12 Best Sustainable Clothing Brands

Sustainable clothing has become a great topic of discussion among activists and non-activists alike. Why? Perhaps its social media creating exposure to sustainable fashion brands at our fingertips. Perhaps, it is the sudden awareness of how wasteful and unethical fast fashion brands truly are.

In fact, in an extensive study conducted by the EPA, it was found that the average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing and textiles each year, most of which can and should be recycled or donated. 

There are many sustainable clothing brands that have taken a stand against the waste and toxic habits of fast fashion. Instead, they offer their customers an ethical fashion approach with long-lasting and high-performing garments that are versatile, beautiful, and environmentally friendly.

Here are 12 sustainable clothing brands that can transform your habits and your closet. 

12 sustainable (and affordable) clothing brands 

1.   SiteSee

  • Products: Women's Clothing

  • Price Range: $$

SiteSee is a clothing brand dedicated to creating beautiful, low-impact, and functional pieces for digital nomads. Each garment has been carefully created with a multipurpose design -- polished and professional for daytime meetings, but can effortlessly transition into after-work wear for exploration and recreation. Even though travel is on pause for the moment, SiteSee’s collection can still be comfortable, versatile work from home clothing.

Head to this page to sign up for our pre-sale list so you can claim your jumpsuit (and other fun swag!) before we officially launch in the fall.

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2.   Everlane

  • Products: Women Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Shoes, Accessories

  • Price Range: $-$$$

Everlane is slowly becoming a household name in sustainable clothing. Not only do they offer an array of excellent quality basics and outerwear made from recycled plastic, but they also stand behind their own idea of “radical transparency.” In short, this brand is not afraid to reveal the true cost behind its products and the ethical nature of their factories worldwide.

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3.   Outdoor Voices

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Shoes

  • Price Range: $$

Outdoor Voices uses fabric they’ve dubbed “Rec Poly,” recycled polyester, to make a long-lasting and breathable fabric to move and sweat in. This company has found innovative ways to stitch their products in order to decrease waste and take extra care not to over-produce their inventory. They maintain a strict ethical code for their production factories and continuously find ways to reduce their environmental impact.

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4.   ABLE

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Accessories

  • Price Range: $$-$$$

ABLE’s brand was founded with the goal of ending generational poverty among women in Ethiopia, by providing them with an opportunity to earn a living. They hold themselves “accountABLE” by publishing their workers’ wages in an extensive report for anyone to see on their website. Their ultimate goal is to disrupt the fashion industry with this type of transparency and lead by example when it comes to ethical fashion.

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5.   Nation LTD

  • Products: Women’s Clothing

  • Price Range: $$$

Nation LTD continues to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and innovate their practices. Their factories remain in Peru, where they source their fabrics and materials in order to reduce transportation pollution. Not only do they ship their clothing in 100% recycled packaging, but they also recycle any clothing scraps to be made into mops and other useful products.

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6. Madewell

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Shoes, Accessories

  • Price Range: $-$$$

Madewell is a Fair-Trade certified clothing brand that is known for its use of organic, sustainably sourced, recycled and upcycled materials. Perhaps their most exciting initiative is their Denim Recycling Program, where they’ll take your pre-loved jeans and, with their partners, turn them into housing insulation while giving you $20 off your purchase.

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7. Aritzia

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Accessories, Shoes

  • Price Range: $$-$$$

Canadian-based Aritzia has truly made great strides to slow their fast-fashion tendencies and dedicate themselves to sustainability and responsibility. Through their Materials Sourcing Policy, they’ve put an emphasis on using Tencel, organic cotton, and non-animal materials. They’ve also reevaluated their storefronts to reduce energy usage and are a member of the International Labour Organization to ensure their factory workers are safe and paid fairly.

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8. Reformation

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Shoes

  • Price Range: $$-$$$

Reformation has shaken up the fashion industry by producing high-fashion essentials from an extensive collection of sustainable fabrics like Tencel, viscose, and recycled cotton. They are open about their methods and profits, and release quarterly and yearly reports on how they reduce their carbon footprint. Lastly, Reformation educates their customers on proper washing, recycling, and donating of their garments to make them last even longer.

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9. Athleta

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Girl’s Clothing, Athletic Gear, Shoes, Accessories

  • Price Range: $$

Athleta creates high-performance wear for any activity. They are a Certified B Corporation, meaning they are recognized for their “social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” They are transparent about their goals and strategies and plan to use 80% sustainable fibers by 2020.

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10. Levi’s

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing

  • Price Range: $-$$

Levi’s has been a household name in denim since the 1870s and they’ve made enormous strides to conquer sustainability. Their products are not only made with responsible and innovative materials, but the factory in which they are made is both ethical and community-oriented. One unique feature about the Levi’s brand is their Water<Less initiative, in which they’ve drastically conserved the amount of water they use to create their denim and they encourage their customers to wash their jeans less.

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11. Christy Dawn

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Accessories 

  • Price: $$-$$$

Vintage-inspired Christy Dawn’s entire clothing line is made from deadstock fabric that would otherwise be considered scraps from major fashion houses. With each piece being created by a local seamstress, the brand only creates a limited number of each garment, making them unique. With a focus on longevity, this sustainable clothing brand is all about being a part of the fashion solution, not the fast-fashion problem.

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12. Patagonia

  • Products: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Luggage, Athletic Gear, Shoes

  • Price Range: $-$$

Patagonia is a Fair Trade and B Corporation Certified outdoor brand that specializes in camping and travel gear. They make their clothing and gear with responsibly sourced materials, recycled/upcycled fabrics, and promote reusing damaged pieces in unique ways. Where Patagonia stands out is its 40-year dedication to supporting environmental activism through Patagonia Action Works.

Sustainable Clothing FAQs

What makes a clothing brand sustainable?

The materials in which the company uses, the way they are sourced, and the amount of material they waste have a great deal to do with their sustainable status. In turn, if the company works equally as hard to offset their carbon footprint and make a minimal impact on the environment is equally as important.

Is investing in sustainable clothing expensive?

No! It doesn’t have to be. There are definitely brands that create affordable staple pieces to add to your wardrobe. Just remember, you’re purchasing a piece of you, take care of it and make it last. That being said, If you are truly looking to be sustainable, take inventory of your closet and embrace what you have. Reuse, repair, and recycle your clothing. Try your favorite thrift shop!

How do you tell if a fashion brand is sustainable?

Are they consistently releasing dozens of new items each day/week? Chances are they are not sustainable. When in doubt, do your research. We have access to information and tools to keep us informed and honest. Keep an eye out for “green-washing” where a fast fashion brand might create a line of “conscious” or “sustainable” pieces, but continue to mass-produce everything else.

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