In our previous post, we walked through the high environmental impact of the fashion industry, especially as fast-fashion continues to reshape the global market. A main contributor to this impact is that manufacturing cheap and low-quality garments, which are designed to have a short shelf-life, comes with massive amounts of toxic waste, the ill treatment of workers, and a large carbon footprint from exporting goods.
Waste from clothing production is also proving to be a huge cost of the fashion industry since most companies do not have solutions for handling leftover fabric scraps. As a result, around 40 billion square meters of leftover textile enter the landfill each year. Chemicals from dyes and processing are equally damaging. One well-known example of this is the red-stained Citarum River in Indonesia, which is one of the world’s most polluted rivers due to textile factories lining the shore and dumping toxic chemicals into the water.
The good news: more and more brands are adopting responsible practices, and we believe sustainable fashion is becoming a bigger competitive market. We’ve already covered our favorite environmental brands targeted for women, but we wanted to help everyone shop more responsibly.
So fellas, here are 5 environmentally-aware menswear brands that we think are killin’ it:
No Nasties is a trifecta of organic, fair trade, and vegan clothing that is all sustainably made in India. They partner with reputable organizations like Fair Trade India (it’s actually India’s first Fairtrade-licensed clothing brand) and doesn’t shy away from transparency. But one of the biggest reasons we love them is their commitment to sourcing organic cotton (read about their farmers here). This is a huge shift from most mainstream brands, whose cotton crops account for 16% of all insecticides–more than any other single crop.
No Nasties is just as much about style as it cause. The effortless “I woke up like this” tees are definitely the company’s bread and butter. But they offer a wide range of styles– from bold prints to simple Kurta-inspired tees– so that there is something for almost anyone. Even better, for every tee you purchase, a tree is planted in No Nasties Grove!
Brave GentleMan is an amazing, PETA-award winning menswear brand that’s definitely on the pricier side. But we’re obsessed with their point of view and couldn’t leave them off our list. Brave GentleMan employs the “slow-fashion production model” (swoon) while investing in “sustainable innovation, superior vegan materials, [and] ethical labor.” This is a big deal considering that vegan leather, when not done right, can have a significant environmental consequences. And Brave GentleMan doesn’t stop at leather; perusing their site, you’ll see vegan wool, silk, and other plant-based garments made in their NYC factory.
Brave GentleMan is a true example of how sustainability and style are not mutually exclusive. They are redefining sportswear by bringing a stand-out edge to traditional dress cuts. From tweed moto jackets (with California, solar-power made zippers) to loud button ups to dress shoes, “boring” is clearly not in their vocabulary.
For those looking for more a simple, modern, and casual look, Nau is a perfect fit. Originally penned UTW (short for for “Unfuck the World”), this company aims to help people minimize their wardrobe through pieces that can be used in a variety of climates and activities. They leverage a wide range of sustainable fabrics, including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL. As if they couldn’t be any bigger of saints, 2% of all sales go towards Partners for Change, a group of organizations that drive positive change for the environment, people in need, and more.
Nau’s pieces emulate Patagonia with clean lines and a primarily neutral palette. “Breathable” is a description you’ll find on most pieces, and many have removable parts so that you can wear them through several seasons. You’ll even find tees with permanent UV protection–though we still recommend wearing coral-friendly sunscreen. 🙂
Outerknown is casual wear at its finest. Their apparel has that “cool surfer” vibe that we just can’t get enough of. If you’re not a beach-goer, fear not – they have plenty of sweaters and flannel-inspired shirts too! Outwear’s textiles include linens, organic cottons, and hemp. They also have amazing jackets constructed from recycled fishing-nets and surplus nylon.
In Outwear’s own words: sustainability starts with transparency. This philosophy is exemplified by their published code of conduct, which is enforced throughout their entire supply chain (yep, even their suppliers’ suppliers’ supplier). Their code of conduct covers many parameters, including working conditions, environmental impact, and animal welfare. Not only do they vouch for their suppliers, they publish who they source from on their website, so we can do our own research on them!
We’re reaching the end of our list, and I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “but what am I going to wear to the next Arctic Monkeys show.” Don’t worry, Deadwood has you covered. Deadwood features classic-punk-inspired leather pieces with some modern edge. You’ll find classic biker jackets, fringed vests, backpacks–all the pieces you could ever want. And the best part? Each item is created from recycled leather.
Why do we love them? It gives second life to textiles that would otherwise be thrown away. While we don’t typically support any type of leather (both for the toxicity and human impact of traditional leather tanning and animal suffering), we appreciate that Deadwood embodies the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle philosophy.
These are just a handful of brands that are breaking down the stereotypes of sustainable fashion (did you see burlap anywhere?). We hope that this list has helped shed light on the dark side of the fashion industry and how some badass designers are trying to fix it! Do you have any designers you’d add to the list? Comment below! 💚