their organic cotton is sourced) and their factories are all sweatshop and child-labor-free.
Good On You gives Patagonia a “Good” rating. They’re a B Corp, a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and all their cotton is GOTS-certified organic. It’s certified Bluesign for 56% of its fabrics, which includes recycled polyester, recycled nylon and Tencel. They also comply with the Restricted Substances List, and measures and reports on water usage and wastewater management. Further, Patagonia has a ‘great’ labor rating based on the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report, and traces most of its supply chain including final and second stages of production (improving transparency — they rank in the top 5 on the Transparency Index). They don’t use angora, leather or fur, and they use recycled wool and down feather accredited by the Global Traceable Down Standard. They publicly advocate for animal welfare.
I’m obsessed with the feminine vibe of this swimwear. This eco-conscious brand prides itself on turning ocean waste into useful fabrics — for example, much of the line is made from abandoned fishing nets.
This is a brand where one *might* debate its inclusion on our list of sustainable shopping resources. As we’ve mentioned before, things get murky. But here’s what we know: Petite Studio makes all of its clothing in one factory in China, greatly reducing its shipping costs and environmental impact (many companies just find the cheapest factories for all of the parts and just fly stuff around). This factory is located in the founder’s hometown, and — thanks to ethical working conditions — many of the employees have been working there for 10 years or more. Furthermore, they get vacation days, healthcare, hour-long lunch breaks and a 40-hour work week. Petite Studio has decided to invest in a community to produce ethically-made goods in a smaller footprint…instead of cutting costs (and pocketing the difference). We’re happy to support them.
RE/DONE started by re-making vintage Levi’s, and has since expanded into a line of their own. Sustainability is a core concept for this brand — they limited their production range to a 15-mile radius, use recycled material in all packaging, and find ways to reuse material that would otherwise be discarded. We also appreciate that they’re working with classic heritage brands (Levi’s, Hanes, as examples).
This is another brand who is — we think — helping to disrupt the industry (in a good way!). Their goal is to make at least 75% of their products from rapidly renewable, plant-based fiber…or recycled fiber. And the fact that their clothing just so happens to be a team fav (eco-friendly or not)…makes this brand one of our very top picks.
These guys have an almost cult following, especially from our readers. And for good reason! Since their inception, Rothy’s take taken 30 million plastic water bottles — destined for landfills — and turned them into these seriously cute shoes. I’ve found that the fit is a little bit tricky (at least for the pointy-toe flats), but I just ordered their new chelsea boots…in leopard.
We’re pretty big fans of this line of boutique swimwear. It manages to hit that sweet spot of really cute…AND really practical. And their suits are made from 78% recycled polyamide (like old nylon fishing nets, etc). Their travelwear (basically workout gear) is made from some sort of pre-consumer leftovers, newly rendered into something they’re calling ‘Travelsoft vegan silk’. Not gonna lie, though, I was a little disappointed to see their new line of pajamas are being made from traditional (and decidedly not eco-friendly) fabrics.
One of our very favorite sneaker brands, Veja, is also one of the most sustainable. Since its inception, this Paris-based brand has made it their mission to make sneakers as ethically as possible. Everything from sourcing wild rubber in the Amazon to using discarded tilapia skins from fish farms in lieu of leather to recycled mesh…they’re on it. A Veja sneaker costs as much as 7 times as much to make, but they decided to NOT advertise as a cost-control measure (keeping the prices mostly competitive). I have both a fabric pair and a leather pair…and the fabric pair needed NO breaking in period (unlike the leather). However, both are pairs I’ll literally be wearing for YEARS. (You can read more about their sustainable practices here.)
Another awesome example of slow fashion is Philadelphia-based Voloshin. Voloshin does small-batch production, on mostly organic fabrics, all hand-crafted in India. We’ve been long-time fans and were thrilled to partner with them on an exclusive collection this summer. Our collection (now on sale!!) can be found here. If you are interested in Voloshin’s (just launched) fall collection…I’m obsessed with this swingy cord dress. SO GOOD.
Second-Hand, Vintage, Handmade & Rental Retailers We Love
Oooo…thrilled to see that Bloomingdale’s — home ALLLL of our favorite brands — is jumping on the clothing rental train. We have high hopes for this one.
eBay is my go-to place for either finding sold-out pieces…or just browsing through my favorite designers. It works best if you have an idea of what you’re looking for. Alice + Olivia shift dresses, for example? Go nuts.
I’m obsessed with Etsy for their handmade costumes/dress ups for kids…jewelry…and vintage bags. We’ll pull some picks together soon.
A clothing subscription service started by the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthro and Free People. I’m totally intrigued For $90 a month, you can choose 6 items to rent. Sounds especially perfect for travel or vacations.
It’s like eBay…for the fashion obsessed. I’ve found everything from Vince Camuto to Vince to Gucci on Poshmark. Warning: highly addictive.
We are all so obsessed with RtR that it’s not even funny. Basically the entire TME team has used its dress rental services at one point or another…and we’re all super-intrigued with it’s everyday rentals. I had done the monthly subscription years ago…but started to buy almost everything they sent so I cancelled. I think it’s time to give it another go, however…
If Poshmark is like eBay for the fashion crowd…the Real Real is like Poshmark for the designer snobs. There’s a ton of really great stuff on this site, but they know EXACTLY what it’s worth, too.
Not only does ThredUP have a TON of stuff…but it’s — hands down — the easiest way to resell or recycle your clothes. I LOVE the giant mail-back bags (and anything they don’t sell, they’ll donate).