For an increasing number of consumers, it is key to purchase from clothing brands that match your values. To help you find the right places to purchase from, Nossa Capital has highlighted some of the clothing brands that were made with sustainability in mind.
Everlane focuses on long lasting clothing that was produced in an ethical manner. The brand emphasizes that they spend months finding the best factories around the world. Each factory is given a compliance audit to evaluate factors like fair wages, reasonable hours, and environment. Their goal? A score of 90 or above for every factory. On top of this, the brand believes in radical transparency for their pricing. Each item shows the price to make and the price it was sold at.
For each article of clothing sold, customers can also read a review of the specific factory where the clothing was made. Here you can read a profile of the factory in Southern China that makes the pieces in their cashmere collection.
The brand was founded in 2010 and has its headquarters in San Francisco, California.
Allbirds is a certified B-Corp and markets themselves as “The most comfortable shoes.” The Allbirds story begins with merino wool. Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, an engineering and renewables expert, partnered up to craft a revolutionary wool fabric made specifically for footwear. While the brand focuses its marketing around comfort, utilizing ‘natures materials’ is key across their supply chain. The call it environmentally friendly footwear. The company uses 90% recycled cardboard to create their shoe boxes and laces are made from recycled plastic.
In July 2018 Allbirds raised a $50M Series C round of financing valuing the company at $1.4B.
Cuyana believes in the “Lean Closet” mentality. Their ethos is that you pair down your closet to a few pairs of high quality clothing. Each piece they make is made with high quality materials which are meant to last. The Cuyana founders want their customers to buy pieces that they will love and treasure for years to come.
The brand is designed for women and offers a variety of bags, clothing and jewelry. Cuyana is a believer in affordable luxury and is one of the pioneers in the Direct-to-Consumer space.
The brand was founded by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah when they were fresh out of business school in 2011. Their vision: to build a fashion company with a sustainable supply chain, selling handmade luxury goods to women and encouraging them to own "fewer, better things."
DoneGood scours the planet to find the brands that make the world better. They look for companies that create unique, high quality products, made in a way that is good for people and the planet. They define “good for people” as empowering workers, paying fair wages free of trafficking or child labor and unsafe working conditions. “Good for the planet” means using eco-friendly production processes, using non-toxic, organic, and/or recycled or upcycled materials, and taking other significant steps to keep our land, air and water clean. You can view a full list of DoneGood brands here.
Shoppers can visit DoneGood to shop these feature sustainable brands at a negotiated discount.
ThredUp is an online consignment and thrift store. ThredUp is aiming to reinvent used clothing to limit the amount of clothes that get thrown away. Their goal is to inspire a new generation of shoppers to think secondhand first. To date, 65 million garments have gone through ThredUp’s Upcycle Centers. They position themselves as the easiest place to shop and sell high-quality secondhand clothes. By encouraging secondhand shopping, ThredUp aims to reduce textile waste.
Their website says “If everyone bought just one used item instead of new this year, we would save almost 6 billion pounds of carbon emissions.”
Veja, founded in 2005 by Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion, was the first fully sustainable sneaker brand. Its styles are crafted in Brazil from organic cotton with Amazonian wild rubber soles. The brand is wildly popular, yet, many who wear Veja sneakers aren’t aware of its ethical credentials — Veja doesn’t market it. The founders believe that the shoes “have to stand up alongside non-sustainable competitors.
Today, the brand sells 2 million pairs of shoes a year across 45 countries. The shoes are worn by A-list celebrities including Meghan Markle and Emma Watson.
Reformation believes fibers can be classified from A to E:
A–Allstars: Natural fibers that are rapidly renewable, plant-based and have a potential for circularity.
B–Better than most: B fibers are almost all natural or recycled fibers.
C–Could be better: Fibers in the C category are better alternatives than more commonly used fibers, but not as innovative.
D–Don’t use unless certified: D’s require certifications for raw material cultivation (i.e. organic), animal welfare, traceability or wet processing (i.e. Bluesign)
E–Eww, never: E fibers are too environmentally or socially intensive, and don’t meet our sustainability criteria. We'll only source these fibers if they are necessary for specific fabric construction and performance and we try to use <10%.
The brand aims to produce 75% of their garments with A&B fibers. On top of that, reformation aims to put sustainability at the core of everything they do. From investing in green building infrastructure to minimize waste, water, and energy footprints. To providing on-the-job training and opportunities for growth, investing in the people who make this revolution possible.
Alongside traditional financial reporting, the brand also submits annual “Sustainability reports.”
Eileen Fisher is a quadruple bottom line company. That means they value the environment, human rights, employee well-being and financial interests as part of doing business, the brand is a certified B-Corp. It is one of the largest women’s fashion companies to achieve B-Corp certification status. Eileen Fisher has a brand focused on sustainability from the factories it purchases from, it’s end-to-end supply chain, the fibers it uses, how fabric is died to how workers are treated.
The company believes in business as a movement.
"We don't want sustainability to be our edge. We want it to be universal." —Eileen
Amour Vert named their brand to mean “Green Love” in French. The brand believes in sustainable, versatile clothing that doesn’t harm the planet. On top of this, for every item of clothing you buy, the brand commits to planting a tree in the US. Each piece is made with limited quantities to reduce waste. 97% are manufactured in California near the company headquarters. One fabric they use is the “Beechwood Blend.” This fabric is made from sustainable harvested beechwood fibers. The aim to have all of their fabrics free of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms.
Sudara sells Punjammies(PJs) made by women in India. Their goal: empower women to live in freedom from sex-slavery through safe, sustainable living-wage employment. Every style is named in honor and celebration of a woman at one of the centers. The website allows you to read stories of the women behind the brands. Since launch, the brand has allowed hundreds of women to find living wage employment.
Alternative Apparel is a mindful brand focusing on sustainability across all of their products. For packaging, they use oxo-biodegradable mailer bags & have implemented a vendor recycling program. A majority of our factories are WRAP-certified, and all of them adhere to Fair Labor Association guidelines & workplace code of conduct.
Meanwhile, garments are crafted with sustainable materials & processes, including organic & recycled materials, low-impact dyes & water-conserving washes.
No ethical clothing list is complete without a mention of Patagonia. Originally launched as a small company that made tools for climbers, sustainability has been at the heart of Patagonia since it was founded in 1973. Patagonia is a model to watch considering how the brand promotes fair labor practices, ethical supply chains and fair trade certified production.