03 Apr

Starting Simply: A Guide to Sustainable Basics

If you’re looking to make a difference with your wardrobe, why not start from the bottom up? Opting for sustainable basics is the perfect way to dip your toes into the world of ethically-made clothing.

An easy way to begin your journey as a conscious consumer is to choose your basics from brands that do right by people, planet and animals. The great news is you can do this without sacrificing your sense of style! Each brand below has been rated for its impact on the ethical and environmental issues you care about – check the Good On You app for more detail.

Underwear

Switching out your undies for their ethical counterparts is the easiest place to begin. You can start small by purchasing eco-friendly or fair-trade underwear whenever items in your current collection need replacing. Since underwear is something we’ll continually need to repurchase, opting for brands that produce sustainably makes a huge impact over time – and we promise they’re just as fun to dance in on those nights out (or in!).

Make It Good

Rated: Good

This brand is dedicated to creating high-quality, long-lasting basics. Make It Good uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. They also use water based inks which help to reduce wastewater. They make their super funky underwear in-house at their own micro-factory in Portland, Oregon.

Etiko

Rated: Great

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Etiko is a small family owned business that has won several sustainability awards and all products are vegan and Fairtrade certified. The Australian brand produces ethical hi-top and low-cut sneakers in a range of colours to suit any style or outfit.

Mighty Good Undies

Rated: Great

Quality, affordable, organic, fair trade underwear.

PACT

Rated: Great

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PACT is a brand that is passionate about being part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. All of their 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.

Thunderpants USA

Rated: Great

Thunderpants USA is a manufacturer of quirky, organic cotton underpants for the family.

Naja

Rated: Good

Naja is a new lingerie company that makes beautifully designed underwear and bras and helps employ women through its Underwear for Hope program.

Boody

Rated: Good

Made from organically grown bamboo, Boody is a clothing brand that supports the trend for all things green & ethical.

Bras

Support the planet and its people while, you know, supporting yourself! Whether you’re looking for simple designs or flirty fabrics, bras that suit your tastes and values definitely exist. So go on, lift your game with these gorgeous ethically sound choices!

Luva Huva

Rated: Good

Natural beauty has never been so sexy. Luva Huva (pronounced Lover Huva) offers comfortable lingerie in an elegant feminine style. They use environmentally friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, soy,  remnant material and vintage lace. Luva Huva’s pieces are handmade in the United Kingdom.

Clare Bare

Rated: Good

Handmade to order by a small team in Los Angeles, Clare Bare make beautiful lingerie that is not only sustainable but unique, modern and sexy. They use a variety of ecofriendly materials such as organic cotton and vintage fabric, which are hand-dyed using organic pigments.

Larkspur

Rated: Good

Larkspur is a line of sustainable lingerie handmade in Los Angeles. They use materials such as GOTS certified organic cotton and repurposed surplus designer fabric. The majority of Larkspur’s pieces are made to order, which reduces waste and overproduction. It also means you can request tailored options such as attaching smaller or larger cup sizes to a design.

NICO Underwear

Rated: Good

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NICO Underwear is committed to supply chain transparency, sustainable fibres and ethical production.

Madonna Bain

Rated: Good

Madonna Bain uses fabrics that are kinder to the planet such as 100% organic GOTS certified cotton and hemp-silk. The founder of the brand works closely with her tailors. Their lingerie, intimates and sleepwear are delicate, well-made, and designed to make women feel good in their own skin.

Socks & Stockings

Interested in combining comfort, style and ethics as you walk through life? Put your best foot forward with these excellent options.

Swedish Stockings

Rated: Great

Swedish Stockings creates the bets quality eco-friendly black and patterned stockings, knee highs, tights, socks and pantyhose.

Conscious Step

Rated: Great

Premium fair trade, organic, vegan socks which support great charities.

Kate Sylvester

Rated: Good

Kate Sylvester is an iconic New-Zealand designer of womenswear, handbags, shoes and accessories.

Trenery

Rated: Good

These beautiful socks are created without the use of hazardous dyes. That’s good news for your feet and for the hands of the people who made them. Trenery has strong policies that support workers’ rights and is making an effort to pay a living wage to some of its suppliers.

Pyjamas

We spend a huge amount of our time in bed – make the most of it with these cute and conscious sleepwear brands.

Noctu

Rated: Great

A collection of night and loungewear.  Minimalist styles made from luxuriously soft organic cotton, simplicity and function meet comfort.

Sorella Organics

Rated: Great

Sorella’s certified organic sleepwear range includes tops, pants, wraps, nighties, as well as maternity wear. The label’s founder Anna McGregor has a background in international human rights work. This is obvious with her use of Fairtrade certified cotton, and it ensures strict social standards are met in production and trading. Best of all, purchasing their clothing won’t make you cry over your bank balance.

T-shirts

There’s nothing quite as versatile as that chic but simple tee that you can pair with almost everything in your wardrobe.

Bon Label

Rated: Great

Born from brand owner Linda Smyth’s search for the perfect white tee, Bon Label’s products emulate that timeless French simplicity and elegance. They make their t-shirts from 100% organic cotton to perfectly match with your favourite denim on the weekend or a classic pin skirt in the office. Bon Label uses no animal products in their manufacturing and has a strong focus on ethical labour practice, everything we like to hear.

A New York Affair

Rated: Great

A New York Affair collaborates with local artists to bring you a great mix of NY-inspired graphic tees along with basic white v-neck and crew-neck tops. They screen-print each t-shirt by hand and make them from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. A New York Affair has also been certified by Fairtrade International.

Citizen Wolf

Rated: Great

Citizen Wolf is using revolutionary technology to give you high-quality custom fit t-shirts. They’re so confident in their t-shirts that they guarantee they’ll be the best you’ve ever worn! After capturing your customizations, they handmake each tee in Sydney from certified 100% organic cotton milled in Melbourne.

Dorsu

Rated: Great

Everyday basics & key signature favourites that form the core of any conscious wardrobe.

Editor's note: This article was originally published by Julia McAlpine on 12 January 2016 and was updated on 3 April 2017 by Kendall Benton-Collins.

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