By Courtney Yalen
So, it turns out that while most of our readers are women, these women buy a lot of stuff for men. I mean, hands up if you’ve recently purchased something for your dad? Husband? Boyfriend? Son? Friend? I imagine there were a lot of hands that just shot up!
The fact is, a lot of guys rely on women for fashion advice and key pieces in their wardrobes. While you may know where to get loads of great eco friendly fashion for yourself, and while many denim brands we’ve covered in Eluxe like these also make jeans for men, do you have any idea where to point the man in your life if he’s after vegan friendly, eco friendly clothing in general?
Well, now you will! We found what we believe are the 10 best Sustainable Menswear shopping sites, right here.
1. Lyme Terrace
This may be an opinionated statement, but if you’ve ever felt bamboo fabric, you’ll most likely agree: bamboo is to cotton what cashmere is to wool. Aside from bamboo fabric being incredibly soft, the sustainability of the plant is unparallelled: it is naturally pest resistant (no pesticides!), uses significantly less water than cotton, and it is still one of the fastest growing plants in the world (no fertilizer!). The organic nature of bamboo and the moisture wicking properties makes it perfect for those who suffer from eczema, dermatitis and other sensitive skin issues. So, no wonder Lyme Terrace chose this as the core fabric for their tees.
Full transparency of their manufacturing processes is on their website, where I learned everything is hand-made in our lovely Great Britain, which means no outsourcing (and free shipping in the U.K.!). I love the fact that their packaging is a bamboo tube you can recycle into a vase or utensils holder, and they even have a charity fund, too!
This wonderful U.K. site provides you with all the information you need to be a conscious, eco-friendly online shopper — each item on the site has a ‘footprint’ tab detailing information about the social and environmental impact, which they gained by requiring the designers and brands that manufacture the featured products to provide a full breakdown of their supply chains, which they then summarise in the ‘footprint’ tab, and their standards are high! Brothers We Stand offers jumpers, hoodies, surf shorts, wallets, hats, bags, and more from a handful of BWS-approved brands, some of which we have listed in this article. Best of all, a big mission of theirs is to show that eco-friendly, sustainable, organic clothing doesn’t have to be boring – the majority of their clothing has super fun prints.
3. People Tree
People Tree aims to be 100% Fair Trade throughout the entire supply chain by purchasing Fair Trade products from marginalized producer groups in the developing world, meeting the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade standards. Their products are hand embroidered, knitted, printed, woven, and there are even cool one-of-a-kind gifts made from recycled saris! The producers and farmers, mainly in Bangladesh, Nepal and India, live and work in their communities, eat locally produced food and use hand production methods to earn their living, all eliminating the massive environmental impacts of travel and heavy machinery. The organic cotton farming used by People Tree is watered by rain and uses natural pesticides made with chili, neem, garlic and soap, which keeps pests off the crops without affecting biodiversity. And, they pay their organic cotton farmers a 30% premium above conventional cotton prices, which offers farmers a secure income.
4. Lux & Eco
This online ‘department store’ carries not only fab menswear, but beauty products, women’s wear, and objects for the home – all of which have sustainability in mind.
Working with a variety of brands, some of those we’d suggest for the stylish gent are Nau, who create amazing trousers and jackets, and Tomi Otee for their organic cotton polo shirts and tees.
If the fact that founder Joshua Katcher was awarded Most Influential Designer of 2015 by PETA and named 2014 Man Of The Year by COCO ECO Magazine doesn’t convince you that his brand is incredibly sustainable and high-tech, maybe some of his material inventions will. The footwear and accessories are constructed in Italian “future-leather”: a durable, weather resistant, hi-tech microfiber that is EU-Ecolabel Certified, buttons are made from corozo (tagua nut), and lining in the suits and outerwear are constructed from GRS-certified Turkish-milled “silk”, made from 100% post-consumer, mechanically-recycled plastic bottles. Katcher uses his world-class fashion education and dedication to eco-sustainability and safe, fair working conditions to prove that ‘fast-fashion’ is not sustainable for humans or the planet. While Brave GentleMan does believe that how products are made supersede any marketed “story,” we think that this menswear line has nailed down both!
We love how this brand describes itself:
“We love getting involved in the issues of the day, not in that whiney, he said, she said bullshit, but the type of in-tune listening-with-your-heart kind of approach that gets to the root of the issue. So we created a brand that totally gets in there, does some good for the world and tells everyone about it. We care about shit and we need your help to help others less able to help themselves. We based the brand on three core principles: ethics, social good and the environment. And frankly, if you’re in business without these principles, you’re a dick.
We, my friends, Are Harper.”
Doesn’t get much more to the point than that! And this no-nonsense attitude is reflected in the simple designs of the ethical menswear brand, too.
United by Blue is a company dedicated to saving the ocean. The brand is certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. In fact, United By Blue has a pretty great score, and no wonder: this rad outdoor clothing and accessory site associates each product sold with the removal of one pound of trash from waterways, uniting their beliefs with business without accepting donations, writing checks, or sacrificing quality or comfortability. The pledge is cemented through company-organized and hosted cleanups, and the materials used in their clothing and bags range from high percentages of organic cotton to polyester made from recycled plastic water bottles. Since its birth in 2010, UBB has removed 312,402 pounds of waste from oceans and waterways through 155 cleanups in 25 states!
Perhaps you’ve seen Kuyichi denim in stores but never thought to research their sustainability index because of how gosh-darn good they look on you, or maybe they’ve been your favorite pair of jeans for the last decade. Either way, this denim brand founded in 2001 (recently expanded into tees, outerwear and accessories) keeps each part of their chain transparent: on their “where it’s made” page, you can visit every one of their manufacturing sites and read detailed information about employees and employee benefits, certifications, monitoring procedures and auditing accounts. They’ve received a great and continuously improving score on MADE-BY, as well. The brand’s strong focus on improving social conditions in the factories and throughout the supply chain resulted in Kuyichi partnering with Fair Wear Foundation (FWF): an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to improving labour conditions for garment workers around the world.
Oliberté is everything we love to see in a manufacturing business: over 60% of the employees are women, who get a 90 day maternity leave, weekly doctor visits for employees, employees are paid over double the minimum wage required in Ethiopia, and every pair of shoes is made at the Fair Trade Certified™ factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: the world’s first footwear manufacturing factory to earn Fairtrade Certified status in 2013 and therefore the world’s first Fairtrade Certified shoe. Best of all, Oliberté owns their factory, allowing the team to have absolute say in quality and manufacturing while creating sustainable full time jobs completely supported by customers, and creating the kind of workplace that offers opportunities to form workers’ unions, dictate breaks, full benefits, and more.
The small- and large-community aspect of the team and surrounding community is transparent through Oliberté’s goals and values: for every pair of shoes sold, all workers in the factory earn a percent of the cost, when it leaves the factory and is considered sold. The additional income is paid directly to a special workers’ account, enabling the workers to decide collectively how to spend it, based on the community’s greatest needs: from scholarships and disaster relief funds to medical care and transportation. Workers can also vote to take the Fair Trade premium dollars as a cash bonus, which is often equivalent to an entire month’s salary or more.
This British designer was one of the first to proudly display sustainable collections on the catwalk, proving that luxury fashion and solid ethics do mix. His collections are made mainly from recycled material such as army surplus gear, parachute material, old firefighter’s uniforms and dead stock from the fashion industry, all used to create unique, beautifully made menswear on the cutting edge of style.
11. Indigo Couture
The founder of this organic cotton tee shirt brand became obsessed with natural indigo on a trip to Milan, Italy. He bought an indigo dyed tee-shirt that had a similar colour and look to blue jeans; it also faded just like blue jeans and he wore it until it fell apart. He later decided to chase a dream to build an eco-brand based on natural indigo and natural organic yarns, and Indigo Couture was born.
Natural indigo is very difficult to handle, and requires several experts in several different fields to achieve one goal, making these shirts very special indeed.
12. Project Pieta
Started by activist and designer Thomas Jacob, whose background is in luxury French fashion, Project Pietà works with three prisons, including the women’s prison Santa-Monica in Lima’s Chorrillos district, and two men’s prisons: San Jorge and San Pedro in Lurigancho.
Jacob says that the clothing is made from materials like organic cotton and wool, and that Project Pietà provides the opportunity for inmates to generate income and develop their skills allowing for faster rehabilitation, and get out more quickly – each day of work decreases the prisoner’s sentence by a full day.
Although it is unclear how much each prisoner earns, Mr Jacob says ‘when you are in a Peruvian jail you need money: to pay your pavilion (the activities and the restoration), to pay for your basic hygiene needs or to eat better, for example. Moreover, the majority has to pay a civil reparation. When you are alone what can you do except die slowly? Working permits you to earn a regular income and you don’t depend from the others to live. For the inmates, it also allows for hope and confidence. And each day of work means another day towards getting out of jail.’