The Ultimate 2020 Guide to the Top 25 Sustainable Brands to Try
Congrats! Just by being here at online thrift store thredUP, you’re already shopping much more sustainably. Did you know? If everyone in the United States chose one secondhand clothing item over a new one this year, it would save 6 BILLION lbs of carbon emissions. The production of new clothes and the landfilling of unwanted ones takes a toll on the planet.
The most eco thing ever? Shopping already sustainable brands secondhand! Whatever you choose to do, we’re living in a golden age of sustainable and ethical brands, so you’ve got plenty of choices! Jumpstart your conscious closet with our comprehensive guide to all things sustainable meets style.
Best Sustainable Brands for Every Day
1. Alternative Apparel
For your everyday basics, turn to Alternative Apparel. Since the company launched in 1995, it has been creating vintage-style clothing. Over 80% of the garments produced are made with sustainable processes and materials!
2. Amour Vert
When the founders of Amour Vert learned that fashion was one of the worst pollutive industries, they decided to start a company to change that. Production happens with a zero-waste philosophy, using non-toxic dyes and sustainable fabrics.
3. Conscious Collection by H&M
The Conscious Collection by H&M helps you look good while doing good. This collection is built on seven commitments to conscious actions, each of which helps make the fashion industry more sustainable while making customers feel proud of what they choose to wear.
4. Threads 4 Thought
Threads 4 Thought started in 2006 as a response to the common waste practices in the fashion industry. The first collection included a few T-shirts, made from responsibly sourced materials and graphic designs inspired by the meaning behind the movement. Today, Threads 4 Thought is one of the most sustainable clothing brands in the world, with a massive collection of clothing and accessories.
5. People Tree
Founded in 1991, People Tree is a pioneer in sustainable Fair Trade fashion and invests heavily in positive environmental and social impact. Advocating for more than just fair wages, People Tree mentors producers to hone their skills and strengthen their business acumen. The brand’s refined styles are made of natural materials using traditional skills combined with low-impact, environmentally-friendly technologies.
6. Krotchet Kids International
Looking for a super-soft T-shirt made of organic materials and signed by the woman who made it? Look no further than Krotchet Kids International. This brand offers job opportunities to women in need to break the cycle of poverty and highlight the people who make our clothes.
What are my clothes made of and who made them? Pact will answer ALL your questions. A Fair Trade Factory Certified™ clothing company, Pact’s super-soft basics and activewear are made of organic long-staple cotton, so it’s kind to the people who made them, the earth, and your skin.
On a mission to become the most environmentally-progressive brand on the planet, Tentree is using its sustainably-made basics (made of cork, coconut, recycled polyester and more!) as a vehicle for change. How? For every item purchased, they’ll plant a tree in countries affected by deforestation. You’ll even get a token and code that will let you track your tree’s growth!
Best Sustainable Contemporary Brands
Reformation puts sustainability at the core of everything it does, designing adorable, edgy clothes through efficient and eco-friendly technologies and practices. These include green building initiatives and minimizing energy, water, and waste footprints. Locally sourced and screened suppliers provide the materials needed for each piece. Ready to shop? You can earn Reformation credit by sending used clothes through the Reformation x thredUP upcycling program. A cleaner closet and guilt-free shopping? Yes, please.
2. Ninety Percent
This London-based brand is an up-and-comer in the sustainable fashion scene. Shop relaxed, feminine styles made of sustainable materials like organic cotton and Tencel (made from renewable wood pulp), with peace of mind because 90% of profits go toward charitable causes and those who make Ninety Percent’s collection happen. That’s a lot of good.
Everlane believes everyone can make a difference. This trendy fashion brand has its own way of doing business, with radical transparency, exceptional quality, and ethical factories. You can feel good about every piece of apparel from this sustainable fashion line, especially their latest line, Renew, which is made from recycled plastic bottles!
4. THE KIT
Looking for bold prints and modern silhouettes? Obsessed with jumpsuits? You’ll love THE KIT! This self-described chic tomboy brand zeroes in on three sustainable pillars: fabric, printing, and waste. To minimize over-production, all of THE KIT’s garments are produced and printed on demand. Slow fashion at its best.
5. Tribe Alive
Tribe Alive is another eco-friendly fashion brand with a passion for responsible commerce and quality handmade products. The apparel within the lineup is designed by women, for women, with a heavy emphasis on responsibility.
Best Sustainable Denim Brands
1. DL 1961
DL 1961 is a premium denim brand working to change the standard production method. When producing denim in the traditional way, the process results in heavy pollution. DL 1961 uses responsibly sourced raw materials and partners with socially responsible vendors to reduce this pollution output when making their awesome jeans.
2. Boyish Jeans
You’ll also love the California cool styles from Boyish Jeans. Their denim is produced with recycled cotton, Tencel, and vintage fabrics, and uses 1/3 the amount of water of regular denim! They also recycle all their water so there’s no pollution in the process.
Best Sustainable Luxe Brands
1. Eileen Fisher
The mission of the Eileen Fisher apparel brand is to embrace simplicity, great design, and sustainability. Along with producing supercomfortable, high-quality apparel (you’ll want to wear their pieces 24/7) the company works to support human rights, the environment, and global initiatives.
2. Stella McCartney
A pioneer in sustainable luxury, Stella McCartney’s mission is to positively impact its supply chain from start to finish. Not only is this brand as chic as chic can be, its sleek design ethos offers innovating stylish and environmentally-friendly alternatives to leather and fur. They are leader in the space when it comes producing cutting-edge alternative materials that will stand the test of time.
Best Sustainable Activewear Brands
Patagonia focuses on outdoor apparel that keeps you warm. The company’s mission statement focuses on using their business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental issues, causing no unnecessary harm to the world, and building the best possible products. Their items are truly meant to stand the test of the time, and are great to buy secondhand.
prAna is a clothing and lifestyle company focused on inspiring free-spirited, active, and healthy living. Sustainability initiatives include using organic and recycled materials, fair trade, polybag reduction, responsibly sourced forest materials, and traceability. The people behind the brand feel strongly about creating versatile and sustainable clothing.
3. Outdoor Voices
Whether it’s for your health or for the planet, Outdoor Voices believes in doing things. Its iconic colorblocked styles are of recycled polyester fabric made from post-consumer water bottles, and their Seamless collection is knitted as a tube to minimize waste and extra scraps. All so you can stay active and rest easy.
4. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective began as an activewear company focused on transparency in its supply chain, and while that’s still a huge focus for them, every item they make is created from recycled plastics making them not only ethical but also very eco-conscious. Their recycled water bottle leggings are their most well-known item, and their new LITE line is made from recovered ocean plastic. Comfy high waisted leggings are their signature – you’ll want to wear them all the time.
Best Sustainable Brands for Accessories
The world’s most comfortable shoe is also totally planet-friendly! From shoelaces made from recycled water bottles to the sugarcane used to make the SweetFoam™ cushioned sole Allbird’s sleek sneakers are sustainable from top to bottom. Its upper is either made from certified superfine Merino wool or TENCEL™ Lyocel, a sustainable tree fiber that cuts its carbon footprint by half.
With one foot in design and the other in sustainability, VEJA brings eco-friendly materials and fair trade standards to the streetwear game. The soles are crafted from natural rubber consciously harvested from the Amazon, and the uppers are made from organic cotton. Aside from taking measures to minimize the negative impact of the leather tanning process, VEJA is also exploring leather alternatives including vegan leather and fish leather.
Fewer is better according to Cuyana, and they make a great case for it with their timeless handbags, all of which are made from high-quality materials by skilled craftsmen across the world. Cuyana’s Lean Closet program (we’re a part of that!) asks customers to help empower women by sending in used clothes and donating them to victims of abuse. Interested in doing good and getting good? You can earn Cuyana credits by sending in clothes as part of our collaboration program, Cuyana x thredUP.
TOMS makes social good part of its DNA with efforts such as its program to match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. The brand’s iconic slip-ons are made of sustainable and vegan materials like natural hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester, so you’re getting and giving good with every step
Did we miss anything? Tell us your favorite sustainable brands in the comments below.