Prior to this post I’ve included a list of menswear brands in a previous post on Father’s Day crafts which I’ve been updating as I go but thought it was about time that I gave it a dedicated post, and here it is. You might notice that this blog post is being published a few hours later than my normal publishing time. That’s because it took me forever to source nice images to go in the post. I always aim to source images that best reflect the style of the brand but my god trying to find a photo of something other than a t-shirt was crazy hard. It seems that jeans, t-shirts and hoodies make up for 99% of mens clothing!
Recent research at Utah State University indicates that American and Chinese men resist ‘green’ behaviour because they see it as unmanly. As if caring for our home and wanting it to exist for our children and our children’s children is wimpish! Well I think men in Ireland are more enlightened and more comfortable in their sexuality than this research would suggest, but I do think that they tend to be – what would I call it? – energy-efficient. Now i know this is a huge generalisation but I’m going to say it anyway, in my experience men tend to prioritise convenience over most other considerations. If something is too much hassle it just doesn’t happen. So please do me a favour; forward this post onto all the men in your life, and ask them to forward it onto their friends. The aim of this blog is to make it easier to live sustainably in Ireland. Lets spread the word.
Eco Clothing Brands
There are tons of eco clothing brands around the world so I’ve decided to focus on Irish or European companies or brands that can be bought in Ireland or Europe. As always the definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ is open to interpretation so I’m listing all relevant information so you can make the choice that suits your values best. I’ve also compiled a separate post on the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types.
Grown, an Irish company that make t-shirts from Tencel and organic cotton, and plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt that they sell.
Fresh Cuts is another Irish owned ethical clothing brand offering garments for men and women in cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, recycled cotton and recycled polyester and rayon. They claim that all of their suppliers are focused on socially responsibility with a zero tolerance policy with regard to child labour, forced labour and excessive working hours, and some of their suppliers of Fair Wear Foundation, an organisation set up to uphold these policies. They also have the GOTS logo for organic cotton and the Soil Association’s Organic logo on their website. You can buy their clothing online or in their store in Dublin 2. They also sells clothing from other ethical brands including Armed Angels, Dedicated, Mud Jeans, Monkee Jeans.
Due South are a new eco clothing brand on the Irish scene – spotted by me at Bloom 2018. They make t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters from organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled post-consumer (very important) PET. The garments made from recycled PET are blended with offcuts from organic cotton. This is a great use of the organic off cuts but blending fibres currently makes the final fabric un-recyclable, which is a pity. Their t-shirts are printed by hand in Ireland.
Thought (formerly Braintree), UK-based clothing brand that aims to ensure that their fabrics and how our garments are designed, made and delivered is carefully considered and done so ethically, with the greater aim of minimising their environmental footprint.
UK-based Komodo make garments in GOTS certified hemp, meusling-free wool, bamboo, rayon, Tencel, linen, soya and GOTS certified organic cotton. They also use recycled rubber in their shoes.
Living Crafts is a German fair and certified organic clothing brand. Their organic textiles are certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) along the whole value creation chain. They say that they also pay attention to the working conditions of the producers and to fair trade and the company is an official member of the Fair Wear Foundation . They offer a range of clothing for men, women and children, including underwear and some homeware made from organic cotton, organic wool, organic linen or silk.
Patagonia is a high-street and online outdoor clothing company that sell clothing and accessories made from recycled soda bottles and organic cotton printed with PVC- and phthalate-free inks.
On their website they give details on how they work with factories and mills to ensure ethical work-practices, good working conditions and processes that are less harmful to the environment. They say they are particularly invested in protecting migrant workings and guarding against child labour and human trafficking. The company also gives 1% of their sales to support environmental organizations around the world.
In an effort to help people move away from the idea of disposal fashion Patagonia launched their ‘Worn Wear’ campaign. They believe that one of the most responsible things that a company can do, is make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it. The ‘Worn Wear’ program celebrates the stories behind clothes, keeps gear in action longer and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they’re beyond repair. Patagonia employs 45 full-time repair technicians at our service center in Reno, Nevada, which completes about 30,000 repairs per year. They’ve also teamed up with iFixit to create care and repair guides so customers can repair themselves.
There is tons of information on the Patagonia website about the ethical and sustainable way they do business. I found the Environmental Assessment of Materials in Clothing particularly interesting. It talks about the reality behind some fabrics that are being sold as green.
Finisterre is a UK-based company that promises innovation built to last from responsibly sourced fabrics and factories while developing relationships with people they believe in. In 2005 the company decided to place wool at the centre of Finisterre’s fabric development. They forged a relationship with Lesley Prior, a small UK-based farmer of Bowmont Merino sheep. Once the sheep are sheared, they transport and hand deliver the bales of fleece to the spinners in Yorkshire, where it is scoured, combed and spun into yarn. It is then dyed and knitted into jumpers and beanies in Scotland. True to their philosophy of building things to last the company offers a repair service on their jackets. They also offer swimwear made from ECONYL®, a nylon yarn recycled from old fishing nets and other waste material and they donate 10% of profits from the sale of ECONYL® swimwear to Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental charity protecting UK waves, oceans and beaches.
Rapanui was started in a shed on the Isle of Wight with £200 by brothers Rob & Mart. The products they design and produce are made from organic cotton, recycled PET bottles or British Wool, using low waste printing technology in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory. Their products can be traced from seed to shop and they give credit notes to anyone who freeposts one of their garments back to them at the end of its life. The also support employement for residents of the Isle of Wight and have made their supply chain open-access so that anyone can build a businesses using their tech and supply chain, for free.
THTC is a UK clothing label that produces eco-friendly, politically conscious street wear from hemp, carbon-neutral organic cotton, and recycled salvage plastic fibres. They also resell organic cotton from Stanley & Stella, who are members of the Fair Wear Foundation – an organisation that helps ensure that garment workers are paid a fair wage. All of their cotton garments are GOTS certified, and their company is ranked in the Responsible 100; an index of socially and environmentally responsible companies in the UK.
Most of Lost Shapes t-shirts and sweatshirts are from the EarthPositive range by Continental Clothing. EarthPositive Apparel is 100% organic with 90% Reduced CO2, and Fair war Foundation approved. The company also prints on Continental Clothing’s Salvage range – sweatshirts and t-shirts made from recycled organic cotton and recycled polyester. Some of their tops are made from Tencel fibre made from eucalyptus fibre, while others are produced by the trade company Stanley and Stella clothing, who use only Fair Wear certified organic cotton, or other sustainable fabrics such as tencel or recycled polyester. They ink used by Lost Shapes does not contain CFC’s, HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile solvents, lead, heavy metals or any toxic chemicals , and is suitable for vegans. And as they do not use photo emulsions for their screens they are also able to do away with the need for solvents in the cleaning process. They also provide plastic free packaging, all of which is recyclable, and most recycled.
Kuyichi make garments from GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester. Kuyichi has joined Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to improving labour conditions for garment workers around the world.
Silverstick make long-lasting adventure clothing from GOTS certified organic fabric dyed with azo and chlorine free clothing dyes and made in an accredited factory in Portugal.
Wales based Howies offer casual clothing made from organic cotton and recycled polyethylene.
UK based Earthmonk make and print built-to-last organic cotton t-shirts in Portugal and fairly-made mulesing-free benies by women in Nepal. They used water based dyes and biodegradable mail bags. They also donate 10% of profits to the Chaikuni Institute, a non-profit, grass roots organisation which works to preserve the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, its biodiversity, indigenous people and their culture.
The Green Wave is a sustainable UK surfing brand offering clothing made from GM free, certified organic cotton, made in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory and hand finished in the UK. They only work with companies that are working towards creating an environmentally friendly industry. Endeavour to reuse or up-cycle any disposal materials they encounter as part of their business and all orders are dispatched using bio-degradable and/or recycled packaging. They also sell flip flops / sliders by Reef that are made with water-based glues and are free of PVC.
Visible Clothing make all their garments under the 10 principles of Fair Trade. They also turn their paper and fabric refuse into handmade paper, books, and boxes made by Tibetan refugees.
Cock and Bull Menswear make all of their garments in the UK from animal-free materials that are substantially (70%) organic when natural and substantially (70%) recycled when synthetic. They are committed to fair practices in manufacturing and donate a percentage of their profits to charity.
Monkee Genes offer organic jeans from Indonesia, ethically produced jeans from Turkey and grassroots jeans made in England. You can buy some of their garments in Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2 (see above)
Hiut Denim makes it’s jean in Wales, some of which are made with organic cotton.
Seasalt Cornwall were the first fashion company to have garments certified by the Soil Association and have a few garments in natural fibres in their Unisex section, but nothing organic.
All Riot (see top photo) make political statement t-shirts that are Wrap certified and made from textiles that comply with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which certifies that the textiles were tested for harmful substances and were found to be made in environmentally friendly conditions. They do not however offer organic cotton. In addition to OEKO-TEX standards, they also use environmentally friendly inks in our London brand HQ.
Thokk Thokk is a German brand offering menswear made from organic cotton, sometimes blended with synthetic fibres. They have a Fairtrade Licence for its basic shirts and is certified as being organic by GOTS. They also offer free shipping.
Armed Angels is a German brand making ethical fairtrade clothing for men, women and children using only sustainable materials such as organic cotton, organic linen, organic wool, recycled polyester, Lenzing Modal® and Tencel®. They have been GOTS certified since 2011 and work with Fairtrade and Fair Wear Foundation to ensure they are working to ethical standards.
Mud Jeans don’t sell jeans, they rent them! And when the jeans have reached the end of their life they recycle them in factories in Spain or Italy. You can watch how they recycle the old jeans here. They’ve also managed to remove the need for damaging chemicals (potassium permanganate) in the treatment of jean fabric. Instead they use a laser and ozone, which is converted back to ordinary oxygen before being released back into the environment. Also the companies claim that using Ozone over chemical bleaching or stonewashing reduces the number of washes and rinses down from the standard 6-7 to 2-3, and that this new techniques results in stronger jeans because the yarns are damaged less than it would be by the manual brushing employed with the traditional sandpaper and potassium permanganate technique. The fabrics they use contain at least 98% of cotton, they only use printed logo’s, use hangtags made out of recycled paper and buttons made out of recycled cotton on their knits. The company also avoid polybags in their packing and only use send out its products with RePack, a returnable and reusable packaging. The company doesn’t appear to be certified as Fair Trade but there is an audit report of one of it’s factories in Tunisia available on its website. You can get some of their jeans from Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2.
Kings of Indigo are a Dutch brand making long-lasting, fairtrade jeans, and other clothing for men and women with a high percentage of sustainable fabrics. They are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and BSCI and they state that their products are made from materials consisting of (at least) 90% sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled wool, organic wool, TENCEL®, MODAL ®,hemp and linen. They use laser and ice blast for abrasion, rather than water, ozone for a washed effect and eco chemicals instead of chemical sprays. As water waste is huge in denim production, all of the water used in their laundries is intensively cleaned and recycled where possible. All of their paper tags and packaging are made from recycled paper and they use recycled boxes for shipping their bulk goods. The company also repairs and recycles garments.
Thinking Mu is a Spanish brand offering fairtrade certified clothing, some made from organic cotton or organic merino for men and women. Unfortunately their website doesn’t list the fabric used to make each garment.
Wunderwerk is a German men and women’s clothing brand using only certified fabrics such as organic cotton and low-carbon fabric like beech wood and eucalyptus. They avoid using plastic in all of their accessories such as zips, tags and packaging. More than 90% of their production and finishing takes place in Italy and Portugal or other European manufacturing facilities and using innovative and environmentally friendly denim-washings methods they have reduced water consumption per jeans from 90 to 160 litres down to 3 to 9 litres. They also use less damaging dye techniques and restrict the usage of polluting chemicals like chlorine and potassium permanganate in their manufacturing processes.
Dutch brand Hood Lamb make vegan clothing for men and women from GOTS certified organic hemp and recycled materials. They are a PETA approved brand and support Sea Shepherd in their defence of marine wildlife worldwide. They also donate at least one percent of annual revenue ‘to help create a more healthy planet’.
Insane in the Rain makes rain resistant jackets from recycled plastic for men, women and children. The recycled plastic fabric they use is called RPET, which stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET.
Two Thirds is a Spanish brand offering clothing from men and women, some of which are made from organic or recycled fabric. Their buttons are made from vegetable ivory (corozo), their zippers come from a company that only manufactures in Europe (YKK) and the padding in their jackets is raw cotton and therefore 100% biodegradable. They also avoid using leather on their clothing and have vegan backpacks made from canvas.
Knowledge Cotton Apparel is a Danish men’s clothing brand making fair, ethical fashion from organic and recycled fabrics. Their garments are independently certified by Ecocert.
Ecoalf is a Spanish clothing brand for men and women that uses recycled wool, recycled cotton, recycled polyester (from plastic bottles) and recycled nylon (from fishing nets) to make clothing. They even combine used coffee grounds with recycled polyester to make yarn and make flip flops from Recycled Tyres. Through it’s foundation Ecoalf are involved in a project to clean our oceans of waste called Upcycling the Oceans
Dedicated make clothing and headwear for men and women from organic and certified Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester from plastic bottles. On their website they provide information on the certificates each of the factories they use have, some of which don’t appear to have independent certification for fair working conditions. Also although their cotton is organic it isn’t certified as such, it’s only certified as Fairtrade.
Marzipants is a UK based company that specialises in Thai fishing pants which are made in India in accordance with fair trade principles in a 400 year old family-run workshop using traditional methods to hand dye, cut, sew and block print many of their garments. Unfortunately the company doesn’t appear to offer organic cotton and or any external accreditation or certification.
UK based Hejhog and Cambridge baby sell German sportswear brand Engel, which is made from organic wool and silk.
Bamboo Bamboo Clothing is a UK based company offering knickers, socks and leisure wear made from bamboo for men and women. The company say that they are committed to everyone being treated fairly and responsibly, from garment maker to customer but there they don’t appear to have any independent accreditation or certification. UK based By Nature is an online department store yoga wear by Bamboo Bamboo Clothing.
Launched in London in 2014 Starseeds are committed to creating designs using sustainable natural fabrics crafted fairly in Europe.Their garments are made from Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo, organic cotton, linen, Ramie, hemp and recycled polyester. They also claim to use all-natural, non-toxic dyes and a ‘Cold Bath Patch’ dyeing technique, which is less damaging to fibres. There was very little mention of independent certification on the website, except for the Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo.
Picture Clothing is a French brand of clothing offering organic, recycled & bio-sourced products for snowboarding, skiing, surfing and the outdoors. They recover and re-use all production scraps and raw materials during manufacturing and integrate them into the linings of their jackets. 95% of the cotton they use is certified either GOTS or Organic Content Standard certified. The remaining 5% are made in India with recycled cotton. All of their technical products are made from a minimum average of 50% recycled polyester from plastic bottles and they use the Greenplus Taiwann certification to guarantee recycled rates of each product and Bluesign Approved Fabric to guarantee that they do not contain harmful chemicals. They state that their garments are PFC free and that the factories they work with have all signed the Picture RSL (Restricted Substances List), a list of chemicals that they have banned in their products. They also state that they carry out random tests to make sure the RSL is fully respected. The company also states that the factories they use are all engaged in an improvement process with Fair Wear Foundation and that they visit them 2-3 times a year. The company works to repair garments instead of replacing them and they work with several repair stations throughout the world to deliver that service. You can’t buy from the company directly but I’ve listed them because they are stocked by quite a few online retailers. including Surfdome.ie in Ireland.
UK Based Green Fibres sell a few pieces of clothing in organic cotton. Organizations that supply Greenfibres must comply with the Code of Conduct as contained in the Global Organic Textile Standards, and the company make every effort to use local and small-scale labour as much as possible. Furthermore they are against increasing disparities of incomes and undertake to never have the highest earner in the company making more than 5 times the wage of the lowest earner. They also use banks and phone companies that are ethical, renewal electricity companies and use a high post-consumer content recycled paper in all their stationary and catalogues. They also participate in the following forums: the Soil Association, the Fair Trade Foundation, Pesticide Action Network UK, Environmental Justice Foundation, Global Organic Textiles Standards, Labour Behind the Label, and the Organic Trade Board.
Epona make leisure wear using Fairtrade certified cotton.
The White T-shirt company offers plain t-shirts – ironically in lots of colours – made from GOTS certified organic cotton.
The Hemp Store offer a range of clothing made from hemp, organic cotton, Tencel, rayon and bamboo.
The Hemp Shop also offer clothing made from 100% hemp or hemp blended with other fabrics.
Namaste Clothing offers a few bohemian-styled cotton shirts. They claim to only sell clothes that have been made fairly but it doesn’t appear to be accredited as such by any independant organisation, although it says it is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops as a fair trade importer. Their products are printed with azo-free dyes and they say that many of their products are made entirely from recycled materials.
Online Department Stores
Sometimes it makes sense to buy directly from the brand, but check out these online retailer before clicking the buy bottom. I’ve sometimes spotted items at lower prices on this online department stores than you get directly from the supplier.
- Spirit of Nature who stock Thought, Patagonia and Komodo
- Natural Collection stocks Thought and Patagonia
- The Natural Store stocks Kommet, Fabryan, Kiab, The White T-shirt Co, Environmental Justice Foundation, Edun, No Balls, Bam Bamboo and Silverstick
- Frank and Faith stock Patagonia, Thought and Komodo.
- The Ethical Superstore stocks All riot, Komodo, Matt & nat, Natural collection select, Onyx & green, Pachamama, Patagonia, Silverstick and Thought,
- Fab Organics sells men’s underwear from the German brand Living Crafts (see above).
- Ethical Market is an online marketplace for small makers of ethical goods, including clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children.
- Green UK are an online retailer offering a few pieces of bamboo and organic cotton yoga clothing plus garments from Silverstick, Fair T and Patagonia
The following brands offer swimwear / boardshorts
And sure where would you be without some organic cotton undies? I’m not including photos with this section because my ads in Facebook are odd enough following research for my lingerie and swimwear posts. Plus i’m not sure my 44 year old constitution could take it!
Other Useful Resources
I also came across some useful additional resources in relation to this area, they include;
Finally buying sustainably is only part of the equation, making your clothes last as long as possible is another. Not only does the website Love your Clothes have guides on how to buy the best quality, they also have tips on how to care and repair your clothes. Alternatively find yourself good tailor or seamstress to take care of your mending needs. Repairmystuff.ie is a handy website for sourcing such things.