The United States being such a big country and at the same time having a consumerist mentality (20 billion items of clothing bought each year) contributes massively to the footprint that the fast fashion leaves behind. The average American household spends around $1.800 per year on garments, positioning the United States along with China the biggest clothing spenders.
Thankfully, consumers have become more aware of the impacts that their purchases have affected our planet and that also forced companies to change their business models. Without a doubt there is a place for improvement however I do see that many American companies are making an extra effort on producing more ethically and more sustainably.
I have shared in the post “4 Sustainable Fashion Brands that are changing the game” some of my favorite american sustainable brands, but there are plenty more from where to choose that’s why it wasn’t easy to select just three for this post.
Let’s start with the list!
If you are someone that doesn’t follow trends and you are more of a minimalist type then you must take a look at Eileen Fisher collections. Simple, timeless clothes, designed with the future in mind is how the brand describes itself.
What sustainable action do they take?
- Transparency They are very open with where they produce and with whom they collaborate for their garment production. The band even shares the list of suppliers on their website. One of their employees duties is to track their clothes from the field to the factories in order to ensure that only organic cotton is used and only safety dyed techniques are implemented.
- Use of recycled and responsable fabrics
“I envision a future where the clothing industry actually helps restore the planet. Just imagine the impact if every company took their clothes back and turned then into new designs” – by the founder Eileen Fisher
Wool – before collaborating with the wool farms they make sure to know how the farm is managing their animals and land. They only choose farms with commun values to theirs.
Recycled Cashmere – They believe that choosing the recycled material is always a better option to reduce the impacts on the land.
Recycled Nylon – recycled Nylon gives a repurpose to the waste from a variety of sources such as fiber left over, nylon fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Recycled Polyester – using recycled polyester is always the best option, however the brand is well aware than the recycle process of this fiber has a down side, that’s why they try to be as strategic as possible with it. Their solution to this issue is using both recycled polyester and nylon for garments that don’t require as many washes in order to decrease the plastic microfibers pollution.
Leather – The brand is very honest and transparent about the fact that there is a place for improvement however they are working together with Leather Working Group (association that sets industry benchmarks and audits tanneries for environment performance) since 2013 to improve the supply chain for leather.
- Sustainable Dyeing
The brand is certified by the BLUESIGN® CERTIFIED ( is one of the most stringent list of restricted chemicals for dyeing and finishing). The brand believes that using safer chemicals from the beginning means that there is less to clean up in the wastewater, which means less energy use.
The brand also educates customers on how they can become more sustainable with their garments. If you are someone that wants to find more on how you can become more sustainable when washing and why it is important to recycle everything take a look at their repair and care page.
One of the actions that Eileen Fisher takes to become more sustainable that I think is amazing is the second life that they give to their garments. The brand has been collecting for more than a decade Eileen Fisher garments. The items that are still in good condition, they clean them and resell them and the items that can’t be sold anymore are used to create new designs that are sold as limited editions. This is a perfect example of not letting anything to waste!
This brand will be a must know brand if you are an outdoor person. Their collection is perfect for people that love camping, hikes or simply spend time with their families and friends outside in nature. I personally love their sweaters and t-shirts, but now let’s see what sustainable actions the brand takes.
What makes them sustainable?
- They use 100% vegan materials
- Their fabrics come from organic farming
- Fair trade practices prioritizes the planet’s habitats and bolster in communities
- 100% carbon neutral
- When creating a product they always think on how that product will impact the environment. Putting the planet first is their main priority
- They use Zero Waste Packing
- Their items are all made with organic cotton
What I love about this brand is that they are well informed about how different actions can negatively affect the planet and with their projects they try to reduce those impacts.
Here is a list of some of my favorite projects that they initiated:
Affordable Cookstoves for Ugandans
According to their website, 90% of Ugandans cook over an open flame, which emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that adds to climate change.
This project supports the productions of more affordable cookstoves than otherwise would be unattainable for most of the people. They were able not just to reduce emissions and fuel by 50% but also helped the families to save $110 a year, which is a 20% of the locals total income. Those stoves are made locally, helping the Uganda economy by creating jobs. Happy Earth is able to reduce 1 million tonnes of emissions annuallythanks to the project, isn’t this great?
Native American Methane Capture
Apparently, in Colorado when mountains slowly shift something called methane (which is 25 times more potent than GHG carbon dioxide) escapes from the earth’s crust into the atmosphere.
The brand helps the Ute tribe to capture this methane to provide energy for homes, businesses and schools on the reservation. This project helps to create local jobs for the tribe, reduces the demand for natural gas in that area, prevents invasive and fracking.
Address the Cause
The last cause that I think that is a great initiative is the one that they call Address the Cause that is focused on Planting trees for the Future. Millions of smallholder farming families living in extreme poverty places around the world use very harmful agriculture methods that degrade the ecosystem, solid, water and trees. Over the past 30 years this project has been developing, training and implementing the Forest Garden way to help farmers increase their food, wood and income. Using the Forest Garden way has increased the income of these families by 400% in 4 years. Forest Gardens consist of thousands of trees including fast-growing trees, fruit trees, hardwoods and food crops – over 2,500 trees per acre.
When you get your product you can check the impact pin that the brand provides, it enables you to track how many trees have been planted, how much emission has been reduced and how much trash has been reduced from natural areas.
(This is the positive impact that the brand achieved with the help of their customers!)
One of the reasons why I love this brand is that they create a really cool easy going style both for women and men. If comfort, quality and sustainability is what you care for when choosing a brand then you will love what Outerknown has to offer.
They strongly believe that sustainability should be the only way to go when making clothes. It took them 28 months and a lot of effort to find partners that shared the same values and mission but they believed that they could make their dream come true.
What makes them sustainable?
- 90% of the fibers are organic, recycled or regenerated
- 100% of their board shorts are made of recycled or renewable fiber
- Through Fair Trade USA, the brand invests in the livelihoods of over 5K workers who bring their vision to life.
- Outerknown was the first brand to pursue Fair Labor Association accreditation before ever shipping a product.
- They offer repair, replace or recycle for life in order for their jeans not to end up in landfills
Some of their actions to build a more sustainable industry that I found outstanding are the following:
- Launched two campaigns to raise awareness to the massive issue of ocean plastic
The founders being surfers and ocean lovers they are deeply committed to plastic free oceans. All the money raised from the campaigns were donated to Ocean Conservancy.
“By collecting the fishing nets that are regenerated into ECONYL® products, we lessen our environmental impact while also cleaning up the oceans that we love so much.”–Kelly Slater
- Buttons also have a story to tell at Outerknown
They collect plastic bottles and transform them into buttons for their S.E.A. LEGS. collection. They also put the coordinates of where the plastic was harvested in each button.
- Their APEX Surf shorts were made from recycled water bottles
Their boardshorts are not just sustainable but are also high-performance, they have been tested by Kelly Slater himself! So, I guess there is no doubt from where you should consider to get the next boardshorts, right?
- Partnered with Breitling to introduce ECONYL to the luxury watch world
Both brands share the same value of quality that last for generations. For every watch that was sold the brand donated $1000 to Ocean Conservancy.
Let me know in the comments below which is the brand that you like the most and why?