Top 9 Sustainable Fashion Brands Leading the Circular Economy
10 Aug

Top 10 Sustainable Fashion Brands Leading the Circular Economy

The fashion industry is in dire need of an overhaul to negate the ever increasing environmental impacts it has on people, the planet, and animals. One of the major game changers in the sustainable fashion world lately that is being incorporated by more and more brands is the circular economy. This innovative system demonstrates how industries can continue to grow while having a limited impact on the environment through rethinking business practices and shifting the focus to two top ideas: recycling resources and eliminating waste. Discover the top circular fashion brands below, but first, let’s learn why they deserve our support.

Why circular fashion brands?

Recent studies have found that the fashion industry is responsible for about 8% of global CO2 emissions, along with other startling facts that will inspire you to steer clear of fast fashion once and for all. Most notably when it comes to the circularity of fashion, global consumption of apparel is expected to almost double from 62 million to 102 million tonnes by 2030, yet clothing use has dropped by 40%! Textile waste now stands at over 92 million tonnes per year which ends up thrown into landfills, mostly located in developing countries. All those materials can take hundreds of years to breakdown, and whilst decomposing, release the toxic gas methane into the atmosphere.

To limit the environmental impacts of fast fashion, studies suggest the need to transform the industry, including important measures such as pollution control, enhanced recycling practices, and innovation around the reuse of existing materials. That’s where circular fashion comes in.

Be part of the circular movement

So, what can you do to support the circular economy in fashion? Consider buying from circular fashion brands that are innovating their business practices in numerous ways, from producing long-lasting pieces made from recycled materials, to providing services that extend the life cycle of your clothing such as renting, repairing, and donating.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve made it easy for you and have listed the top 10 circular fashion brands that are leading the way.

OhSevenDays

Rated: Good

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woman wearing sustainable white top and skirt from ethical brand OhSevenDays

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OhSevenDays offers feminine, minimalist pieces for capsule wardrobes including satin dresses, tailored suits, and chic blouses. Founded in the streets of Istanbul, this slow fashion label uses leftover fabric from fast fashion manufacturers to produce its pieces. It uses eco-friendly materials including cotton, linen, viscose, and tencel runoffs. By using a limited production run and recyclable materials, the label limits the amount of chemicals, water, and waste used in production.

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Shop OhSevenDays.

Funky Kalakar

Rated: Good
Ethical shoes by sustainable vegan fashion brand Funky Kalakar

Looking for a new bag or pair of shoes? Look no further. Funky Kalakar produces hand-crafted pieces using natural and recycled materials, and is working hard to achieve a circular supply chain. Through its Go Zero initiative, you can send the brand your old shoes and bags which are then recycled and upcycled to create new pieces.

The best part? When you donate your items you receive a 15% discount on your next online purchase!

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Shop Funky Kalakar.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
A man wears navy jeans and a blue top

Need a new pair of jeans? MUD Jeans is your one stop shop. This leading denim brand founded in the Netherlands incorporates a circular business model to produce its popular items. It creates high quality, long lasting pieces designed from eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified organic and recycled cotton. Its ethos encourages customers to wear MUD jeans for as long as possible, and it even provides free repair services within the first year to free shipping areas.

Customers can buy or rent jeans, and when they need a new pair, return them to MUD to be recycled into new denim and receive a discount on their next pair. Customers can also recycle other brands of jeans as long as they are made from at least 96% cotton.

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Shop MUD Jeans.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Stella McCartney is turning the dream of a circular fashion industry into reality. It is part of the Make Fashion Circular initiative and is Cradle to Cradle certified (a system of scoring brands for their commitment to the circular economy). The luxury brand is creating innovative ways to reuse materials, including recycled nylon and polyester, and regenerated cashmere. It also supports restorative farming practices to ensure the regeneration of natural sources that are used to make the clothes and accessories. This includes sourcing viscose from sustainably managed forests in Sweden, and the use of GOTS certified organic cotton.

The label partners with the RealReal, a US-based online pre-owned luxury item store, and has co-launched Clevercare,  an initiative aimed to educate consumers on how to take care of their garments so they last longer.

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Shop Stella McCartney @ Farfetch.

BEEN London

Rated: Great

BEEN London creates simplistic and elegant bags designed out of waste materials including recycled leather and polyester. These bags are made in London out of sustainable materials, to last you throughout the years and seasons. The leather industry creates a huge amount of waste, and approximately 40% of every hide is discarded at tanneries. The brand uses these off-cut leather pieces that would otherwise end up in landfill from the pre-chemical treatment stage, and uses fabric made out of recycled bottles to line its bags. With the origins of its materials mapped out, BEEN London is making great strides in the circularity of fashion.

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Shop BEEN London.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good
A man with a tan-coloured hooded coat looks at the camera.

This Spanish outdoor and streetwear label turns ocean trash into raw material treasures. Through its Upcycling the Oceans project launched in 2015, the brand works with professional fishermen to collect waste from the ocean floors that is then turned into high quality threads. Starting from just three fishermen to now over 3,000, Ecoalf’s efforts now retrieve 4,000 tonnes of waste per year. In total the brand has recycled over 200 million plastic bottles to produce the garments!

The label repurposes waste such as fishing nets, old tires, and even coffee grounds, into high-quality materials. Not only does it produce great clothes, but it undertakes research and education to push sustainable practices and innovations in recycling materials in the fashion industry.

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Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

This LA based company creates elegant and modern pieces using locally sourced leftover materials from other brands to create its handcrafted garments. It purchases low impact fabrics including tencel, rayon, and linen, and uses no water when creating its pieces! As a bonus, its packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable boxes that are pretty enough to reuse!

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Shop Whimsy + Row.

ARIELLE

Rated: Good

ARIELLE is a NYC-based brand that offers classic tailored styles for women with flattering fits. The label uses a high proportion of eco-friendly and recycled fabrics to create its pieces. It has recently launched a new platform, ARIELLE reborn, providing customers the ability to resell their ARIELLE products in exchange for cash or store credits. Customers are also able to shop circular, where they can buy pre-loved ARIELLE items through the same platform!

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Shop ARIELLE.

The R Collective

Rated: Great
women wearing blue the r collective trenches

The R Collective reuses excess luxury fabrics and materials to create its collections. Every year, 92 millions tons of textile waste is generated, therefore the reuse of excess fabrics helps reduce waste and helps it remain in circular fashion design and creation strategies.

The R Collective has taken it one step further with the launch of ‘Refashioned’, an on-demand service allowing customers to choose from a 20 piece collection and tailoring it to their size and preferred fabric. This model fully embodies slow and circular fashion where instead of producing mass amounts of clothing items that may not sell, the label is able to make the exact needed products to order, thus eliminating the potential waste!

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Shop The R Collective.

337 BRAND

Rated: Good
woman wearing sustainable 337 brand outfit

337 BRAND’s leisurewear is designed to make you feel at ease, always. Inspired by nature, comfort and kindness, the brand introduces effortless-style clothing made from earth-friendly materials. It is looking towards circular fashion with its #JOINGREENMOVES campaign, and we admire its commitment to constantly improving practices!

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Shop 337 BRAND @ ourCommonPlace.

Shop 337 BRAND.

Editor's note

Feature image via Stella McCartney, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 2,500 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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