The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

The Stain Problem Solved: Ably Apparel’s Eco-Friendly Travel Clothing

This post is generously sponsored by Ably Apparel. As always, EcoCult only partners with companies we believe are doing good things. Support EcoCult editorial by supporting them! 

When I was trying to decide what to pack into my suitcase for a year of travel, the white t-shirt presented a conundrum.

I love white t-shirts. As a basic that goes with every jeans, skirts, sweatpants, and hiking shorts, they’re pretty much necessary to a capsule wardrobe.

The problem is that they easily stain.

I’m not the kindest to my white t-shirts. I’m a sloppy eater, and I sweat a lot. As I went through my drawer of t-shirts, many of them had yellow underarm and neckline stains, if there wasn’t a stain already on the front.

So, I was trying to figure out if I should pack two or three clean organic shirts (not great for space), or pack one shirt and be OK with purchasing a conventional replacement every month (not great for my karma, style, and time management – who wants to run around the city shopping for a white t-shirt?).

Fortunately, Ably Apparel solves that problem.  

Ably Apparel is a collection of 100% cotton men’s and women’s t-shirts, button downs, hoodies, socks, shorts, tanks, and dresses, 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.

It works by repelling liquids and letting them roll right off the fabric. If you drop sauce on your shirt, just put the shirt under running tap water, and it will come right off.

Plus, because body odor on clothing is caused by bacteria that grows when sweat soaks into fabric, Filium® also prevents odor in your clothing, leaving your clothes smelling fresh even after a hard workout. And a Filium®-activated shirt dries up to 40% faster than regular clothing.

Don’t worry – Filium® doesn’t involve any nanoparticles or chemicals that can break down and leach into your skin or the environment. The core technology is produced according to bluesign® standards for sustainable materials and production.

Ably Apparel sent me a white t-shirt and sweatpants to try out, and they sent my husband two white and grey t-shirts. We’ve been traveling for four months now, through some hot and sweaty areas of Central and South America. So, how does the clothing perform?

Women’s (My) Review

I packed four streetwear tops, one white silk long-sleeved top, and two tank tops, one in white. I probably wear my Ably t-shirt twice a week, and we do laundry every two weeks. After four months, my white tank top has permanent stains. My white long-sleeved top I use for hiking is disgusting to the point where I will need to throw it away soon – it’s now off-white with stains on it. But my white Ably t-shirt is shockingly stain-free all over. It’s still pure white! I just checked it again, because a couple weeks ago, I was like, ah, there’s finally a stain. But it seems to have disappeared completely in the last wash.

I wear my Ably sweatpants when traveling on a plane, when hiking, and pretty much all the time when we were in Cusco. They’re black, so obviously aren’t stained. But also, I can wear them hiking without them getting smelly. And that is wonderful.

Men’s Review

Illich packed four everyday t-shirts. He typically wears his two white and grey Ably t-shirts the most, four days out of seven. After four months, Illich has no underarm sweat stains, and a slight stain on the inside of the collar of the white t-shirt that you can’t see unless you look inside the collar. On his white t-shirt, he has two brown pinprick stains on the front that you can only see if you look really closely in daylight.

He says that they do repel odor, from what he can tell. He hasn’t worn them to work out, but he can go two weeks without washing them, and they don’t smell.

A month ago, we were coming home from dinner, and he saw something on his shirt and tried to brush it off. It was sauce from dinner. He took of the shirt, ran it under the water, and the sauce disappeared.

I asked him if he’s satisfied with his Ably Apparel t-shirts, and he said, “Yup, I like them. I would recommend it and get other Ably t-shirts.”

How Ably Has Made Traveling Easier and More Eco-Friendly

It’s been a real relief to travel with Ably clothing. We have to do laundry much less than we would otherwise, which reduces our carbon footprint and our stress levels. I don’t need to seek out stain-lifting products – I can just dump our laundry in with whatever laundry soap our Airbnb host provides, and any stains will disappear. When I’ve hung laundry out to dry, the Ably t-shirt and sweatpants are always the first to dry, which is so convenient! And finally, I haven’t needed to find a replacement t-shirt for the one I stained. Shopping in a foreign city for something so specific takes time and energy that I don’t want to waste.

The shirts themselves are not from organic cotton. But it’s way more sustainable to buy a conventional cotton t-shirt once, then organic cotton t-shirts more than once, in terms of resources used and waste produced.

For the next leg of our trip in Europe, I think I’m going to replace my stained tank top and long-sleeved white shirt with their Ably equivalents. And because these clothes allow us to pack fewer items, it has helped Illich fit everything into one carry-on suitcase, which has made things a lot easier!

So if you’re traveling, I wholeheartedly recommend choosing Ably Apparel items for all your basics. It will lower your environmental footprint and allow you to travel easily and lightly.


  • Alden Wicker

    Ruth Alden Wicker is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of EcoCult, and author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick – and How We Can Fight Back. She also writes for publications including Vogue, The New York Times, Wired, The Cut, Vox, and many more.

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