Get your fashion fix without feeling guilty with our pick of the best sustainable fashion brands, including big high street names who are making real changes.
Over recent years we’ve all become increasingly aware of how bad our shopping habits are for the environment. The fashion industry produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, emitting more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Yikes! Not only this, fashion production is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply and through washing our clothes microplastics enter our oceans!
It can be quite overwhelming knowing what to do. Buying less, shopping second-hand, investing in better quality pieces, keeping clothes longer, recycling, repairing and clothes swapping are all ways we can help lesson our fashion footprint. But another really big one is shopping sustainably. There are so many amazing brands that are doing their bit and making a stand for sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion brands: 18 of the best ethical shopping labels
Riley creates stylish yet simple designs, which are all gender neutral. Expect timeless striped shirts, boxy jackets and classic sweatshirts. All of their products are vegan, made with either recycled materials or innovative alternatives that are either plant-based or lab-grown. Nothing is made with the skins, hair or feathers of animals, including fur, leather, wool, and silk. Sourcing recycled materials and working with ethical partners means they are committed to doing things the right way, not the easy way.
SHOP NOW: Organic cotton all in one, £60, Noctu
Specialising in lounge & sleep wear all made from GOTS certified 100% organic cotton, Noctu’s range of harem pant pyjama sets, nighties and roomy jumpsuits come in soft neutrals, washed pastels and cool stripes. With prices from £25 it’s affordable, amazing quality and good for the planet. What’s not to love!
Lots of high street companies now use recycled plastic for swimwear which is fantastic – Boden, Accessorize, Weekday, Fatface are just a few – but if you want incredibly stylish swim & active wear from a company that’s fully invested in sustainability to its business core (which the high street is not) then checkout Horizon Athletic whose products are made by trusted partners in Australia, the brands homeland. Everything is made with Econyl®, a recycled fibre made from abandoned fishing nets and other post consumer waste. Delivery is free for every order over £150.
Olly Olly & Co
This British active wear label also uses ECONYL®, a 100% regenerated nylon yarn derived from pre and post industrial waste such as discarded fishing nets for all its product. Manufactured in Portugal in a factory that strictly adheres to European Standards of Labour they ship stock to the UK instead of flying it to reduce our carbon footprint. The brands strict ethos ensure’s every step of the process is sustainably and ethically focused- nothing has been untouched including their use of non toxic stamps inside garments to reduce fabric waste labels.
Bitter Lemon is the vision of two friends bored of poor-quality, disposable fashion and mindful of what fast fashion is doing to our planet. Their pursuit of ethical, sustainable clothing took them on a journey to the Grecian shores where they discovered up and coming local artisans and designers working with natural fabrics and traditional methods to create luxurious timeless pieces. They believe in style, not following trends and only buying what you truly love- therefore wearing it forever.
Spirit & Grace
Emily Holmes-Naden’s kitchen table vision was to create luxurious yet affordable pieces whilst also ensuring that each piece was designed with integrity and ethically made. Texture and colour feature heavily in the designers stunning pieces, which are priced similarly to the mid high street – starting from just £65.
Independent eyewear brand, Neubau, has sustainability and quality at the heart of its cutting egde designs. Their wide selection of optical frames and sunglasses are made using plant-based materials: naturalIPX and natural3D. The renewable and organically sourced materials are extracted from the seeds of castor oil plants, ensuring that the whole manufacturing process leaves an extremely small ecological footprint. Neubau’s commitment to sustainability even extends to their cases and cleaning cloths. The glasses cases are constructed without any glue so that they are easily recycable and the cloths are made from recycled plastic bottles! Inspired by urban lifestyle, Neubau’s designs are lightweight and fashionable, all while guaranteeing the highest quality and comfort.
SHOP NOW: Virginia Frames, £246
Matt & Nat
One of the original accessory brands to champion conscious design, Matt & Nat are committed to using recycled materials in their collections. You’ll find their lust worthy bags made from upcycled nylon, plastic bottles, cardboard, rubber, cork and even bicycle tyres! And if you thought sustainability meant compromising on style, think again. With modern shapes, clever compartments and pretty pastel shades Matt & Nat are ticking all the boxes!
SHOP NOW: Saddle Bag in Ceramic, £110, Matt & Nat
Famed for their work in respecting both people and planet, People Tree have become a pioneer in sustainable fashion. Back with a fifth collaboration with the V&A, the collection features statement Japanese inspired prints and timeless shapes in organic fabrics from certified producer partners. What’s more, the brand are recognised by Fair Trade standards.
SHOP NOW: Bamboo jersey dress, £49.95, Thought
One of our latest discoveries, Thought, is an independent sustainable fashion brand helping women feel fashionable and comfortable. Born in Australia, the brand blends fabrics such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, tencel and model with unique prints designed by their in house team. Their brand motto is “Wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on.” Selling eco-friendly womenswear, menswear, accessories and homeware, it’s your one-stop sustainable shop.
Little By Little
Jewellery magpies rejoice, Little By Little is the label that fuses luxurious style with eco friendly materials. Launched by friends Annabel Cox and Georgina Fuggle, designs by Little By Little are made from recycled metals. The brand even carries out repairs in a bid to become a 100% zero waste company. The gorgeous earrings and stackable rings are on our lust list!
SHOP NOW: Wedge Fan Ring, £80, Little by Little
If you’re looking to create a capsule wardrobe with a conscience, Everlane is your answer. The US brand prides itself on its entirely transparent supply chain, partnering with the best ethical factories around the world. They use recycled materials where they can, address water use and chemical inputs and invest in carbon-offset projects. Our top picks are their premium jeans, which are made from repurposed fabrics and their Tread sneaker collection – each pair contains the equivalent of 9.5 discarded plastic bottles!
Global sustainable fashion label ZAVI aims to fight the battle against fast fashion. Using organic and sustainable fabrics, ZAVI strives to provide conscious fashion that is relevant, desirable and affordable. Their fabrics consist of organic cotton, bamboo, vegan silk, recycled polyester, hemp and lyocell.
John Lewis & Partners
Even big retailers like John Lewis & Partners and M&S have woken up to the global crisis and are starting to introduce more sustainable fashion to the highstreet.
Paving the way in monitoring their environmental impact, John Lewis & Partners have developed their new Jeanologica software, which works to measure the use of water, chemicals and energy used in producing denim. John Lewis have made a pact to only produce low or medium impact denim, and the AND/OR denim range, which is made from organic cotton and recycled polyester, is some of the best we’ve tried.
Their vegan trainers flew off the shelves last autumn, and now M&S is back with their most sustainable shoe to date. Part of the new Goodmove active collection, the knitted trainer is made from responsibly sourced tencel, which is biodegradable, antibacterial, lightweight and breathable. Check out the rest of the collection which features knitwear and outerwear made from recycled polyester – we’re snapping up the gorgeous rib knit cream hoodie which will go with everything from jeans to midi skirts. What’s more, it is available in purple, green and navy too!
Committed to designing more responsible collections, FatFace already source 100% of their cotton sustainably and by 2025 this will be extended to linen, viscose and polyester too. You can even join in by popping your tired clothes into one of the recycling boxes in store to help reduce the amount of textiles going into landfill. Our fashion favourite is FatFace’s Gingham Midi Dress, which includes 43% sustainably sourced cotton. Soft, lightweight and easy-to-wear, it’s the dress we will be living in this summer. Shop online and your order will arrive in recycled packaging too.
The first brand to sign a Fairtrade contract to source denim ethically, White Stuff, are committed to reducing their environmental impact. For their newly launched Doing Good Stuff denim collection, White Stuff partnered with the cleanest, most sustainable factories, using only a fraction of the water and energy used in traditional denim production. Also, in their three-year agreement with Fairtrade, White Stuff have agreed to increase the amount of sustainable cotton sourced every year. The goal being to use only sustainably sourced cotton by 2024.
Tretorn X SEALIFE
The Tretorn brand has come a long way since it launched The Eco Essentials initiative in 2016. The new partnership between Tretorn X SEA LIFE Trust is based on a shared passion for healthy oceans – and the range is fabulously stylish to boot.
SHOP NOW: Ocean Net Parker, £320
For every product sold in this partnership, the brand will donate 10 per cent of the retail price to SEA LIFE Trust. What’s more, the designs are made from materials recycled from oceans. For example, the Ocean Net Parka (above) is made of a unique quality, using organic cotton and ECONYL® regenerated nylon fiber from fishing nets and nylon consumer waste.
Happy sustainable shopping!