08 Nov

Ethical Fashion with Flair: Streetwear

Fashion isn’t just about keeping warm—it’s a matter of self-expression. That’s one of the key reasons it’s hard for many people to commit to ethical purchases, as they aren’t sure they’ll find what they’re looking for. It’s easy to “trade sideways” into an ethical pair of white trainers, or black trousers, or a grey t-shirt, given that basics are well covered by ethical brands. But we want to throw a spotlight onto brands that cater for wilder tastes. When you start buying ethically, it’s just as possible to dress with flair and express yourself.

This month we’re looking at streetwear. There’s no doubt that the less-ethically minded streetwear brands know how to produce inspiring and bold design, and do well at supplying a market hungry for style that feels creative and energetic. Ethical activewear is easy to find, but broadly it tends to be a little more neutral or organic. So, what if you’re looking for that edgier aesthetic? Something a bit more punchy and intense?

Plenty of streetwear is muted, but we’re on the hunt for those contrasting bright colours, bold logos, sports-inspired graphics and striking urban lines, the oversize coats, weird cuts, and deliberate clashes.

The honest truth with some of the bigger brands is that their product range is huge, and not every garment is made with the same degree of attention. For example, across a website some items will use recycled fabrics, some organic cotton, some a percentage. So it does take a bit of research. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you and put together this list of ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ streetwear brands so you can rock your style while doing good for people, the planet, and animals. Here are some of our favourite companies that have style and attitude without compromising on ethics.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good

Felder Silver Coat – Ships internationally

Ecoalf speaks directly to the challenge of finding ethical clothes you’d want to buy on the high street, with a mission to make recycled clothes “with the same quality and design as the best non-recycled”. Its urban relaxed style is accessible and contemporary, and in the mix it has a number of statement styles, like this intense silver quilted coat. It’s made of 100% recycled nylon.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf.

Shop Ecoalf @Farfetch.

Nudie Jeans

Rated: Good

Mark Baseball Offwhite/Navy – Ships internationally

Nudie Jeans is a company you can believe in. Apart from its highly eco-friendly “dry denim” jeans (and promise of free repairs for life), it also sells tops, jackets and more which also come from a sustainable starting point. This fun and bold jacket with a weather icon graphic is made from organic cotton and lyocell.

See the rating.

Shop Nudie Jeans.

G-Star Raw

Rated: Good

Scola Sweat Dress – Ships internationally

Well-known brands can be a minefield when it comes to ethics, but G-Star Raw is rated as ‘Good’, and right now it’s featuring a sustainable collection which includes this striking chunky hooded sweat dress, made of recycled polyester.

See the rating.

Shop G-Star Raw.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Knit Monogram Trousers – Ships internationally

Apart from all the famous collaborations, Stella McCartney is big on sustainability and ethical production. The range crosses from more glam to more street- and sport-inspired styles. These tapered jeans have a striking colour panel blazing down the leg.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Veja

Rated: Good

V10 Unicorn Sneakers – Ships internationally

Veja, who has brought ethical trainers into the mainstream, is putting out more styles with bold colours and street-style looks, alongside its better-known and safer classic white styles. The shoe selection now encompasses a range of more lightweight, more rugged and more sporty styles, including these flashy silver beauties and a fluro vegan option.

See the rating.

Shop Veja @ Farfetch.

Vegan SDU B-Mesh Ultraviolet Orange – Ships internationally

RÆBURN

Rated: Good

Remade Safety Parka Coat – Ships internationally

If you’re looking for a true statement piece, Raeburn combines high concept and wearable style, with a focus on surplus fabrics and recycling. Check out this wild parka made from old German safety jackets–though the brand also sells more everyday clothes too!

See the rating.

Shop Raeburn @ Farfetch.

Reebok

Rated: Good

Classic Shorts – Ships internationally

Reebok is a big brand with decent ethical credentials. If you’re looking for hoodies, leggings, track pants or t-shirts, you’ll find a variety of organic cotton or recycled options. The brand does a good line in bright colours and bold designs, and plenty of retro-inspired graphics. These classics shorts are 100% recycled and feature an allover monogram print with a repeated logo.

See the rating.

Shop Reebok.

Adidas

Rated: Good

Arsenal Pre-Match Jersey – Ships internationally

Adidas (who by the way owns Reebok) is making noise at the moment with its push towards recycled materials. The brand’s website has a good selection of recycled polyester sports and streetwear, and its Parley partnership has produced some intense trainers. Wildest of all is the current soccer season’s range of “pre-match” jerseys, worn in different colourways by the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Manchester United.

See the rating.

Shop Adidas.

Keep your eye out for the other articles in this series that look at Colour, Patterns & Prints, and Wild & Wonderful options!

About the author: Pete Gomori is a creative director, writer and Londoner who helps ethical fashion companies with their branding. Find him at www.studiogomori.com.

Editor's note: feature image via Ecoalf, all other images via brands mentioned. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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