22 Mar

14 Ethical and Sustainable Brands to Achieve the Ultimate Streetwear Look

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.

One of the recent fashion evolutions is the rise of streetwear. Although the subculture’s been around for decades, it’s recently resurfaced, pushed forward by the spread of street culture via Instagram. Influenced by hip-hop and skate, streetwear is often associated with logo-heavy sweatshirts, graphic tees, and grandpa sneakers. Edgier brands Supreme or Gosha Rubchinskiy are particularly popular, thanks to their carefully distributed products (the famous “drops”).

Streetwear cannot be defined by one single look. It’s a blend of a variety of styles, from informal leisurewear to the more tailored workwear and can often include thrifted pieces (yay, sustainability!). A prime example of the current Zeitgeist, the spirit of our times, streetwear is a reflection of a more profound cultural shift, where every trend is mixed and matched. Examples of this hybridisation of styles include Virgil Abloh’s collaboration with luxury house Louis Vuitton and his own brand, Off-White, or Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements.

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. But how can we rock the streetwear style sustainably and ethically?

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

ASP Padded Jacket – Ships internationally from Spain

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 @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf @ Labell-D.

Shop Ecoalf.

Afends

Rated: Good
woman wearing black hemp and cotton work pants by Afends

Hemp Suit Pants – Ships internationally

Afends is a Byron Bay based fashion brand leading the way in organic hemp fashion. We love this classic cut wide leg tailored suit pant featuring a relaxed high-rise silhouette, figure-flattering darts, and false welt pockets on the back for a sleek finish. You can find the full range in sizes XS-XL.

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Shop Afends.

Plant Faced Clothing

Rated: Good

Eat Plants Goth Flames – Ships internationally from the UK

Streetwear without the sweatshop! Plant Faced creates 100% plant-based, ethical, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free streetwear, aiming to make sustainability fashionable. Hello, big sweatshirts and baggy t-shirts!

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced.

Nudie Jeans

Rated: Good

Bengan Misfit Creature – Ships internationally

Nudie Jeans is a company you can believe in. Apart from its highly eco-friendly “dry denim” jeans, 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. The brand also offers a free repair service, resells second hand products as well as recycles worn out items! That’s the kind of drops we like!

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Shop Nudie Jeans.

Shop Nudie Jeans @ Farfetch.

Shop Nudie Jeans Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Skinny Boyfriend Jeans – Ships internationally from the UK

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.

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Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney @ Labell-D.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Veja

Rated: Good
white ethical sneakers by veja

Ventura Running Sneakers – Ships internationally from France

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.

Shop Veja @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Veja @ thegreenlabels.

Shop Veja @ Outerknown.

Shop Veja @ Threads 4 Thought.

Shop Veja @ Labell-D.

Womsh

Rated: Good
white sneakers by womsh

Vegan Wave Black White – Ships internationally

Fashion and sustainability can go together and Womsh is the footwear brand that proves it. Its shoes are entirely designed and manufactured in Italy. Find most styles in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop Womsh.

Shop Womsh @ COMOVITA.

Shop Womsh @ Curate.

RÆBURN

Rated: Good

Parasuit Blazer – Ships internationally from the UK

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 RÆBURN @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop RÆBURN @ Farfetch.

Adidas

Rated: Good

Pre-Match Jersey – Ships internationally from Germany

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 @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Adidas @ Labell-D.

Shop Adidas Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Adidas.

Katharine Hamnett

Rated: Good

Vince Printed Organic Cotton Sweatshirt – Ships internationally from the UK

Made in Italy, Katharine Hamnett is committed to ethically and sustainably sourced materials and production. The brand’s utilitarian and unisex yet chic pieces, like this silk dress, are made using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester.

See the rating.

Shop Katharine Hamnett Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Katharine Hamnett.

Outerknown

Rated: Good

Townes Corduroy Shirt – Ships internationally from the US

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a sustainable brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association. Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Outerknown.

Shop Outerknown @ Curate.

Bethany Williams

Rated: Good

Oversized Coat – Ships internationally from the UK

Bethany Williams offers an alternative system for fashion production, aiming to find innovative design solutions to sustainability. Her SS19 collection “No Address Needed to Join”, like previous seasons, was designed from recycled and organic materials. This year, the designer worked in collaboration with The Quaker Mobile Library and British publishing house Hachette UK, celebrating waste produced by the publishing industry.

See the rating.

Shop Bethany Williams @ Farfetch.

Balenciaga (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-owned streetwear by Balenciaga – Ships internationally

Balenciaga is a luxury fashion house founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastián. The Kering-owned brand has been making some efforts to reduce its environmental impact, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use.

See the rating.

Shop Balenciaga Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Napapijri (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-owned Napapijri – Ships internationally

Napapijri was born in 1987 in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, where an Italian manufacturer of travel bags gave outdoor apparel a new meaning by combining innovative materials and close attention to style. The brand has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and uses a few eco-friendly materials.

See the rating.

Shop Napapijri Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

The North Face (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-owned The North Face jackets – Ships internationally

For more than 50 years, The North Face has made activewear and outdoor sports gear that exceeds expectations. The brand has good policies to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its supply chain and uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled materials.

See the rating.

Shop The North Face Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Some final words of advice

Remember, streetwear is a culture which finds inspiration within a diverse mix of styles, so don’t hesitate to mix newer pieces with second-hand finds and vintage treasures.

 

 

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. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. We love to recommend some of the best sustainable brands, rated ‘Good’ or ‘Great’. We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales with top-rated partners made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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