30 Sustainable Fashion Brands You Should Be Shopping in 2021
You’ve sworn off plastic bags, cut back on buying beverages in single-use bottles and reevaluated your use of plastic straws. Congrats, you’re living green in 2021. However, you should consider giving your wardrobe and swap out your fast-fashion shopping habits for something a little more eco-friendly. Just in time for Earth Day, we’re highlighting the best sustainable fashion brands of 2021. Go on, shop for the sake of our planet.
You might already know this brand for its 100 percent recycled swimsuits, all of which are insanely flattering. But don’t overlook Summersalt’s workout gear—including the adorable floral sports bra above—that are designed to be moisture-wicking and are made with sun protection. The brand recently branched into recycled cashmere and cozy lounge sets, as well as an “essentials” category featuring moisture-wicking undies, easy T-shirts and sleek bodysuits. All the packing materials, from hang tags to polybags, are made from recycled products, and Summersalt also recommends using the resealable mailer to tote around wet bathing suits or sweaty gym clothes. Brilliant!
From the very beginning, Cuyana’s motto has been “fewer, better.” It first launched with a line of timeless leather handbags, and has since expanded into a whole range of gorgeous essentials that, while minimal in style are anything but boring. The entire production process—from sustainably sourced materials to ethically-run factories—is outlined on the brand’s website, as is a description of the brand’s commitment to durability (both in style and in construction) and the ways it helps to recycle or repurpose its product once it’s no longer needed or usable. Our favorite pieces are still the stunning leather bags, but the luxe silk tops are not to be missed.
3. Common Era
Every piece of jewelry from this female-owned business features ethical gems and precious metals. That means the earrings won’t turn your earlobes green, and the opals, rubies and pearls are sourced with a clean conscience. If you have yet to add a gold coin bauble or baroque pearl to your collection, now’s the time.
If you don’t know about Reformation and its sustainable initiatives, well, what rock have you been living under? A go-to for everyday blouses and bridesmaids dresses alike, the whole brand was built on the notion that sustainability in fashion begins with the fibers and that leftover fabric can definitely be used again and again. Yep, they focus on the nitty-gritty (even going so far as releasing a Sustainability Report Card each year) to make sure that slinky linen dress looks great on you and looks great for the future of our planet. Ref’s latest eco-friendly launch is FibreTrace denim, which tracks the brand’s beloved jeans from the original cotton plants (grown on the world’s first carbon positive farm in Australia) through the weaving and dying processes all the way to your front door so you know exactly what went into taking them from “farm to butt” as the brand puts it.
5. Frank & Oak
This cool Canadian company is a Certified B Corporation, which means Frank & Oak “meet[s] the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” Their cute cardis are made from organic cotton and recycled polyester, while their denim is rivet-less (because removing the metal detail makes it easier to recycle). The brand also offers a monthly subscription service called Style Plan, which is packed with four items that range from trendy separates to must-have basics, all tailored to your taste by a Frank & Oak stylist. And (this is the best part) you can veto or approve every piece before it’s shipped out to you.
6. Girlfriend Collective
Wait, these workout sets won’t break the bank, are made out of recycled water bottles and come in a muted rainbow of colors? Yeah, Girlfriend Collective is that good. Oh, BTW, they’re also size-inclusive (up to 6XL) and there is a whole maternity range. Plus, each item lists how many discarded bottles it was created from, in addition to the amount of CO2 emissions that were prevented and how much water was saved. That’s so you can educate yourself while looking real cute...or working out.
Here’s proof that a luxe handbag can be good for the environment. Behno’s sleek belt bags and slouchy totes are ethically produced in India, with leather that’s collected as a result of the existing food chain and made with limited fabric waste. The company has also set its own strict set of standards for all its partners with the six guiding principles of health, women’s rights, worker satisfaction and benefits, worker mobility, family planning and eco-consciousness.
8. Another Tomorrow
Another Tomorrow serves up impeccably tailored workwear with equal thought placed on both the impact of each thread of wool and the fit of the trousers. The brand launched early in 2020 and made a splash in the market with its clear dedication to transparency. In fact, each crisp blouse and classic trench coat contains a tag with a QR code so you can scan it to see exactly where each facet of the garment originates from.
9. Boyish Jeans
Boyish Jeans has a goal to make your daily dose of denim totally zero waste. The brand uses fewer chemicals than its competitors and maintains the smallest carbon footprint possible, which explains why its yarn, fabric and manufacturing facilities are all within 30 miles of one another. But the company also has tons of fits, fades and cuts that will seamlessly work with your wardrobe—like this vintage wide-leg style that we want to wear right now. It also recently branched into making cozy sweatsuits and easy dresses, so you can round out your eco wardrobe.
10. Thousand Fell
With just two styles—a slip-on and a lace-up—Thousand Fell is making the simple white sneaker you’ll actually wear all year long. These vegan kicks are stain-proof, water-resistant and odor-repellent, so you can truly get your money’s worth. But they were also designed to be taken apart and easily recycled, repurposed or biodegraded. Once you’re ready for a new pair, just ship the grungy kicks back to Thousand Fell and you’ll get a discount to use on your next purchase.
11. Naked Cashmere
There are few items of clothing we love more than a cozy cashmere sweater (or cashmere sweatpants or cashmere socks or...you get the gist). But that is double true when we know the materials were sourced in a sustainable, animal-friendly and ethical manner and shipped using recycled cardboard. Knits also come in a reusable, recyclable pouch designed to keep your cozy new pieces in tip-top shape when stowed away for the off-season or when traveling.
Kotn is another company doing good at every step of its manufacturing process. The basics brand works solely with natural fibers and has committed to transforming the ethically-run farms it currently works with into entirely organic enterprises, meaning all of Kotn’s materials will be 100-percent organic, over the next five years. The brand has also helped to open and run seven schools in rural Egypt, where it sources most of it’s cotton, putting an emphasis on educating young women who are all too often left behind. As for the clothes themselves, the easy tees and lounge sets are incredibly soft and surprisingly affordable given the brand’s strict eco-minded requirements. It also makes home goods, like duvet covers and sheet sets, as well as menswear for those looking to green more than just their own wardrobes.
We’ve long been fans of Pact’s easy basics and pocketed leggings, but did you know it also makes menswear, children’s clothes and home goods? And all are things you can feel great about purchasing. The Pact website proudly reads “Earth’s Favorite Clothing” stamped right at the top, and indeed, it is doing a lot in terms of helping to leave our planet better than how we found it. The brand uses only organic cotton, one of the most sustainable fabrics we know of, and partners with Fair Trade Certified factories to ensure its employees are working and living in safe, healthy environments. The packaging is also sustainably made and recyclable, and shoppers can choose specific shipping options to offset their carbon footprint if they want (your new goodies will arrive a little later, but we can wait if it means fewer harmful emissions). Pact will also gladly accept old pieces you don’t wear anymore via a donation box to then disperse to a number of nonprofits or to be recycled.
Cariuma makes some of the absolute best white sneakers we’ve ever worn, but of course there are other fun colors to choose from as well. In fact, there are five women’s styles, all in a range of fun but wearable hues and all made using sustainable practices. The Brazilian duo behind the brand set out with three goals in mind: comfort, style and, most importantly, earth-conscious manufacturing methods, and they’ve successfully achieved all three. The website offers an in depth look at the process of obtaining natural materials—like organic cotton, OEKO-TEX-certified bamboo and rubber that dosn’t harm trees in the tapping process—as well as eco-friendly synthetics like recycled PET and packaging paper.
Why wait for a special occasion to treat yourself to little something sparkly? Mejuri is all about making luxury pieces feel more accessible, both in terms of price point and for everyday wear, and it does it all with impressive transparency and a dedication to fair, eco-friendly practices. Sixty percent of the brand’s production partners are larger companies certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, “the international standard bearer for ensuring supply chain sustainability, labor rights and integrity across the jewelry industry,” while the remaining 40 percent are small family-owned and run businesses that are aligned with Mejuri’s environmental and social standards. The brand offers a mix of delicate everyday classics (like the lotus-diamond bracelet and simple gold chain yours truly wears on a daily basis) and more stand-out designs (like chunky pearls or diamond-adorned dome-shaped rings) for much less than what you’d find at a traditional, less transparent jeweler.
Professional surfer Kelly Slater started Outerknown after becoming frustrated with the lack of information on how the suits from his sponsors were being made, setting out to design his own eco-friendly swim and beachwear. The brand’s sustainability efforts are constantly evolving and, in the name of transparency, are shared with shoppers via the website, including info on how Outerknown plans to achieve its ambitious 2030 goals. Just a few years ago, Slater branched into womenswear, tailoring the best-selling Blanket Shirt for a snugger fit and crafting comfy, flattering jumpsuits and dresses all made from organic natural fibers or recycled materials. Outerknown continues to grow and evolve, but always maintains that easy SoCal aesthetic.
17. Mother of Pearl
This high-end U.K. brand is another focused on transparency and places emphasis on animal welfare, social responsibility and, of course, environmental impact. And while you can shop the chic and beautifully tailored pieces at Net-a-Porter, on the brand’s website you can see in depth information about each individual garment’s eco-friend attributes. Mother of Pearl’s designs don’t come cheap, but they are made to last and fit beautifully into the idea of buying fewer, better pieces.
This outdoor and athletic apparel brand is Bluesign certified, which means every step of the production process has been examined to determine that PrAna is manufacturing its products in the most environmentally-friendly, health-conscious way possible. And while there are plenty of sport-specific pieces we love—like durable climbing pants, supportive yoga bras and hike-ready shorts—there are also a ton of cute everyday options, including comfy cotton tanks, breezy dresses and sustainably-sourced down jackets.
Ética denim counts celebs like Charlize Theron, Jessica Alba, Sara Sampaio and Diane Kruger as fans, in addition to this fashion editor, for its and its commitment to producing eco-friendly denim. Denim is notoriously one of the least sustainable materials to produce (it creates a ton of water waste, is often made with non-organic cotton and frequently uses toxic dyes to get that perfect dark wash we all know and love), but the L.A.-based brand has found ways to drastically reduce its impact without resorting to crazy high price tags. Per the brand’s website, Ética reduces “water usage by 90 percent, energy consumption by 63 percent and chemical usage by 70 percent compared to industry standards.” (P.S. it’s also a best-seller at both Nordstrom and Verishop.)
Morgane Sézalory started this Parisian brand by tweaking and tailoring vintage pieces for a more modern feel (already a sustainably-minded practice), so when she decided to start producing entirely new designs from scratch, traceability and a knowledge of where her materials were coming from and the methods used to turn them into chic clothing was very important. Today, three-quarters of the materials used throughout the brand are eco-friendly, and four in-house lines (essentials, denim, cashmere and leisurewear) are made with 100 percent earth-conscious fabrics. There are also vintage-feeling leather goods and a curated home collection with gorgeous reusable totes, lampshade and floor cushions made from recycled fabrics.
21. Threads 4 Thought
Threads 4 Thought launched in 2006 with a strict set of standards as to how its casual tees, dresses and athleisure-wear should be made, and it has only improved on those methods since. We’re particular fans of the ReActive collection of workout gear made from recycled plastic bottles and nylon fishing nets pulled from the ocean (including a pair of very on-trend cross-waist leggings). In addition to its easy womenswear, which recently extended its size range to go up to a 3X in many styles, T4T also makes mens and kids clothes, so you can outfit the whole family in eco-friendly garb.
The name AMUR stands for “a mindful use of resources,” so you’d better believe this brand’s stunning floral dresses and dreamy summer blouses are made sustainably. That means using hemp and linen because they require less water and fertilizer to produce, in addition to reclaimed and regenerated textiles. If you’re planning to buy just one dress for the five weddings you have on the calendar this summer, go with one from AMUR. They’re built to last (including those delicate summer ruffles) and even the mother of the bride will compliment your look.
23. Stine Goya
This Swedish brand has become a leading favorite among fashion editors and influencers for its bright colors, easy silhouettes and masterful mix of prints and patterns, like the cheerful draped silk frock above. Of course, its widely transparent sustainability efforts have also been a major selling point for eco-conscious shoppers. The website even has an in depth outline of future plans, as well as a yearly report card on how previous goals went. The price point is fairly high, but you can often find the brand on sale at Shopbop and Saks Fifth Avenue.
We could wax poetic about Patagonia’s phenomenal outdoor gear for days before even getting into the brand’s extensive sustainability efforts and involvement in activism causes like defending Bears Ears National Monument and preserving natural resources across the country. It also offers repairs on any well-worn Patagonia gear, no matter how old, places huge emphasis on using only environmentally-friendly materials and has an extensive recycling program in place to prevent any of its products from winding up in landfills. Even if you don’t plan to go camping or hiking any time soon, Patagonia has lots of activewear for running or yoga, as well as comfy everyday pieces like sleek jumpsuits and trendy bucket hats.
This minimalist brand is phenomenal for anyone looking to build a versatile capsule wardrobe. It features mostly chic separates in simple but never boring silhouettes that can often be worn multiple ways (like the best-selling That’s A Wrap top, which can be styled at least four different ways). And because the original focus was on travel-ready pieces that would make it easier to pack light, the majority of the fabrics used are wrinkle-resistant and offer better sweat- and moisture-wicking abilities than your typical silky blouse.
This innovative eyewear brand first launched with just a handful of classic sunglass frames all made entirely from reclaimed wood. It has since expanded to include other materials (including stone, seashells and even pinecones), always with a focus on sustainability and eliminating excess waste.
27. Mara Hoffman
Mara Hoffman was one of the first high-end brands to branch into plus sizes and has continued to expand its plus collection season after season. And while it didn’t necessarily place emphasis on environmentally-conscious methods at first launch, it has been slowly but surely implementing more and better processes since 2015, helping to prove that it’s never too late for even well-established brands to pivot, learn and improve. Our favorite pieces are definitely the cheerful printed bikinis and super-flattering one-piece swimsuits, but Mara Hoffman’s stunning dresses are definitely worth the splurge if you’re looking for a stand out piece that won’t feel out of style in just a few years time.
You can revamp your whole wardrobe all with one shopping spree at ABLE, and stock up on high-quality dresses, jeans, totes, jewelry and even shoes. In addition to the brand’s commitment to using sustainably-produced materials, it also works hard to provide jobs for women in impoverished areas that pay a fair wage and help lift these women and their communities.
As you may have guessed from the name, Tentree plants ten trees for every purchase made, helping to offset its environmental impacts, which are admittedly already fewer than a traditional retailer. Its colorful basics and super-soft athleisure are all made using sustainable natural fibers and innovative eco-friendly synthetics in ethically-run factories. Plus, each product page gives specific information about that particularly piece and how it was made.
Faherty is a brand working to do good in a lot of different ways, including working to support Indigenous communities and providing opportunities for previously incarcerated folks who are reentering society. It decorates its stores and offices with secondhand and vintage goods, uses recycled and recyclable packaging and is working its way toward reducing its use of non-sustainable fabrics and dyes. Per the brand’s website, 64 percent of the menswear and 37 percent of the womenswear currently produced are made with sustainable materials, with the goal of increasing both those numbers to 85 percent by the end of 2021. To help achieve that lofty goal, Faherty is partnering with Bluesign and the organization 1% for the Planet which works on a vast number of environmentally-focused projects.