The Environment, Shopping, Fashion, Lookbook

These ethical clothing brands will keep you warm and reduce your carbon footprint

Our favorite clothing brands may look cute, but their labor practices aren't

Winter is my least favorite season for so many reasons, but number one is how unfashionable it makes me feel. Of course, there are plenty of ways to create a chic winter outfit, but as someone whose only concern is staying warm, I tend to just pile on the layers.

I’ve recently tried to elevate my winter style by investing in cute sweaters and footwear. But as someone who tries to be a conscious consumer, I’m always thinking about how my clothing choices affect the planet and the workers who help make the clothing. Many big name brands have terrible labor practices and just create more waste at a time when we should be reducing our carbon footprint more than ever. A recent report noted the fashion industry generates 1.26 billion tons of greenhouse emissions every year – more than the amount created by international flights and shipping combined.

Thankfully in recent years, many companies have begun to hold themselves accountable and make ethical or sustainable fashion part of their mission. Here are a few ethical clothing brands you should consider buying from:

1. Will’s Vegan Shoes

Will’s Vegan Shoes are vegan, ethically made and long lasting. The company’s policy means everything they make is carbon neutral, right down to the packaging.

2. Thought

Thought is committed to creating clothing that is easy to wear and eco-friendly. The clothes themselves are made from recycled and natural materials, which must adhere to their animal welfare policy. This includes freedom from discomfort and absolutely no use of wild-caught or endangered species. This is a particular concern for me because companies that use wool-based products have harmful practices for sheep. Thought also maintains several partnerships like donating unsold clothing to charities and a networking program to help fashion professionals grow sustainable businesses.

3. Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective makes athletic and casual wear that is made from recycled polyester and post-consumer water bottles. The clothing comes in simple but beautiful colors and is plus-size friendly. What’s not to love?

4. Prana

Prana is a bit pricey, but designed to last. With fair trade policies like a community development fund that’s owned by workers and transparent supply chains, the price almost seems worth it.

5. Everlane

Everlane features thoughtful profiles on each of its factories, which are located worldwide. Each profile features photos, as well as details like the numbers of workers, materials made, and information about the factory owners. The company is committed to radical transparency on everything from materials to labor and transportation.

6. Reformation

If you’re a fan of dreamy, feminine fashion then you will love Reformation. The company strives to curb its fashion footprint by using sustainable materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. About 15% of their clothing is made from deadstock fabric, while 2-5% is made from vintage material. Reformation also offers a petite and “extended sizes” section.

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New cozy stuff is here and wants to cuddle.

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7. Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher has been around since the 1980s and was founded by a woman who just wanted comfortable clothes and hated shopping. Flash forward to today and the company is still incredibly successful with simple, effortless clothing that works for all different body types. They have an entire department devoted to Social Consciousness which oversees grant programs for women-owned businesses, community partnerships, and more. Their stores and distribution centers also rely on green energy.

8. Patagonia

For durable, outdoor wear that comes with fair labor practices, Patagonia is a safe bet. What was once a small clothing company that made tools from climbers has grown to a billion-dollar operation. But along with its success, comes corporate responsibility and Patagonia is upfront about it. The company is committed to protecting migrant workers, offering a livable wage, and fighting against issues like human trafficking in supply chains.

9. Kotn

Kotn sells men and women’s wear at fairly affordable prices with the promise that each purchase will go towards funding schools for their farmers’ children. They also prioritize a 2:1 female to male student ratio in an effort to empower young girls to experience equal opportunity. Their labor practices ensure factory workers are being paid fairly and have the chance to move up in the company.

10. Alternative

Alternative makes eco-friendly loungewear for men, women, and kids. The clothing uses low-impact dyes and is made from post-consumer recycled polyester. Additionally, the majority of their factories are WRAP-certified and all of the factories follow the Fair Labor Association guidelines & workplace code of conduct.

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A classic choice.

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Happy eco-friendly shopping!