The Most Sustainable Size-Inclusive Fashion Brands - Good On You
woman wearing plus size sustainable leggings from ethical brand Girlfriend Collective
16 Oct
woman wearing plus size sustainable leggings from ethical brand Girlfriend Collective

The Most Sustainable Size-Inclusive Fashion Brands

Fashion is a means to express yourself and your creativity whilst feeling fabulous. Imagine a world where the fashion industry celebrates all types of beauty and sizes, and empowers its consumers in their diverse glory to feel great about themselves! Join us as we explore extended sizing in fashion, and give you the lowdown on the most sustainable size-inclusive fashion brands—because everyone should be able to match their clothing to their values!

As more businesses start to assess their sustainability and ethics standards, equality needs to be considered to make their consumers feel empowered and represented in the market, especially when it comes to fashion.

Size inclusivity has been gaining more and more traction in the fashion industry over the last few years. From Versace embracing curvy models on the catwalk during Milan Fashion Week, to Jameela Jamil endorsing ideas of ‘body neutrality’, to the rise of diverse models gracing our screens and fashion catalogues.

While this is all taking place when it comes to ethical fashion, size inclusivity has a way to go for it to truly be accessible to all conscious consumers. We’ve listed some of our favourite brands below that are taking both fashion movements in its stride. But before we do, let’s go through the issues and challenges of size inclusivity in the ethical fashion world.

So what is size inclusivity?

Size inclusivity is the practice of equally representing a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. Yet when it comes to clothing, most designers cap sizes from size 6-14 US (12-18 UK/AU), excluding a major market of consumers who fit outside of ‘standardised’ sizing. To make all these numbers easier to understand, here is our helpful international size conversion page, though make sure to refer to each brand’s own sizing charts for the best info if you decide to shop with them!

In a study by the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, results found that the average size of an American woman was between 16-18, not a size 14 as previously assumed. In America, most clothing above a size 14 is considered ‘plus’ size, yet according to another study by Plunkett Research, 68% of US women are a size 14 or above. So why is the size of the average woman being excluded from the market?

It stems from commercial standards reports which determined standardised sizing at the beginning of mass production in the apparel industry. But it’s been a long while since the 50’s, and it’s time for the fashion industry to catch up.

How are we playing catch up?

Since then, the industry has tried to catch up with sizes falling outside the “standard” paradigms. The clothing industry has extended collections to ‘plus size’, ‘petite’, and ‘tall’, and as a result an increase in the variety of sizes was up by 21% in womenswear in 2019. However, there’s still major work to be done when it comes to acknowledging all sizes in ethical fashion.

So, what are the barriers for sustainable labels when it comes to extending their sizes?

Many of these labels are still smaller, independent companies, and extending sizes where there’s uncertain customer demand, little support from retailers, and higher production costs can prove a hurdle or risk.

Further to this, when creating extended designs one of the challenges is the need to develop new patterns—it isn’t as simple as using more or less fabric to make the same clothing item.

“While many pattern-makers are proficient in most areas of pattern-making, most specialise in a particular category,” says Kathryn Hilderbrand, founder and CEO of Good Clothing Company, a US-based manufacturer.

As there is a difference in pattern rules from infants’ clothing to kids' wear, so is there a difference in rules between womenswear and women's plus sizes.

Kathryn Hilderbrand

This is also the reason behind why some labels will create entirely separate collections for petite, tall, plus, or maternity, as designer Mara Hoffman explains.

‘Extending sizing’ is actually a bit of a misnomer. It actually entails developing an entirely new collection. Straight sizes are usually based on a size 4, with inches being added or subtracted from there. Pieces for extended sizing need separate fittings, patterns, and design changes.

Mara Hoffman

However, investment into extending sizes is a promising move for sustainable labels, with the growth in the plus-size market expecting to reach $26 billion by 2020. Global consultancy firm Simon-Kucher & Partners found that body positivity was the fourth-most important consideration when deciding to buy from ethical labels, following fair labour standards, sustainable materials and processes, and profits being donated to charity.

So what can you do to influence the market?

If there are sustainable labels or stockists that you love, let them know you’re looking for your size in stock! If it’s a smaller label, see if they can custom design a piece for you. The more people who reach out, the more these brands will recognise that there is a real need and a gap in the market they can (and should) help to fill.

For labels who want to support their customer base, try testing a few extended sizes on one piece, or develop a limited edition collection. There are many success stories out there of designers who have extended their collections and have provided tips for successfully expanding into the market.

Where to shop

Finding extended sizes on resale

Like we’ve mentioned before, buying second hand is almost always the most sustainable option! You can research your favourite ethical size-inclusive brands (or refer to our list below), then try your hand at buying from pre-owned retail platforms such as Vestaire Collective, thredUP, Thrift+, and Depop.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite brands covering a range of sizes!

Inclusive ranges

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good
woman wearing plus size sustainable leggings from ethical brand Girlfriend Collective

Black Luxe Legging – Ships to Australia, US and UK from US

Sizes – 2XS to 6XL

In need of comfy leggings to get you through those days of lounging around at home? Look no further than Girlfriend Collective. This ethical activewear label is truly transparent with inclusivity and sustainability in front of mind. Its luxurious activewear for women comes in a range of sizes—from 2XS to 6XL—and is certified by both OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and BlueSign.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Ace & Jig

Rated: Good

Gertie Skirt – Ships internationally from the US

Sizes – 2XS to 4XL

Ace and Jig creates its own yarn-dyed woven fabric made by artisan weavers in India to create bright, effortlessly chic pieces. The outfits are perfect to wear to picnics on those bright sunny days, or when you need to add a splash of colour to your outfit during the colder seasons. The brand extended its sizing back in 2018, trialling one piece at a time, and with overwhelming success have extended sizing for most of their pieces from 2XS to 4XL!

See the rating.

Shop Ace & Jig.

Jamie + The Jones

Rated: Good

The Cotton + Linen Poof Top – Ships internationally from US

Sizes – XS to 4XL

This Nashville based label believes in creating beautiful pieces you’ll want to live in while supporting cherished textile traditions. All of its garments (excluding its J+J Organic Knits) are designed, produced, and packaged in a Nashville studio and delivered to your door! Its quality crafted pieces have you covered from sizes XS to 4XL that embody beautiful silhouettes and cuts.

See the rating.

Shop Jamie + The Jones.

HARA

Rated: Great

Pink Peta Leggings – Ships internationally from Australia

Sizes – XS to 5XL

HARA’s vision to bring change and awareness to the issues of the fashion industry is evident through its curation of ethical clothing and celebration of diversity. The label specialises in underwear, bras, loungewear, and sportswear. The unique, minimal. and vibrantly coloured pieces feature models with diverse body shapes and races across its catalogue and tailor to sizes XS to 5XL.

See the rating.

Shop HARA.

Christy Dawn

Rated: Great

The Dawn Dress Extended – Ships internationally from the US

Offers

sustainable dresses by ethical brand Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn – Dresses

Timeless, versatile dresses you'll reach for day after day. Each piece is made using upcycled fabric and sewn in Los Angeles. 15% off Christy Dawn dresses with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 31 OCT)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
ethical olive jumpsuit from Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn – Jumpsuits

Handmade in deadstock fabric with a nod to vintage rompers and traditional workwear, these jumpsuits have you covered for every occasion. 15% off Christy Dawn jumpsuits with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 31 OCT)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
woman wearing white and blue long top from sustainable brand Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn – Tops

Vintage-style tops that are effortlessly elevated and feminine. Wear them to a special occasion, or pair with your favourite vintage denim. 15% off Christy Dawn tops with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 31 OCT)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now
sustainably made face masks by ethical brand Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn – Masks

Non-medical grade masks made with deadstock cotton, linen, and silk. They're sustainable, reusable, and washable. 15% off Christy Dawn face masks with code GOODONYOU15. (Ends: 31 OCT)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU15
Shop now

Sizes – XS to 2XL (Sizes are embedded in different size collections)

Christy Dawn is your one stop shop for gorgeous floral dresses, earthy toned loungesets, and vintage inspired skirts and trousers. Its pieces are locally sewn in Los Angeles by the team of dressmakers, and features specific size collections including Extended Sizing, Petite, and Maternity. The brand’s timeless, versatile pieces are made from a high proportion of eco-friendly materials and upcycled fabric that we know you’ll love!

See the rating.

Shop Christy Dawn.

The Classic T-Shirt Company

Rated: Great

Women’s Short Sleeve Crew Neck – Ships internationally from US

Sizes – XS to 2XL

The Classic T-Shirt Company will have you covered if you’re in the market for a new tee. Its shirts are GOTS-certified organic cotton, made to last, and are manufactured in the USA to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint.

See the rating.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company.

unspun

Rated: Good

Satellite Shorts – Ships internationally from the US

unspun is creating a denim world that reduces global carbon emissions by 1% through a zero-inventory and low waste process. unspun even lets you create your own jeans! They do so by using algorithms to digitally design and perfectly fit jeans automatically around your 3D avatar. When you shop with unspun, you choose your jean style, fabric, thread color, rise height, and hem length. Next, you take a quick body scan to get an accurate Sims-like character of you that they can design around.

See the rating.

Shop unspun.

CHNGE

Rated: Great

Smiley Mock Neck – Ships internationally from the US

Sizes – 2XS to 2XL

CHNGE gives consumers who care about the planet an outlet to make a positive impact through their purchases. The sustainable fashion brand using 100% organic material, built to last a lifetime while making a statement.

See the rating.

Shop CHNGE.

Dressarte Paris

Rated: Good

Linen Skirt – Ships internationally from France

Sizes – 2XS to 2XL (or custom)

Dressarte Paris is a custom-made clothing label that curates unique clothing for a worldwide clientele. It sources luxurious surplus and eco-friendly fabrics to create a wonderfully chic sustainable wardrobe. Its products are made to order where you can choose from existing sizes, or enter in your own measurements for a custom order that not only minimises textile waste but celebrates all sizes!

See the rating.

Shop Dressarte Paris.

Birdsong

Rated: Good

White Printed Wrap Maxi Dress – Ships internationally from UK

Sizes – 2XS to 3XL

Birdsong stands as the antidote to fast fashion producing unique, bold, trend-free designs. It employs workers in London facing barriers to employment including adults with learning disabilities to refugees who are all paid a fair working wage. The business is built on a philosophy of fairness and authenticity, promising customers “no sweatshop, no photoshop”.

See the rating.

Shop Birdsong.

LONDRĖ

Rated: Good

The Minimalist – Ships internationally from Canada

Sizes – XS to 3XL

This bodywear label brings you high quality swimwear that flatters all shapes and sizes! The Canadian brand produces swimwear from recycled plastic bottled and has so far recycled more than 90,000 bottles from the beaches and streets of Taiwan. This is swimwear we know you’ll love, no matter the bod you rock!

See the rating.

Shop LONDRĖ.

Free Label

Rated: Good

Navy Linen Frannie Wrap – Ships internationally from Canada

Sizes – XS to 4XL

Free Label brings basics back that don’t come at a cost to the environment or undermining of human rights. This Canadian based label creates pieces locally in both Toronto and Vancouver to support the local economy and to ensure pieces are made ethically. It creates comfortable clothing from natural fibres including organic cotton, linen, and bamboo.

See the rating.

Shop Free Label.

Proclaim

Rated: Good

Cutout Bralette in Maya Nude – Ships to Australia, US, Canada, Europe and UK from the US

Sizes – S to 3XL

Proclaim is an ethical and inclusive ‘nude’ lingerie label that celebrates and represents all women whilst also being kind to the planet. Made out of recycled plastic water bottles, the pieces by this Los Angeles label come in ‘nudes’ that represent all shades so that a range of skin colours are embraced, and offer a variety of sizes so no lady is left behind.

See the rating.

Shop Proclaim.

Veja

Rated: Good

Campo low-top sneakers – Ships internationally from France

Sizes – EU 36 to 46

Paris-based Veja creates ecological and fair trade footwear and accessories, manufactured in Brazil. It adopted a robust Code of Conduct to counter the risks of labour abuse and uses a high-proportion of eco-friendly materials, like organic cotton.

See the rating.

Shop Veja.

Discover even more ethical plus size clothing.

Petite

Eileen Fisher

Rated: Good

System Washable Stretch Crepe Slim Ankle Pant  – Ships internationally from the US

Eileen Fisher creates elegant pieces for a variety of sizes. It has a dedicated petite range that covers all wardrobe items that are usually a struggle for smaller gals to find including pencil skirts, long coats, and trousers. It uses a proportion of eco-friendly materials and recycles most offcuts to minimise textile waste.

See the rating.

Shop Eileen Fisher.

Mara Hoffman

Rated: Good

White Hemp Eldora Pant – Ships internationally from the US

Sizes – 2XS to XL

Mara Hoffman brings a fresh edge to sustainable designer fashion, with its emphasis on bold colours and diverse array of patterns. With an exclusive extended sizes range, the brand brings fun, edgy ethical fashion to all. The label uses a range of earth conscious materials including GOTS certified cotton, recycled nylon and recycled polyester, and some products are Oeko-Tex STeP certified, too.

See the rating.

Shop Mara Hoffman @ Reve en Vert.

Shop Mara Hoffman @ Farfetch.

Outland Denim

Rated: Great

Mid-Rise, Relaxed Skinny  – Ships internationally from Australia

Sizes – 22 to 38

This B Corporation certified brand rates ‘Great’ on all fronts and offers ethical employment opportunities for women rescued from human trafficking in Cambodia. It has a range of denim styles including jeans, jackets, overalls, dresses, and shirts to name a few.

See the rating.

Shop Outland Denim.

Tall

DL1961

Rated: Good

Mid Rise Instasculpt Curvy Straight Milk – Ships internationally from the US

This New York based brand creates denim pieces that are not only good for the planet, but cater for all sizes. Its ‘Tall’ range includes classic varieties of denim jeans, high rise white trousers, and even jumpsuits. The family owned label has created a facility that optimises the use of energy, water, and dye, and uses a vertical supply chain so it can audit and control the entire process.

See the rating.

Shop DL1961.

Sotela

Rated: Good

Lima jumpsuit – Ships internationally from the US

Sustainable brand Sotela does sizing a little differently. The size inclusive brand allows customers to adjust inseam lengths to fit their height from petite, regular, and tall for their jumpsuits and trousers alike. They offer adaptable pieces with 1-2 size flexibility. That’s what we love to see!

See the rating.

Shop Sotela.

SeamsFriendly

Rated: It's A Start

Blue Solid Boat Neck Flared Dress – Ships internationally from India

SeamsFriendly is a womenswear line that celebrates all sizes and creates beautiful tailored pieces for all body types. It focuses on creating its clothes from natural materials, and on function and utility in its designs that is usually missed in women’s pieces (where are my pockets when I’m wearing a skirt or a dress, am I right?!).

See the rating.

Shop SeamsFriendly.

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 the Directory to search more than 2,500 brands. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links. This article lists brands rated ‘Good and ‘Great’ by Good On You’s comprehensive sustainability ratings system—and because highly rated size-inclusive brands are difficult to source, we may have also included ‘It’s a Start’ brands in case they better meet your needs.

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