16 sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly fashion brands for men that you’ll actually want to wear.
When it comes to sustainable fashion, womenswear dominates the market. But the tide is slowly turning with an increasing amount of new, ethical menswear labels emerging across the globe. With recent reports proving that Uyghur Muslims in China are operating under forced labour for many high street labels, and fast fashion behemoths coming under increasing pressure to get their s**t together, it can be tricky to know where to turn to stay in style and sustainable. So we’ve rounded up a few (16, to be precise) of our favourite sustainable fashion brands for men that will keep you decked out and looking dapper in clothes you’ll actually want to wear. Lads, it’s time to fix up, look sharp.
Ethics: Zero-waste, energy-efficient, sustainable packaging, supply chain integrity, low carbon footprint, ethical workplace
Is it just us, or is finding a pair of jeans that fit perfectly nigh on impossible? That is until Unspun came along. Using a jazzy piece of tech that scans your body, Unspun creates made to measure jeans that fit like a second skin. Which means it has zero-inventory and therefore zero-waste. Jeans come in a variety of styles and denim shades made with durable and responsible materials. Don’t fret if you can’t get to a store to get scanned; you can do it at home with your phone!
Ethics: zero waste, sustainable fabrics, safe working environment, giving back
On the hunt for a classic white shirt that’s smart, lightweight and ideal for summer vacations or life in the tropics? Lefko needs to be on your radar. Its classic, summery designs are created using sustainable linen. By creating garments in small batches, reducing waste, and encouraging consumers to return garments once they are worn out or need repairing, it aims to close the loop on fashion. Lefko works with refugees in Greece to produce its garments, paying them a fair living wage and ensuring fair working conditions. The best part? It even includes a pre-paid postcard with every purchase which you can send back to the maker of your item to say a little thank you.
Ethics: carbon-neutral, low water usage, zero-waste, vegan, safe working environment
MUD Jeans is a sustainable denim brand based in the Netherlands. It was created by Bert van Son, who aimed to address the harmful processes within the fashion industry by taking one of the most popular (yet most environmentally harmful) pieces of clothing – a pair of jeans – and making it sustainable. As well as selling jeans, the company also offers consumers the chance to ‘rent’ jeans and return them after a year of use. What’s more, its jeans have been certified and recognised by many boards and foundations including GOTS, Eco Swan Label, C2C, Peta Vegan, Social & Labor Convergence, and CE 100 by Ellen MacArthur.
Ethics: Circular design, supply chain efficiency, sustainable and recycled fabrics, safe working practices, transparency, giving back, innovation for good.
Any brand that places purpose, people, and the planet at the core of its business model gets a gold star from us. Born in 2009, Ecoalf has been creating fashion for good for just over a decade. Its range encompasses shirts, polos, knitwear, outerwear, trousers, footwear, and accessories (we should have just said everything!). Think easy to wear, simple, clean designs in muted colour palettes. Plus, the collections are made using recycled polyester, nylon, cotton, wool, and even tyres (yes, really). So far, the brand has recycled over 200 million plastic bottles to create its garments. And it’s even started a foundation (the Ecoalf Foundation, naturally) whose main objective is to promote the recovery of waste and avoid its harmful effects on the environment by developing and applying new scientific and technological knowledge. Impressive stuff.
Ethics: #WhoMadeMyClothes, sustainable natural fabrics, fair working environment
For sustainable ready-to-wear clothing designed to last, Stain is worth a shop. Working closely with suppliers and local artisans in Indonesia, it uses upcycled deadstock natural fabrics to create its collections. Its bold prints and bright colours create head-turning, statement looks. If you want to know who made your clothes, Stain does not disappoint. It’s completely transparent and champions its artisans.
Ethics: Sustainable production, living wages, supply chain transparency, water-saving denim, circular design, recycled fabrics
Renowned for jeans, but also a godsend for the rest of your wardrobe. Nudie is a classic denim brand that’s also worth checking out for (non-denim) pants, shirts, jackets, tees, and more. Apart from using natural materials (93.8% of all garments are created using organic, Fairtrade, or recycled cotton), they also reuse denim brought in-store by customers to make new pairs. Plus, they’ll even repair your worn jeans at one of myriad locations once they start to look a bit tired.
Ethics: Sustainable fabrics, giving back, circular design, supply chain transparency, carbon neutral by 2025, moving towards 100% renewable and recycled materials
For outdoor clothing and gear, Patagonia is a one-stop-shop we rate. Famed for its anti-materialistic stance, Patagonia has a five-decade-long record of environmental philanthropy and investment. In its infancy, the business took a gamble, betting that consumers would be willing to pay more for ethical products like organic cotton or Fair Trade certification (which many of its products now feature). Patagonia also places a huge emphasis on repairing and recycling its garments as opposed to continually buying new. Also, since 1985, Patagonia has awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic (US) and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities. From surfing and skiing to kitesurfing and fly-fishing – if you’re planning on doing anything outdoors, Patagonia has got your back.
Ethics: Natural fabrics, ethical supply chain, responsible design, reducing waste
Just scrolling through the website of this small, Singapore-based ready-to-wear men’s label will leave you feeling zen. Championing minimal design with an east meets west vibe; every collection stands the test of time in terms of both quality and style. Using fabrics like linen, Tencel, and Supima cotton, its collections of tees, shirts, and bottoms are sustainable and affordable. This small studio is on a sustainability journey and is committed to designing more responsibly, only working with suppliers with ethical credibility, broadening its research into sustainable materials, phasing out usage of non-biodegradable materials (except for recycled materials) and shifting from manual prototyping to digital design techniques to reduce waste. Tick.
Ethics: Natural and sustainable fabrics, zero plastic labels and packaging, ethical supply chains, ethical and fair workplaces, 100% sea freight, vegan-friendly collection
For thoughtfully (see what they did there?) designed collections of shirts, tees, sweats, loungewear and more look no further than this ethical British brand. Aside from its regular collection that’s created using sustainable fabrics like hemp, it also has separate collections that are entirely Fair Trade and vegan. Plus, if you’ve ever tried to source sustainable socks and failed miserably (it’s harder than you might think!), Thought’s collection of bamboo and hemp socks is brilliant (because who doesn’t need a pair of dog socks?). The brand’s overarching mission is to encourage people to live more thoughtfully; something we can totally get on board with.
Brothers We Stand
Ethics: Ethical workplaces and labour standards, supports #WhoMadeMyClothes, transparent supply chain, commitment to ongoing development, vegan-friendly collections
Brothers We Stand was set up in support of the men and women who make its clothes. Each product in the collection meets three rigorous standards; ethical production, designed to please, and created to last. And we LOVE that every item on the site has its own footprint tab detailing its social and environmental impact. It’s genius; all clothing should have this. And, it even creates its very own vegan-friendly range. For stylish, casual essentials, look no further.
Ethics: Sustainable fabrics, giving back, innovation for good, sustainable design,
We’re huge fans of Nau’s zero-BS attitude towards creating sustainable clothing. From the outset, it has refused to compromise; on day dot its design team created a ‘restricted substances’ list, established a code of conduct, and relied heavily on third-party audits. After 10 years of designing the team only use 10 sustainable fabrics for every item it produces. Specialising in sustainable performance wear, when the brand first launched, the technology and fabrics it wanted didn’t exist. So it created them, and it continues to innovate new textiles and treatments that are eco-friendly. Nau also donates 2% of every dollar spent directly to grassroots environmentalist causes.
Ethics: Certified B Corporation, sustainable materials, carbon natural, recycled packaging, giving back
With accolades like ‘World’s most comfortable shoe’ and ‘Allbirds… is disrupting just about every convention in the sneaker world’, it’s no wonder these ethical sneakers have become a global hit. So what’s the magic behind the brand? In its own words, and in a nutshell, Allbirds “starts with better materials, continues with better design, and carries through to better factories and shipping methods”. It reincarnates plastic bottles into laces, recycled cardboard into packaging, and eucalyptus tree fibres into its very own patented fabric – Trino™. Allbirds is open about its sustainability journey, and in 2019 it went completely carbon neutral (and we’re talking its entire supply chain).
Ethics: Sustainable textile innovation, transparency, zero-waste, traceability, organic, closed-loop fashion
When it comes to eco-innovation, Riley is up there with the leaders of the pack. The brand has created multiple sustainable fabrics like ECONYL® Yarn made out of discarded fishing nets. Q-NOVA® by Fulgar made out of yarns that would have been discarded by other production lines. Recover® Yarn is made out of textile waste and plastic bottles. And finally, its recot²® creation is a mix of recycled cotton (25%), and GOTS certified organic cotton (75%). Plus, its gender-neutral loungewear wardrobe staples are classics that will never go out of fashion.
Son of a Tailor
Ethics: Zero-waste, innovation for good, ethical workplaces, responsible fabric
Son of a Tailor is a clothing-tech company on a mission to reinvent how clothes are made in the era of fast-fashion. It takes a different approach to mass-production brands in that all of its garments are made to order, custom-fitted, and responsibly produced. Meaning no stock, no sales, and no unsold clothing ending up in landfills. How’s that for zero-waste? Using only the highest grade cotton in the world, it results in durable garments that will be with you for life. If you’re on the hunt for classic tees and sweaters that won’t shrink, warp, or fade in the wash get out your measuring tape and get your order in.
Ethics: Ethical manufacturing, designed for longevity, local production (in Australia), zero-waste processes, recycled packaging, transparent sustainability commitment, ethical supply chain
If you’re a black, white, grey, and denim kinda guy, then Basike will be right up your street. Its collections of tees, hoodies, shorts, pants, and shirts are classic wardrobe staples that reflect an Aussie laidback vibe. Since launching in 2006, sustainability has been at the heart of the brand. It champions ethical raw material sourcing (with established and valued partnerships globally), animal welfare, energy efficiency, and the re-use and recycling of fabrics. Bassike is transparent about its sustainability journey and is constantly seeking greener ways to do things differently and better.
Ethics: Sustainable fabrics, Fair Trade, ethical workplaces, circular fashion, environmental advocacy, innovation for good, zero waste
This relatively new label (it launched five years ago) is ahead of the curve when it comes to relentless sustainability. 90% of the fibres it uses are organic, recycled, or regenerated. 100% of its swimwear trunks are created with recycled (from ocean waste) or renewable fibres. It’s partnered with Fair Trade and so far has invested in the livelihoods of over five thousand workers. And it’s committed to a guarantee for life on all of its jeans; repairing, replacing, and recycling them to ensure they stay out of landfill. And the vision doesn’t stop there. Outerknown is committed to continual improvement and has even mapped out its 2030 sustainability strategy and commitment to circularity. And did we mention the brand was founded by Kelly Slater (the legendary American pro surfer?). In his own words: “At Outerknown, sustainability is not a marketing slogan or something we take lightly. Sustainability is literally who we are. Sustainability is why the company exists. That is not an accident.” Respect.
*Lead image courtesy of Brothers We Stand via Facebook
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