Next week we celebrate Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer. It’s a season for beach trips, pool parties, and dedicating time to your golf swing. Amid all that, it is also important to look and feel your best.
For the eco-conscious shopper, this can sometimes be difficult. While many retailers, including Patagonia and Lululemon, are beginning to address their environmental impact it is often hard to tell the difference between genuine action and greenwashing. Let’s take a look at what some less-heralded sustainable fashion brands are doing to keep you feeling cool and comfortable all summer long.
Started in 2015 by Kelly Slater, who is widely regarded as the greatest surfer of all time, Outerknown is a sustainable fashion brand that offers a wide range of options for both men and women. Inspired by Slater’s passion for the ocean, Outerknown sells colorful yet simple surfer-inspired apparel that is perfect for a day at the beach or drinks with friends.
While the clothing itself is well-made, Outerknown is also taking its environmental impact seriously. Many companies take the sensible step of adopting renewable energy or organic material goals. Outerknown is going further, with an approach that is rarely seen in the fashion industry: creating a circular business model by 2030.
To reach this goal, Outerknown has partnered with Aquafill to create clothing from old carpets and fishing nets. The company also allows customers to shop or sell gently-used Outerknown items on its website. Thus far, Outerknown’s efforts have made a difference, with some 1,300 garments saved from landfills due to its second-hand selling platform.
Want to put your best sustainability foot forward this summer? Look no further than – your feet. Footwear is an oft-forgotten article of clothing when we talk about sustainability. Allbirds is looking to change that.
Founded by New Zealand native Tim Brown in 2014, the company has quickly established itself as the world’s most sustainable shoe. Using materials such as wool, sugar cane, and even tree bark to make its minimalistic silhouettes, Allbirds measures and puts the carbon footprint of each shoe in the insole.
Allbirds has set ambitious sustainability goals for 2050. They include reducing raw material usage by 25%, reducing the carbon footprint of raw materials by 25%, and doubling the lifespan of its footwear and apparel products. The company is also supporting regenerative practices by committing to source its wool exclusively from regenerative farms by 2025.
The company has recently expanded its portfolio to include athletic apparel, loungewear, and hiking shoes. No matter what activities you may be doing this summer, Allbirds has got you covered!
A self-described “Earth-first” company, tentree is one retailer that is looking to make a positive difference. For each purchase made, the company will plant 10 trees. To date, tentree has planted more than 77 million trees worldwide.
What really differentiates tentree from other sustainable fashion brands is its Climate+ subscription service. For as little as $9 a month you can have your carbon emissions offset via tree planting. Under its Individual Package, which the company says is enough to offset the activities of an average American, tentree will plant 13 trees monthly. Tentree also has options to offset different activities including road trips, food delivery, or weekend getaways. What’s more, tentree also offers programs that plant in mangrove and agro forests.
Tentree’s versatile clothing line will keep you feeling sharp and guilt-free throughout the summer.
4. Made by Mantra
Nothing pairs quite as nicely as a cool summer morning and a round of golf with friends. While you’re working on your short game, or just hoping to get back on the fairway to make bogey, you can bring eco-friendly flair to the links with Made by Mantra.
Made by Mantra specializes in producing sustainable performance attire that is perfect for 18 holes, a happy hour, or even working from home. First certified as carbon neutral in 2019, Made by Mantra has taken extensive steps to offset emissions and reduce its environmental footprint. The company has prevented almost 180,000 plastic water bottles from entering landfills, conserved 595,000 glasses of water, and negated 73,000 miles worth of emissions.
Notably, Made by Mantra’s nature-inspired designs offer a pop of color and personality that is sometimes hard to find with sustainable brands.
5. Taylor Stitch
Honing in on a rugged, yet refined, aesthetic Taylor Stitch is creating pieces that are “responsibly built for the long haul.” Launched by Michael Maher, Barrett Purdum, and Mike Armenta in 2007, the Taylor Stitch brand appeals to all men, regardless of their interest in fashion. The company creates staple pieces such as t-shirts and jeans, while also offering elevated options including Chelsea boots and cable-knit sweaters.
Taylor Stitch has taken innovative steps to bring sustainable fashion forward. The company uses materials that have not been tested on animals, polluted with harmful chemicals, or cultivated unethically.
Taylor Stitch also prevents overproduction with its Workshop program. The Workshop allows customers to interact with Taylor Stitch’s design team. Consumers will crowd-fund new designs and receive a 20% discount when they purchase the piece. This allows Taylor Stitch to save money and produce the exact amount that is needed, thus reducing waste. If a project does not receive full funding, the company will refund customers or create the product anyway.
With summer quickly approaching, private sector innovators are allowing eco-friendly shoppers to find sustainable fashion brands that protect the planet and keep consumers feeling fresh and comfortable.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.