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06 Aug

Our Top Picks for More Sustainable Back to School Outfits

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Whether you’re a parent planning your kid’s outfit or a teen wanting to impress on your first day, we’ve got you covered with our more sustainable outfits for going back to school.

Back to school

Okay, I hate to break it to you northern hemisphere friends, but school starts back up soon, or it might have recently started back up where you are. When I was younger, I actually loved this time of year—preparing my bag, my pencils, my books, making sure everything had my name on it, thinking about seeing my friends again and telling them all about my holidays, and most importantly, planning my outfit for my first day back at school. I would try on different outfits and lay them all out on my bed neatly. Ah, the good old days.

So, whether you’re a parent planning your kiddo’s outfit or a teen wanting to impress on your first day of high school, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover our favourite more sustainable outfits for going back to school.

Preschool outfit

Preschool is such a fun time for children, learning ABCs, 123s, colours, animals, playing with their friends. Which is why it’s important that they wear some comfy and cool, that will allow them to run around freely and enjoy their first experience with school.

A selection of more sustainable brands kids clothes for going back to preschool outfits.
In a cool casual style, these kids pants are simple and stretchy featuring a comfy loose fit and elastic cuff to match its super-soft, Italian organic fleece.

Little Emperor

Rated: Good
children wearing whale printed t-shirts by little emperor

Whale Dreaming Organic Cotton T-Shirt – Ships internationally from Australia

Little Emperor creates unique, functional, and hard-wearing clothing for children. Its affordable clothing is made from environmentally friendly organic cotton, with every garment designed in Sydney, Australia and made in a Sedex-approved factory ensuring living wages and safe working conditions for workers. From the materials and packaging, right down to the energy supplier and banking, Little Emperor is dedicated to environmentally friendly practice. Named in honour of the adorable Emperor Penguin, Little Emperor is a member of 1% for the Planet, meaning 1% of sales are donated to environmental non-profits, helping protect the penguins’ home.

See the rating.

Shop Little Emperor.

Sense Organics

Rated: Good
Children's twill pants in three colours made responsibly by Sense Organics.

Children’s Twill Pants – Ships internationally from Germany

Sense Organics is an established German brand that has been dressing kids in its colourful organic cotton range for 18 years. We give it a "Good" rating for its commitment to lower-impact materials and its treatment of garment workers, including ensuring suppliers pay a living wage.

Find clothes for kids aged 0-10.

See the rating.

Shop Sense Organics.

Orbasics

Rated: Great
child in green sweater and pants by Orbasics

Oh-So-Easy Pants – Ships internationally from Germany

Orbasics is a stylish and simple German clothing brand that turns the softest organic cotton into gorgeous clothes that last. Born from a desire to seek out high-quality, gender neutral organic clothes for her daughter, founder Lilija took matters into her own hands. Orbasics thoughtfully chooses more ethical and responsible options from harvest to production, using 100% GOTS certified cotton and certified local production partners.

Find the adult range in sizes 2XS-2XL and kids range in 92-152.

See the rating.

Shop Orbasics.

Mini Rodini

Rated: Good
A children's spring panda patch jacket made more sustainably by Mini Rodini.

Children’s Spring Jacket With Panda Patch – Ships internationally from Sweden

Mini Rodini offers more sustainable baby and kids clothes, accessories, and more. It is certified by OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 and is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

Find the adorable range for 0-11 years.

See the rating.

Shop Mini Rodini @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Mini Rodini Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Mini Rodini Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Mini Rodini.

Dimples

Rated: Good
Brown velcro top first walker toddler shoes by Dimples.

Pretty Brave Boston 1st Walker – Ships internationally from New Zealand

Dimples is a New Zealand based brand that offers a large range of specialist baby and mother care products. The brand uses the highest-quality soft, warm New Zealand merino and pure organic cotton to make a wide range of baby clothing, blankets, and accessories.

See the rating.

Shop Dimples Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Dimples.

Coq en Pâte

Rated: Good

Lion Backpack – Ships internationally from France

Children's accessories and fashion brand which places ethics in the heart of all creative processes. It uses a high proportion of lower-impact materials including GOTS certified cotton, and most of its supply chain is either independently audited or visited by the brand.

See the rating.

Shop Coq en Pâte.

Conscious Step

Rated: Good

SpongeBob Socks – Ships internationally from the US

Conscious Step creates premium fair trade, organic vegan socks and clothes which support great charities. The US brand is committed to lasting social and environmental change and every step it takes in its production process supports farms and factories with fair wages, safe facilities, and lower-impact materials.

The socks come in S-L sizes, and the clothes in 2XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Conscious Step.

Elementary school outfit

This is when things start getting serious. Maths, history, science, grammar—kiddos are learning so many new things, it’s an exciting time. It’s still important that kids feel comfortable in their clothes while experiencing different styles and discovering their own personalities.

A selection of more sustainable brands kids clothes for going back to elementary school outfits.

Nui Organics

Rated: Good

Easy Tiger Pistachio Tee – Ships internationally from the US

Offers

Kids playing on a bed wearing pyjamas by Nui Organics.

Nui Organics – Kidswear Merino Silk Summer Pyjamas

Nui Organics offers natural and more sustainably made merino wool and organic cotton clothing. Exclusive 15% off kidswear merino silk summer pyjamas with code NuiSilk15. (Ends: 14 MAY)

Shop now
Someone wearing green merino silk tank by Nui Organics.

Nui Organics – Womenswear Merino Silk Rib Tanks

Shop more sustainably made 100% pure and natural merino clothing from Nui Organics. Exclusive 15% off merino silk rib tanks with code NuiSilk15. (Ends: 14 MAY)

Checkout code: NuiSilk15
Shop now
Someone wearing a khaki organic cotton tee by Nui Organics.

Nui Organics – Organic Cotton T-shirts

Discover soft and flattering organic cotton tees with subtle back seam detailing. Get 40% off organic cotton t-shirts with code SPRING40. (Ends: 28 APR)

Checkout code: SPRING40
Shop now
Kids wearing organic cotton essentials by Nui Organics.

Nui Organics – Organic Cotton Essentials

Mix and match organic cotton tees and shorts for babies, kids, and you. Enjoy 40% off organic cotton essentials with code SPRING40. (Ends: 28 APR)

Checkout code: SPRING40
Shop now

Nui Organics was founded on a culture rooted in consciousness, community, and intentional design. It creates high-quality, lower-impact Merino wool and organic clothing for families in timeless styles.

Find sizes for children aged 0-12 years, and XS-2XL for adults.

See the rating.

Shop Nui Organics.

Frugi

Rated: Good

Cody Comfy Jeans – Ships internationally from the UK

Frugi is a British label that specialises in bright, wearable organic clothing. There are plenty of playful designs as well as classics. Frugi has you covered for maternity wear and nursing clothes, as well as baby and children’s wear. We love the distinctive designs and commitment to putting the planet first.

Find the range in sizes 0-10 years for kids, and XS-XL for adults.

See the rating.

Shop Frugi.

Shop Frugi second hand @ Retykle.

Infantium Victoria

Rated: Great

Beige Coton Parka – Ships internationally from Germany

Infantium Victoria offers beautiful vegan luxury for all ages. This German brand scores highly across the board. Its products are certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and it sells previously owned products to minimise textile waste.

Find clothes for babies ages 6 months all the way to teens aged 16 years.

See the rating.

Shop Infantium Victoria.

Offbeat Sweetie

Rated: Good

Starlight Kids High Tops – Ships internationally from Australia

Offbeat Sweetie is a little family-owned Australian brand. It makes fun and lower-impact shoes for unique people.

Find AU kid's shoe sizes 3-9 and adult sizes 35-47.

See the rating.

Shop Offbeat Sweetie.

BeeKeeper Parade

Rated: Great
A colourful floral print backpack responsibly made by Beekeeper Parade.

The Midnight Blooms Royal Beekeeper Backpack – Ships internationally from Australia

BeeKeeper Global creates backpacks, iPad cases and other fashion accessories out of discarded fabric waste.

See the rating.

Shop Beekeeper Parade.

Middle school outfit

Entering middle school means you’re getting older and so you might start thinking about your clothes a little more. And that’s okay, you do you. It’s a fun time to start learning how to put outfits together and slowly becoming more independent.

A selection of more sustainable brands kids clothes for going back to middle school outfits.

Jackalo

Rated: Good

Mac Coverall – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Jackalo creates organic playclothes for kids. It uses a high proportion of lower-impact materials including Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton, and reuses all of its offcuts to minimise textile waste.

Find most items in sizes 4-14.

See the rating.

Shop Jackalo.

Shop Jackalo @ Cerqular.

Kings of Indigo

Rated: Good

Kids KOI Jacket – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Kings of Indigo makes quality denims, tops, and accessories inspired by American classics with a Japanese eye for detail. The brand uses GOTS organic cotton as well as recycled cotton and wool, and avoids all chemicals from the REACH chemical list.

Offered in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Kings of Indigo.

NIKIN

Rated: Good

TreeCap Baseball Kids – Ships internationally from Switzerland

If you’re the kind of person who likes to wear their morals, look no further than Swiss brand NIKIN. Not only is a tree planted every time you purchase a NIKIN product, you also get to show your tree pride.

Products are available in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop NIKIN.

EcoRight

Rated: Good

“Houston We Have A Problem” Tote Bag – Ships internationally from India

EcoRight is an Indian brand that creates products that help people go more eco in a fun way, offering items made from lower-impact and responsibly-sourced materials.

See the rating.

Shop EcoRight.

Théla

Rated: Great
image of backpack strap inner side and someone wearing Nara backpack by Thela

Zero Waste Backpack – Ships internationally from Greece

Greek brand Théla creates handcrafted fashion and lifestyle accessories with plastic waste. Witnessing the increasing reliance and problems around disposable plastics and over-consumption, founder Diti Kotecha is on a mission to inspire change, diverting plastic from filling landfills, polluting oceans, and harming wildlife. It crafts pieces using lower-impact materials working with partners from disadvantaged communities, and is entirely vegan.

See the rating.

Shop Théla.

High school outfit

High school: the last few years before you head out into the big world. It’s an exciting and important time, where you get to start discovering who you truly are, what your values are, and what you stand for. So what better time to start wearing clothes that make you look good, feel good, and do good?

A selection of more sustainable brands kids clothes for going back to high school outfits.

Afends

Rated: Good
A white baby tee by Afends with a colourful logo.

Sweet State Baby T-Shirt – Ships internationally from Australia

Born in Byron Bay, Australia, Afends is a more responsible brand leading the way in hemp fashion. Drawing inspiration from the environment, streetwear, and surf culture, Afends’ mission is to create more sustainable clothing through innovation, action, and positive change. As true hemp advocates, it purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow its own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution.

Find most of the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

NAE

Rated: Good
White vegan women's boots by NAE.

Tea White Boots – Ships internationally from Portugal

NAE is a Portuguese footwear, bags, and accessories brand using innovative materials to create goods with “No Animal Exploitation”. Its lower-impact materials include recycled PET from bottles, OEKO-TEX® certified microfibres, recycled car tyres, natural cork, recycled thermoplastic, and even pineapple leaf fibre.

Find most of the shoes in sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop NAE.

Shop NAE @ Urbankissed.

Shop NAE @ Immaculate Vegan.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
Blue wide leg jeans with white letter printing by MUD Jeans.

Van Wilma Jeans – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year. MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled 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.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good

Moss Summit Track Jacket – Ships internationally from the US

Girlfriend Collective creates minimal, luxury clothes made with fair labour, certified by the Social Accountability Standard International SA8000. The brand uses lower-impact materials like recycled polyester as well as lower-impact, non-toxic dyes and is fully OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified.

Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Up-Fuse

Rated: Good
front and open view of laptop cover

Folder Laptop Case in Saumon Confetti – Ships internationally from Egypt

Up-Fuse is a Cairo-based social enterprise that promotes an eco-conscious lifestyle. Believing “one’s trash is another’s fabric”, the brand works with Syrian, Ethiopian, and Sudanese female refugees in Egypt to create its unique products.

See the rating.

Shop Up-Fuse.

tentree

Rated: Good
black vegan and earth-friendly backpacks by tentree

Mobius 35L Backpack – Ships internationally from Canada

Canadian brand tentree believes big change starts small. Small as in bringing your reusable bag to the grocery store, making fewer, more thoughtful purchases, and choosing to purchase more sustainably when you do. The brand plants ten trees for every item purchased to help regenerate ecosystems and provide planting jobs in communities around the world, and has already planted over 65 million trees.

All tentree’s products are created with an Earth-First approach, meaning they're made in fair, safe working conditions, and constructed using lower-impact and recycled materials.

tentree’s super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples are typically available from XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree.

A word on swapping and reusing clothes

Finding ways to get more use out of each piece of clothing is essential to reduce the impact of our fashion choices on the planet. Circular fashion argues that we need to “transform the way clothes are designed, sold, and used, to break free from their increasingly disposable nature”. It’s important that brands responsibly produce clothing that is durable and can be recycled or upcycled.

While buying new clothes at the beginning of the school year can feel good and empowering, it’s not the only solution to more sustainable outfits for going back to school. Why not swap clothes with your best friends? Hand-me-downs are actually awesome—they allow you to be unique, save money, and protect the planet. Checking out your local second hand stores or browsing the many online options is a great money- and planet-saving option, too.

Editor's note

Feature image via Rudy Jude, 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 thousands of rated brands.

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