12 Most Sustainable Leggings Brands: The Conscious Consumer’s Guide

12 Most Sustainable Leggings Brands: The Conscious Consumer’s Guide

By
Quynh Nguyen

Read Time:32 Minutes

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Stay impactful,

Amid growing concerns about the textile industry’s environmental impact, there is pressure to find greener clothes for your wardrobe, from work blazers to workout leggings. Unfortunately, fashion greenwashing makes it harder for you and all other consumers to figure out which clothing brands offer the most eco-friendly garments. So, we had to ask: Which are the most sustainable leggings brands? 

The most sustainable leggings brands are Girlfriend Collective, Swedish Stockings, and Happy Earth Apparel, which prioritize recycled and natural fabrics that are low-impact and high-performing while aiming for circularity. In addition, Wolven and Tripulse reduce carbon emissions and textile waste. 

Whether you are searching for leggings that meet your workout or loungewear needs to add to your wardrobe without negatively impacting the soil, the water, the animals, and other people, there is a brand for you. So, let’s keep reading to learn more about the most sustainable leggings brands and how they ensure sustainable, ethical practices. 

Here’s How Sustainable Leggings Brands Generally Are

Leggings can be one of the higher impact and less sustainable clothing items because the stretch and support requirements are often better met by using synthetic fabrics, which release microplastics during use and while washing and don’t biodegrade.

Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”

Oxford Dictionary

To understand the sustainability of natural fiber, we’ve assessed the life-cycle and each stage’s sustainability. This life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and materials. Here’s a quick summary of our LCA of leggings!

Here’s How We Selected the Most Sustainable Leggings Brands

The brands on this list were chosen based on their commitment and actions to promote sustainable practices while reducing the environmental impacts of the textile industry. 

They are transparent about their materials, processes, and workforce management within their supply chain.

Some brands focus their efforts on reducing waste and optimizing natural resources while others strive to reduce the carbon footprint of their clothes. 

All of these brands share the commitment to reshape the textile industry toward a more sustainable and Earth-friendly sector. 

These Are the 12 Most Sustainable Leggings Brands

Overall, these leggings brands are sustainable. Yet, they take various approaches to reduce environmental impacts and uphold ethical standards. Let’s dive into each brand and find out more. 

1

Girlfriend Collective: Essential and Timeless Activewear Made Out of Recycled Materials

Logo for Girlfriend Collective
Screenshot of the girlfriend collective front page

We make everything locally in small batches to make sure we don’t have a negative impact on the environment.”

Girlfriend Collective 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Girlfriend Collective’s sustainability efforts start with using recycled and recyclable textile and packing materials. Their clothes are made from recycled materials such as post-consumer water bottles, fishing nets retrieved from the seas, fabric scraps, and other waste. On top of that, their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. After their clothes are dyed, all the wastewater is sent to a treatment plant 100 feet away. Treated water that meets safety standards is released into the waterway, while mud dye is donated to a pavement facility to be turned into paving stones. Additionally, they help prevent microfiber release with a branded microfiber filter. Their program “Recycle. Reuse. Regirlfriend.” collects old Girlfriend Collective compressive leggings and upcycles them into new pieces that can be worn again and again, reducing waste while moving toward a more circular fashion model. Lastly, Girlfriend Collective partners with EcoCart to provide a carbon-neutral option for all orders placed on their site to offset the carbon footprint of their products.

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Girlfriend Collective’s facilities are fully certified by Social Accountability International – SA8000. An SA8000 certification guarantees safe working conditions, the right to unionize, and no forced or child labor. They also ensure all workers in their supply chain are paid fair wages and provided with free lunches and guided exercise breaks. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Girlfriend Collective is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: dresses, hoodies, sweatshirts, activewear, sportswear, maternity wear, tops, blouses, T-shirts, stockings, tights, shorts, lingerie, plus-size
  • Price range: $$$ 
  • Size range: 2XS–6XL
2

Swedish Stockings: Quality Stockings From Recycled Materials 

Logo for Swedish Stockings
Screenshot of the Swedish Stockings front page

If we can create a product that women can wear for a longer time, then we can also buy less.

Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg, Founders of Swedish Stockings

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Swedish Stockings promotes sustainability by opting for low-impact materials while minimizing waste by recycling their textile offcuts and collecting post-consumer synthetic stockings. Instead of sourcing conventional virgin fossil-based polyamide (nylon) for their tights, Swedish Stockings uses high-quality recycled nylon, specifically Aquafil‘s ECONYL®, Fulgar‘s Q-NOVA® and Q-CYCLE®, and Nilit’s SENSIL® Ecocare. They also use bio-based nylon and natural materials (GOTS-certified organic cotton, Responsible-Wool-Standard-certified organic wool, and cashmere). While they are not yet able to close their production loop by recycling old hosiery into new products themselves, Swedish Stockings still contributes to reducing textile waste by encouraging consumers to send in their used synthetic pantyhose for a 10% discount code of their products. The collected synthetic pantyhoses are turned into filler materials in tanks and tables. Additionally, Swedish Stockings uses FSC-certified packaging. Last but not least, they are transparent about the footprint of their products, disclosing the product journey along the supply chain, including the distance traveled and the cradle-to-gate impacts regarding water scarcity, global warming, eutrophication, and abiotic depletion. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Swedish Stockings has a Code of Conduct that covers the ILO’s Four Fundamental Freedoms principles. They also trace all of their supply chain. The final production stage happens in Italian factories with extremely high ethical, social, and environmental standards. They disclose all the supply partners in Italy, including any sustainability and quality certifications granted for such factories

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Swedish Stockings is not known to be part of any giving-back programs.

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: stockings, tights, socks, leggings, tops, bras 
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XS–XXL
3

Happy Earth Apparel: Earth-First Organic Clothing Brand 

Logo for Happy Earth Apparel
Screenshot of the Happy Earth Apparel front page

“We’re not cool with compromise when it’s at the expense of our world. We’ll find a good way to do something, or we won’t do it.”

Happy Earth Apparel 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Happy Earth Apparel ensures sustainability by sourcing sustainable and organic textile materials, using recycled and recyclable packaging, and reducing waste. Firstly, Happy Earth Apparel uses a high proportion of organic cotton. For example, their organic sock collection is made with organic cotton with a small percentage of recycled nylon and elastane to enhance flexibility and moisture-wicking performance. Secondly, they use 100% post-consumer, recycled plastic to make durable packaging bags that can be recycled again. Also, these bags are lightweight, cutting down on transporting emissions and costs. Lastly, Happy Earth Apparel has waste-reduction incentives regarding plastic (shipping in bulk), water (wastewater recycling and rain harvesting), and textile (low-waste cutting techniques). Furthermore, Happy Earth Apparel is Climate Neutral Certified for reducing and offsetting their emissions. They also use solar energy in their supply chain to reduce their carbon emissions. Regarding emissions that can’t be avoided, they offset through clean energy projects in the US, Uganda, India, and China. These include providing energy-efficient stoves, capturing methane, and installing biodigesters in rural homes that convert manure waste into gas for cooking. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Happy Earth Apparel ensures their ethics by binding suppliers with a Code of Conduct covering four of ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Additionally, over 95% of their products are made in Fair Trade Certified™ factories, while part of their final production stage is certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP). Finally, Happy Earth Apparel traces most of their supply chain. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Happy Earth Apparel actively participates in giving-back programs. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Happy Earth Apparel is committed to donating a minimum of 1% of their revenue to charitable organizations through their Tree Planting, Climate Change, and Trash Clean-Up projects. For example, consumers can choose to plant five trees for every purchase

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear
  • Product range: shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, bottoms, dresses, pants, leggings, shorts, socks, accessories 
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XXS–XXL
4

Wolven: Multifunctional Activewear Made From Recycled Bottles 

Logo for Wolven
Screenshot of the Wolven front page

“Sustainability to us means every decision we make is rooted in our intention to protect our planet and create a more equitable and Earth-centered future for all.”  

Amanda Lapham, Co-founder of Wolven

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Wolven ensures their sustainability by sourcing a high proportion of low-impact fabrics. Specifically, all of their 2022 swimwear and activewear is made with 84% recycled polyester fabrics reclaimed from discarded plastic water bottles. For example, the Raina Legging is made with four-way stretch fabric containing 84% rPET. Their recycled fabrics are certified with the Global Recycled Standard and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. Additionally, they design their clothes to be reversible and multifunctional so consumers can do more and buy less. Regarding their climate impact, Wolven is certified Climate Neutral for reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions. They also reduce their impact by using emission-free renewable energy in the supply chain and at their office, opting for sea freight shipping over air freight, and recycling packaging materials to reduce waste. Regarding the necessary emissions, they compensate by investing in projects in wind energy and reforestation. Lastly, they further their commitment to circular fashion beyond using recycled material with their resale program, Wolven Pre-Loved

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Wolven only traces part of their supply chain. Their manufacturing partner is based in China and assessed by Intertek as conforming to the requirements of the Workplace Conditions Assessment.  

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Wolven gives back 1% of their annual revenue to nonprofit organizations. For example, each purchase from their Neutral Collection gives back to Climate Neutral through their1% for the Planet  membership. They also partner with CleanHub to organize events to pick up plastic bottles and clean up places like beaches, rivers, and canals.

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear
  • Product range: one-piece swimwear, bikinis, tops, tees, sweatshirts, leggings, flares, shorts, joggers
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XL
5

Tripulse: Activewear Made Sustainable With Certified Eucalyptus Wood Fiber

Logo for Tripulse
Screenshot of the Tripulse front page

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and of every decision we make. It’s part of our DNA.

Franziska Mesche, Founder of Tripulse

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Tripulse ensures sustainability by sourcing low-impact materials, reducing waste, and overcompensating their carbon emission to be climate-positive. Firstly, they use a high proportion of TENCELTM lyocell made with certified eucalyptus wood fibers. Tripulse also opts for ROICA™ V550, a more eco-friendly stretch alternative to spandex (elastane), for the stretch element necessary in leggings. Furthermore, the elastane found in a small percentage of Tripulse’s Power III fabric blend consumes less energy, requires lower CO2 emissions than conventional elastane, and has various sustainability certifications (Bluesign®, OEKO-TEX®, and REACH). On top of that, they use organic cotton and natural rubber for elements like care labels and waistbands. Secondly, Tripulse reduces waste by designing timeless, versatile, and multifunctional garments that are durable and long-lasting, using recycled and recyclable packaging materials, and keeping clothing with minor blemishes, prototypes, or returned and refreshed clothing in circulation with their ZeroWaste Shop. Last but not least, the brand holds climate action at the center of their operation, measuring, reducing, offsetting, and overcompensating their carbon emissions. On top of using low-carbon materials and reducing waste, they offset more than their emissions in projects preventing deforestation in biodiverse areas

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Tripulse ensures their ethics by partnering with a factory certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards and paying a living wage in the final stage of their production. They are also transparent about the rest of their supply chain, publicly sharing their suppliers for various components. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Tripulse plants a tree for every product purchased via their partnership with One Tree Planted

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: leggings, tops, T-shirts, tank tops
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XXS–3XL
6

Groceries Apparel: Clothes Using Non-Toxic Dyes 

Logo for Groceries
Screenshot of the Groceries Apparel front page

We lead a new generation of clothing brands that manufacture their own garments in full transparency

Groceries Apparel 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Groceries Apparel prioritizes sustainability by sourcing organic and non-toxic materials. They have completely eliminated heavy metals and toxic chemicals from their supply chain. All their clothes are dyed with plant-based dyestuff, including food waste such as onion skins, carrot tops, and avocado pits and skins. Groceries Apparel uses a high proportion of lower-impact fabrics, including GOTS-certified organic cotton and TENCEL™ sourced from sustainably harvested trees. Their entire manufacturing process, from design, digitizing, marking, cutting, sewing, and dyeing, to finishing and shipping, happens in their Los Angeles-based clothing factory, reducing transportation emissions. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Groceries Apparel is fully transparent about their Los Angeles factory, ensuring fair wages and good working conditions. They also trace most of their supply

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Groceries Apparel is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear, kidswear
  • Product range: T-shirts, tops, blouses, dresses, shorts, skirts, stockings, tights, underwear
  • Price range: $$ 
  • Size range: XS–XL
7

ARMEDANGELS: Sustainable Clothing Brand Plus an Agent of Lifestyle Change 

Logo for Armedangels
Screenshot of the Armedangels front page

“So starting out with the humble tee, we took our oath against wage slavery, chemical shortcuts, and mass-producing pure crap, and transformed ourselves into one of the first clothing brands in all the land to put people and planet first.”

ARMEDANGELS 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

ARMEDANGELS ensures sustainability by reducing carbon footprints while enabling people to change lifestyles to fight climate change. The brand innovates to cut down carbon emissions in their supply chain, starting with sourcing a high proportion of eco-friendly materials. Specifically, they use GOTS-certified organic cotton fabrics, GRS-certified recycled fabrics, GOTS-and RWS-certified organic wool fabrics, and FSC/PEFC-certified wood-based fabrics like TENCELTM Modal. Additionally, ARMEDANGELS chooses materials with the lowest carbon footprint possible, for example, opting for modal and lyocell over silk or natural fabrics over fossil-based synthetic fabrics while increasing recycled content, such as recycled wool and recycled cotton. For example, within a year, the share of recycled cotton in their DetoxDenim jeans increased from 5% to 37%, with some jeans in the collection containing 100% recycled cotton. Lastly, ARMEDANGELS’s efforts to encourage lifestyle change include care and repair guides to keep garments in circulation longer. They also have a resale platform that facilitates items traded in to be sold again as second-hand clothes or recycled as fibers for new clothes. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

ARMEDANGELS ensures their ethics by only working with trusted partners to deliver decent wages and workers’ safety. They directly and actively monitor all their suppliers and the suppliers’ nominated subcontractors via on-site and online Internal Due Diligence Check and Self-Assessment, external audits by Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), Global Organic Textile Standard and third-party audits, continuous support, and tailored training programs by third parties. ARMEDANGELS ensures payment of a living wage in part of their supply chain and pays a markup where they notice wage issues via the living wage project. Most importantly, they are fully transparent about the journey from raw material to their products, especially where people and animals are involved, and the impacts of their actions

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

ARMEDANGELS raises funds by donating part of their sales to support various organizations and campaigns. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they raised €745.800 ($790,883.61 USD) for Doctors Without Borders, facilitating isolation wards, COVID-19 clinics, and protective clothing for medical professionals worldwide. Other fundraising projects include supporting the climate movement with German Zero and the Climate Emergency Fund, fighting for equality with UN Women, advocating for fair payment and safe working conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers with the National Garment Workers Federation, and rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean Sea with Sea-Watch

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: kidswear, menswear
  • Product range: denim jeans, jackets, jumpsuits, shorts, skirts, T-shirts
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XXL
8

Organic Basics: A Carbon Neutral Brand Creating Underwear, Activewear, and Everyday Essentials

Logo for Organic Basics
Screenshot of the Organic Basics front page

We make our basics to be both Earth- and people-friendly — carefully choosing materials and fabrics that care for our environment, only partnering with factories that consider their impact too, and designing all the basics for all bodies.

Organic Basics

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Organic Basics promotes sustainability by choosing fabrics based on their environmental footprint and lifetime durability. Their clothes are made exclusively with natural fabrics (organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard), low-impact textiles (TENCEL™ lyocell certified by the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®), or recycled materials (recycled nylon certified by the Global Recycling Standard). They use a small percentage of elastane (spandex) in some garments, such as in active sports bras, to extend the products’ longevity, which ultimately extends the lifespan. Organic Basics is fully transparent about the impact of their products, enabling consumers to understand their share in using the clothes. Organic Basics partners with Made2Flow, which calculates their emissions, and One Carbon World, which helps them reduce and offset all their emissions. Finally, they are also a B Corporation

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Organic Basics works only with trusted, certified factory partners, who ensure that their workplace is free of child labor and forced labor and that their workers enjoy a safe working space, earn a living wage, and benefit from employee perks like free lunches and childcare. They show full transparency of the location and practices in their factories. Organic Basics also audits or visits most of their suppliers

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Organic Basics donates 1% of the value of all orders to sustainable projects. Their partnership with Beam Impact enables consumers to choose where their 1% donation will go—at no extra cost to the consumers—to support local charities that help Nature Conservation, Ocean Conservation, Rewilding, or Sustainability & Gender Equity.

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear
  • Product range: underwear, bras, bottoms, T-shirts, tops, sweatshirts, hoodies, knitwear dresses, swimwear, socks, plus-size
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XXS–XXL
9

Threads 4 Thought: Everyday Basics Produced Responsibly 

Logo for Threads 4 Thought
Screenshot of the Threads 4 Thought front page

From our original designs to our fabrics to the factory floor, we are committed to leaving an innately smaller impact on our planet.

Threads 4 Thought

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Threads 4 Thought promotes sustainability by sourcing a high proportion of eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester, organic cotton, and modal with Lenzing’s renewable beech tree pulp. For example, the Lunette Sports Bra contains 88% recycled polyester. Further down the life-cycle in manufacturing, they lower their environmental impacts by implementing a dye technology that eliminates all harmful chemicals and reduces water usage during the dyeing process by 95%. They also recycle 80% of their main factory’s industrial wastewater. Additionally, their packing materials are fully FSC-certified, with 90% being WaveBags, which are 100% recyclable, water resistant, and strong. Lastly, 99% of their products are transported by boat rather than air, reducing carbon emissions during the transportation stage. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Threads 4 Thought traces most of their supply chain and reduces their impact through Greenstory. They have a Supplier Code of Conduct that covers all ILO’s Fundamental Freedoms

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Threads 4 Thought partners with the International Rescue Committee to help people displaced due to various conflicts

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: menswear, womenswear, kidswear
  • Product range: sweaters, dresses, pants, jackets, blazers, shorts, hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, tops, blouses, maternity, stockings, tights, jumpsuits, playsuits, sportswear, sleepwear, accessories, plus-size 
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XXL
10

Silou: Luxurious and Sustainable Active Clothing 

Logo for Silou

We strive to be 100% accountable for our sustainable measures—starting with product creation and production, to how our products are packaged and shipped all around the world.

Silou

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Silou is committed to using non-toxic and sustainably sourced and manufactured materials. They source a high proportion of lower-impact materials, including organic cotton under the Better Cotton Initiative, TENCELTM, and recycled nylon (ECONYL®). Additionally, all their products are certified by OEKO-TEX®, meaning that every component of every garment, from button to thread, has been tested for harmful substances and, therefore, is harmless for human health. Silou also opts to work with fabric mills that utilize solar energy to power weaving looms and recycle all waste material, including water, reducing the environmental impacts of their textile materials. Further down the life-cycle in the clothing manufacturing stage, they produce garments in small batches to avoid overproduction, fast fashion, landfill, and return culture. Lastly, they use some recycled packaging

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Silou states that they trace all of their supply chain and make regular visits to their suppliers and factories to ensure their standards adhere to the best standards. Their manufacturing partners are located in Lithuania, Belarus, Portugal, and Italy

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Silou is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: sports bras, leggings, tops, T-shirts, bodysuits, tracksuit bottoms, sweatshirts, shorts, accessories
  • Price range: $$$
  • Size range: XXS–L

Pact: Stylish, Comfortable, Essential Clothing Made Ethically and Sustainably 

Logo for Pact
Screenshot of the Pact front page

“We believe the planet, and the people on it, should always come first in fashion.”

Pact

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Pact ensures sustainability by using low-impact textile and packaging materials, offsetting the carbon impact of all their products, and facilitating the donation of used clothes to reduce waste. They use a high proportion of eco-friendly fabrics, including GOTS-certified organic cotton. Additionally, their clothes are delivered in VelaTM paper bags. These bags are made with carbon-neutral, FSC-certified, recyclable paper. Pact also partners up with SimpliZero. This partnership enables measuring the impact of every product Pact makes and offsetting it through reforestation, renewable energy, and community projects sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Their Give Back Box incentive enables their customers to reuse the boxes their Pact orders came in and donate their used clothes to local charities with the postal fee paid for by Pact. 

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Pact uses Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories, providing safe working conditions, community support, and additional development funds to workers in their supply chain. They also trace most of their supply chain, including all of the final stages of production. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Pact is not known to be part of any giving-back programs. 

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear, menswear
  • Product range: dresses, hoodies, sweatshirts, activewear, sleepwear, maternity wear, T-shirts, underwear, jumpsuits, playsuits, plus-size
  • Price range: $$$
12

Asquith: Ethically Made Garments For Yoga, Pilates, and Living In

Logo for Asquith
Screenshot of the Asquith front page

“We do our best for our planet, customers and employees, at every step along our journey..”

Asquith 

🌎

How do they ensure their sustainability?

Asquith ensures sustainability by sourcing low-impact textile and packaging materials. They source eco-friendly plant-based fabrics, including organic cotton, TENCEL™ Modal, and a textile blend of organic cotton, bamboo, and a small amount of elastane (Bambor®). Asquith also uses OEKO-TEX®-certified viscose fabrics derived from sustainably cultivated bamboo. The dyes they use comply with GOTS and OEKO-TEX® standards. Regarding packaging, Asquith uses no plastics. Their garment bags are made with corn, sugar cane, and potatoes; they are, therefore, renewable, compostable, and biodegradable. The materials for their swing tags and catalogs are recycled and recyclable

🌐

How do they ensure their ethics?

Asquith ensures their ethics by partnering with a GOTS-certified factory for the final stage of production. The factory is audited by SMETA, guaranteeing social standards, environmental conditions, business ethics, and adherence to health and safety procedures. 

🤝

Are they part of any giving-back programs?

Asquith commits to supporting the Prince’s Trust, donating to help young people develop the skills and confidence they need to find a job or start a business.

🛍️

What is their clothing range?

  • Best for: womenswear
  • Product range: leggings, pants, bras, vests, hoodies, sweatshirts, dresses, skirts
  • Price range: $$
  • Size range: XS–XXL

Why Is It Important to Buy Products Made of More Sustainable Fabrics

It is important to buy products made of more sustainable fabrics because a sustainable textile industry has a lower carbon footprint, helps save natural resources, and is better for forests, animals, and humans. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces Your Carbon Footprint 

The production of clothing and footwear is estimated to contribute 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions—more than all international flights and shipping combined. If the fashion industry were a country, it would be the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide

One way to reduce the carbon footprint of the clothes you buy is to opt for sustainable fabrics. Sustainable fabrics, which are often made with natural or recycled fibers, have relatively low carbon footprints compared to petroleum-based fabrics. For example, organic cotton made in the US has a carbon footprint of 2.35 kg CO2 (per ton of spun fiber)—a quarter of polyester’s carbon footprint.

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces Demand For Natural Resources and Waste Management

The textile industry uses water and land to grow cotton and other fibers. It is estimated that 79 billion cubic meters of water were used for the sector worldwide in 2015. For example, producing a single cotton T-shirt requires as much water as one person drinks for 2.5 years (2,700 liters of fresh water).

Worse yet, the textile economy is vastly more linear than circular: the largest amount of resources used in clothes ended up in landfills (instead of being recycled to remake clothes). According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation,

  • Less than 3% of materials used in the textile economy in 2015 came from recycled sources.
  • In other words, more than 97% of resources used in making clothes are newly extracted. 

When clothing items are disposed of within a short period of time—under a year in the case of half of the fast fashion clothes—the natural systems that provide raw materials for fabrics don’t have enough time to recover and regenerate, which could lead to ecological breakdown. 

Sustainable fabrics are made with less water and emissions while lasting longer:

  • Because they are durable, you don’t need to buy new clothes too often. 
  • Thus, you help reduce the pressure to extract more resources for making new items. 

Similarly, making and consuming sustainable fabrics made with recycled materials reduces the demand for virgin materials while helping tackle waste management. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Sustainable Management of Forests

Sustainable natural fiber fabrics are made with raw materials from forests and plantations that are sustainably managed, such as complying with FSC standards

When you buy sustainable natural fiber fabrics, you discourage unsustainable forestry practices like illegal logging. You can help reduce deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the effects of climate change. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Animals 

The fashion industry is rife with animal mistreatment when it comes to making animal-based fabrics like wool or silk. Every year, billions of animals suffer and die for clothing and accessories.

Buying sustainable vegan alternatives can help to reduce the pressure on raising more and more animals to meet the demand for animal-based fabrics while sacrificing their well-being and lives. 

Suppose you have to buy fabrics made with, for example, wool or silk; make sure you only choose brands committed to cruelty-free products. In that case, you help advocate better treatments for animals raised within the textile industry. 

Using Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Textile Workers 

Recent statistics from UNICEF estimated as many as 170 million child laborers worldwide, many of whom were engaged in some form of work in the textile industry. They don’t get paid minimum wages and often work long hours. 

When you buy sustainable fabrics from brands that are transparent about the working conditions at their factories, you discourage the use of child labor and help promote better working conditions for textile workers.

How Can You Generally Buy More Sustainable Fabrics

The key to sustainably buying fabrics is to check on relevant environmental and original certifications. 

For natural fabrics

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A globally recognized certification system that ensures a certain threshold of organic content has been met. It covers manufacturing, packaging, labeling, transportation, and distribution (but not what happens in the fields where crops are grown). 
  • USDA Certified Biobased Product: The USDA BioPreferred® Certification is a voluntary certification offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The certification identifies products made from plants or other renewable materials.
  • Ecolabel: Ecolabel is the official European Union voluntary label recognized worldwide for certified products with a guaranteed, independently verified low environmental impact. The label requires high environmental standards throughout the entire life-cycle: from raw material extraction through production and distribution to disposal. It also encourages companies to develop innovative, durable, easy-to-repair, and recyclable products. 

For natural fiber semi-natural/semi-synthetic fabrics:

  • Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification: PEFC’s approaches to sustainable forest management are in line with protecting the forests globally and locally and making the certificate work for everyone. Getting a PEFC certification is strict enough to ensure the sustainable management of a forest is socially just, ecologically sound, and economically viable but attainable not only by big but small forest owners.

For recycled fabrics:

  • Recycled Claim Standard (RCS): The Textile Exchange RCS was originally developed as an international, voluntary standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled input and chain of custody. 
  • The Global Recycled Standard (GRS): The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. It can be used for any product with more than 20% recycled material.

For all types of fabrics:

  • STeP by OEKO-TEX®: STeP by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification system for brands, retailers, and manufacturers from the textile and leather industry. It communicates organizational environmental measures, including reducing carbon footprint and water usage.
  • OEKO-TEX® Standard 100: OEKO-TEX® labels aim to ensure that products pose no risk to human health (i.e., containing banned chemicals). 

Some certifications that are signaling brands’ efforts toward lowered environmental impacts and a circular economy are: 

  • B Corp Certification: The label B Corp is a certification reserved for for-profit companies. Certified holders are assessed on their social and environmental impacts. 
  • Cradle2Cradle certification: Cradle2Cradle provides a standardized approach to material circularity. It assesses whether products have been suitably designed and made with the circular economy in mind covering five critical categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Final Thoughts

Leggings can often be a high-impact item due to the conventional use of synthetic fabrics for stretch and moisture wicking. Thus, it is important to shop with ethics and sustainability in mind when choosing your next pair of leggings. 

By purchasing leggings from brands that commit to sustainability, you support their mission to create a fairer and less harmful textile industry for all lives on Earth. 

Here is the list (again) of the most sustainable leggings brands:

  • Girlfriend Collective
  • Swedish Stockings
  • Happy Earth Apparel
  • Wolven
  • Tripulse
  • Groceries Apparel
  • ARMEDANGELS
  • Organic Basics
  • Threads 4 Thoughts
  • Silou
  • Pact
  • Asquith

To make your use of these clothing items even more sustainable, follow these steps:

  1. Buy recycled or upcycled leggings made with low-impact materials. 
  2. Keep your leggings for as long as possible.
  3. At the end-of-life of your leggings, upcycle the materials to extend their usage and arrange for them to be recycled or properly disposed of.

Stay impactful,



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