The Best Ethical, Sustainable and Warm Coats for Winter
- by EcoCult Staff
- Nov 9, 2022
Image by Askov Finlayson
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Everyone who lives in temperate climates needs protection in the winter to stay safe and enjoy the season. If your current cold weather wear is worn out or you’re looking for a great gift, you can’t go wrong with these durable and sustainable layers. The brands below offer a great range of parkas, vests, and lined hooded jackets.
Here is our criteria for ethical and warm winter coats:
Ethical Insulation: The insulation or lining in your winter coat is critical to keeping you warm. If your local climate includes heavy snow, wind, or rain, protection from the elements will be a major factor as well. The puffer coats and parkas on this list are filled with recycled synthetics, deadstock fabrics, or bio-based materials that will retain heat even in freezing temperatures. Many brands choose these insulators in place of feather down because in some cases, harvesting down feathers can be cruel (though that’s not necessarily always the case.)
Eco-Friendly Exterior: For a weather-resistant shell, look for brands that use recycled synthetics for the outer layer. Many outdoor brands also add a durable water repellent to these performance jackets, be aware that it can be with toxic perfluorinated chemistry. If precipitation and heavy winds aren’t a concern, you can avoid synthetics and chemical finishes altogether and look for natural fibers such as organic cotton and wool.
Longevity & Care: A good winter coat is an investment. It should be sturdy, durable, and last for many years to come. Be sure to properly care for your winter wear by carefully reading the maintenance instructions. For simple care, look for coats made of merino wool, which is naturally odor-resistant.
Fair Labor and Sustainability: Look for brands that are directly involved in or transparent about their supply chains. Some brands own and operate their own factories, while others foster close long-term relationships with the manufacturers in their supply chains. To ensure labor and environmental responsibility, look for third-party certifications such as B Corp, Fair Labor Association, and Cradle to Cradle
Askov Finlayson is a certified B Corp based in Minnesota. The climate positive brand offers a variety of thick and warm layers at accessible prices. All of its parkas and vests are made in Bac Giang, Vietnam. Askov Finlayson uses recycled synthetic insulation in its parkas and vests, which retains heat even when wet. The brand makes sure that all of its new and existing suppliers adhere to its labor Code of Conduct, including fair wages, safe environments, and reasonable work hours. It also reviews its partners to ensure their environmental practices are safe and responsible.
This activewear brand creates warm and breathable layers including merino insulated vests, knit coats, and hooded jackets. Its outerwear features a recycled polyester shell that is designed to be flexible, wind-resistant, and water-resistant. Icebreaker works with ethical merino farmers across New Zealand. It has established relationships with garment processors and suppliers to ensure safe and ethical work environments throughout its supply chain. Icebreaker also offers a variety of base layers to give you both warmth and versatility. The interior of its vests and coats is made with 100% natural fibers, and several pieces feature a PFAS-free water-resistant shell.
Christy Dawn makes warm coats in a variety of thickness, lengths, and colors with timeless and classic style. The brand fosters close and beneficial relationships with its partner farmers and weavers in India. Its outerwear collection includes pieces made of organic cotton, alpaca wool, and deadstock fabric. Its garment makers are located in Los Angeles, where it constructs each piece with elegance and longevity in mind.
The Checkroom creates classic statement coats in thirteen size options. Its apparel is ethically made in its small factory in Chicago with fabric woven in the US by its partner, American Woolen. The brand uses small batch and made to order methods to reduce waste and create warm pieces with longevity in mind. The Checkroom balances style and functionality to create truly beautiful cashmere and merino wool coats that are suited for a variety of temperatures and layers.
Marfa Stance produces functional and versatile outwear pieces in limited runs. It keeps close tabs on its supply chain by operating from its family-owned Italian factory, and sources deadstock and recycled fabrics from Italy and Japan. Its wide variety of weather-ready pieces are designed to be layered with detachable hoods, liners, and collars to change with the seasons. Its collection of colorful and customizable outerwear includes reversible vests, shell jackets, and quilted parkas.
Tentree’s selection of puffer jackets and parkas are made from bluesign-certified recycled polyester and coated with a PFC-free DWR finish. The jackets, which are available in a variety of lengths and colors, are ethically made in Vietnam in factories that adhere to the brand’s code of conduct. Tentree is a certified B Corp and traces its supply chain from fiber sourcing to product manufacturing.
This Los Angeles-based brand owns and operates its factory. Its collection of coats and jackets are designed to be form fitting and elevate your outfit. It partners with the Fair Labor Association to audit its supply chain partners across South America and Asia, and tests its dyes and finishes against its Restricted Substances List. Reformation uses low-impact materials, such as wool and deadstock fabrics, and uses recycled and compostable packaging.
Stella McCartney creates chic and elegant vegetarian or cruelty-free coats to enhance your look while keeping you warm and dry. The brand uses traceable wool, viscose, recycled synthetics, and organic cotton. Its materials are sourced in New Zealand and the UK from small suppliers who are Cradle to Cradle certified and held to the brand’s Code of Conduct.
This regenerative brand makes a variety of vests and jackets from recycled nylon, fleece, and wool, as well as organic cotton and its original plant-based “FLWRDWN™ Lite” insulation, all in a variety of fun colors, lengths, and styles. Its supply chain is made of small partners across Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Romania, China, and Bulgaria that adhere to the brand’s Code of Conduct to enforce workers’ rights.
This brand uses 100% GOTS-certified cotton and recycled materials to create colorful and classic puffer coats. It uses a custom PFAS-free water repellant, Bionic-Finish Eco, to safely protect the outer shell from the elements. Dedicated fosters long-term partnerships with its suppliers, who are regularly audited to ensure compliance with the brand’s code of conduct.
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pear is a London-based brand that uses natural and bio-based fibers in its collection. Its wool coats, which come in several colors and styles, are created from fiber to final product in Portugal to reduce the emissions of a long supply chain. Its commitment to sustainability continues past the creation of its garments. In addition to its resale platform, it also provides after-market repair for its customers, and upcycles its deadstock fabrics.
This made-to-order vegan brand creates gorgeous coats out of recycled wool, organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled synthetics. All of its garments are designed and manufactured in the brand’s birthplace of Slovenia. It maintains close relationships with its production partners and frequently visits them to ensure safe working environments.
This brand creates highly-functional coats designed to withstand the northern climate. It sustainably hand-harvests its Eiderdown down feathers, which naturally adapt to your body’s temperature, just once a year. Its organic waxed cotton shells are proofed in Scotland without PFOS or formaldehyde.