Let’s be honest: At this point in the game, sustainability and the discussion around it are hard to avoid. Whether it be switching to the use of non-disposable straws, consciously recycling, or even shopping for vintage or re-sold items, everyone has their own style (no matter how big or small) of making an impact on the environment. That said, one of the easiest ways you can promote this ethical movement is to shop from sustainable fashion brands. Not to mention, you’ll look good while doing it, too.
Chances are, you’ve already familiarized yourself with sustainability-forward moguls like Stella McCartney, Reformation, Everlane, and PANGAIA. All of the aforementioned heavy hitters put effort into making environmental consciousness a norm and reducing their carbon footprints. But nonetheless, why stop there? With more and more eco-friendly designers emerging to the surface, there is no better time to give your wardrobe a refresh of sustainable clothing and accessories.
Below, find the brands that will not only look as cool as ever but will also be good for the environment. For those striving to achieve a nearly zero-waste lifestyle, take note of recycling programs offered by brands like For Days or the Los Angeles-based jeweler Kinn. They can give your worn-out pieces a new life — and possibly offset the environmental impact of your purchase.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
This New York-based label was born in 2021 out of an intent to create a fashion brand with a climate-positive impact. The founders, Anna Bakst and Michele Rutigliano, essentially “thrift” deadstock materials — think leftover leathers and textiles — from other brands and upcycle them into utilitarian handbags and ready-to-wear pieces.
A fashion industry veteran, Kristy Caylor created For Days in 2018 with a vision for a first-of-its-kind, zero-waste fashion brand. Four years later, the company is not only offering a range of affordable, fully recyclable fashion pieces, but is also running a Take Back Bag program. (The initiative allows you to send in your ripped, stained, or tie-dyed clothes or scraps from any brand to be recycled, or otherwise repurposed, by one of the brand’s partners.) The $20 you pay for this service will instantly get returned in store credit, which you can use to purchase some brand new For Days gear.
Launched in 2008, this Blake Lively-approved brand weaves post-consumer waste like plastic bottles, old jeans, T-shirts, and more into yarn to create its ready-to-wear pieces. In addition to denim, DL1961 previously released a capsule of pants made entirely from repurposed leather and suede.
Environmentalist and investigative journalist Sheherazade Goldsmith created Loquet as one of the sustainability-forward trailblazers in the jewelry category. The London-based label creates pieces that are made entirely from recycled gold and packaged in boxes, bags, and leaflets constructed from salvaged materials. The brand is most famous for its hand-crafted locket pendants, which can be customized to your liking using a variety of playful charms.
Designer Ashlynn Park launched her eponymous label, ASHLYN, to give life to her vision of clean, modern tailoring through a sustainability-focused lens. Keeping her focus on slow fashion, Park continues to offer modern interpretations of traditional suiting tropes. It’s the perfect combination of voluminous, sculptural shapes and pared-down minimalism.
If you’re in the market for high-quality, low-waste accessories, turn your attention to RECO. The brand exclusively uses top-quality upcycled leather and produces its patchwork-inspired bags in limited quantities, striving to combat the issues of overproduction and dormant inventory. The result? A range of sustainable, equally splurge-worthy alternatives to luxury handbags that are offered at a fair price without compromising on material quality and craftsmanship.
Minimalism aficionados will love this LA-based swimwear brand. Take a gander at JADE Swim’s inventory and you’ll quickly notice how it only offers solid-colored fabrics — an intentional choice made to omit excessive water usage that comes with traditional pattern printing. On top of that, the majority of the JADE Swim pieces are crafted from ECONYL — a fabric made out of 100% regenerated nylon — as well as other OEKO-TEX-certified and Azo-tested materials.
LA-based fine jeweler Kinn makes its minimalist pieces from 100% solid and recycled gold, as well as natural stones that have never been heat treated or dyed. The brand also offers a curated line on vintage, pre-loved designs. Plus, you can declutter your jewelry box and recycle the damaged or outworn pieces through Kinn’s very own Repurpose program.
After years of working on fair trade projects and bespoke upcycled textiles with artisan communities throughout India, Laura May and Hannah Gibbs launched NAGNATA. The sister duo used their experience to explore the relationship between the artisanal and the contemporary in order to guide their brand’s journey. In June 2019, NAGNATA took a sustainability auditing process and joined Net-a-Porter’s NET SUSTAIN — a curated platform that highlights consciously crafted designs — and continues to be part of the program to this day. The following year, in 2020, the brand also received the Honorable Mention Award for Sustainability at Australia’s National Designer Awards presented by David Jones.
This Stockholm-based brand offers an array of leather-centric products made from deadstock skins, repurposed vintage clothing, and upcycled post-production waste. The garments not only have a soft worn-in feel, but also make for a far more sustainable alternative compared to brand new leather pieces or other clothing made from cotton/polyester (read: the majority of non-animal leathers.) For those who want a vegan option, Deadwood also carries a collection of cactus leather goods that are free of toxic chemicals and phthalates.
This Kaia Gerber-approved brand offers soft, season-less basics made entirely in the United States from Tencel modal fibers. (Its supply chain is entirely located in Los Angeles to cut down on carbon footprint.) Furthermore, all of the pieces you purchase on Bleusalt will be packaged into a reusable Bleusalt canvas bag and shipped inside a recycled box, with no tags attached for waste reduction.
This minimalist brand designs its collections around evergreen core fabrics such as organic cotton and silk. All the lingerie pieces are made from 100% pre-consumer waste, meaning that no new material is generated to create them. As for swimwear, half of its swimwear offerings are made from ECONYL — a regenerated nylon fabric made from waste materials like abandoned fishing nets. (Fun fact: Scarlett Johansson wore a pair of Araks briefs in an opening scene of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.)
Helmed by the former Jimmy Choo Head Designer Alfredo Piferi, this brand is changing the game in vegan, eco-friendly footwear. PĪFERI creates its luxe, eco-friendly designs using bio-based materials like corn oil, as well as recycled synthetics. (Its vegan suede, for instance, is made using 100% recycled PET aka post-consumer waste such as plastic bottles.)
ALINA ABEGG offers nostalgic designs that are sculptural and playful at the same time. The jeweler recovers gold from secondary materials and offers its clients a recycling option for their pre-loved jewelry. Aside from that, the brand promotes a slow fashion mindset to extend the life of its pieces.
LEZÉ The Label
This Canadian brand makes cozy basics and PJs with upcycled fabrics created via recycled fishing nets and beech trees. (To put it into perspective: Every 100 tons of regenerated nylon used by LEZÉ saves 700 barrels of crude oil, avoids 571 tons of CO2 emissions, and reduces global warming impact by up to 80% compared to the use of virgin nylon.)
Rentrayage creates its modern, feminine silhouettes from upcycled vintage or deadstock fabrics. Prior to starting Rentrayage in 2019, Erin Beatty was at the helm of SUNO, another sustainable New York-based brand that created ethically made craftcore pieces before it became a trend. In addition to clothing, the brand offers a selection of vintage and recycled home goods and clean beauty products, encouraging its customers to adopt a holistic approach to conscious consumption.
All of Pact’s products receive organic certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This means that you can be sure that no toxic chemicals are found in the garments. Additionally, the brand partners with Fair Trade Certified factories that meet the rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards to ensure safe working conditions and promote a sustainable framework.
The New York-based offers contemporary apparel made from local, mostly deadstock fabrics and materials. In addition to clothing, the brand also offers a curated range of commissioned objects like furniture and home decor pieces.
AERA’s vegan shoes not only look and feel like real leather, but also possess the same durability. Plus, the brand wants to offset its environmental impact by 110% via supporting initiatives like GreenTrees reforestation project and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF)’s Water Restoration Certificate, thus investing to restore 622,000 gallons of water in critically dewatered U.S. rivers and streams.
Launched in 2019, this Los Angeles-based denim brand uses sustainable eco-tech equipment, clean wash technology, and low-impact chemicals to create its better-for-the-environment garments. (The company currently uses 90% less water, 63% less energy, and 70% fewer chemicals compared to the industry standard in creating denim.)
This Australian sleepwear brand is not only beautiful and comfortable, but also has committed itself and its operations to the environment with a majority of its collections made from natural and organic fibers.
At OOKIOH, you’ll find high-quality, brightly-colored swimwear basics made from recycled sunken fishnets to reduce the ocean’s pollution. The best part is, you can get these eco-friendly pieces at an affordable price.
Botanica Workshop has committed itself to creating delicate intimates and swimwear using natural materials such as organic cotton, silk, and recycled nylon for its timeless pieces.
This LA-based sunglasses brand has created luxury eyewear using a material made from reforested softwood trees and lenses made from sand and minerals rather than plastic.
Founder Vicki von Holzhausen left her career in the automotive industry and founded her eponymous line to create a brand that not only focuses on design, but also sustainability. Eventually, she developed her own animal-free leather, Technik-Leather, that looks and feels as luxurious as the real thing.
JW Pei’s vegan leather bags each feature a lining made from 100% recycled bottles, promoting the slow fashion and sustainability movements.
This chic swimwear brand has made sustainability one of its main focuses by using regenerated Italian fabric, which is made from recycled fishnets. The brand also provides you with a biodegradable and reusable zip bag for your beach needs.
With all-natural ingredients, dyes, and a sustainable process for production, ZIRAN uses the most environmentally-friendly process to for its high-quality silk pieces. The result? Beautiful one-of-a-kind items to keep in your wardrobe for an endless number of seasons.
Not only is this LA-based brand dedicated to the environment, but it also partners with a number of different organizations in the city throughout the year to take its mission a step further.
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