Sustainable Fashion Brands You Should Know

Sustainable Fashion Brands You Should Know


These days style shouldn't have to come at a cost. As more of us try to do better when it comes to sustainability, a new breed of cool, eco-friendly menswear brands is making it easier to build a wardrobe of ethical clothing. Here, SLMan looks at the particular issues the fashion industry faces and introduces the players who are doing something about them.
What’s the problem?

The fashion industry has become notorious as one of the world’s biggest polluters. According to a report by Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee last year, the volumes of water, electricity, chemicals and plastic waste involved in textile production mean the sector contributes more to climate change than the aviation and shipping industries combined.
In particular, fast fashion is a major issue. The throwaway mentality it encourages means more and more clothes are being carelessly discarded each year. In the UK, we consume clothing at a faster rate (26.7kg a year) than in any other European country. Government statistics also suggest around 300,000 tonnes of clothing end up in household bins every year.

What is this doing to the world?

This behaviour seriously impacts the planet and also some of its people. In 2015, textile manufacturing belched the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of California have found polyester microfibres from synthetic fabrics are released into our rivers, lakes and oceans every time they are washed, slowly poisoning fish and wildlife that ingest them.
Unscrupulous fashion businesses have also relied on cheap labour in countries with few or no environmental protection laws. Enforced long hours, poor working conditions and exploitation are a result of fast-fashion firms demanding a quick turnaround on new products.


What’s the solution?

In terms of production, clothing with a longer lifetime, manufactured sustainably from organic fabrics or recycled materials, is vital to reducing fashion’s carbon footprint. For consumers, there are various ways to be more sustainable, from buying eco-friendly ‘slow fashion’ brands to shopping in second-hand stores and purchasing from businesses that upcycle old or damaged textiles.
Happily, the days when ethical attire resembled a hopsack with sleeves are gone. ‘Green’ and ‘cool’ are no longer mutually exclusive, and some fashion businesses are now outspokenly pro-sustainability. Here are some of the brands making a concerted effort to be more eco-conscious…

Alternative Apparel

This American brand first launched an eco-friendly ‘Alternative Earth’ line way back in 2004. These days, its entire range is made using organic cotton, recycled polyester and low-impact dyes. Alternative Apparel makes vintage-inspired, comfortable clothing with modern fits, fabrics and colour palettes. Its simple designs make for nice basics to form the staple of your wardrobe.


The basis of Asket is the ‘pursuit of less’. Its classic designs are made to last, avoiding the seasonality of fast fashion that causes waste and overconsumption. As well as full traceability on its products and a well-considered repair service (as well as a guide to home repairs), Asket boasts a collection of minimalistic garments in neutral tones, with an accent of clean Scandi style.

Brothers We Stand

Brothers We Stand aims to be as transparent as possible about its manufacturing processes. Every piece has a tab displaying its social and environmental impact. If you’re looking for practical pieces made from top-quality materials, its broad range of styles runs from quilted, down puffers to cool knits and chore jackets.


One for the more fashion-conscious customer, Everlane offers cutting-edge design, modern tailoring and a uniform of elegant essentials. Largely casual, it makes a few smarter overcoats from recycled wool, as well as well-cut Italian wool suits to see you from day to night. It aims to source the finest materials for all of its products, which are expertly made in ethical factories around the world.


Brothers Alex and Mike launched Faherty in 2013 after dreaming of creating clothes inspired by surf culture, using durable and sustainable materials. Both are committed to the environment, using it not only to inspire their designs, but also to influence the fashion industry to take heed and strive towards a greener future. Faherty’s collections are filled with bright colours and interesting patterns, with a clear focus on lasting items for the outdoorsy type of guy.

Filippa K

Style, simplicity and quality are the fundamental tenets of Filippa K, whose designs are well constructed to be both luxurious and easily wearable day after day. Its aesthetic is a hybrid of high-street favourites Arket and Cos, making use of tonal hues in classic shapes and cuts. The overall goal is simple: getting people to invest in fewer well-made pieces they can wear time and time again. 

Nudie Jeans

It can take 9,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans. That’s why Nudie plans to become the world’s most sustainable denim company. The denim it creates in a variety of colours and washes is robust and wears well over time. It also operates a handy repair service to keep your denim fresh and un-frayed. 


Surfing great Kelly Slater and designer John Moore established Outerknown with the explicit aim of negating fashion’s detrimental impact on the environment. All of its partners – from suppliers to manufacturers – are given a strict code of conduct to ensure production is ethical and responsible all the way down the line. Outerknown pieces are made from soft fabrics, in loose-fitting styles and with a distinctively utilitarian approach to design.

Riley Studio

British brand Riley Studio pioneers the use of new materials to create its clothing: Lyocell (made from wood pulp) and recycled polyester are used throughout its collections. The brand is constantly researching and sourcing new fabrics and crafts as it pushes towards a future in which conscious consumerism is the norm. The clothing itself is contemporary and relaxed, making it perfect as lounging gear or for a lazy weekend stroll in the park.
Visit Riley.Studio

R M Williams

Born in the Australian Outback in 1932, RM Williams makes footwear to last a lifetime. All of its products use premium-quality materials, including the sought-after Craftsman Chelsea Boot, which comes in an array of colours and is made from fine grain leather. Should you damage your boots, fear not: there’s a rigorous repair service.


These days it’s rare that you walk down the street without spotting someone wearing a pair of these sneakers. Their simple form and pared-down aesthetic looks stylish without shouting too loud. The sneakers themselves are made from Fairtrade and organic raw materials. Veja also avoids toxic or polluting chemicals in its production process and vigorously tests its products to ensure they are well made and in line with its ethical brand values.

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