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I’m not going to lie: One of my favorite things about sundresses is the lack of decision-making involved. You don’t have to find two pieces that match—you can just throw on a dress with some sandals or heels and look cute without really trying.
So, if you’re looking for eco-friendly, ethically made sundresses for this spring and summer, we’ve rounded up the best brands and boutiques for you. But first, here’s an overview of why the brands below are so great, and what you should look for while you’re shopping for sustainable sundresses:
Earth-friendly fabrics: Most of these brands use fabrics like Tencel, organic cotton, hemp, and linen. Most of these natural fibers are pretty breathable, which is good if there’s a chance you might break a sweat in your dress. Go for certified organic whenever you can, especially with cotton.
Artisan made: Sundresses give us so much opportunity to play around with prints and patterns. Many of the dresses below are handcrafted by artisans around the globe using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations, such as block printing.
Nontoxic dyes: Since there’s often a lot of rich colors involved, you want to go for nontoxic, biodegradable dyes whenever possible. Otherwise, all of those toxic chemicals can end up in our waterways, our soil, and our bodies.
Eco-conscious processes: There’s a lot that goes into making just one sundress: growing, shipping, and processing the fabric; dyeing, cutting, sewing the piece; and of course finishing it and sending it to you. There’s a lot of water, CO2, and other non-renewable resources used to do all of that. The brands below seek to decrease their footprint wherever possible, whether it’s making their pieces to order which cuts down on waste, using recycled fibers, or slow shipping to decrease carbon emissions.
The Best Brands and Boutiques for Sustainable Sundresses:
If you’re looking for a playful dress with bright prints and ruffles, AMUR is your go-to. They use all kinds of environmentally friendly fibers like silk, hemp, linen, and GOTS certified organic cotton, along with cellulose fibers like Cupro and Modal and Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified recycled fabrics.
Accompany curates dresses from brands that are explicitly fair trade and artisan-made, which means many of pieces are one-of-a-kind and come with a rich cultural crafting heritage. The sewers, printers, dyers and weavers have mostly learned their skills after being passed down over generations through their families or villages.
Reformation‘s design mission is to make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. Their pieces are made from sustainable materials like Tencel and Linen, deadstock fabric, and repurposed vintage pieces. They use the most eco-friendly manufacturing practices possible in order to reduce water, waste, and energy. When shopping for sundresses, you’ll find a wide variety of colors, prints, and shapes. Just steer clear of dresses made from new rayon/viscose. Reformation promotes it as plant-based, but we have some questions about it that haven’t been resolved by Reformation yet.
A sustainable fashion pioneer, People Tree has been partnering with Fair Trade producers, garment workers, artisans and farmers in the developing world to produce ethical and eco fashion collections for over 25 years. Their dresses are made mostly from certified organic cotton and sustainable Tencel—and you have a lot of them to choose from!
Thought’s pieces are made from breathable bamboo, hemp, Tencel, and organic cotton. They are careful to source their fabrics consciously, use only slow shipping for the lowest carbon footprint, and adhere to a strict ethical code of conduct for employment.
Christy Dawn’s dresses are made out of only deadstock fabric that’s leftover from major fashion houses and would otherwise end up in a landfill. Everything is ethically made in Los Angeles by a team of talented seamstresses who are paid a living wage and health benefits.
Hackwith Design House creates unique, timeless, and long-lasting clothing by hand right in their Minnesota studio. They use eco-friendly fabrics like Lyocell and cotton, any of the pieces are made to order to reduce waste. You can also buy from their Sustain Shop, which is their own secondhand boutique, and they have plus sizes.
Symbology partners with marginalized artisans in developing countries to create handcrafted pieces using traditional fabric techniques like block printing, tie-dye and embroidery. Most of their dresses are made from sustainable viscose, Modal, and cotton.
All the Wild Roses makes vintage-inspired dresses with a bohemian vibe out of natural materials like upcycled cotton. Their artisan workshop in Vietnam is a women-led small business that provides a fair living wage and a flexible family-friendly working environment.
Started by a stylist and a graphic designer, Apiece Apart was originally created around the idea of creating versatile block pieces that can be mixed and matched to create an entire wardrobe. They use mostly eco-friendly materials like cotton and linen.
By partnering with artisan studios that use traditional African motifs and techniques to create beautiful, modern designs, Lemlem carries sundresses, beach dresses, caftans, and tunics that are made mostly from natural cotton.
Mayamiko carries a lot of fun designs as well as bright solids, and everything is ethically made in Malawi by their team of tailors, pattern cutters, and seamstresses in a solar-powered facility. They use locally sourced materials like certified organic cotton and strive for zero waste production.
thredUP is the largest online secondhand shop out there, which means if you do a little digging, you will probably be able to find a sundress or two that you adore for super cheap. Plus, shopping secondhand is the most sustainable option out there!