Fashion can be quite a wasteful industry, that’s big news for no one. That’s why I strongly recommend buying your clothes second-hand if you have the chance to have thrift stores near you, or if you have access to websites or apps that connect you with people selling their clothes. Another great option is to rent your clothes but that does not really apply for activewear.
I personally buy all my clothes second-hand, except for underwear (duhh) and activewear. And that’s simply because I can’t seem to find precisely what I need second-hand.
Clothing has the 4th largest environmental impact1 after housing, transport and food.
Before you wash them: the drawback of many of these recycled synthetic materials is that, like all man-made fibres, they still release microfibres every time they are washed. So make sure to use a Guppyfriend or a Cora Ball when you wash them!
Affordable, inclusive, high-performance up-cycled activewear that will make your heart sing and your bum MOVING!
They are super transparent with what they’re doing in terms of sustainability, so you can read all about what exactly they’re doing here.
United Kingdom, $
Ethically made in Portugal.
Hey! Enjoy 15% off with discount code organicbasicsxcj15.
Organic Basics’ activewear collection is made from SilverTech—a durable, breathable, stretchy, sweat-wicking Italian recycled nylon. Recycled nylon also takes 90% less water to make and it creates 80% fewer CO2 emissions in compared to virgin nylon which is typically used in activewear.
Ethically made in Portugal and Turkey.
Do I really need to introduce them? Girlfriend Collective makes beautiful activewear made from recycled fishing nets and other waste.
United States, $-$$
Ethically made in Taiwan and Vietnam.
Organic, Fair Trade cotton at very fair prices. People Tree is a pioneer in ethical and environmentally sustainable fashion, which is just another reason to love and support them!
United Kingdom, $-$$
Ethically made in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Nepal.
Allerton is an independent Australian swimwear and activewear brand with a focus on fit and function. They use regenerated Lycra made from discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles wherever possible.
Ethically made in Australia.
Did you know that it is estimated that 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow conventional cotton? Pact makes the soft, comfortable and beautiful organic cotton basics you were looking for!
United States, $
Ethically made in India.
Do you know what ghost fishing nets are? It’s lost or abandoned fishing gear that continues to capture fish and other marine animals after the gear is no longer under the control of a fisherman. Every year, thousands of these are discarded in the ocean. Abysse’s activewear is made of a material that gives ghost fishing nets and discarded fabrics a new life.
United States, $$-$$$
Ethically made in the United States.
You might be surprised not to find anything made out of bamboo in this list. And that is because bamboo is not as sustainable as we’ve been used to thinking.
For more ethical brands, head over to the directory of allllllll ethical fashion brands (well, many, let’s say it’s still a big work in progress!), the Ethical Fashion Guide.
Morgane is a London-based writer and the founder of Zero Waste Nest. She’s passionate about sustainable living, ethical fashion and social justice. She also founded the Ethical Fashion Guide, with the firm intention to make ethical fashion the norm. Her retirement plans are to adopt as many stray cats as she’s able to.
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