Ethical Clothing Brands To Know About
Online shopping has made buying clothes more convenient than ever. With just a few clicks, you can find amazing styles and have them shipped right to your door, never having to leave your couch.
With this fast and easy convenience comes a tendency to buy clothes (and other products) without paying much attention to what kind of impact those purchases might be making.
The impact of an unsustainable supply chain has increased the interest in eco-friendly and sustainable fashion, and many brands are taking the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint.
Are your clothes produced sustainably? How does the production of your swimwear, t-shirts, bras, outerwear, and other clothing items impact the environment and the people who take part in each stage of getting these clothes to my doorstep?
These aren’t the kinds of questions most of us consider when we hit add to cart. Still, as the cumulative impact of these factors becomes more and more clear worldwide, our responsibility to look deeper grows clearer, too.
Today, our Tasc Performance guide is all about ethical clothing brands. We believe standards and transparency are crucial, which is why we want to help you understand what sort of factors set apart ethical clothing production from less-than.
Making a better future starts with intentional, informed efforts from all of us.
What Is Ethical Clothing?
When we talk about ethical clothing, the core question is how the production, use, and eventual disposal of that clothing impacts the spaces around it. From our planet’s environment to our human communities, the impact of fashion is incredibly significant.
It might even surprise many people just how much fashion affects the world around us. For example, the fashion industry contributes more carbon pollution than the aircraft and shipping industries combined. That’s a whole 10% of world carbon emissions, just from creating, shipping, selling, and disposing of clothes. That’s a lot of greenhouse gases.
In addition to clear pollution problems overall, the fashion industry also consumes immense amounts of water, unrenewable energy sources such as fossil fuels to make synthetic fabrics, and trees, which are often harvested unsustainably. Water usage is a major problem for the fashion industry at different stages in the manufacturing process.
While we must protect our planet, we also need to remember the humans beside us. Employee conditions are just as important as environmentally-friendly factors when it comes to clothes production.
To truly achieve ethical fashion, we need to think about the end-of-life stage for our production process as well. Currently, the fashion industry adds a staggering amount of waste to a growing throwaway culture problem.
Clothing waste is just as much of a problem as discarded water bottles and other plastic bottles, fishing nets, and other common forms of waste. Believe it or not, 20% of clothes produced are never even worn at all. Some never even reach retailers.
With the full picture in mind, let’s talk about some specific factors that can set apart sustainable fashion brands.
Clothing Made From Sustainable Materials
The most obvious means of making clothes more ethical is to use sustainable materials. When it comes to protecting the environment, natural materials rule the road.
In the simplest terms, eco-friendly materials don’t use up non-renewable resources (such as fossil fuels), and don’t upset the balance of the environment around them. They’re often compostable, regenerated, biodegradable, or upcycled, as well.
Examples of sustainable fabrics include post-consumer recycled polyester, deadstock fabric, cashmere, bamboo viscose, and Tencel.
In contrast, unsustainable dyes and fabrics do use non-renewable resources and can take too much from the environment or leave too much behind. They also typically produce clothes in small batches to reduce the overuse of valuable resources.
One unsustainable example is nylon, one of the most common synthetic fabrics found in activewear, which is made with fossil fuels (namely coal).
Releasing more fossil fuels to create clothes also leaves us with less of that energy source than before since it’s nonrenewable and far from climate-neutral — not to mention the serious negative impacts fossil fuels have had on the environment.
In contrast, an example is our personal favorite sustainable fabric material here at Tasc Performance: bamboo. As the fastest growing tree in the world, bamboo epitomizes the idea of a renewable resource while also making one of the highest quality performance materials available.
In general, natural materials are better than synthetic, but this isn’t always true across the board. For example, traditional cotton production overuses water and causes major issues for the environment.
Thankfully, organic cotton offers a better alternative. On the other hand, recycled synthetic fabrics give otherwise environmentally harmful synthetic fabrics a new purpose.
Clothing Made With Workers’ Welfare in Mind
Human factors like sustainable living wages and humane working conditions are an essential part of ethical clothing, despite the fact that they are often overlooked in favor of environmental ones. Fast fashion often forsakes fair wages and other sustainable practices that affect workers.
Unfortunately, it can be a difficult topic for many companies to talk about — but not here at Tasc Performance. We’re proud to partner with fair trade-certified facilities that treat their employees with dignity and elevated conditions.
It’s also important to think about every stage of the sourcing process.
For example, where does the power for our factories come from? At Tasc Performance, 100% of the power required to run our knitting and sewing facility is generated from solar and wind energy.
We also pay close attention to how we use water, ensuring that we do so in an environmentally responsible way. 99% of all wastewater from our factory is recovered, treated, and reused in a closed-loop process to keep treated water out of the ecosystem.
Another factor often overlooked is how farms might impact the land around them. Certain crops or overharvesting practices can leave farmland ravaged over time, which can be devastating to a community. One of the reasons we love bamboo so much is because it treats its farmland so well!
One of the best ways to minimize the impact of our fashion is to buy clothes that are versatile, high-quality, and long-lasting — they won’t just end up in a landfill. When we do, we won’t need to buy as many new clothes, nor to buy them as often. This is sometimes referred to as slow fashion.
With enough cooperative effort to make Earth-friendly clothes that are more high-quality, this will result in less production and less environmental impact, both of which can help bring our planet back into balance!
At Tasc Performance, everything we put into our clothes is focused on making them as high-quality as possible. Even a factor as seemingly simple as odor resistance (natural in bamboo fabric) can help keep your clothes fresh in your closet for a longer life cycle.
What Are Some Ethical Clothing Brands To Watch?
Now that we know what kind of standards to look for, we can share some of our favorite sustainable clothing brands that make clothes ethically.
Of course, we had to mention ourselves! Ethical clothing is our priority here at Tasc Performance, and all of our wardrobe staples meet sustainable standards. You can build a complete capsule wardrobe with gear from us to make your wardrobe as environmentally friendly as possible.
Short-term convenience and comfort mean nothing if they sacrifice the future or well-being of those around us. That’s why we put so much effort into making our clothes sustainable, ethical, and of the highest quality.
Our friends at Pact are doing their part for the planet in every piece of fashion they produce! From organic materials to Fair Trade Factories, carbon neutral shipping, and sustainable, low-impact packaging, we’re glad to share their work.
Pact makes everything from leggings and loungewear to minimalist tees and sweaters using sustainable materials. Their clothes are incredibly comfortable and are made with a mix of synthetic and natural fibers.
For fresh, French fashion that never leaves ethics behind, Sezane is the place to be. Sezane’s partnership with Girls Inc. is especially noteworthy and speaks volumes about its wonderful ethical values.
With such a great name and such a strong emphasis on recycled fabrics and packaging, what’s not to love with Summersalt? These friends are definitely an ethical brand we’re proud to know.
Outerknown is a clothing brand with a clear commitment to sustainability and fair trade, now and in their vision for a zero-waste future and reformation in the fashion industry.
Outerknown has a GOTS certification, signifying that their clothes are made from organic materials.
Last but not least, we have yet another uplifting story of a fashion brand that places sustainability and human factors first. Our friends at Thought Clothing create sustainable, vegan-friendly, plastic-free clothing that feels good to buy and to wear.
The Bottom Line
While we hope you’ll choose our ethical, sustainable styles for your active lifestyle, we’re ultimately hopeful that together we can all work towards a better future for the planet and the people who share it with us.
For more informative guides to fashion, lifestyle, and sustainability, stay right here with our Tasc Performance blog!