Forget Fast Fashion, These 7 Sustainable Clothing Brands Give Back to the Earth
We've all been taught to reuse, reduce and recycle, but have you ever given thought to how your purchases impact the environment before they reach your recycling or donation bin? On average, Americans buy roughly 68 new pieces of clothing a year, which is why a great place to reduce your consumption is in your closet. The apparel and footwear industry's combined carbon footprint accounts for 8 percent of global greenhouse gases, according to a report by Quantis.
There are a few easy changes you can make to downsize your participation in this trend. You can ditch "fast fashion" retailers in favor of brands that have more sustainable practices and whose pieces will last longer in your wardrobe. If you buy high-quality items, you will make purchases less often and have these pieces for years to come, reducing the amount you're tempted to spend. In celebration of Earth Day, here are seven sustainable brands that provide a more ethical option, while donating a portion of their proceeds to environmental causes.
1. Amour Vert Plants a Tree with Each Purchase
Contemporary women's line Amour Vert's sustainability doesn't just take place in their packaging and shipping: The brand notes that its sustainability practices are integral to every step in their business operations and the lifecycle of a garment, from fabrics to production process to whether a clothing item can be recycled. Amour Vert has also partnered with American Forests to plant one tree for every tee bought and to-date has planted over 300,000 trees in North America. It certainly doesn't hurt that their offerings are also chic, timeless and cater to nearly every style.
2. Azura Bay Donates a Percentage of Sales to Environmental Causes
Azura Bay is a "conscious boutique" based in Canada, which donates a portion of each sale of their ethically produced swimwear, underwear and activewear to your choice of three charitable organizations. These include World Wildlife Fund, which aids in wilderness preservation and helps to reduce human impact on the environment, Nature Conservancy of Canada, a private land conservation organization, and Because I am a Girl, an initiative to end gender inequality.
3. Qeep Up Repurposes Ocean Waste into Activewear
Founded by actress and vegan activist Maggie Q, Qeep Up is a fully-recycled activewear line that believes that "the fate of our planet can not exist solely in the shadow of human consequence, but rather, can be led by human progress." Qeep Up uses Repreve fabric that is made from 100% recycled filaments, including pre-consumer waste. The brand is certified to meet the Global Recycled Standard and gives back through the Ocean Tie-Dye Project, which donates a portion of each sale of their tie-dyed garments to Blue Sphere Foundation, whose mission is to safeguard our oceans, halting the destruction of threatened marine species and habitats.
4. SiiZU Partners with American Forest to Plant Trees
New York City-based label SiiZu has a simple philosophy: "To design and deliver beautiful, high-quality apparel made with sustainable manufacturing practices directly to you at an affordable price point." The use 100% eco-friendly, organic fabrics and split the proceeds from their tailored, sophisticated garments with American Forests, in an effort to plant 2.7 million trees nationwide.
5. United by Blue Removes 1 Pound of Trash Per Purchase
United by Blue is a sustainable line of hemp clothing and a certified B-Corp, meaning they "meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose." For every product purchased, United by Blue pledges to remove one pound of waste from our communities by holding trash cleanups across the United States. They also encourage customers to #QuitSingleUse plastic to help the environment. To date, United by Blue has removed over 3 million pounds of trash from oceans and waterways across the country.
6. Girlfriend Collective Recycles Water Bottles Into Leggings
Girlfriend Collective's motto is "Don't Make Waste, Wear It," because every bra and legging in their line of comfortable activewear is made from recycled fabrics. Each pair of their vibrantly-colored leggings is made from 25 recycled post-consumer water bottles. The brand partners with ECONYL, to clean up our oceans and turns that waste into LITE, the lightweight fabric used in their designs.
7. People Tree's Foundation Supports Human Rights and the Environment
People Tree is a 100% vegan, ethical and sustainable company that is known for its colorful printed dresses and Global Organic Textile Standard-certified cotton separates. People Tree, founded in 1991, sources its clothing from countries that are at high risk of labor abuse, insuring that its suppliers pay these workers a living wage. It also transports its garments by sea instead of by air to lessen its carbon footprint. The People Tree Foundation supports developing countries and aims to protect the environment through a range of projects and campaigns.
Wondering how eco-friendly your favorite clothing brand is? Good on You is a website that rates the sustainability and ethical practices of fashion brands across the world-- just search a company and they'll give you a quick rundown and rating on how they stack up environmentally.