Eight Sustainable Menswear Labels to Keep You Swaggy This Earth Day

Save the globe — starting with your duds

By Reuben Brody

How to Save the Earth Without Looking Like a Hippy
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22 April 2016

Happy Earth Day.

To honor it, we’d like to direct your gaze toward a grip of entrepreneurs and designers who stitch up everyday necessities that work with the planet, not against it.

These companies embody what MBA programs term the “Triple Bottom Line,” a thoughtful approach that accounts for the effects on the people and the planet while turning a buck.

Now, before we get any further, this is not an invitation for you to throw out all your clothes and replace them with new ones. That’s wasteful no matter how sustainable the duds are. Rather, think of it as a shopping list to turn your attention to the next time you’re in need of a re-up.

Go easy, and shop ethically.

Industry of All Nations
Their wares: A variety of mens and womens apparel with a well-traveled look and feel
Do-goodery: Transparent supply chain, they pay their producers a fair wage, and their products are made with natural and organic materials that aren’t harmful to the earth.
Must haves: Selvedge denim naturally dyed with shellac, iron, indigo, seeds and barks and the espadrilles, which are made of comfy canvas and twine.

Bureo
Their wares: Skateboards and sunnies
Do-goodery:  Everything’s made from recycled fishing nets collected via Bureo’s Net Positiva program, a fishnet collection and recycling program in Chile. It generates funds for programs that empower coastal communities affected by plastic pollution.
Must have: Sunnies made from 100% traceable and recycled nylon nets. The frames are designed and sourced in Chile, their polarized lenses are made in Italy by Carl Zeiss.

Outerknown
Their wares:
Champion surfer Kelly Slater’s churched-up line of active and casual clothes.
Do-goodery: Many of Outerknown’s goods are made with ECONYL, another South American synthetic made from recycled fishing nets. They also use hemp and organic cotton. All of it’s sourced from producers who pay a fair wage. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate that there are more than 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets in the oceans, which are often responsible for the accidental capture of whales, turtles, birds and other marine life. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that nearly 1,000 whales, porpoises and dolphins die every day in nets and fishing gear.
Must have: The new boardshorts made with ECONYL. Comfy. Quick-drying. Good pockets.  

Jungmaven
Their wares:
Soft, summery shirts with a ‘60s California vibe.
Do-goodery: The bulk of their wares are spun from hemp, a fabric that requires little water, no pesticides and soaks up CO2 like a sponge. This July, Congress votes on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which will make it easier for companies to use this renewable resource. Support it.
Must have: How ‘bout some tie dye, brah?

Alternative Apparel
Their wares:
Think the Venice Beach to Downtown L.A.’s American Apparel.
Do-goodery: Their G2 washers use 60 percent less water. They also use low-impact dyes and recycled poly materials.
Must have: Their tee that says, “I Care About the Earth and Stuff.”

Toad&Co
Their wares:
Plaid wovens and natural-toned duds that scream bucolic refinement.
Do-goodery: In addition to using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, they employ adults with disabilities.
Must haves: The organic cotton Maneuver Shirt and the organic cotton Arlo Apron.

Pistol Lake
Their wares:
Newcomer to the sports apparel scene.
Do-goodery: They make their activewear from organic cotton and eucalyptus, which doesn’t get stinky, meaning you can wear it more frequently and use less water to maintain it.
Must have: The v-neck tee shirt.

Patagonia
Their wares: You’ve probably heard of ‘em; they’ve been making outdoor gear and technical clothing for a hot minute.
Do-goodery: Too much to mention. Their latest campaign, Tools Conference, brings together experts in the field to provide practical training for activists.
Must have: The Houdini jacket, a versatile, minimalist multi-sport shell offering protection from the elements without interfering with the experience. Blocks the weather, weighs four ounces and packs snugly into its own small, vertically zippered chest pocket. Goes everywhere.  

Main image via Outerknown

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