At Fast Company, we love brands that find ways to combine great design and quality with sustainability. And fortunately, in the apparel and fashion industry, there seem to be lots more of them these days. Brands such as Rothy’s, Everlane, and Girlfriend Collective are found throughout the posts of the Recommender section because they lead the field when it comes to creating good-looking, functional, sustainable apparel. But there are other, lesser-known boutique brands that are right up there with them. That’s why we wanted to create a little field guide to expand the list of sustainable brands you shop with. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start. Good luck getting through this without putting something in a shopping cart.
United by Blue
A certified B Corp, United by Blue has always practiced what it preaches—including eliminating plastics from all business operations and the supply chain. Additionally, the brand has curated a handful of proprietary sustainable materials that utilize bison coat fibers (harvested from live buffalo), soft hemp (which is four times more durable than cotton), and knits that are manufactured in a GOTS- and OCS-certified factory. Additionally, the brand incorporates wool, Tencel, recycled poly, and other eco-friendly fabrics into all of their designs. We are currently loving the SoftHemp Smocked Dress and the Hybrid Shorts.
If you’ve ever worn anything from Faherty, the first thing that came to mind was probably, “Holy shit, this is soft,” not, “Holy shit, this is good for the planet.” But surprise! The brand’s smooth-as-butter tees, pullovers, bottoms, and blankets are made with natural and sustainable materials such as Tencel, organic cotton, hemp, ethically sourced cashmere and alpaca, and PrimaLoft insulation, among others. Additionally, shopping online with Faherty is a little less trashy than everywhere else, since the brand’s mailers and poly bags are made from recycled and renewable materials.
Aside from manufacturing their sophisticated, chic designs in small batches to reduce waste, the ever-polished Cuyana also incorporates a blend of 95% recycled cashmere and 5% virgin wool into their specialty cashmere pieces and a plant-based Tencel blend to create their flowy cupro-Tencel collection (highlight: this trench wrap skirt). Currently, 80% of Cuyana’s designs are made from 100% natural materials.
I fell in love with Époque Évolution the first time I slipped the One Crop Top over my head. This smooth-as-silk number is supportive, sleek, and can be worn as a dress top, swim top, or sports bra. Oh, and it’s made from Econyl, a 100% regenerated fiber (often found in sustainable swimwear) that’s stretchy, strong, and offers SPF 50 protection. I believe that with four or five pieces from this brand, you could have every outfit you needed for a week. All of Époque’s products are made by prioritizing sustainable, organic, upcycled, deadstock, and recycled materials—as well as fabrics that don’t require dry-cleaning or other toxic care. Smart, huh?
Taylor Stitch, a brand with its roots in men’s shirting, reduces its waste with a unique shopping model. The Workshop model requires shoppers to order or reserve certain designs—thus, crowdfunding them before they’re made to ensure they only supply as many as meets demand. According to cofounder Michael Maher, 95% of the items at Taylor Stitch get crowdfunded, significantly reducing overproduction waste. More than 95% of the cotton used at Taylor Stitch is organic, and 98% of all designs you find on the shop are responsible fibers—including the Heavy Bag Tees, which have saved more than 24 million gallons of water. All the more reason to indulge in the brand’s straightforward, rugged, well-tailored designs.
Ministry of Supply
Ministry of Supply doesn’t just make wrinkle-free, performance-minded, sleekly-designed workwear—they make it carbon neutral, thanks to state-of-the-art recycled materials and solar-powered manufacturing. Designs such as the Aero dress shirt and the Kinetic Blazer are water-resistant, stretchy, and made of recycled polyester.
You may know Soludos for their breezy, happy espadrilles (which are made from organic cotton, a biodegradable jute midsole, and natural rubber sole). Or their bags. Or their summer-ready clothes. But the brand also makes a cooler-than-cool plant-based sneaker, the Yebo. The vegan Yebo is made from nonedible corn and recycled water bottles and is offered in four colorways (white, rose, wine, and navy).
It’s not hard to make a T-shirt that won’t trash the planet, but technical outerwear is a whole different story. When creating waterproof, windproof, throw-it-at-the-mountain type of garments, sustainable fabrics often don’t have the durability to make the cut. Picture Organic, a French brand, changed all of that. The company creates bomber ski jackets, snow pants, wetsuits, and swimwear made 100% from recycled poly and plant-based materials. And thanks to the European design, they look amazing.
Accompany is a curated online shop that brings items from artisans all across the planet to one place so you can shop fair-trade, ethically-sourced clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes, and even home décor. Accompany has everything from up-cycled high-waisted jeans to handmade Swazi baskets. It’s the sustainable, philanthropic boutique that all boutiques should aspire to be.
Eileen Fisher was doing sustainable designer fashion before sustainable was cool. Since 2007, the brand has been tracking its shipping miles and modes and partnered with NativeEnergy to reduce CO2 emissions and to offset the carbon that it puts into the environment. Additionally, Eileen Fisher is no stranger to Bluesign chemical-free dying processes and the use of organic fibers, recycled fibers, and sustainable fibers such as wool and Tencel Lyocell in products. These days, circular lifespans of clothes are the norm at Eileen Fisher, with the upcycled Indigo Collection and the regenerated Renew Collection available for shoppers.
Pact does comfy, soft, perfectly-snug organic cotton apparel (and bedding)—and they do it well. Because cotton basics so often end up in the landfill after a few wears, Pact is dedicated to making high-quality daily casual wear that lasts longer and has a gentler impact on the environment. From leggings to tees to bras and undies, Pact makes the everyday necessities more sustainable.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our other handpicked suggestions.
- Missing your boot camp workout class? Meet the sleek setup that brings the sweatiest HIIT workouts into your space.
- Meet the woman who built the Sephora of clean beauty
- Why Thrive Market is the online grocer you should be shopping with
- I’ve worked remotely across the country for years. Here’s my setup
- You should invest in a UV sanitizer. Here’s why
- This face mask made by an MIT-founded fashion brand is the best we’ve found yet
- Yale’s most popular online course ever is now available to take for free
Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.