We probably don’t need to tell you that the production of synthetic materials like spandex and nylon isn’t exactly amazing for the environment. But as active women, we get that these fabrics offer comfort and convenience that are hard to give up. The good news? Stylish eco-conscious activewear does exist. Many brands have found ways to use organic cotton, bamboo and other materials to fashion activewear pieces that won’t pollute our oceans, landfills and even the digestive tracts of living organisms. Others are leaving their mark by being conscious when it comes to choosing packaging materials. Like opting for eco-friendly packaging and partaking in initiatives like DHL Go Green Solutions to help reduce environmental impact. Then there are the brands that make it a point to repurpose synthetic materials. Here’s a look at the stylish standouts that are making serious efforts to be eco-friendly.
MEYIA is a recently launched eco-conscious Greek brand already popular with a number of wellness influencers, including Melissa Wood. It uses recycled Italian fabrics like ECONYL, a 100 percent regenerated nylon yarn made from recovered post-consumer waste and transformed into a new polyamide yarn boasting the same properties and qualities as virgin nylon. By using materials found in landfills and oceans around the world (think discarded fishing nets, industrial plastic waste and fabric scraps), it helps clean seas and save sea life. The brand’s fabrics also offer UV protection and are resistant to environmental aggressors.
All of Pact’s activewear pieces are made from organic cotton, which saves water and avoids the use of toxic chemicals. The brand also exclusively works with Fair Trade Certified factories that ensure safe working conditions, uplift local communities and protect the environment. Pact uses paper envelopes made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paperboard and cardboard boxes made with 98 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Plus, the bags the garments come in are made with biodegradable plastic.
Organic Basics lists 26 reasons why it’s so committed to making positive environmental change. It only works with trusted, certified factory partners committed to reducing their environmental footprints. (Click here to see all the factories Organic Basics works with.) The brand handpicks every fabric used based on its environmental footprint and lifetime durability and sticks exclusively to ones that are natural, renewable, recycled, biodegradable and low-impact. In keeping with the brand name, Organic Basics focuses on monochromatic sets you can wear season after season.
Summersalt is best known for its swimwear and cover-ups, but has a growing activewear offering. The brand is focused on using recycled materials that are naturally moisture-wicking making for workout gear you can wear for your sweatiest sessions. Everything comes shipped in poly bags that are made from recycled materials and the shipping mailer is designed for multiple uses to reduce waste on returns. Lastly, the label’s promotional postcards are made from recycled or FSC certified paper whenever possible.
Groceries Apparel manufactures its clothes in its own Los Angeles factory to ensure standards are fully met. The brand has a vertically-integrated, local and traceable production system designed to maximize quality, efficiency and employee pay. It also minimizes redundancy, waste and the label’s carbon footprint. Its garments and delivery boxes are made using hemp, recycled cotton, vegetable dyes and recycled plastic. Its signature styles include colorblocking, tie-dye and mismatched monochromatic separates making for versatile pieces you can wear every day.
Cotopaxi has you covered on the apparel front with eco-conscious options whether you’re looking to work out at home or hike in the great outdoors. The B Corp-certified brand goes the extra mile by focusing on materials and an overall environment designed to be low-impact, from start to finish. Its website is filled with detailed reports on how the label is working to help the global environmental and poverty crises as well as insight into its factories and design process.
This Australian brand uses natural fibers, including organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and linen to create its breathable, body-flattering pieces. Arcaa Movement is also focused on reducing production waste. For example pieces are knitted when possible, which makes for less waste in the production process compared to a woven construction. Each panel is knitted to the exact shape required therefore eliminating leftover fabrics aside from leftover yarns that are used for future developments. Printed and dyed fabrics are free from harmful chemicals and all orders are shipped in 100 percent compostable bags that break down in three to five years. The brand’s currently moving toward using 100 percent recycled swing tags and cards.