There's no denying that sustainable clothing is having a moment. More and more brands are incorporating sustainable practices into their design and production, and consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their clothing has on the environment. A whopping 88% of people want brands to be more environmentally friendly!
Fast fashion has velocity. New styles hit stores at breakneck speed, and we're constantly being tempted to buy the latest and greatest. But this disposable approach to fashion comes at a huge cost - both to our wallets and to the environment. The fashion industry actually accounts for an unbelievable portion of global carbon emissions – more than the entire maritime and aviation industries combined!
As awareness of the impact of fast fashion grows, so does the demand for sustainable alternatives. Sustainable clothing is made from natural fibers that are grown without harmful chemicals, using practices that minimize water usage and waste. Clothing made from sustainable materials is often better for your skin, and can be composted or recycled at the end of its life.
There are a lot of great sustainable brands out there doing amazing things, but it can be hard to know where to start. So we've put together a list of sustainable men’s clothing brands to help you shop more green.
The Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
Before we look at some of the best sustainable menswear brands, let’s take a look at some of the many ways fast fashion impacts the environment - from wastage to pollution.
Denim is made from cotton, which is a water-intensive crop. It can take up to 2,900 gallons of water (just under 11,000 liters of water) to produce just one pair of jeans - the equivalent of bathing in nearly 12 baths! And it’s not just jeans that use a lot of water - the textile industry as a whole is responsible for a great percentage of the world’s industrial water pollution. Many clothing items use synthetic dye, which is water-insoluble. This means that a lot of the dye ends up polluting our waterways and make our water unsafe to drink.
The fashion industry is a massive polluter. In fact, it's responsible for 2% of all global carbon emissions. A large portion of these emissions come from the energy required to produce and ship clothing around the world. The growing demand for new clothing has also led to an increase in textile production. Global fiber production is predicted to reach 156 million metric tons by 2030, which is a 43% increase from 2020. This increase in production requires a lot of energy - most of which comes from fossil fuels.
The fashion industry is also responsible for a huge amount of water pollution. The growing of conventional cotton (which is used in around 60% of our clothes) uses more insecticides than any other crop, and these chemicals end up polluting rivers and waterways. Leather production is another major source of water pollution. Leather tanning involves using large amounts of water, as well as toxic chemicals like chromium and formaldehyde. These chemicals pollute local waterways, and the wastewater from tanneries is often dumped untreated into rivers.
Fast fashion generates a lot of textile waste. It's estimated that 5% of all landfill space in the world comes from textile waste, including discarded denim, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Once you're done wearing your clothes, they'll likely end up in a landfill where they'll take centuries to decompose. This is why it’s so important to buy sustainable denim, for example, made with recycled materials like organic and recycled cotton.
While we’d like to think our clothing comes from fair labor and workers are being paid fairly, labor conditions in the fast fashion industry are often poor, with workers being paid low wages and working in unsafe conditions.
Clothing production also has a huge carbon footprint. The growing, harvesting, and processing of natural fibers (like cotton and wool) releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. And synthetic fibers (like polyester and nylon) are made from petroleum, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Most clothing is shipped long distances before it even reaches the consumer, furthering its carbon footprint. The majority is also made in developing countries, where environmental regulations are often lax.
But it doesn't have to be this way! The good news is a number of brands are producing sustainable clothing that are just as stylish and well-made as their conventional counterparts.
Here's our solution - a list of the best men's sustainable fashion brands that are making a difference in ethical fashion.
Best Sustainable Jeans Brands for Men
Founded in 2010, Everlane is a direct-to-consumer clothing brand that offers high-quality wardrobe staples. The San Francisco-based company is committed to sustainability efforts, from the way their clothes are produced to the way they're shipped - all throughout the supply chain. Their Carbon Commitment also reduces global carbon emissions, with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
All of Everlane's denim is constructed with ethical manufacturing processes in certified Fair Trade factories - most of them are their own factory (directly owned) while some are contracted. This means that the workers who make the jeans are paid fair wages, have access to safe working conditions, and can form unions. These ethical factories are clean - recycling water, repurposing byproducts, and more, and they exceed environmental regulations held by other factories in the fashion industry. Everlane's denim is also made with organic cotton, which uses far less water to grow than conventional cotton.
Unspun is trendy, modern, custom, and most importantly, sustainable. Fashion doesn't get more intentional than this - each pair of jeans is made-to-order, where they only produce the garment after the customer has ordered them.
What's more, when we say custom, we mean being about to tailor your jeans to your body with a 3D body scan and receive perfect-fitting jeans that will last a lifetime. Their ethical denim selection includes classic jeans in stretch denim, vintage denim, slim fit, straight leg, and more. The entire process is extremely transparent - you can even pick your own thread color, hem length, and waist rise. And if you're not sure what exactly you want, their team of experts will help you figure it out.
Some of their listed commitments to sustainability include ethical practices such as using post-consumer recycled cotton and other materials, using recycled and organic materials for a fully circular process, having 89% of all products plastic-free, tracking their direct chemical use, and using 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging.
Warp + Weft
Warp + Weft is a sustainable denim brand that makes size-inclusive men's and women's jeans. This family-owned company has been in the denim business for three whole decades and makes their own premium denim from scratch. While regular jeans require 1,500 gallons of water to make, Warp + Wefts jeans use less than 10.
Considered one of the best sustainable denim brands on the market today, they don’t just use sustainable production methods but also boast a vertically integrated factory process, which means they oversee the entire manufacturing process. They also use German Liquid Indigo - an eco-friendly dye that only exists in 12 mills on the planet.
With sustainable jeans for men in a wide range of styles and sizes - everything from skinny jeans to wide-leg pants - there's bound to be something for everyone.
Outland Denim seeks to bring the seamstresses behind the jeans and their customers together through their products. Their jeans are made from 100% organic cotton and are Fair Trade certified. They use an innovative process, with a stand-alone Wash and Finishing facility which uses laser-cutting techniques, zero harmful chemicals, the greenest oxidizing agent available, and e-flow (an innovative scientific technique that removes the need for pumice stones.
They are committed to providing opportunities for people from backgrounds of vulnerability and social injustice, giving them the chance to acquire skills, education, and a living wage.
MUD Jeans is an EU-based company, not to be confused with Mudd Jeans or Mudd, which is a U.S. company. MUD Jeans makes jeans with 100% organic cotton that are completely recycled when you're done with them! As one of the best sustainable denim brands, they certainly do things differently. The most unique offering from MUD Jeans is that they offer a Lease A Jeans program, where you can pay a monthly fee and send them back to the company for recycling whenever you feel like it.
Every pair of MUD jeans uses 92% less water than an average pair of jeans, they ensure fair production practices for workers, and they guarantee all natural materials with no pesticides whatsoever.
Other Sustainable Fashion Brands - Organic and Recycled Cotton, and More
In addition to best brands for men's sustainable jeans, we wanted to highlight a few other brands that offer a variety of men's eco-friendly apparel.
Harvest & Mill
Harvest & Mill is a Los Angeles-based organic basics brand that makes sustainable, eco-friendly pants for men. Their clothing is made with organic cotton and recycled polyester - “grown and sewn” in the USA. They are one of the best sustainable brands to buy everything, from men’s sustainable socks to joggers, to reduce your environmental footprint.
Not only do they use eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, but they also use low-waste cutting techniques to reduce the amount of textile waste they produce - remember how that was a problem with fast fashion? They also use natural dyes for their jeans, which are gentle on the environment and don't require the use of harsh chemicals.
Fair Indigo uses certified organic cotton (the top 0.005%!) that is grown without harmful pesticides or herbicides, and they use low-impact dyes. They are also a USA-based brand, and considered one of the most affordable sustainable men’s clothing brands out there.
What sets Fair Indigo apart from other brands is that they are committed to fair trade practices. This means that their workers are paid fair wages and have access to good working conditions. They are also the founders of the Fair Indigo Foundation, a charity that funds teachers’ salaries, books, computer labs, and more for underprivileged children. So what are you waiting for? Shop Fair Indigo to totally transform your closet and the world!
éclipse is a sustainable fashion brand that makes sun-safe clothing from recycled polyester (rPET). That's right - their products are made from recycled plastic saved from landfills and waterways! Their selection of products includes sun ponchos, long sleeve shirts and hoodies, beanies, sleeves, and gloves to protect yourself from the sun.
They are committed to using sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing practices from design even up to when the clothing leaves the shop with their take-back program. Bluesign system partners ensure they meet safe chemicals standards, and thanks to their recycled fabric, there’s no need for oil and gas extractions.
Their goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and they do this in a number of ways - offsetting the shipping carbon footprint by planting a tree with each order and ensuring a lifetime guarantee of quality products.
Inspired by the practical lifestyles of spiritual cultures, Seeker produces timeless, ethical, unisex clothing for all genders and adult ages with sustainability at its core. Their clothing is made with sustainably sourced hemp and GOTS certified cotton (Global Organic Textile Standard), along with other eco-friendly fabrics.
Tentree makes men's sustainable apparel.
Tentree is a sustainable fashion brand that makes eco-friendly, stylish clothing for men, women, and kids. However, they’re best known for their ethical men’s sustainable coats. For every item purchased, Tentree plants 10 trees! This means capturing carbon, providing planting jobs, and regenerating the ecosystem.
As a Certified B Corporation (a business with the highest standards of environmental and social performance), you can count on the fact that their clothing is made with sustainable and recycled materials (like organic cotton, TENCEL™ lyocell, or REPREVE® recycled polyester) and that they employ fair trade practices - putting the planet and the people first. So far, they’ve created a lasting impact on the world, with 75 million+ trees planted, 75 million+ communities helped, and 75 million+ hours of work provided.
Republic of Green
Looking to transform your lifestyle and want to go green? Republic of Green is your destination for green events, news, and more! Check out the Sustainable Fashion Brands section in the RoG Green Business Directory to find additional fashion brands to love!
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