20 Sustainable and Ethical Brands that do Fashion from Plastic Waste
Updated: Jul 17
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adidas x Parley jersey for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
We’re all well aware that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Even though a lot still has to change, some brands have been acting very responsibly in terms of becoming more sustainable and ethical. We've comprised a list of 20 sustainable and ethical brands that do fashion from plastic waste.
1. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective is a fashion athleisure brand that strives to be as transparent and ethical as possible. It focuses on producing sustainable clothing from fabrics made out of plastic waste, like polyester, spandex, cupro, and ECONYL®. Girlfriend Collective mostly sources its raw material in Taiwan, a country that has made impressive efforts on the road to a sustainable future. One of the main goals of the company is cleaning up the ocean, as it's currently filled with billions of fishing nets, plastic bottles, and other consumer waste.
In the past few years, you've probably heard about Everlane, a fashion ethical brand that revolutionized sustainable wardrobe-essentials. Sustainability and transparent pricing are the company's key values. It's currently working on two initiatives: excluding all virgin plastic from its supply chain and only using organic cotton. Not only Everlane produces clothing and accessories from recycled materials, but it is also striving to make its production process 100% landfill-free.
Kendall Jenner, Drake and Shia LaBeouf in Patagonia jackets
Patagonia is a true fashion pioneer when it comes to using recycled eco-friendly and sustainable materials. Being an ethical brand in the 90s was a brave decision, but the company didn't back down. Ever since then, Patagonia has become synonymous with sustainability, as it uses recycled plastic bottles, unusable manufacturing waste, and worn-out apparel for polyester production. The brand also has an aim to be fully carbon neutral by 2025.
Aday is an ethical fashion brand that focuses on conscious design with an eco-friendly approach. It only cooperates with mills and factories that use sustainable practices. The company works with high-quality natural and recycled fabrics, including a custom fabric produced from plastic bottles, Recycled Scuba. By offering wardrobe essentials and making its collections seasonless and long-lasting, Aday also promotes conscious consumption. What's interesting about the brand is that it offers real people to test their pre-production items to make sure the clothing will satisfy their customers.
5. Adidas x Parley
It's crucial for the fashion industry leaders to promote ethical values and sustainability. That's what Adidas has been doing for quite some time now, specifically by partnering with Parley, an eco-friendly organization that addresses environmental threats towards the oceans. The two companies started their collaboration with analyzing the R&D process and finding ways to integrate reused plastic into Adidas' supply chain. As a result, Ocean Plastic® was created, a special material used by the sportswear manufacturer in 15+ million items.
Batoko is an ethical swimwear fashion brand that creates clothing from recycled plastic waste. The company utilizes recycling to reduce the consumption of new raw materials, energy usage, and water and air pollution. The story of the brand begins with the team volunteering with a local beach clean up group, which has fueled the decision to start manufacturing swimsuits from plastic waste. As a micro-business, Batoko concentrates on the individuality and longevity of its products to fight overproduction. The brand also supports the Marine Conservation Society, UK's leading marine charity.
7. Elle Evans
As a sustainable company that caters to those who care about fashion and the future, Elle Evans aims to fight the impact of the industry. It produces every item to order in an ethical workshop in Melbourne, Australia. The Vita ECONYL® regenerated nylon is the brand's sustainable material of choice, and it's manufactured from the ocean and landfill waste, including industrial plastic, fishing nets, fabric cuttings, etc. Elle Evans also uses the ECONYL® Regeneration System and hopes that its customers can recycle all purchased goods through the company in the future.
8. Mara Hoffman
Beyonce in Mara Hoffman swimsuit
Mara Hoffman is another fashionable and ethical brand. It was founded in 2015, and the main objective of the company is to produce its sustainable goods with better care, reduce its impact, and generate awareness. All Mara Hoffman's swimsuits are made of recycled nylon or recycled polyester, including ECONYL® and Repreve®. Additionally, the brand focuses on using vegan, natural, recycled, and organic fibers.
Gucci Off The Grid collection campaign with Jane Fonda
Gucci fashion brand has been steadily moving towards sustainability in the past few years, and its cooperation with Aquafil is a huge step in this eco-friendly and ethical journey. With the luxury house's latest and the first Gucci Circular Lines collection, called Off The Grid, customers can purchase bags, shoes, and garments produced with upcycled, organic, and environmentally-friendly materials, including the high-quality ECONYL® nylon. With the aim to decrease the brand's carbon footprint, such collections are a great inspiration for other luxury companies notorious for being rather unsustainable.
Photo courtesy of Repainted
Repainted is a unique ethical and sustainable brand based in Italy, which creates fashion beachwear with ECONYL® yarn from reused plastic, like fishing nets and buoys. Moreover, the company pays a lot of attention to the quality and durability of the items, so they are resistant to chlorine, salt, and sunscreen. Besides reusing materials, Repainted believes in repurposing the Art-Noveau designs for creating patterns.
11. Stella McCartney
Sarah Jessica Parker with her kids wearing Stella McCartney Falabella Crossbody Bag
When it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly luxury, Stella McCartney is the go-to fashion designer. She has revolutionized the concept of an ethical high-end brand and desires to incorporate as many circular materials as possible into her collections. Besides producing vegan items, Stella is currently focusing on eliminating the consumption of virgin nylon by switching to the ECONYL® regenerated nylon. Some examples of items made with this material include the Falabella GO collection. Furthermore, there is a limited edition Falabella GO backpack model made from recycled plastic in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans. All the proceeds from the sale of these backpacks go to the Sea Shepherd's mission.
Adut Akech for Prada Re-Nylon Second Episode
Prada is another luxury fashion brand that has partnered with Aquafil to introduce ECONYL® nylon into its sustainable production line, creating a new ethical collection Prada Re-Nylon. The material is manufactured by recycling and purifying plastic waste gathered from oceans and textile fiber waste. The Re-Nylon collection included six classic unisex styles. The fashion house has also cooperated with UNESCO to develop activities to educate learners all over the world on the topics of recycled plastic and circular economy.
13. Matt & Nat
Matt & Nat (decoded as MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE) is an ethical sustainable brand based in Montreal, Canada. Its main goal is to produce fashion bags and accessories from vegan leather, which is made out of polyurethane and polyvinylchloride. Since it was founded, the company has been using recycled materials such as nylon, cardboard, rubber, cork, and even tires. Also, the lining of the bags is sustainable and crafted fully of recycled plastic bottles.
14. Kind Bag London
Kind Bag is an ethical fashion company, whose mission is to fight waste pollution by replacing disposable bags with trendy sustainable totes, which are produced with recycled plastic bottles. After doing some research on the negative impact of single-use plastic, the creator of the brand decided to combat the problem by creating a bag that repurposes bottles. In fact, each of the brand's totes equals six reused plastic bottles.
Lefrik is a Spanish sustainable fashion brand that makes bags, backpacks, and travel essentials out of recycled plastic bottles. The fabrics used are eco-friendly, and the brand is ethical and PETA approved fully vegan. The company focuses on manufacturing its goods ethically and making them as functional as possible. To stay relevant, Lefrik continues to exploring new materials to make high-quality products.
Rihanna and Kanye West in Timberland boots
Timberland is a fashion company well-known for its iconic and high-quality designs. Recently, the brand has been implementing more sustainable and ethical practices. One of the examples is the use of Thread Ground to Good™ fabric - a material made from 50% recycled plastic bottles reclaimed from Haiti and Honduras. Not only this initiative makes Timberland products more ethical. It also supports local communities and creates workplaces in both the beforementioned countries and the United States. The company has already recycled nearly ten million plastic bottles and strives to do even better in the future.
Sunski was one of the first ethical fashion brands to produce recycled sunglasses. The company makes SuperLight frames, which are stronger and lighter than any similar ethical products. The company doesn't just use sustainable materials. It also offers a lifetime warranty for its eyewear, doesn't package its items in plastic, cooperates with the 1% For the Planet organization, and pledges to be fully carbon neutral. Sunski makes efforts to donate to environmental nonprofits, too.
Waterhaul is a social enterprise that uses recycled plastic waste to manufacture ethical eyewear. The unique quality of ocean waste, especially plastic fishing nets, is that it can turn into quite a sturdy, long-lasting and sustainable material. Thus, the fashion brand's glasses come with a lifetime warranty, which also contributes to their sustainability. The company believes that waste is simply a misallocated resource, and that's something any company should remember. Moreover, the glass in Waterhaul's eyewear is recyclable as well.
19. Liar the Label
Liar The Label is a fashion company concentrated on designing simple, affordable, and sustainable swimwear and garments made from ethical fabrics like ECONYL®. With its satirical name, nodding to apparel companies often being dishonest about their eco-friendliness, the brand aspired to tell people about the real impact of the fashion industry on the environment. To ensure that, the company founder decided to stop manufacturing items and focus on educating others about sustainability and recycling.
The final ethical fashion brand is Rothy's, which is all about turning reused plastic into stylish, eco-friendly and practical items. With sustainable and responsible manufacturing, the company strives to be zero waste. This objective is accomplished by using 3D knitting technology, handmade construction, and 100% recycled materials. Rothy's signature thread consists of a blend of marine plastic and single-use water bottles.