The clothing industry in general has, over the years, tended to kinda suck when it comes to its environmental footprint and other societal issues. Obviously working conditions are a biggie, particularly overseas. Thankfully that perception is starting to change in some respects, as brands try to catch up (and cash in) on the whole sustainability thing.
There have always been companies that put the environment ahead of a buck — Patagonia comes to mind — and here are some younger brands that are helping to make the world a little bit better, while making you look good at the same time.
Started by two socially-conscious brothers, Raan and Shea Parton, in 2004, LA-based Apolis is all about working with a global network of manufacturers to provide economic development opportunities to underserved populations. They also manage to make top-notch, handsome clothing that tends to have an old-world workwear vibe, but with a thoroughly modern edge. Apolis is a certified B corporation, meaning it’s got a proven track record when it comes to how they treat workers and the environment. While feeling good about your clothes is definitely a good thing, you also want them to look great and the company delivers. One of our all-time favorites from the brand is their wool Chore Coat in indigo (top, $278). It features two types of Italian indigo dyed wool yarn woven to create variations in color and texture; a ton of pockets making it great for traveling; and sharp (looking) fallen buffalo horn buttons.
Brendon Babenzien is on a mission to make better clothes and a better world. Noah NYC launched in 2015 and brings together streetwear and classic tailoring with an overarching eye towards sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices. The company sources fabrics from countries with decent environmental laws and works with artisans in countries with fair labor practices. The result is great looking, casual clothes you can feel good about wearing. We dig the zip front hoodie in black ($150). It’s a well-made classic hoodie manufactured in Canada from 100 percent cotton fleece.
Sydney Brown, the vegan shoe company’s namesake, has been making incredibly beautiful and well-made women’s shoes for awhile now, since 2011 to be exact, but only recently moved into the men’s shoe arena. We’re glad she did. Her current line includes a low top, high top (currently unavailable), and a sandal-high top sneaker hybrid. They’re all handmade from cork, a sustainable resource, in Portugal, that’s then bonded to organic cotton. The bottoms are made from a natural rubber, instead of manmade materials, and include a synthetic liner made from recycled plastic bottles. Besides being environmentally sound, and vegan-friendly, they’re stunning and unique (down to each individual shoe, since the cork has natural variations). We personally love the low sneaker in chalk ($210), an alluring alternative to the ubiquitous white leather sneakers.
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