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I met my now-husband right when I was about to launch this website, in 2013. He’s a hottie (love that Venezuelan accent) but his closet needed a little bit of tweaking so that everything fit. Luckily, he let me overhaul his wardrobe, and I even managed to sneak in some sustainable brands that are now his favorite. (See Nudie Jeans, below!)
Luckily, I’ve been able to direct him to an ever-expanding array of sustainable and ethical men’s fashion brands that will appeal to everyone from the West Coast outdoorsman to the New York City ad executive and the Southern gentleman.
Here’s an updated list — as of 2020 — of the hottest eco-friendly men’s fashion brands and stores available.
Taylor Stich uses materials like upcycled and recycled (but durable!) yarns, organic cotton, natural hemp, responsibly-sourced leather, and synthetic down made from recycled plastic bottles. It uses production methods that work to lower its carbon footprint, reduce water usage, and limit chemical exposure. Plus, you can get discounts by pre-ordering up-and-coming designs.
Founded by 11-time World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater, alongside acclaimed designer, John Moore, Outerknown is what socially conscious surfer dudes wear when they grow up and get sophisticated. This brand is committed to transparency and works with manufacturers that abide by the Fair Labor Association and Fair Trade USA standards, and there’s a list of those suppliers right on the website. It’s also bluesign certified, which ensures toxins are excluded from the manufacturing process. As of 2020, 90% of the materials used are recycled, organic, or regenerated (it was the very first to use ECONYL!), and it’s on its way to reaching 100% with its 2030 plan. Even the buttons on Outerknown’s pants are made from recycled ocean plastic. Its Fair Trade, organic S.E.A. jeans are made in the cleanest denim factory and are so durable that they’re literally guaranteed for life. Outerknown also gives back a portion of profits to the Ocean Conservancy, and even the packaging is non-toxic and water-soluble.
AMENDI believes in being “ultra” transparent, so its customers can make a truly informed choice. Every piece made by AMENDI is traceable and comes with a Fabrication Facts tag that outlines details of that specific garment, such as what each part is made of, the amount of water used in production, certifications, a cost breakdown, and even how many people worked on it. All of AMENDI’s raw materials are grown, harvested, woven into fabric, and sewn into clothing in the same country: Turkey. AMENDI works closely with its suppliers throughout the supply chain in order to keep an eye on both conduct and quality. By keeping its supply chain in one place, it’s able to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase quality. Plus, the brand doesn’t ever use harsh chemicals during production and take full advantage of the latest eco-friendly technologies. You can learn more about their transparency initiatives.
Third Mind’s shoes are a more modern, eco-friendly twist on the classic men’s dress shoe. They’re made from 100% recycled plastics, with each pair saving about 20 water bottles from going into our landfills and waterways. They’re breathable, ultra-lightweight, made to eliminate odors, and designed to be super comfortable throughout your workday. Third Mind shoes are made ethically in China, and its staff was paid full time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Plus, all of the water used in their production process is recycled.
All Todd Shelton pieces are made-to-order to reduce waste and designed with longevity and high-frequency wear in mind. Almost all of the material used is natural and biodegradable, and everything is sewn in New Jersey where workers are paid a living wage. Todd Shelton is a great place to get timeless staples like jeans and trousers, basic-tees, and button-downs.
In an effort to create a healthier version of men’s underwear, Opok was started by two brothers (who also happened to play water polo professionally, representing team USA!). They wanted to create underwear that would be free of the pesticides and other toxins that are so frequently found in our clothing and undergarments. Opok’s cotton is sourced from the Izmir region of Turkey, which is known for having some of the highest quality fibers in the world. The farmers and dexters (clothes dyers) it works with are GOTS certified, which ensures that all agricultural practices are in line with organic standards. Plus, all of its shipping boxes are made entirely out of recycled cardboard and natural dyes in order to reduce the environmental impact of buying online.
Enzi is a premium footwear brand that seeks to challenge global perceptions of Africa through design, artisanal production, and a transparent process that exceeds international fair trade standards. The shoes are designed by co-founder Jawad Braye and made in Ethiopia, where the high-quality leather is sourced.
For organic socks, hoodies, underwear, and tees, head to PACT, which sources Fair Trade materials for its ethically made basics.
Studio 189, co-founded by Ghanian-American Abrima Erwiah and actress Rosario Dawson, is a fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise. Headquartered in Ghana and the U.S., with stores in NYC and Accra, it works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant-based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving, and more.
This casual company uses less water to manufacture its products, plus eco-friendly and organic fabrics, non-toxic and low-impact dyes, and recycled materials. This is a great place to look for sweats and loungewear.
Ably Apparel is a collection of 100% cotton t-shirts, button-downs, hoodies, socks, shorts, and tanks, all treated with Filium® technology. Filium is an eco-friendly technology that turns cotton, wool, silk, or other natural fabrics into water-shedding, stain-resisting, odor-refusing fabric, without losing any natural softness or breathability. Read more about why we love Ably here.
Nudie takes great pride in sourcing only organic cotton for its jeans, which can be repaired in any one of its stores for free forever, no matter when or where you got your jeans. With recycled paper patches (instead of leather) and non-toxic rivets, these jeans are meant to last for years and years. The same attention to detail goes into its accessories, jackets, and tees. When you’re done with your Nudies, you can turn in your old pair and get 20% off on a new pair. The old jeans will then be washed, repaired, and sold as a part of their secondhand collection, Re-use.
You probably already know that REI carries a ton of adventure apparel and gear, but it also carries a lot of pieces for everyday and workwear. Every brand that REI carries meets a minimum standard of ethical and sustainable operation. Although not every single item is made out of recycled and/or natural materials, it has a really wide variety of apparel to choose from that’s not only made in a conscious way, but also really high quality. Or, you can shop from REI’s Used section, which is perhaps the most sustainable (and affordable!) option. For more about REI’s sustainability initiatives in-depth, read this.
On a mission to make shopping ethically easier, DoneGood is a marketplace that curates brands that are doing good. Every brand is vetted for things like ethics and sustainability, along with affordability and quality. It carries clothing, shoes, accessories, ties, underwear, and more.
A leader in sustainability for the past four decades, Patagonia carries a wide variety of apparel for men, especially in the activewear department. Many of Patagonia’s pieces are made with fully or partially recycled and fair trade materials. You can find out more about traceability on the website.
Based in Los Angeles, Tact & Stone was created in 2019 as a response to the harm being caused by the global apparel industry. With sustainability at the core of the company, the brand was designed as a counterpoint to the conventional way of making menswear. Tact & Stone only uses the lowest impact materials, sources with ethical manufacturing standards, and finds suppliers that uphold the highest level of social and environmental standards. Further, circularity and regenerative practices are built-in from day one. The ultimate goal is to create stylish products that are made-well with as little impact as possible.
AKASHI-KAMA was started by a Japanese-American, Alec Nakashima, with the initial line dedicated to noragis, a classic Japanese workwear piece. It uses Japanese cotton and responsibly manufactures in Oakland, CA. Super versatile, AKASHI-KAMA’s noragis can be dressed up or down. Some of its pieces are organic and others aren’t, so be sure to check before purchasing!
Toad&Co makes apparel out of eco-conscious fabrics like organic cotton, TENCEL, hemp, recycled fibers, and more. Its products carry a host of different third party certifications such as bluesign and OEKO-TEX. Not only that, but you can actually send back your clothing when you’re done with it and the team will either clean and resell it as a part of its Renewed Collection, or upcycle it. Even its packaging is reusable—it has partnered with limeloop to use a reusable shipper that can be returned to them after you’ve received your goods. Plus, all of Toad&Co’s orders are processed, packaged, and shipped by the Planet Access Company warehouse, which is an organization the brand co-founded to give employment and training opportunities to adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. And it’s not stopping there: Toad&Co has some great goals for the next decade, like transitioning to 100% recycled synthetics by 2025 and 100% certified Responsible Wool Standard by 2024.
Kente Gentlemen offers well-studied, elegant, and contemporary clothing. Every finished product is fitted, cut, and sewn from fabrics made in Africa, with a nod to the rich textile heritage and local craftsmanship. The brand is committed to its community of handweavers, tailors, artisans, and vendors in order to provide opportunities for the local economy and share the beauty of Africa to consumers around the world.
Levi’s has been pouring money into innovating on denim, including cotton recycling, and its Water>Less technology and Waste>Less collection, with 20% post-consumer waste.
Nau creates clothing that is both sustainable and high tech. It uses all natural and/or recycled materials, with a bunch of certifications behind them to give you peace of mind. Plus, a portion of each purchase is donated to a grassroots environmental organization.
This sustainable outdoor apparel and accessories brand prioritizes natural fabrics and removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways with each item sold.
Kotn creates beautiful basics from authentic Egyptian cotton that’s finer, softer, and more breathable than any other cotton. Unfortunately, since 2001, there has been a 95% decline in demand from big corporations that opted to go with cheaper options. As a result, millions of farmers, weavers, and craftspeople are struggling to make ends meet. By working directly with cotton farming families in Egypt, Kotn is seeking to rebuild the industry from the inside. It makes its own fabrics from raw cotton bought direct from farmers at guaranteed prices. A Certified B Corp brand, it built a school in Egypt to combat child labor and is now working on building a second one.
ASKET pieces are timeless, classic, and perfect for any man looking to build a capsule wardrobe. Possibly the best part, however, is the sizing. The brand has 15 different sizes so that your clothing actually fits your body. It’s committed to transparency in its supply chain and you can view its factories and production processes on its website. And now, ASKET is taking that transparency all the way by providing details about where each ingredient of the piece comes from right on the tag.
Made Trade is a curated online shop with a wide selection of products that are eco-conscious, fair trade, vegan, and/or made in the USA. On each product page, you can find out a lot about the brand’s values and ethical practices, materials used, etc., so you can be an informed consumer (without spending a bunch of time researching). Not only does it have a collection of men’s clothing, but also home goods, shoes, accessories, women’s clothing, and more. Read more about why we love Made Trade here!
Founded by a Côte d’Ivoire designer who was educated in France, this menswear brand uses both technologically advanced eco-fabrics and traditional and locally produced fabrics to create sleek and vibrant menswear basics. Production is based in France, Portugal, and Côte d’Ivoire.
Maki Oh is primarily a womens runway brand but its men’s shirts are actually the only thing available for purchase on the site at this time. The brand fuses traditional African techniques with detailed contemporary construction. Founded by Maki Osakwe in 2010, Maki Oh embodies the philosophies of sustainability, preservation, strength, and complex simplicity, and has been worn by Mrs. Michelle Obama, Lupita N’yongo, Solange Knowles, Leelee Sobieski, Azaelia Banks, and more. The brand has shown its collections during NYFW and has been featured in dozens of top-tier publications, including Vogue Magazine, WWD, New York Times, W Magazine, New York Magazine, and Elle Magazine. In 2014, Maki Oh was invited to the White House as one of Mrs. Michelle Obama’s favorite designers, the first and only Africa-based designer to be invited to the White House. Maki Oh was also one of two Africans to become a finalist in the first LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.
Brothers We Stand makes clothing and accessories that are ethically made, designed to please, and created to last. The brand is committed to transparency and requires that the designers and brands featured in its collections provide a full breakdown of their supply chains, which you can then view in each product’s “footprint” tab. It recognizes that true sustainability and ethical production is a process and is committed to genuine commitment and innovation in these areas. Brothers We Stand carries dress clothes along with casual, everyday wear, outerwear, swimwear, accessories, and unisex apparel.
If you’re tired of boring button-downs, then head to this NYC-based retailer for twists on menswear by up-and-coming designers. Find colorful socks, irreverent accessories, interesting trousers and shirts, and other items that tell the world you’re “working on a project,” not working in an office.
A unisex brand featuring 100% silk shirts designed and produced in Dakar, Senegal.
This company makes cold-weather coats, apparel, shoes, and backpacks from upcycled materials like PET bottles and fishing nets.
Olderbrother has a truly unique process of creating gender-neutral clothes that are hand-dyed in the USA out of only natural and biodegradable dyes like hibiscus, madder root, coffee, and turmeric. All of its clothing is handsewn in sunny Los Angeles out of eco-friendly materials.