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Activewear and spandex loungewear is a major environmental stressor (not just in production but also through the microplastics they emit in the washing/drying process once they get to the consumer). Recycled plastic leggings aren’t guilt free (more on that here), but they’re better than a Fabletics subscription *eye roll*.
Pro tip: the activewear section of your local thrift store or Crossroads is packed with perfectly good exercise gear, and usually name brands in like-new condition! Not everyone has access to size-inclusive good thrifting, so I’ve compiled a list of the next best things:
Girlfriend Collective makes activewear out of recycled materials — because trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet. They share an impressive amount of detail on their sustainability and ethical manufacturing processes, bravo! I recommend the compression legging, and the high rise short (I have the 7″ length). And I’m really interested in their new Float collection (lighter weight!) Sizes XXS-6XL. Shop here.
Nube makes activewear inspired by the environmental crises. Their leggings and tops use recycled waste and are made in fair-wage sewing studios in the USA. They partner with artists and designers around the world to create prints motivated by the environmental crisis that inspire connection and action. They are proudly woman-owned. Sizes XS-XL. Shop here.
TALA has quickly become widely renowned for its sustainability, diverse audience and flattering fits. By blurring the line between activewear and casual wear, each collection aims to bring the on-trend staples through a unique but innately affordable approach to sustainable fashion. Read about their sustainability initiatives here. I am loving this baby blue legging! Sizes XS-XL. Shop here.
Hara The Label
Hara, meaning green in Hindi, is a clothing label based in Melbourne, Australia. Consciously creating pieces that are soft and beautiful with sustainable and ethical practices at the core. All their products are naturally dyed, cut, sewn, packaged and shipped in Melbourne. Every single piece they create is naturally plant dyed in-house. Natural dyes are not only beneficial for the earth but also for your skin. The combination of bamboo and natural dyes is “their secret recipe” for nourishing the skin and protecting the body. Sizes XS-5XL. Shop here.
Organic cotton underwear. Made in California. Born from a need for comfy dreamy ethical undies, their organic cotton is grown and milled domestically and their underwear are designed and sewn locally. Made in California since 2013. My picks are the high rise in lilac and the cross bra in azul. Sizes XS-XXXL. Shop here.
Elevated essentials for real life. Organic cotton, ethically sewn, beautiful
Pact is a leading brand in sustainable and ethical fashion. They use only organic fabrics and fair trade factories. Their clothes are practical, comfortable, and easy. Call me boring, but my pick is their 6-pack of organic cotton fair trade high rise undies for $60! Sizes XS-XL. Shop here.
Seamless, smooth, and comfortable underwear. Made of recycled yarns and arrives in compostable packaging. Supersoft, crazy stretchy, and made with recycled fabric. My pick is the high rise cheeky in their silky mesh fabric. Sizes XS-3XL. Shop here.
While MeUndies doesn’t lead with sustainability, they do share some of their eco-friendly efforts on their site here. And they certainly care about giving back to their community. Through MeUndies Gives, they partner with organizations that help lift systemic barriers through open conversations and creativity. My picks are the high waisted cheeky and the U back bralette. Sizes XS-4XL. Shop here.
Proclaim is an inclusive nude lingerie line made in Los Angeles from earth-conscious fabrics. They are founded on the principles that fashion should represent all women and can be made in a way that does good for people and the planet. Proclaim is expanding the definition of nude, one ethically made bra at a time. Sizes S-3X. Shop here.
Whiskeydog Wares strives to source the best and most ethical fabrics available — using only hemp, bamboo, modal and cotton fibers — all sourced within the US and all dyed with eco friendly dyes. Eco dyes are non-carcinogenic and are free from or produce no harmful aromatic amines or acute toxins. The color fastness and performance of these dyes are superior to banned dyes. All designing, sewing and packing is done from Emily Miller’s studio on Blannahassett Island in Marshall, North Carolina. Sizes XS-2X. Shop here.
Did I miss any brands who should be on this list? Please share them with me in the comments!
WhitneyNovember 15, 2021 at 8:32 pm
I’m a big fan of Thunderpants out of Portland, OR. I can only speak to their hipster underwear (which is awesome) but they also offer a couple of other underwear styles, bralettes, bike shorts, leggings, and swimwear.