20 Mar

The Ultimate Guide to Ethical Yoga Clothes

Wear your heart on your sleeve with these ethically-conscious yoga clothing brands.

If yoga is, above all, a practice of mindfulness, of ahimsa (non-violence), and compassion, then are we really staying true to this with what we wear on (and off) the mat? As the popularity of yoga continues to soar exponentially, so too does the market for activewear and athleisure brands targeting yogis both new and veteran.

In light of the worldwide pandemic that sees COVID-19 breathing down all our necks, a lot of us are self-isolating. While it is a stressful time for many, it is also allowing us—even forcing us—to pause, take a collective deep breath, and rethink our values. If you’ve either always been meaning to take up yoga, or have let your practice fall by the wayside in your busy day-to-day life, why not use this opportunity to fall (back) in love with an at-home yoga practice? And if you can, support small or ethical businesses along the way. Talk about good karma!

We know that with higher demand and production for products often comes lower awareness and care around quality. And not just the quality of the stitching or fabric. What about the quality of the message? The care for workers all along the supply chain? The awareness of the environmental impact of producing and distributing these goods? Now more than ever, we need to make sure the brands we invest our hard-earned money into are in turn investing in the protection of people, the planet, and animals.

Of course, the recipe for a great yoga outfit requires a number of key ingredients. We’re talking comfort, durability, breathability (that sweat ain’t gonna wick itself!), coverage, fit, and cuteness (okay, maybe that last one’s not quite essential).

So, with all that said, here are the brands serving up some of the best pieces on the market—with values and practices to match! Please note that these brands primarily offer womenswear, and their designs, fit, and sizing reflect this. But yoga is for everyone, so we’ve also got you covered if you’re after ethical activewear for men!

Dharma Bums

Rated: Good

An all-Australian brand with a cheeky (get it?) name, Dharma Bums is known for making pieces that fit, stretch, and free-form like no other. As for the styles, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re more into neutral tones, or love a loud print, you’ll find it. The fun is often in the detailing, with strappy barre/ballet-style leggings, sports bras, open-back tanks, and more.

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Shop Dharma Bums.

Girlfriend Collective @ Whimsy+Row

Rated: Good

For the minimalist, Seattle-based Girlfriend Collective is your go-to. If you aren’t the biggest fan of loud prints and flashy colours, the sleek, simple shades and silhouettes will surely please. Better still, all of the pieces are produced using certified fair labour AND recycled plastic bottles—who would’ve thought it!!!

Another highlight is the brand’s clear focus on inclusivity and body positivity, with models who represent all shapes, sizes, and skin tones! Yoga is for people of all bodies, ages, colours, and cultures—just as it should be.

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Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Threads 4 Thought

Rated: Good

Threads 4 Thought uses a range of sustainable materials including Lenzing Modal harvested from the limbs of beech trees. This process means that the trees are never cut down and 95% of the production materials to make the yarn are recovered and reused. The brand’s manufacturers are a combination of Fair Trade USA certified and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified.

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Shop Threads 4 Thought.

Purusha People

Rated: Good

Bonus points go to Purusha People for the brand name, which is a nod to the origins of yoga. ‘Purusha’ is a concept that traces back to the Vedic texts in Ancient India, and is a Sanskrit term which loosely translates to ‘spirit’ or ‘self’.

The brand offers some gorgeous, dainty details on beautifully understated, earthy tones. The organic plant-based pieces mean you can breathe (and buy) easy, wicking away sweat and keeping your practice that perfect amount of ‘chill’.

In fact, some of the fabrics are made from the wood of eucalyptus trees; an earth-friendly plant-based fibre alternative to harmful polyester and nylon, when done right.

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Shop Purusha People.

Boody

Rated: Good

Made from organically grown bamboo, Boody is a clothing brand that supports the trend for all things green and ethical. Boody Active offers the premium quality and innovative style you want, paired with the durability you need.

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Shop Boody.

Miakoda

Rated: Great

If you’re all about that organic plant-based lifestyle, then you’ll most certainly vibe with Miakoda and its organic, ultra-cosy active and loungewear. Supportive of different shapes and sizes, these ethical and sustainable pieces include stripped-back colours and designs that are all about comfort. Everything is manufactured in an ethical factory in NYC, and all packing materials are eco-friendly. Neat!

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Shop Miakoda.

PACT

Rated: Great

PACT is a brand that is passionate about being part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. All of its clothing is sweatshop-free and child-labor-free, and its activewear range is almost entirely made from certified organic cotton, with more than 50% also certified as Fair Trade.

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Shop PACT.

WE-AR

Rated: Good

WE-AR clothing is designed for existential living, specialising in men’s and women’s yoga and casual wear. It uses a range of eco-friendly materials, including 100% certified organic cotton in its yoga clothing range—made by Yogis, for Yogis.

See the rating.

Shop We’ar.

Organic Basics

Rated: Great

Organic Basics offers high quality sustainable fashion basics for men and women in organic materials. The Denmark-based brand puts sustainable thinking at the centre of everything—it only chooses fabrics that care for our environment, and only ever partners with factories that care about their impact. The gorgeous activewear range is not one to miss, made from recycled materials!

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Shop Organic Basics.

Nube

Rated: Good

Nube turns recycled plastic into responsible and fashionable activewear, designed and made in the US. The brand partners with artists and designers around the world to create prints motivated by the environmental crisis that inspire connection and action. This fully woman-owned business uses a closed-loop manufacturing process by recycling all off-cuts created during the manufacturing process.

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Shop Nube.

Whether you’re a #yogaeverydamnday ambassador or simply looking to bring more mindfulness into your life, the principle is the same.

Whenever I talk about balance with my students, I invite them to open their minds and really take a big-picture look at their lifestyles and beliefs. It’s easier said than done to confront our own habits and contradictions. Alignment is not only a key factor in a pose—it’s a key element in finding true harmony between what we say and what we do. If we hold certain values in our hearts, do we reflect these on our shirts? Better still, do we demonstrate these same values outside of our 60-minute classes?

Whatever your sadhana, or practice, looking at what you’re sporting on your body is a great start. As for what’s going on inside our bodies—well, that’s what yoga and meditation are for, right?

 

Read the Ultimate Guide to Ethical Activewear.

Editor's note

Feature image via Girlfriend Collective, 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 2,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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