Sustainable Clothing Brands: Stitch Fix’s Guide


At Stitch Fix, we believe we are responsible for the change we want to see. As a result, we are committed to partnering with more sustainable clothing brands.  Our sustainability goals keep our purpose top of mind to create a positive impact that Mother Nature will appreciate. A number of companies we partner with are also prioritizing environmental and social responsibility throughout the lifespan of a garment. It starts with establishing an ethical supply chain and ends with a greener planet. 

Brands can’t achieve sustainability all at once. It takes impactful steps, and truthfully, there’s still more work to do across the industry at large. Fortunately, some fashion brands are stepping up to the challenge. With one fashionable foot in front of the other, these companies strive to make our planet a healthier and happier place. 

What is a Sustainable Clothing Brand?

A more sustainable clothing brand strives to impact people, the planet and animals in a positive manner. At Stitch Fix, we collaborate with brands that use sustainable materials, responsibly produce their products and give back in both small and big ways. Sustainable materials vary and range from organic cotton to recycled polyester. Companies that produce their products responsibly treat their workers with respect and create impactful community development. Giving back comes in many forms. Companies across the globe reinvest in people and our planet in a multitude of ways. From donating a percentage of proceeds to charity to establishing recycling programs, these “give back” companies make a big difference. Sustainable clothing is a great way to make a statement in your fashion.

Steps Sustainable Clothing Brands Take To Reduce Their Environmental Impact

Did you know it can take about 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans? Multiply that by the number of jeans hanging in your closet. Don’t worry. Our cheeks were red when we did the math, too. To be kinder to Mother Nature, a growing list of more sustainable clothing brands have made significant changes to their environmental impact by analyzing their carbon footprints.

Many of these companies honor the beauty of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. 1822 Denim has a collection of jeans made from 30% recycled plastic bottles and 100% recycled water. BedHead Pajamas said I do to organic materials and committed to making all sleepwear with organically-grown cotton in April 2020. The denim brand, KanCan, gave the boot to non-eco-friendly dyes and reduced their usage of water. 

 Curious how these changes are making a difference? Let’s find out.

Use Recycled Materials

Many more sustainable clothing brands are using recycled polyester as an eco-friendly alternative to virgin polyester. Instead of introducing new artificial materials to the world, existing plastic comes into play. Shredding plastic bottles into flakes and melting them into pellets to make yarn is just one example of many. With this yarn, a new garment is born. Fascinating, right?

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective, an ethically made activewear company, claims to be Earth’s number one fan. They save used plastic water bottles and turn them into clothes. In addition to recycled plastic, they use fishing nets and other former waste to create fashionable bras, leggings and shorts. Wear this season’s comfiest trend, women’s loungewear, with confidence, knowing you’re supporting a greater cause. Fun fact: they make each pair of leggings from 25 recycled post-consumer bottles, which would have ultimately ended up in landfills. Bravo, Girlfriend Collective.

BLANK NYC

Manhattan-born denim brand, BLANK NYC, takes a unique approach by using pre-consumer recycled cotton. This is a major opportunity for the apparel industry because it means repurposing manufacturing waste, including scraps and trimmings. With this process, no new dyeing is necessary, which saves water and reduces chemical exposure.

Choose Organic and Eco-Responsible Materials

Organic materials are like the organic produce at your local grocery store. What are the benefits? They’re both free from pesticides and other synthetic substances—good for the soil, and safe for farmers. Let’s keep our beautiful planet in mind, too. In general, organic cotton has the lowest environmental impact of all cotton types. The use of organic and eco-responsible materials generate lower emissions and water impact, keeping our planet safer. That’s a win-win in our book. 

Thread & Supply

While many sustainable clothing brands opt for organic cotton, and deservedly so, it’s not the only more sustainable option. Thread & Supply, known for their cozy closet staples, dabbles in an array of eco-conscious materials. TENCEL™ LYOCELL, made from sustainably sourced, natural raw material wood, is just one fabric you’ll see in their selection. It’s soft, breathable and wrinkle-resistant—it gets an A+ for traveling in a suitcase to a hot and humid destination.

Thread & Supply also uses LENZING™ ECOVERO™ VISCOSE, another common fabric seen among more sustainable clothing brands. It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional viscose, which uses heavy chemicals to make soft and silky fabrics. Making LENZING™ ECOVERO™ VISCOSE generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to conventional viscose. Want to keep an eye out for even more sustainable materials in your next Fix? Ask your stylist for linen, modal and cupro—just to name a few.

Reduce Water Usage

From a young age, we’re taught to take shorter showers and turn off the tap when brushing our teeth. Many sustainable clothing brands are joining us in these efforts to protect our most precious resource—water. There’s no denying these minor changes have a positive effect. Wondering what larger companies are doing to contribute to a greener planet? We’re excited to showcase a few Stitch Fix brands that are making big changes to conserve water.

Kut from the Kloth

Remember how many gallons are used to make a single pair of jeans? A household name and denim mastermind, Kut from the Kloth, uses an e-Flow technology that has reduced their water usage by up to 95%. This process applies air instead of water to give denim a washed look with zero discharge.  

Toad & Co

Toad & Co has made it known that cleaning up the apparel industry is an integral part of their ethos. They are on a mission to decrease their water usage by 100,000 liters each year by 2025. A closed-loop production process is used to ensure wastewater doesn’t leave the factory. Instead, it’s filtered and circulated back into the system to be reused. Toad & Co understands every drop counts when saving water.

Select Eco-Friendly Dyes

We’re pining over the rich dyes of the desert daze trend with its earthy hues like olive green and mustard yellow. Today, a majority of manufacturers use synthetic dyes. Many brands are seeking greener ways to produce the colors we know and love. Eco-friendly dyes lack heavy metals and have a higher absorption rate, resulting in less run-off in the water. Using dyes that Mother Nature would approve of are also a top priority for some brands we carry at Stitch Fix. Is your interest piqued? If so, keep reading.     

 Liverpool

More sustainable clothing brands are saying goodbye to toxic-dyes for good. Liverpool, a beloved denim company at Stitch Fix, is opting for aniline-free dyes instead. There are many benefits to this indigo-dying process, like helping to prevent skin irritation. It also reduces the pollution of air and waterways in surrounding communities. 

Sustainable Clothing Brands: Making Strides to Produce Apparel Responsibly 

Stitch Fix partners with more sustainable clothing brands that are taking steps to implement ethical practices. These companies produce their products with established efforts to care for the well-being of the workers who make the product. Some brands at Stitch Fix are using materials acquired from animals without causing them harm. We think that’s the cat’s meow. This means your next Fix can be jam-packed with pieces you can feel good about wearing without compromising style. 

Worker Well-Being

Stitch Fix understands the importance of the well-being of workers that produce more sustainable clothing brands. When workers feel safe and valued at work, they can innovate and take creativity to new levels. In addition to curtailing environmental impact, many vendors are committed to providing safe working conditions. This includes upholding local labor laws and international standards on human rights. Let’s dive into some brands we carry at Stitch Fix that value their workers’ health and happiness while also creating sustainable products.

Girlfriend Collective

Yes, we’re raving about Girlfriend Collective again. We applaud their goal of being as transparent as possible. They make all of their fabrics from recycled materials in a Taiwan facility that specializes in high-quality textiles. The garments are cut and sewn in partner facilities that were carefully chosen for their ethics and values. The core factory in Vietnam guarantees fair wages, safe and healthy conditions and zero tolerance toward forced or child labor. 

New Balance

New Balance has a mission to bring healthy change through movement to communities around the world. Through grants, global volunteerism, sponsorships, donations and more, the New Balance Foundation aims to improve the well-being of families worldwide. They are committed to this goal—100% of women in their footwear factories will benefit from education courses by 2025. Request New Balance running shoes in your next Fix and hit your stride, and let those feel-good endorphins shine. 

Threads 4 Thought

Threads 4 Thought is dedicated to creating activewear products that reduce the impact on our environment. Besides using more sustainable materials, they pride themselves on working exclusively with factories that hold social and environmental certifications. For transparency, they also publish their factory list online to build a culture of trust.

Respecting Animals

The welfare of animals may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about fashion. But if you share our love for furry, feathery and scaly friends, there are a few things you should know. Advancements in modern textiles give us animal-friendly options that are indistinguishable from animal-derived products. Want to learn more about the Stitch Fix sustainable clothing brands dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals? Keep scrolling.

Save The Duck

Save The Duck is a more sustainable clothing brand offered at Stitch Fix and born with the mission to save birds. Built into their DNA, both in their name and brand philosophy, respecting animals is essential at Save The Duck. They are committed to being cruelty-free, and don’t use any components in their outerwear that may have caused harm to animals. Using PLUMTECH® instead of feathers has saved over 18,000,000 ducks since 2015. PETA has recognized these efforts and has repeatedly rewarded Save The Duck for their ethics toward animals. Stay warm while also feeling great about supporting a cruelty-free brand.

Madewell

Madewell is another sustainable clothing brand that believes in delivering the best products while honoring social responsibility commitments. This includes responsible and humane animal welfare practices. Madewell is proud to be fur and angora-free, and does not source any down for their products. All leather used at Madewell is a byproduct of the meat industry. They also support the use of wool that is sourced from humanely raised sheep according to the Responsible Wool Standard.  

Fair Trade Sustainable Clothing Brands

Stitch Fix offers sustainable clothing brands that certify their product as Fair Trade. For a product to become Fair Trade-certified, it must meet rigorous social, environmental and economic standards. Meeting these meticulous standards ensures safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods and community development funds. Purchasing Fair Trade apparel guarantees that workers earn a livable wage and sustainable practices are in place. 

prAna

prAna is a Fair Trade-certified brand at Stitch Fix that believes people matter most. prAna was one of the first clothing brands to partner with Fair Trade USA in 2010. This sustainable fashion brand only purchases products from Fair Trade certified factories. This ensures that safety measures protect workers’ physical and mental health. prAna’s goal is to make 100% of products in a Fair Trade certified factory by 2028.

Carbon Offsets

Many sustainable clothing brands are investing in our future by purchasing carbon offsets. These offsets or credits compensate for emissions made during the life cycle of a garment’s creation. Carbon offsets seek to address climate change and can encourage the growth of renewable energy. A selection of the sustainable clothing brands Stitch Fix carries uses carbon offsets to mitigate its carbon footprint. 

The North Face

Built on a love of nature, The North Face believes exploration has the power to change lives and connect communities. As an outdoor retail company, they have seen firsthand the effects of our warming planet. In their climate advocacy, The North Face has partnered with over 1,000 companies urging lawmakers to take action on the climate emergency. 

Since 2007 they have offset 100% of business travel and employee commuting through The Conservation Fund. This fund is used to plant trees that absorb carbon, protecting national wildlife refuges. Besides trapping carbon, the forests’ protection and rehabilitation provide habitats for wildlife, filtered drinking water and boost local economies. Layer on a hoodie from The North Face and never stop exploring.

Level 99

Level 99 is a more sustainable clothing brand with a mantra of—less water, less waste. They consider the environmental impact of materials, energy use, waste and carbon emissions with a holistic approach. They spotlight sustainability when creating pieces aimed to celebrate everyday beauty with a nod to effortless style. Request a pair of jeans, pants, leggings and shorts from Level 99 in your next Fix. They are the ideal anchor for all of your ensembles.

Level 99 has been using carbon offsets to give back for the last six years. They have donated a portion of their sales toward planting trees, greenhouse gas reduction projects and renewable energy. Even better, renewable energy sources like solar and wind help offset their carbon footprint.

Stylist Tip: Have a pair of jeans that feel too big? Instead of tossing them, get more wear out of them with our tips and tricks on how to shrink jeans for the perfect fit.

Sustainable Clothing Brands that Give Back

On a local and global scale, giving back is at the top of the to-do list for many sustainable clothing brands. The give back philosophy takes many forms, from planting trees to manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the pandemic to donating to environmental charities. With each purchase from a sustainable clothing brand, a portion of the proceeds benefit people, animals or the planet. At Stitch Fix, we’re proud to partner with brands that have a firm commitment to giving back to the communities they serve. 

Doing good

Many sustainable clothing brands are doing good for the environment. Now more than ever, companies are establishing programs that allow their clients to get involved. From instituting recycling programs to stepping up during the pandemic, our partners rise to the challenges facing us day in and day out. 

Marine Layer

Marine Layer set out to make the most comfortable tee ever. It started with a classic tee and grew to offer sweaters, dresses, loungewear and more. Basically, this includes the comfortable yet stylish clothes you reach for when deciding what to wear when you work from home

There are several ways in which Marine Layer gives back. To keep clothing out of landfills, Marine Layer launched the Re-Spun Program. It starts with saving 175,000 T-shirts destined for a landfill to repurpose. Out of these recycled tees, their team created 46 new styles using re-spun materials. 

Rails

When the world slowed down last year at the pandemic’s onset, many fashion brands quickly pivoted. Rails is a sustainable clothing brand where the Southern California lifestyle effortlessly blends with a polished European aesthetic. Rails paused garment production to produce non-medical masks from 100% cotton for personal use and protection. Looking to add a plaid mask to your wardrobe? Rails printed masks make a statement.

Rails has donated over 150,000 non-medical masks to local communities. Additionally, school districts across the country received 35,000 masks. To help frontline workers, Rails donated 10,000 medical masks to healthcare workers in cities around the U.S. 

Charitable Contributions

Sustainable clothing brands also give back through traditional charitable contributions. These donations uplift communities and help to restore our planet. A small amount goes a long way and creates a lasting impact. By supporting brands that give back, you have a hand in making the world a better place. 

Faherty

In search of an endless summer, the Faherty brothers started this ‘hippie-surf’ company. They have everyday casual classics in soft fabrications that evoke a sun-soaked lifestyle. When wondering what to wear to a summer wedding, try a Faherty dress to support this philanthropic brand. 

When it comes to giving back, the list is long. Not only are they members of 1% for the Planet, but Faherty also commits 1% of swim sales to environmental causes and is a sponsor of The Surfrider Foundation. These initiatives go a long way to support their mission to conserve waterways and beaches. Sustainability is essential at Faherty too. More sustainable materials make up 37% of their women’s collection

Mercado Global

Founded over 15 years ago, this Brooklyn-based company’s mission is to empower the lives of women and their communities. Mercado Global connects artisans in Guatemala to the international fashion marketplace. Each piece Mercado Global designs is crafted with care. Their bag collection includes hand-crafted totes, backpacks and accessories that use traditional weaving techniques that date back over 2,000 years. 

The bags and accessories have a lasting impact on the artisans and local community. This company is changing the status quo for women in Guatemala. Mercado Global provides community-based education in local languages, allowing women to become leaders in their communities. 

Mercado Global’s Masks Where They’re Needed Most Campaign provided thousands of masks to essential workers throughout the course of the pandemic. This program supports causes including racial justice, and Latin and South American countries hit hard by COVID-19. Mercado Global donates a mask to someone in need with every purchase. 

Stitch Fix Exclusive Brands Commitment to Sustainability

At Stitch Fix, all of our exclusive brands are committed to being more sustainable, including our 41Hawthorn and Market & Spruce collections. We work with vendors who uphold local labor laws and international standards on worker and human rights. Our exclusive brands collections aim to source 100% of the primary materials, including cotton, polyester and viscose, more sustainably by 2025.

Our 41Hawthorn brand has workwear staples for professional, yet stylish looks. Market & Spruce is our casual lifestyle brand, where comfort and style are key. Mix and match pieces from both collections to take you from the office to a dinner date with ease. There are also casual-chic pieces ideal for when you’re wondering what to wear for a date night at home

To keep Mother Nature smiling, our warehouses are also taking steps toward more sustainable packaging. We use shipping materials made from 100% post-recycled products. We’ve recently joined Canopy’s Pack4Good initiative to ensure our paper and packaging materials are free of Ancient and Endangered Forests. To reduce waste, our algorithm teams use a data-driven system to minimize overstocked items. When we do have excess inventory, we donate it to partner organizations, Sole4Souls, Baby2Baby and Marimole, that repurpose clothing for good. 

Mohnton Mills is making a difference, too. Our cut and sew factory and knitting mill near Reading, Pennsylvania, allows us to make a portion of our private label product in the USA. In the spring of 2020, the pandemic created an extraordinary need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Our Mohnton factory jumped right in to lend a hand, switching to PPE production for local healthcare workers and our distribution center associates.

Are you wanting to add some of these eco-friendly sustainable brands to your wardrobe? Take your style quiz, order a Fix and ask your stylist to look out for these sustainable clothing brands that will add a touch of good to your closet. Buy what you like and send back the rest. Shipping and returns are always free. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.

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