While preparing to write about the mutable, ever-evolving, and increasingly pressing topic of sustainable fashion during Earth Month, we had deep thoughts. Here in the Shopping department, our jobs are to find, test, and buy the best stuff so that our readers can make informed purchase decisions and find the things they want and need. But we also know that over-consumption is bad for the planet. Does that mean...no more shopping?! As lovers and avid consumers of fashion, we’re not going to stop buying clothes altogether. Actually, as the ones wielding the dollars, we should
keep shopping (if possible right now); patronizing eco-conscious, socially responsible designs, and investing in high-quality pieces that will last. One place to start this search is on the website for Econyl — a manufacturer of recycled nylon used by the likes of Mara Hoffman and Girlfriend Collective — where the process of reusing ocean and landfill waste to make new material is outlined. But many complexities still exist when defining sustainable clothing; is it about using only organic natural fibers, renewable ones like lyocell and modal, or recycled ones, like Everlane’s ReNew fabric and Econyl? Is it the Fair Trade or B-Corp certified company paying its employees fairly and re-investing in the surrounding community? Given that there's no truly perfect sustainable clothing brand out there, what matters is that the company in question is on the journey, recognizing the need to lessen its environmental impact and taking real steps towards making that happen — happily, a lot of labels are already on that path. In addition to making products that are attractive and functional, all of the brands we're featuring ahead are sustainable or socially responsible in some way. There’s an intentional mix of makers you probably already know and should continue to support along with other notable newbies just emerging on the shopping scene. If you have the means, then go ahead and dive in — or, if you choose to celebrate Earth Day by not shopping, bookmark this story for another day. This piece has been updated from its original version. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Story continues ThredUP One of the best ways to shop sustainably is by buying secondhand — and there are few consignment websites that boast an apparel inventory as vast and a shopping experience as seamless as ThredUP. With a seemingly limitless selection of clothing, accessories, and footwear across men, women, kids, and maternity, the retailer seeks to combat the environmental impact of the 73% of clothing that goes to landfills every year by helping users resell what they’d normally just toss in the trash. And before you assume the selection consists of worn-out fast-fashion duds — we’ve spotted hidden gems from reader-favorite designer brands like Sandy Liang, Rachel Comey, Staud, and Khaite. Shop ThredUP Sandy Liang Short Sleeve Polo, $, available at ThredUP Bario Neal The jewelry industry is notoriously toxic and exploitative, but Philadelphia-based fine jewelers Bario Neal have been hellbent on rising above the “dirty” status quo since founding their inclusive business in 2008. They exclusively use Fairmined gold — sourced only from small-scale and artisan mines with responsible mining practices — and all of their colored gemstones and diamonds are fully traceable from mine to market. Shop Bario Neal Bario Neal X Studs, $, available at Bario Neal Wolven Wolven first appeared on our radar during the great crossover leggings-gate of last fall, when a sold-out pair from Aerie inspired a run on every pair of v-waist tights on the internet. However, there’s so much more to this California-cool brand of activewear. All of their stretchy goods are made from recycled materials, and thanks to a partnership with One Earth One Ocean, the brand removes one pound of plastic from the sea for every order that they receive. Shop Wolven Wolven Turmeric Pocket Legging, $, available at Wolven Pact We first discovered Pact while scouring the internet for the highest-rated thongs. (Just a day in the life here at R29.) We were thrilled to learn about their full-fledged, 100% organic cotton apparel collection and Fair Trade manufacturing certification — all of which result in a breathable, next-to-skin kind of feel. Shop Pact PACT Fit and Flare Strappy Midi Dress, $, available at PACT Allbirds This celeb-adored sneaker brand was already a top contender for the best sustainable brand right now, and their latest environmentally friendly endeavor is its biggest one yet: Allbirds recently announced its new Carbon Footprint initiative, a calculation that measures the carbon output of each of its products. It’s the first fashion brand to label every product made, with a Life Cycle Assessment tool that measures each product’s environmental impact from materials to development, manufacturing, and end of life. The hope is that by having this kind of standardization for accountability for carbon, shoppers can better understand the impact their purchases have on the planet. Shop Allbirds Allbirds Tree Dasher, $, available at Allbirds Knickey While this underwear brand gets high marks for its low-impact fabrications — they exclusively use organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO grown cotton — we’re also smitten with the retailer’s minimal-chic panty silhouettes that range from a high-waisted brief to a skimpy low-rise thong. Knickey will also recycle customers’ old underwear in exchange for a free new pair. Shop Knickey Knickey Mid-Rise Hipster, $, available at Knickey Rothy’s Known for its durable, washable flats (and now its bags, too!), Rothy’s quickly made its mark on the sustainable scene by transforming discarded plastic into stylish, wear-everywhere accessories that shoppers are obsessed with. The company is continually striving for zero waste through the use of 3D knitting technology and handcrafted comfort, and they’ve just introduced the brand's first-ever warm-weather styles just in time for Earth Day. Shop Rothy’s Rothy's The Point Woven Flat, $, available at Rothy's Nisolo The Nashville-based brand’s super-luxe leather footwear and accessories are masters of elevated simplicity — and transparency. Head to the Nisolo website to read about their factories in Peru and Mexico, where employees are paid above the fair trade minimum wage requirement and have access to education opportunities. They also offset carbon emissions through Ecosphere, and they’ll reward you with a store credit for recycling your old shoes. We probably would have added these spot-on block heels to our carts anyway, but the brand’s social mission makes the purchase even more positive. Shop Nisolo Nisolo All-Day Open Toe Clog, $, available at Nisolo Eileen Fisher Our mom’s favorite brand is quickly becoming our favorite brand — and not just because of its holistic socially and environmentally conscious mission. Eileen Fisher’s quietly elegant, wear-forever pieces — like this button-front linen tunic — are a testament to one of the most sustainable things about the company: that they design timeless wardrobe staples that are meant to stay in the rotation for a long time. Shop Eileen Fisher Eileen Fisher Organic Handkerchief Linen Long Shirt, $, available at Eileen Fisher Boyish If you’re reading this, you may already know the sins of denim production: that it requires — and therefore wastes — a whole lotta water. LA-based jean purveyor Boyish uses 1/3 the typical 1,800 gallons per pair that dungaree manufacturing employs. The result? Perfectly laid-back pieces that you’ll want to wear all summer long. Shop Boyish Boyish The Ziggy, $, available at Boyish Cariuma For sneakers you can look and feel good in, consider this thoughtful brand out of Rio de Janeiro. Their sneakers are made from natural materials that minimize the harmful impact of production on the planet while maximizing efficiency on water consumption. Plus, your sneakers will arrive in recyclable packaging through a shipping process that's 100% carbon neutral. The brand also just launched its first-ever made-to-order sneaker in celebration of Earth Day. This new version of the low-top bamboo knit IBI can be pre-ordered from April 22nd to April 30th and will be produced based on customer demand. Shop Cariuma Cariuma IBI Sneaker in Earth Day Green, $, available at Cariuma Outerknown Surfer Kelly Slater has been at the helm of this sustainable men’s brand since launching with designer John Moore in 2013, and the pair spun off a much-anticipated collection for women in 2019. Both collections are made from 100% “benefit fibers” – organic, recycled, and/or regenerated — and selected styles are Fair Trade certified. Jumpsuits are always among the top choices for a solid transitional piece — if you haven’t pulled the trigger on one yet, consider one that’s consciously made. Shop Outerknown Outerknown Retrograde Jumpsuit, $, available at Outerknown Reformation We probably don’t need to fill you on how environmentally aware your favorite dressmaker is. Every product page on their site features stats on resources saved, and you can go down a serious rabbit hole reading about its tiered ranking system for the impact of its fabrics. They even sell carbon credits for things like flights and (ironically?) weddings. It doesn’t hurt that they basically re-invented the floaty, sexy occasion dress, and continue to deliver spot-on hotness for all of your festive needs. Shop Reformation Reformation Jude Skirt, $, available at Reformation Girlfriend Collective Husband and wife Quang and Ellie Dinh famously launched their eco-conscious activewear brand in 2016 by giving away recycled polyester leggings to anyone who was willing to cover the cost of shipping. They hooked a whole bunch of customers — including us — with their inclusive sizing, top-notch quality, and oversharing about their recycling facilities in Taiwan and socially-conscious factory in Vietnam. Shop Girlfriend Collective Girlfriend Collective Valley Compressive High-Rise Legging, $, available at Girlfriend Collective Veja This eco-friendly sneaker brand can be pricey, but, according to the brand’s website, “Our VEJA sneakers cost 5 times more to produce than big brand sneakers. Because we use fair trade and organic raw materials, because they are more economically equitable for all parties involved in the production chain, [and] because we invest in research and new technologies.” It’s a small price to pay for a sneaker that uses organic cotton, wild rubber, recycled polyester, and gold-standard. Leather Working Group leather. Shop at Zappos Veja VEJA Rio Branco, $, available at Zappos Cotopaxi We challenge you to find a cuter — and more socially responsible — windbreaker moment. Cotopaxi founder Davis Smith grew up in Latin American and named his certified B-Corp after an active volcano in the Andes. 1% percent of profits from the outerwear brand go to their eponymous foundation, which supports companies like the International Rescue Committee and Escuela Nueva, an organization that operates 86 schools in rural Latin America. Shop Cotopaxi Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Unisex Windbreaker, $, available at Cotopaxi Warp + Weft This family-owned business specializes in affordable, size-inclusive denim in an array of hues, and happily, they outfit men, women, and kids in jeans that come in mostly under $100. They also operate a partially solar-powered factory equipped with an in-house water treatment plant, enabling them to recycle some of the water used in creating their irresistibly colored dungarees. Shop Warp + Weft Warp + Weft BDU PLUS - OVERALL, $, available at Warp + Weft Lacausa Influenced by the natural world and its beautiful landscapes, Lacausa offers effortless California chic without sacrificing the hand that feeds it (and all of us). Fabrics are sourced and sewn with trusted partners with the highest standards in mind, and always under ethical conditions. They also recently launched Flow, a collection of activewear made from organic and sustainable fabrics. Shop Lacausa Lacausa Prana Unitard, $, available at LACAUSA Everlane As part of its commitment to radical transparency, Everlane announced last year that it would ensure all of its cotton to organic by the end of 2023. That means no toxic pesticides, healthier soil, cleaner water, and safer workers. They made good on this promise with their recently-launched Track activewear collection, made from certified organic cotton that is kinder on the planet. You can also check Everlane’s ReNew collection, featuring outerwear made from 100% recycled plastic, and their brand-new capsule collection of sustainable swimwear. Shop Everlane Everlane The Track Wide-Leg Pant, $, available at Everlane Verishop This perfectly appointed and taste-making department store has always worked to do its part in supporting the environment, from highlighting sustainable and conscious brands through its Responsible Shop (think Rachel Pally, Naadam, Girlfriend Collective, and more), being carbon neutral on all outbound shipments, and using 100% curbside recyclable packaging. Shop Verishop Rachel Pally Crepe Odell Dress, $, available at Verishop Nomasei Operating out of another part of the world is Paris-based footwear company Nomasei. The brand was founded by Paule Tenaillon and Marine Braquet, who met while working at Chloé. In addition to mastering the je-ne-sais-quoi quality that makes French fashion so damn good, the duo works exclusively with suppliers and factories that are certified in sustainable sourcing and practices. Considering the fact that Nomasei aims to be carbon neutral within the next six months, this is one purchase that’ll definitely look as good as it feels. Shop Nomasei Nomasei Nono Moccasins, $, available at Nomasei Araks We’ve lusted over Araks’ luxurious lingerie and sculptural swimwear and luxe sleepwear since we were fashion noobs. The brand has always produced in its hometown in New York City, with an emphasis on supporting women-owned businesses. Currently, 50% of the brand’s swimwear fabrics are made with Econyl, a recycled nylon, and the remainder come from eco-driven suppliers. Shop Araks Araks Elmar One Piece, $, available at Araks Farm Rio Possible one of the most vibrant environmentally friendly brands around is Farm Rio. In addition to creating a bounty of bright prints and flowy frocks, the Brazilian company is committed to giving back to the environment and to helping recover endangered forest ecosystems. For each purchase made on Farm Rio's website, in their stores, and at other authorized retailers carrying the brand, they donate one tree to be planted in the Amazon rainforest. Shop Farm Rio Farm Rio Nossa Lingua Blouse, $, available at Farm Rio Free People While this mega-retailer isn’t fully sustainable by any means, they’re taking small steps with their Care FP online shop, featuring products that are consciously or sustainably made. You can expect to find energy-saving fabrics like ECONYL, a sustainable, innovative yarn that uses 100% regenerated nylon fiber made of discarded waste collected from landfills and oceans, and market totes from a biodegradable mesh. Shop Care FP at Free People Junes Junes Bio-Knit Everyday Tote, $, available at Free People Paper London British womenswear brand Paper London is dedicated to investing in responsible manufacturing and high-quality, sustainable fabrics that look after its customers and our planet. Known for its timeless, versatile wardrobe staples, the brand’s aesthetic is built to outlast the ever-changing trends. Shop at Olivela Paper London Paper London Orchid Top, $, available at Olivela Lo & Sons If you don't know about this sustainable bag company, now's a great time to check out what their family-run business is all about. The bags are built to travel light without compromising functionality and style, and the company is part of a movement that believes businesses can actually lead the way in reversing environmental damage and creating innovative solutions. Lo & Sons uses Recycled Poly, a technical fabric made from plastic bottles, and cotton that’s organically grown without the use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides. (You can read more about their sustainability practices here.) Shop Lo & Sons catalina The Catalina Deluxe, $, available at Lo & Sons Athleta As a certified B-Corp, Atheleta Shop Athleta Athleta Skyline Pant II, $, available at Athleta Fair Harbor Named for the Fire Island beach town where the founders spent their summers growing up, this surfer-designed swimwear brand uses yarn spun from plastic bottles to create sporty, on-trend swimwear. (Each suit recycles anywhere from four to 20 bottles.) As if this eco-forward mission wasn’t enough, the suits are designed with movement-friendly, stay-put bottoms and come in some seriously appealing prints and colors. Fair Harbor The Saltaire Bikini, $, available at Fair Harbor One way to shop denim sustainably is to find a brand that repurposes. London-based ELV Denim (short for East London Vintage, and a nod to where the dungarees are manufactured) is on the pricey side, but we swoon over the brand’s tonal, re-worked styles. Isn’t the investment worthwhile if this is the only pair of jeans you wear for the rest of the summer? E.L.V. Denim The Twin Boyfriend Jeans, $, available at Shopbop H&M All eyes are on H&M right now — as one of the biggest clothing retailers in the world, its efforts in sustainability have the potential to be significant. So far, we like what we’re seeing: this season’s Conscious collection was replete with airy separates in a host of environmentally-friendly fabrics, including (but not limited to) recycled polyester, lyocell, and Piñatex, a leather alternative made from pineapple-leaf fibers. We’ve also been reading about its efforts to test out the secondhand market with an & Other Stories-dedicated shop on the Swedish resale site (and H&M investee) Sellpy. Don’t forget: H&M also offers in-store textile recycling at all of their retail locations. H&M Conscious Lyocell-blend Dress, $, available at H&M Antidote This Miami-based e-tailer specializes in sustainably-minded indie designers, and our editors flock to the curated site for eco-driven products from Carleen, Mara Hoffman, and Veja. One of our favorite features of the online shop is a navigation feature that allows you to browse brands by their ethical qualities, including “Made in USA”, “Fair Trade”, “Recycled”, and “Vegan”. They even carry the accessible sustainable brand deemed a forever fave among the R29 shopping team: Baggu. Shop Antidote Baggu Standard Baggu, $, available at Antidote+ The charming jewelry brand, launched in 2014, has evolved into an all-female operation based out of a busy little London studio. We appreciate the company's ethical and sustainable approach to everything from the design process to packaging, but we love the good luck that comes with their numerical and zodiac collections even more. Edge of Ember Lucky Number 3 Necklace, $, available at Edge of Ember Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Your Sustainable Lingerie Starter-Pack Madewell Just Got More Sustainable Is It Ok To Shop Online Right Now?