Is it just me or do clothes wear out way to quickly? Maybe I’m just hard on them. I dread having to replace them because sourcing ethical sustainable clothing on a budget is no easy thing. We all know that the fashion industry generates a huge amount of waste and pollution, with a recent report citing fashion as the 4th most polluting industry in the world. Being keen to try before I buy I continually scour charity shops for clothes but for some reason I never seem to find anything I like that fits so I’m often faced with having to buy new from sustainable ethical retailers online.
I appreciate that everyone’s definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ differs. For most of us it includes no fur! For others it means no animal derived products like wool, silk or leather but even if you’re okay with using animal derived fabric you may baulk at mainstream silk which typically involves boiling the silk worms alive when the fibre is harvested. I’ve compiled a separate post on the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types. You can use this to decide your own definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’. Just remember, sometimes all we can do it make the least bad choice.
And when you’re ready to shop here are some companies that caught my eye in my search for sustainable, ethical, Europe-based clothing companies. I have included some non-European brands where there is an Irish stockist.
Grown is an Irish company that aims to only use fully organic, biodegradable and recyclable products. They make t-shirts from Tencel and organic cotton and they plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt that they sell. They donate 1% of our annual sales to help protect the environment and to celebrate Earth Day they planted 150 indigenous Irish trees on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle in collaboration with the Body & Soul festival.
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) is a 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. They offer clothing in wool, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, recycled polyester, rayon, tencel and modal. The dyes they use are free from Azo (which they say is a harmful carcinogen) and they claim that their finishes are as environmentally friendly as possible. They only source wool from farms that comply with their Animal Welfare policy. Each piece of their collection is made in the same country so never needs to be shipped from place to place and when it is time to transport them they claim to choose a slow option with great consideration for the environment. They’re also a founding member of the Ethical Fashion Forum.
People Tree has been named as the Best Ethical Fashion Brand by the Observer and Best Ethical e-tailor by Cosmopolitan, twice. They are accredited by the WFTO, the Fairtrade Foundation, and the Soil Association. Most of People Tree’s organic cotton also carries the Fairtrade Mark and is certified in India by Control Union (an international Dutch based organic certification body). Their new colours for organic clothing are also said to meet stringent requirements for organic dyes and they explain that although some of our organic cotton products use low impact dyes they don’t carry the mark because the screen print workshop they want to support a small family run business that are working towards meeting the organic criteria. Other garments are dyed using with safe GOTS certified and azo-free dyes. They also have 9 stockists around Ireland.
Nomads offer fair trade clothing in certified organic cotton and non-organic cotton since 1989. They are a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) and the British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS). A percentage of Nomads profits are used to support TAMWED, a non-profit charity based in south India.
Gundrun Sjoden uses fabrics including organically grown cotton, naturally retted flax, Tencel® lyocell, Lenzing Modal®, silk, alpaca, recycled fibres, vegetable tanned and dyed leather along with wood and rubber. Their manufacturers are certified to standards such as GOTS, Fairtrade and STeP by OEKO-TEX. The company also sell some items for charity.
Skunkfunk are a German brand that make some garments from recycled polyester, Tencel, organic cotton, recycled leather, linen, ramie or hemp. They claim to work side-by-side with our suppliers, in China and India, to ensure our production complies with international standards. (BSCI, ETI, FLA, FWF, SA 8000 or WRAP.) They reuse 2% of their cardboard boxes from shipments, use bioplastic bags as an alternative to traditional plastic bags and use recycled cotton paper for their tags. In terms of carbon footprint, 90% of their goods are transported by sea freight, 42% of their online store shipments are carbon neutral and their headquarters are 100% powered by renewable energy, certified by Goiener. Conveniently they have a store on 2 Blooms Lane in the Italian Quarter in Dublin 1.
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.
Lanius is a German company making ethical sustainable clothing, some of which are GOTS certified. On it’s website the company explains that a garment may not be GOTS certified because the supply chain for something as small as a button isn’t fully compliant. Although the company does use some animal products in their clothing, they also offer some vegan clothing, which has been softened without animal products. You can read a full list of the materials that they use here.
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.
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. KOMODO is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum, and their London offices has CarbonNeutral® status. The majority of the factories that they work hold certifications like SA8000 and GOTS or are independently audited by bodies like UL and the company visits them regularly to assess conditions.
Uk based Rakha’s approach to design and garment making is sustainability, through products made from eco-friendly or repurposed materials which can be bio-degraded or re-cycled, whilst contributing to the development of sustainable communities throughout our supply chain. They aim to work only with green manufacturers, with established environmental management systems, standards and certifications, limiting the carbon impact of our operations. They also aim to use only recycled or bio-degradable materials for our garments and all of their organic or sustainable materials are certified. The fabrics they use include; Woolmark certified Merino Wools , (GOTS) certified Organic Cotton, Bamboo, Lenzing certified cellulose fibers, and (Rpet) Recycled Fabrics.
UK based Outsider offers some very stylish well-priced clothing from undyed cotton, organic cotton, hemp and hemp silk, bamboo, merino wool, Tencel, silk and Peace Silk / Eri Silk (made from the spent cocoons of the wild Eri moth and therefore cruelty-free). The company works with three factories, one in the UK, one in India and one in Macedonia and they say that they visit the factories regularly and have ensured the working hours and pay are fair and conditions are of a high standard. They also source their organic cotton in India, so as to minimise transportation and the resulting carbon emissions. No independant certification visible on their website.
UK-based Beaumont Organics is an international ethical ladieswear brand that uses organic, fairtrade and eco fabrics. They use off-cuts where they can for sampling and limit travel to subsideries in other countries to a minimum in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
Based in Bath, England Bibico use 100% natural materials to make garments, including organic cotton. Currently they work with two women’s cooperatives that are both fair trade certified by the WFTO. The cooperatives provide women with training, education and work, empowering them to move themselves and their children forward and out of the world of poverty.
Mudd and Water is an organic clothing company based in Little Waltham, England. They produce clothes which are ethical, organic & sustainable.
All Nancy Dee garments are manufactured in Britain and their fabrics are mostly made from renewable natural sources such as soya, bamboo and organic cotton, or Modal, an man-made material originating from beech wood. Some items are made using up-cycled material that would otherwise be consigned to land-fill. Additionally their patterns are designed to minimise fabric wastage and leftover fabric is used for the following season’s samples, or re-dyed and used for a brand new design and most of their pieces can be machine washed.
UK-based Palava make the most delightful ‘storybook’ dresses and skirts for women and children out of GOTS certified organic cotton in factories in Turkey, Romania, and Lithuania.
Earth Kind Originals have their certified organic cotton and Tencel easywear made in Izmir on the coast of Turkey in a small factory that they have been working with for four years. All workers at the factory are over 19 years old, receive a fair, fixed salary for their hard work and work decent hours.
Sanchos Dress is a UK store retailing certified fair trade and/or organic clothing constructed from sustainable natural materials. Their clothing is available from an Irish retailer Ethical Souls Boutique
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. They are stocked by Fresh Cuts and Genius in Dublin 2.
Danish brand Serendipity Organic are best know for children’s clothing but they also offer a few items of women’s clothing, made from 100% organic cotton yarns that are GOTS certified. All of their cotton garments are Fair Trade certified (SA 8000) and most are GOTS certified in full finish, meaning the entire production process from cotton growth and spinning to finished production lives up to the standards set forward in Global Organic Textile Standards. Their digitally printed garment are not GOTS certified but the company says it also use low-impact colours on them and that the prints are fully tested and adhered to the strictest regulations. Also the filling in their our quilted products is 100% organic cotton and GOTS certified and all buttons are made from either seashell, coconut or taugua nut. When a natural alternative the company chooses nickel free products. Production of their cotton garments takes place in India, where their certified organic cotton is also grown, thus avoiding excess transportation, while their Alpaca & Ilama wool styles are semi-handmade or fully handmade in Bolivia from Bolivian or Peruvian yarn by small groups of women.
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. Recently they’ve begun selling used Patagonia clothing and merchandise in 5 cities in the US with plans to expand this initiative.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UK brand Cossac use organic cotton, Tencel and modal to make garments in ISO and GOTS-certified factories in Portugal and Turkey and they say that they regularly travel to their factory partners to make sure the processes are overseen and are compliant with ethical production standards. They keep paper waste to a minimum and their business cards, swing-tags and boxes are made from recycled paper.
Zola Amour‘s long-lasting capsule wardrobe garments are ethically handmade in the UK from certified organic and biodegradable materials.
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.
Currently ranked the UK’s most ethical menswear brand by Ethical Consumer Magazine, THTC is a 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.
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.
Thokk Thokk is a German brand offering casual clothing 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.
Dedicated Brand is a Swedish company offering clothing and headwear for men and women made 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 just to note that their cotton is organic but it isn’t certified as such, it’s only certified as Fairtrade. You can get some of their clothing from Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2.
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
Jan n June is a Hamburg based clothing label that uses a factory in Poland to make its garments from GOTS certified organic cotton, GOTS certified linen, GRS certified recycled polyester, GRS certified recycledpolyamide and Tencel. They’re fabrics are certified OEKO-TEK, meaning they’re free from a set list of toxic chemicals.
Based in the Netherlands Rhumaa have garments made from natural fabrics like Alpaca, wool, cotton and cashmere and regenerated cellulose based fibres like Cupro and Lyocell in factories in Peru, Portugal and Turkey. A percentage of their profits are used to work with local charities.
Maska in Sweden create long lasting knitwear from organic cotton, hemp, wool, cashmere, silk and Tencel that seldom need laundering and require lower washing temperatures. All of their knitwear yarn is spun in Europe apart from the cashmere and silk blend, and all knitwear is produced in the EU following the labor laws of the European Union, apart from one style which is produced in Nepal at a Swedish-owned factory, which complies with guidelines set by the Fair Wear Foundation. No evidence of independent certification was visible.
Danish brand Klit Moller Collective use sustainable materials whenever possible, including organic cotton, linen and natural fibres such as merino and lambswool. They currently produce in Portugal and Germany at smaller, mostly family owned, factories, that they visit on a regular basis. They deliver all of their products in recycled paper bags and cartons and aim to minimise packaging a much as possible. No evidence of independent certification was visible.
Jungle Folk in Switzerland make clothing from natural fibres including organic cotton and organic linen. No evidence of independent certification was visible.
Based in Ireland Wear we Wander is a collective of socially conscious Irish and International designers seeking to create positive change by making beautiful clothing, jewellery and accessories. Designers agree to adhere to the ethical standards of the brand but no independent certification is visible on their website.
Established in 2013 by Paola Masperi, Mayamiko is a collection of clothing, accessories and homewares , ethically made in Malawi from bold traditional African printed cotton, known locally as chitenje, as well as other fabrics from neighbouring African countries, all sourced at the local market. They also have batik and dip dye cotton, hand dyed especially by a local craftsman and rebirth, a fully up-cycled capsule collection, that gives new life to pre-loved reclaimed fabrics.
Elegantees are an American brand that employs women and children rescued from sex trafficking at the border of Nepal-India. Their sewers are paid 2-3x the minimum wage in Nepal and they each get paid time off. No independent certification was visible on their website. I’ve included this brand because it’s available from an Irish retailer Ethical Souls Boutique
Bebhinn is an Irish brand creating a boutique collection of modern pieces made from Irish linen and Irish merino.
With a philosophy of buying less and choosing well, Theo and George are an Irish brand, designing and selling select pieces made in factories that the company states maintains the highest ethical and sustainable production standards, some in Italy and Portugal, but no independent certification was quoted. They state that all of their packaging is reusable and/or recyclable and that they are committed to never send unnecessary waste. They have also partnered with a textile recycling company in Dublin.
Assemble is a small Irish brand making limited runs of women’s clothing using fabric sourced with sustainability and fair working conditions in mind. No independent certification was mentioned on their website.
For higher end clothing check out Wicklow based, Sophie Rieu , an award-winning eco and socially responsible ready-to-wear fashion label based in Ireland by French designer Sophie Rieu. She is passionate about using ethically-sourced natural and organic fabrics.
Alice Halliday is a Cork based ethical fashion designer, specialising in unique made-to-measure Bohemian Bridal Couture & Event Wear. Her range includes Dresses, separates, capes, veils & headpieces. Inspired by nature & nostalgia, every piece is created by hand, using vintage, antique and sustainably sourced materials.
And for ethically made silk tops check out Irish owned Ethical Silk Company. As far as I’m aware they are the only company offering silk made without silk worms being boiled alive as part of the process.
Squirrel and Magpie is an Irish women’s wear design company offering garmetnts made from GOTS certified organic silk, recycled fabrics and GOTS certified organic cotton jersey. They also use digital printing to cut down on the environmental impact of the dying process. They work with a factory in Poland and one in Italy. Some of their garments are blended fibres, which would make them un-recyclable once worn out.
Hiut Denim makes it’s jean in Wales. They aim to make their jeans organic in the future.
Seasalt Cornwall were the first fashion company to have garments certified by the Soil Association. Not everything they sell is organic but they have become one of the UK’s largest sellers of organic cotton. Unfortunately the website doesn’t allow you to filter so you just see organic clothing.
All Riot 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.
Mia Sylvia is a UK based designer that offers naturally dyed up-cycled garments.
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.
Ascension Clothing in the UK offer very well priced certified organic cotton t-shirts manufactured solely using renewable green energy generated from wind and solar power in fairly traded factories and printed with environmentally friendly processes. They also donate 10% of their gross profits to charity.
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.
Chandni Chowk sell handprinted and hand-dyed Indian styled clothing, all of which is sais to be fair-trade and some of which is said to be organic cotton, although no certification is mentioned on their website.
Namaste Cothing claims to 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.
Mossberry Clothing is a UK company that claims to sell only products that are manufactured ethically and have the lowest possible impact on our environment. Their current collection includes tops and dresses in block-printed fabrics from Anokhi in India, organic cotton wear from Ideo in France and chic evening dresses from Les Fees de Bengale, and organic cotton children’s clothes from La Queue Du Chat. They say that their packaging is recycled, recyclable or biodegradable, that they are Ethical Junction Members and in the Book of Green (whatever that is!). They vow to visit their manufacturers every year to ensure their ethical standards are maintained but there is no sign of independant verification or certification on their website.
During my research i found a few online ‘department stores’ specialising in ethical products, including fashion. They includes
- Ethical Souls Boutique is an Irish online store that stocks Alice Haliday, Sophie Rieu, Wear we Wander, Mafrika, Kampala Fair, Elegantees, Sanchos Dress and Komodo
- Stiall in a Irish online retailer for ethical non-toxic, high quality clothing made from biodegradable or recyclable materials. The brands they stock include Thinking Mu, Armed Angels, Beaumont Organic, Frieda Sand and Knowtow.
- Belleetik is a Cork based online retailer of ethical sustainable clothing including brands amana, Deborah Lindquist, Delete, FIN, Jonano, La Vie Devant Soie, Les Fees de Bengale, numanu, People Tree, and Unicorn Design
- Fresh Cuts stock the following clothing brands, Monkee Jeans, Mud Jeans, Dedicated and Armed Angels.
- Spirit of Nature stock Peopletree, Nancy Dee, Thought, Patagonia, Nomads, and Komodo,
- Maude & Tommy is a fairtrade store in North Yorkshire, England that stocks Nomads, Privatsachen, People Tree, Out of Xile and Komodo
- Gather&See offers a curated selection of cutting edge sustainable fashion labels including A Peace Treaty, AAKS, Apricoss, Arela, August, Barocco, Beaumont Organics, Carolina Wong, Conditions Apply, Cossac, Cus, Danielle Foster, Edge of Ember, Kemp Gadegaard, Kind Jewelery, Kowtow, Lalesso, Little by Little Jewellery, Little Joy Jewellery, Matt & Nat, Mudd Jeans, Nathalie Bond Organics, Osei Duro, Pic, Rakha, Riyka, Satva, TINCT, Tricotage, Veryan, Vildnis, Woron, Moea, Stidston.
- Natural Collection stocks Thought, Braintree, Nomads, Patagonia, People tree, Nancy Dee and Asquith
- The Natural Store stocks Kommet, Fabryan, Kiab, The White T-shirt Co, Environmental Justice Foundation, Edun, No Balls, Bam Bamboo, Ruby Moon and Silverstick
- Frank and Faith stock Nancy Dee, Asquith, Braintree, Patagonia, Thought, Nomads and Komodo.
- The Eco-Edit on Asos allows you to search for ‘ethical’ products, including their fairtrade label Asos made in Kenya and some organic cotton pieces. Unfortunately their definition of ‘ethical’ is broad and you can’t refine the search based on your own particular ethics.
- The Ethical Superstore stocks All riot, Asquith, Komodo, Matt & nat, Nancy dee, Natural collection select, Nomads, Onyx & green, Pachamama, Patagonia, People tree, Silverstick and Thought (formerly braintree clothing),
- Fashion Concience stocks a huge range of ethical clothing brands, which you can filter based on your ethics, although what they consider ‘ethical’ is quite broad. They also have their own range FC select.
- Fab Organics offers clothing in bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton items. Brands include German brand Living Crafts (see above) and the confusingly-named American brand Ethos Paris, German company Madness, and American brand Blue Canoe
- FAAM stocks the following brands; Armed Angels, Dedicated, Froy & Dind, Greenbomb, Hippoblo, Kings of Indigo, Komodo, Kuyichi, Langerchen, Munoman, Monkey Genes, Oy-Di, People Tree, Recolution, Swedish Stockings, Thought, and Wunderwerk
- Ethical Market (UK) is an online marketplace for small makers of ethical goods, including clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children.
- Greenlabels (The Netherlands) sells clothing and accessories by Afriek, Armedangels, By Signe, Cossac, Friday’s Project, Kings of Indigo, Kowtow, Lemon Spicy, Naomi Rachel Timan, Vega
I also came across some useful additional resources;
- Ethical Fashion Forum’s searchable database of clothing brands. You can search by category, country and / or ethics. I found it particularly useful if you’re looking for something specific.
- Rankabrand is a very useful website that, as the name suggests, ranks brands based on their sustainability.
- The Good Shopping Guide uses a traffic light system to rate the performance of a number high-street brands against a range of ethics . The top three brands were People Tree, Sea Salt and Fat Face.
- The Good on You App helps you find brands to suit your ethics. They’re an Australian based company so i’m not sure if it’ll be of much use to us here in Ireland.
- Finally if you need more info on why we need to move towards sustainable clothing you’ll find plenty of book recommendations from Fashion Studies Journal here
- And for the latest news on sustainable fashion read the Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s blog
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