16 Best Sustainable Fashion Brands You Can Actually Trust

 
The latest fashion trend isn’t a seasonal color or a must-have style: it’s the concept of sustainable fashion and ethical clothing. The textiles industry is wreaking havoc on the environment between the processes to make clothing and the waste when it gets tossed, so brands and consumers alike have taken a much-needed interest in improving these issues.
What is ethical or sustainable fashion?
While "fast fashion" describes clothing that is cheaply made and intended for short-term use, "sustainable" (or "ethical") fashion is the opposite. It takes into account the full lifecycle of the product — from the design, sourcing, and production processes — and looks at everyone and everything being affected by it, from the environment, to the workers and communities where it’s produced, to the consumers who purchase it.
1. Water usage: The demands for fresh water for drinking and agriculture is far surpassing what’s available. Yes, the Earth is covered in water, but most of it is unusable salt water or has been polluted. As a result, some brands are now looking at the supply chains to see how they can cut back on how much water they're using.

2. Hazardous chemicals: Dyes and finishes from the production processes are dangerous for the workers, plus they get into the community water sources. These chemicals may not affect the consumers, but they’re a problem for the people who make clothing and those who live in areas where it’s produced. Fashion and outdoor brands are now tasked with coming up with new ways to address dyes and finishes for features like wrinkle-resistance and water-repellency.

3. Short lifecycle: Stores are constantly launching new designs and consumers are regularly updating their wardrobes. The biggest goal in sustainable fashion is to buy less and use things longer. To make clothes last, there are platforms for closet-sharing, brands that promote buying used clothing, and simple yet durable styles that you can wear over and over again.
4. Waste: On top of having a short lifecycle, there needs to be a way to create less trash by making products useful again once they’ve run their course. One way is to repair garments (i.e. mending holes in jeans and replacing worn soles of shoes) while another opportunity comes from using recycled materials in apparel..

5. Agriculture: Natural fibers like cotton are often grown using pesticides and treatments that are harmful to the farmers, workers, and wildlife in the area. There are now more options for organic cotton, linen, and other fibers available, which also use less water than the conventional growing methods. Plus, brands are looking at being organic throughout the production process – not just the growing of the crop, which is only the first step.
What are the most sustainable fabrics?

The most sustainable fabric is one that’s previously been used; anything new that has been produced – regardless of what material – has a negative impact on the environment. After that comes fabrics made with recycled material. Most commonly you’ll find polyester made from recycled water bottles. Just make sure you’re looking for specific details, like "100% recycled polyester" (some brands might market it as “made with partially recycled materials” when it’s really only a small portion).

Lastly, fabrics made with sustainable fibers are better than conventional ones, like organic fibers that use less chemicals and water, or Tencel that’s safer for workers and has less waste.

Is sustainable fashion affordable? Yes! Buying something used is more sustainable than anything new, so it’s automatically going to cost you less. This doesn’t mean you have to shop at Goodwill, and it’s actually becoming a trend: The fashion industry calls it “recommerce.” Sites like eBay, thredUP, and Poshmark make it easy to swap out your clothes, and brands like Eileen Fisher and Patagonia are even selling pre-worn garments from their own labels.
Just be cautious that you don’t use the cost-savings as an excuse to buy more since that'll take away from it being a sustainable purchase. That being said, if you’re going to buy new sustainable fashion from brands that follow ethical practices and give fair wages, use organic fibers, or create more durable items, you may end up paying more – but these garments are meant to last longer.
What brands are ethical? Different brands focus on combating various issues in the fashion industry – some just one, while others are tackling multiple. Read on to learn more about brands we love that are creating the best options for ethical clothing and accessories.

1.Levi From growing the cotton to dyeing and finishing, it takes over 2,000 gallons of water just to make one pair of jeans. Levi’s focuses on the finishing processes to remove water wherever possible with its Water<Less collection, which it says uses up to 96% less water to make.
And because Levi's is such a big player in the denim industry, steps like this can actually have an impact. On top of that, the brand publicly shares its in-depth sustainability commitments throughout the product lifecycle.

2. Alternative Apparel For casual closet staples like T-shirts, hoodies, leggings, and more, Alternative Apparel focuses on using organic cotton and recycled materials. The pieces have a worn-in, vintage look that’s timeless so they won’t go in and out of style. The brand also uses more sustainable packaging and low impact dyes, and it follows strict ethical standards for the factories it sources from. And it’s not just for women: there are also styles for men and kids. 
3. PACT All of the cotton garments from this brand are certified organic by GOTS, so you know the entire manufacturing process follows organic guidelines. They’re also Fair Trade Certified, which looks at ethical factors like wages and working conditions.
The clothes themselves are mostly soft and comfy staples that you can wear every day, but there are also pajamas and underwear so you can opt for organic 24/7. This one also makes clothing for the whole family, including men, kids, and baby. 
4. Everlane This  brand focuses on ethics and transparency, showing its markup process for each garment and showcasing factories to give an idea of where it sources from. It claims every factory gets audited and scored during the selection process.
There isn’t a clear impact from an environmental perspective, but the styles are good-looking without being super trendy so you can wear them year after year (i.e. you don’t have to buy more and create waste). Everlane sells everything from clothing and outerwear to footwear and accessories, plus styles for men.
 5 thredUp It's not  a clothing brand itself, but the website buys and sells women’s and kids used clothing that’s in like-new condition with lots of life left in it. The budget-friendly retailer closely inspects second-hand garments before selling them, so you know you’re getting garments that are in great shape.
Buying used clothing is more sustainable than anything new, and on top of that you’re getting top fashion brands for a fraction of the cost. You can also send your unwanted clothing and the brand will either buy it or consign it for you. Anything that it doesn't accept gets repurposed or recycled.
Some others are H&M Conscious, Eileen Fisher, Cuyana, Reformation, Amour Vert, People Tree, Epoque Evolution, Patagonia,  Columbia, Athleta, and Manduka.

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