10 Aug

17 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 more and more brands are incorporating is the circular economy. “Circular fashion is a system where our clothing and personal belongings are produced through a more considered model: where the production of an item and the end of its life are equally as important.” 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 ‘closing the loop’. 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 apparel consumption 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 end up thrown into landfills, primarily located in developing countries. All those materials can take hundreds of years to break down, and whilst decomposing, release the toxic gas methane into the atmosphere.

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

Circularity and our brand ratings

Good On You rates brands across the three key pillars of People, Planet, and Animals. When it comes to environmental impact (Planet), brands are awarded points for taking concrete action and incorporating “efforts and commitments to circular economy principles.” That means significant weight is placed on things like avoiding waste and minimising resource use, including through circular practices. 

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 17 circular fashion brands that are leading the way.

A.BCH

Rated: Great
A woman with black hair and grey t-shirt looks at camera

A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. It utilises renewable, organic, and recycled materials. Its whole ethos is led by circularity, and it is driven by a mission “to transform the way people buy, wear, and discard clothing.” The brand focuses on eliminating material and energy waste through pre-user, user, and post-user phases whilst creating beautiful, design-led clothing for its customers to love and enjoy. And when the garments reach the end of their life, send them back to A.BCH for effective recycling. Find the range in sizes XS-XL, or customise to fit you!

See the rating.

Shop A.BCH.

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.

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. MUD Jeans are available in a range of sizes, usually from W25 L30-W33 L32 for women and W28 L34-W36 L34 for men.

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Shop MUD Jeans.

Shop MUD Jeans @ Labell-D.

BEEN London

Rated: Great

BEEN London creates minimal 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.

See the rating. 

Shop BEEN London.

Etiko

Rated: Great
person wearing blue and white ethical sneakers by Etiko

Etiko is an Australian designer of organic, eco-friendly, and fair trade clothing and shoes. The brand constantly sets the bar for upholding and campaigning the human rights of people working in traditionally exploitative industry supply chains. In a great step towards circularity, Etiko now offers a Take Back program for its footwear. Simply send off your sneakers or flip flops to them in the mail to be upcycled into furniture, and get $10/$5 off your next purchase! Find the clothes in AU sizes 8-20, and the shoes in UK sizes 3-13.

See the rating.

Shop Etiko.

OhSevenDays

Rated: Good

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. OhSevenDays’ garments are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop OhSevenDays.

Shop OhSevenDays @ SlowCo.

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! Find Funky Kalakar’s range of shoes in EU sizes 36-41.

See the rating.

Shop Funky Kalakar.

Näz

Rated: Good
sustainable navy jumpsuit by Naz

Naz is a Portuguese fashion brand that aims to make fashion look good, not only on you, but on the planet too. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including recycled cotton, wool and polyester, as well as deadstock fabrics, and traces most of its supply chain.

See the rating.

Shop Naz.

Loop Swim

Rated: Good
two girls playing in water wearing colourful sustainable swimwear by Loop Swim

Loop Swim is a Chinese brand that transforms post-consumer use plastic bottles into phenomenal REPREVE UP50+ sun protective swimwear for men, women, and kids. Find most items in sizes XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop Loop Swim.

Deadwood

Rated: Good

Celebrating ageless rebellion and free-spiritedness, Stockholm-based Deadwood creates recycled leather clothes, aiming to reinvent how we think about fashion. It recycles cut-offs created during the manufacturing process and traces suppliers in all of its supply chain. Find the garments in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Deadwood @ Labell-D.

Shop Deadwood.

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.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Malaika New York

Rated: Good

Malaika New York is a minimalistic sustainable clothing brand with a focus on zero waste clothing and accessories. The US-based brand aims to eliminate fashion’s harmful environmental effects by utilizing minimal or zero waste patterns, while maximizing wearability by producing luxe-quality, contemporary garments that make a statement now and into the future. Find most garments in S-XL with some items going up to 2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Mailaika New York.

Knickey

Rated: Great
knickey sustainable underwear set

Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, Knickey’s organic cotton underwear sets are some of the best in the sustainable market. Taking it a step further, the brand has also partnered with an NYC non-profit to recycle old undergarments, turning the fibres into insulation and rug pads. Sending in your old undies will not only help cut down on the amount of fibres that wind up in the landfill, but it’ll give you the freedom to buy new, eco-conscious sets. Find most items in sizes 2XS to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Knickey.

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.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf @ Labell-D.

Shop Ecoalf.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Offers

Person wearing dark blue sustainable oversized denim jacket by Whimsy + Row.

Whimsy + Row – Outerwear

Easy, flirty, and elegant jackets and coats ethically made for every modern and creative woman. Green Friday Sale! Up to 75% off selected jackets. (Ends: 29 NOV)

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Person wearing blood orange flared pants and bandana top by Whimsy + Row.

Whimsy + Row – Bottoms

From jeans to flowy loungewear-inspired trousers, skirts of all lengths to bike shorts: what more could you ask for? Green Friday Sale! Up to 75% off selected bottoms. (Ends: 29 NOV)

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Person wearing grey knitted dress ethically made by Whimsy + Row.

Whimsy + Row – Dresses

Hello, effortless chic! Made out of the best eco-friendly fabrics, these dresses will become your go-to. Green Friday Sale! Up to 75% off selected dresses. (Ends: 29 NOV)

Shop now
Person wearing brown and white printed sustainable blouse by Whimsy + Row.

Whimsy + Row – Tops

Like finding a vintage gem, Whimsy + Row tops use deadstock fabric to create unique looks you will treasure. Green Friday Sale! Up to 75% off selected tops. (Ends: 29 NOV)

Shop now

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! Find most products in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.

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!

See the rating.

Shop ARIELLE.

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!

See the rating.

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 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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