Sustainable fashion has been the buzzword for a while now and rightly so. Recent years have seen consumers becoming more receptive towards eco-conscious alternatives, and putting more thought and research into their fashion splurges.
Whether it’s investing in vintage or pre-loved pieces, getting your old favourite threads repaired, or opting to only shop sustainable menswear brands, swearing by the ‘buy better buy less’ mantra is the way forward. More clothing brands are also stepping up their game to reduce their carbon footprint by using eco-friendly materials and renewable sources of energy, and digitising aspects of the manufacturing process to reduce waste. These are done in tandem with ensuring good, safe and fair labour conditions for its workers.
And no, sustainable fashion does not mean lacklustre clothes. Although the production process takes a greater amount of time, effort and cost compared to fast fashion, these ethical garments promise better quality and are more long-lasting — which means you get more mileage out of every item.
So, if you’ve been meaning to make some conscious choices for your wardrobe — and doing your part in saving the earth — this list of sustainable menswear brands is where you ought to begin.
Here are some sustainable menswear brands to check out
Patagonia is an outdoor wear brand founded by activist and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard in the ’70s. The brand uses sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled synthetics, yulex, recycled wool, fabric made from cotton scraps, wood pulp and non-toxic indigo-dye alternatives.
With its ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ ad in 2011, Patagonia also initiated encouraging its customers to get their existing jackets repaired rather than buying a new one, whilst improving the quality of its products to enhance their durability. Its ‘Worn Wear’ programme aims at restoring pre-loved products to good as new for people to buy.
The brand is known for being transparent about its practices and processes, and is dedicated to adhering to environmentally-friendly policies and conduct. It is also Fair Trade certified.
Image: Courtesy Patagonia
Nudie Jeans is a denim-centred Swedish label that believes in restoring old jeans, using organic materials, and ensuring transparent labour practices.
The brand offers free repair services for its items, for as many times as you need through its shops and partners. It also sends repair kits to you to do it yourself, if you can’t take your Nudie Jeans to its repair spots. The label also recycle the jeans when they are no longer wearable or repairable.
The brand makes its jeans from 100% organic cotton and aims at minimising textile waste. A member of Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), Nudie Jeans traces most of its supply chain, ensures and further improves living wages and adheres to labour practice codes. It takes saving the planet seriously, with its commitment to being ecologically and ethically sound.
Image: Courtesy Nudie Jeans
Yet another notable sustainable menswear brand with a conscious approach is Outerknown. Known to surpass even the strictest ethical and sustainable manufacturing standards, it is a beach-lifestyle brand that makes fair trade clothing like sweatshirts, jeans, t-shirts, swim trunks and other outerwear.
Founded by World Surf League champion Kelly Slater in collaboration with designer John Moore, the label uses materials like organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, econyl (for swimwear), non-toxic dyes and blends of recycled synthetics among others. In fact, the swim trunks are made with 100% recycled polyester from waste like plastic bottles.
Apart from being Fair Trade and Bluesign certified, Outerknown has a full list of its suppliers, available for customers to check out on its website, to ensure transparency.
Image: Courtesy Outerknown
Founded by Ralph Lauren’s nephew Greg Lauren, this eponymous label is known for its preppy style and incorporates a high proportion of eco-friendly and recycled materials in its designs. Furthermore, all its products are locally made in the designer’s LA-based studio, with zero waste to reduce its carbon footprint.
Repurposing fabrics and utilising even scraps of wastage, has led to the brand’s signature patch work-like aesthetic. Producing one-of-a-kind garments from deadstock fabric and deconstructed elements, this menswear brand blends both sustainability and creativity together.
Image: Courtesy Greg Lauren
Proving that both sustainability and luxury can go hand-in-hand is the label Stella McCartney. In fact, the brand even joined forces with Adidas in 2005 to launch ‘Adidas by Stella McCartney’, a new brand focusing on sustainable sneakers and activewear.
From using eco-friendly and alternative materials to being transparent about its initiatives and environmental impact, the label consistently strives towards sustainability and circularity. It’s equally invested in its responsibility towards the entire supply chain, while ensuring fair wages and labour practices.
Image: Courtesy Stella McCartney
Swedish label Asket has been centred on designing timeless pieces with an environmentally-friendly approach, ever since its inception in 2015. It sidesteps launching seasonal collections and instead believes in a permanent collection that comprises season-less pieces that last. The brand’s mission is to end overconsumption arising out of fast fashion and the need for newer pieces.
Apart from avoiding overproduction and use of sustainable materials, Asket’s transparent and traceable supply chain is commendable. The label goes a step ahead and also provides a receipt called ‘The Impact Receipt,’ which shows the exact impact of the garment, stating the amount of water consumption, energy utilised, CO2 emissions and how many wears you can get from it.
Image: Courtesy Ollie Nordh/Asket
Aimed at curating pieces that stand the test of time, Organic Basics is an underwear, activewear and essentials label that uses 100% organic cotton and recycled materials like nylon, wool and tencel.
In fact, the brand’s Silver Tech line comprises organic cotton garments blended with traces of sustainably-sourced silver that lends each piece anti-odour and heat regulating properties along with durability. To ensure complete transparency, it has a complete ‘Impact Report’ on its website, where one can read through to know about all of its sustainable practices.
Image: Courtesy Organic Basics
With its emphasis on zero fabric waste, use of eco-friendly fabrics and natural dyes sans toxic chemicals, and a slow manufacturing process, Story Mfg is a great brand to check out for ethical menswear. Some designs take as long as six months to be made, by the label’s dedicated team of weavers, dyers, tailors and embroiderers based in India.
Almost all of its materials are grown close to its studio in India locally. With its goal to make you buy less and lead a more sustainable lifestyle, Story Mfg makes sure that its garments are of exceptional quality. Apart from being environmentally-friendly, the brand is also vegan and uses no animal products. It too has a traceable supply chain like many others.
Image: Courtesy Story Mfg.
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