You’ve probably heard that the fashion industry has some problems.
Burberry burned $36.5 million worth of clothes in 2017 and had been burning clothes for years before they were called out. Eventually, public pressure led to a promise from the brand to change this policy, but it doesn’t account for the damage done for years before.
The Rana Plaza factory that collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed 1138 people, produced clothes for Wal-Mart, Zara, and many other notable brands. The collapse was caused by critical structural issues, which the brands producing there should have been responsible for.
Brands like Gap, H&M, and Adidas have been linked to factories poisoning the rivers in Indonesia. And don’t forget, Gap owns many brands including Old Navy and Banana Republic.
These are just the brands that have been caught. Most big brands hide their supply chains, because as we know transparency is critical for accountability.
The good news is that we need not buy from any of these brands. We can vote with our dollars to buy from brands that represent our values.
Let’s vote for brands that are taking tangible measures to pay workers fairly, provide safe working conditions, and reduce the environmental impact of making clothes. You need not make sacrifices on price, style, or quality to make a positive impact.
With this list of 12 brands you’ll find high quality items, great style, and competitive pricing. While the price of ethically sourced clothes will never be as low as fast fashion, if you calculate the cost per wear, by dividing the price by the number of wears, you’ll find options that are built to last much more cost effective than fast fashion.
These brands are all based in the US so for American shoppers you won’t pay any premium on shipping or increase your carbon footprint.
Here’s 12 go-to ethical men’s brands to cover all your wardrobe needs.
LA based Outerknown’s moto is “For People and Planet” and you can see this in the way they do business.
Outerknown was founded in 2015 by Kelly Slater, 11-time World Surf League Champion, and designer John Moore, who previously worked with brands such as Quicksilver. They wanted a conscious clothing brand that provided better looking men’s clothes for surfers, without all the logos, and without being part of the fashion industry’s dark side.
What you have today is far more than just a brand for surfers. Outerknown provides eco-friendly and ethically made menswear including jeans, blazers, shirts, and sweaters.
A company that values fair trade and sustainable sourcing, and is transparent in its supply chain, Outerknown produces products you can feel good about. For example, many of their products are made with organic cotton and recycled materials.
Pesticides used on conventional cotton pollute our soil and water, kill wildlife, and poison farmworkers. Organic cotton uses none of those pesticides.
Outerknown’s jeans are made with organic cotton and produced at Saitex, the leading sustainable denim factoring in the world. At Saitex nearly all the water used in production is recycled and filtered, eliminating the toxic wastewater that many denim factories dump into rivers.
2. United By Blue
United by Blue is a Philadelphia, PA based B Corporation. B Corporations are businesses that are certified for high social and environmental performance. Think of it as a stamp of approval for social good enterprises.
As part of its mission, United by Blue removes a pound of garbage from our waterways and oceans for every purchase. As of 8/7/2020 they have removed 3,393,688 pounds of garbage!
In 2018 UBB “hosted cleanups in over 20 different states, picked up over 250 tons of trash, and worked with over 2,500 volunteers.” You can also see their commitment in the materials they use, from recycled polyester to organic cotton, and buttons made from nuts.
Vustra hand selects facilities dedicated to community growth, women’s empowerment, and uses low impact dyes. Looking great and making a positive impact just got way more synonymous.
Vustra offers stylish button up shirts that are both affordable and sustainably made. All the shirts in their first collection are 100% certified organic cotton and made in Fair Trade factories.
Cofounder Parth Desai says he was inspired to start Vustra by both the Rana Plaza Incident and the Fashion Revolution. He wanted to give customers ethically made men’s button-ups that are more colorful and have unique patterns compared to the other options out there.
Sustainable fashion is often perceived as only having basics, like plain white button-ups. Vustra fills that space with brilliant patterns and colors in an ethical brand.
Vustra is based in San Jose, California. Use promo code ECOSTYLIST for 30% off.
Pact Apparel is based in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in 2009, they give us super soft organic cotton basics that make the world a better place.
The products are 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, made in Fair Trade factories, and vegan. Pact is great for underwear, socks, tees, henleys, hoodies, sweats, and polos.
Pact products are affordable, soft, well-fitted, and ethically made. Pretty hard to beat that combination.
5. Taylor Stitch
Taylor Stitch has a great selection of basics and men’s essentials responsibly built for the long haul. Since each item is crowd funded, they never over produce, eliminating the problem of wasteful excess inventory.
Founded in 2009, Taylor Stitch is based in San Francisco, CA. They have a stunning selection of shirts and blazers, and sometimes do limited runs of suits as well as shoes.
Taylor Stitch embraces ethical practices, ensuring fair wages and benefits for workers. They have also made good effort to improve the sustainability of their manufacturing over the last few years, incorporating organic cotton and other sustainable materials.
Taylor Stitch is a go-to for durable men’s staples.
6. Arvin Goods
Arvin Goods is a Seattle, WA based brand on a mission to create the cleanest basics on the planet. They started with your feet!
Arvin Goods makes socks from recycled materials with processes that save water and use no harmful chemicals or dyes. Their process begins with reclaimed textiles and ends with an upcycled yarn of the highest caliber.
7. Zero Waste Daniel
Zero Waste Daniel is a unisex apparel brand made entirely from fabric scraps. These scraps come from factories and manufacturers that would otherwise send them to landfill.
This makes each piece from Zero Waste Daniel unique to you. Handmade in Brooklyn, Zero Waste Daniel was founded by Daniel Silverstein.
This NYC brand is helping us solve our ever-growing clothing waste problem and bringing awareness to the issue. Did you know the average American throws away around 80 pounds of clothes per year?
Let’s get woke AF to trash.
INDIGENOUS has been in the sustainable fashion game for over 25 years! They offer timeless pieces for the modern man, made the right way.
In their last impact report they shared annual savings of 45,600 lbs of CO2, 13 million gallons of water, 400 lbs of pesticides kept off the land, and employment of 1000 artisans in Peru. INDIGENOUS is a certified B Corporation based in California.
9. Conscious Step
To date they have provided 26,000 meals, protected over 2,000 rainforest trees, planted 58,000 trees, and donated 82,000 books, just to name a few. They do this with the help of their non-profit partners, including Oceana, Trees for the Future, and many more.
The socks are made from organic cotton, Fair Trade certified, and vegan certified. This means no pesticides, no child labor, and no animals.
Originally inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Conscious Step was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in NYC.
10. Known Supply
Known Supply is the real leader of radical transparency. Each item you buy has a tag with the name of the maker, whom you can then “meet” on Known Supply’s website.
They pay fair wages, use sustainable fabrics, and offer a great selection of tees, hoodies, hats, beanies, masks, and more. Known Supply is based in Los Angeles, California.
To learn more about them check out our interview with their founder, Kohl Crecelius.
11. Adelante Shoe Co.
Boston based Adelante Shoe Company was founded in 2016 by Peter Sacco. Their sophisticated leather shoes are handmade in Guatemala.
You won’t find a Fair Trade stamp on their website. Why? After analyzing data that shows a gap between Fair Trade and a living wage, Adelante decided to measure their own living wage, which they call the Living Well Line. In this way, all of Adelante’s workers are paid a living wage, above and beyond industry standards.
Having traveled to Latin America many times, Peter wanted to make a difference in addressing some of the economic hardships he saw first-hand. Adelante “envisions a future in which business is used to reduce poverty and promote inclusive development worldwide.”
Get $25 off any pair of these ethically made shoes. Coupon code automatically applied at checkout.
Based in Nashville, TN, Nisolo is a certified B Corporation that pays producers on average 27% above Fair-Trade requirements. Most of their shoes are handmade in Mexico and Peru, with a small percentage of its products made in Kenya.
Nisolo is also a partner with Soles4Souls, a shoe reclamation and recycling program. Their aim is to collect 5,000 pairs of shoes by 2020. This will create more jobs repairing the shoes, and ultimately the shoes will go to people in need.
In order to offset carbon emissions, Nisolo also makes a contribution to the Amazon Basin for every pair of shoes sold. In 2018, their goal was to protect 60,000 trees in the Amazon, helping offset CO2 and protect wild forests.
That wraps up 12 brands to help you find ethical and dapper menswear. Which brand is your favorite?
If you enjoyed this article, please share it. The more we promote conscious shopping the more change we can make together.
Looking for something you couldn’t find from the 12 brands above? Drop us a comment letting us know what you’re looking for and we’d be happy to help you find it.
*Article updated 1/17/21
Garik Himebaugh is the founder of Eco-Stylist, the go-to source for ethical clothing. He’s also an international speaker on sustainable fashion and a sustainable personal stylist. Garik loves coffee, climbing, and clothes.