10 Must-Read Sustainable Fashion Books

Our top picks for books to learn more about environmental and social issues in the fashion industry — and what you can do to help.

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Consumed” by Aja Barber

The industry needs to change and this book does a great job breaking down the many complex issues and uncomfortable truths with fashion in a way that is approachable. I was honestly hesitant to pick up this book because often books like this can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed with endless doom-and-gloom stats, but that’s not the case with “Consumed.” Aja takes a friendly tone and leaves the reader empowered with critical thinking tools and ways to take action.


Fibershed” by Rebecca Burgess

Rebecca Burgess pioneered the now-global Fibershed movement with a personal challenge to create an entirely local wardrobe. This book shares her experience of that process, what she learned along the way, and why this farm-to-closet approach can be environmentally and socially beneficial.

This book was a joy to read. I have been researching slow fashion topics for a decade now so at this point it’s rare for me to find books that I learn so much from and feel inspired by! I love Rebecca’s vision for a localized textile system and the chapters on regenerative farming were very interesting. It’s exciting to see this movement growing.


Project 333” by Courtney Carver

I’m definitely biased because I am actually featured in this book! 😊 But as someone who has been doing capsule wardrobes for years I see a ton of sustainable benefits in them. “Project 333” was what first introduced me to the concept, but even if you aren’t ready for the challenge or don’t see a capsule wardrobe as being for you, this book is about so much more than what’s in your closet.

Courtney shares how changing our views on clothing and consumption can offer so much more freedom, time, and joy in our lives. I completely agree that a capsule wardrobe is so much deeper than the clothing you wear and this book offers some excellent anti-consumerism tools and motivation.


The Conscious Closet” by Elizabeth L. Cline

Written by journalist Elizabeth L. Cline, this book is great for beginners to sustainable fashion as it offers a wealth of information about the fashion industry — from garment workers to different types of fabrics and so much more. It’s also full of tips including how to mend and take better care of your clothes. “The Conscious Closet” will give you an eye-opening lens on the clothes you already own and will inspire you to invest in higher-quality, ethical clothing when you are ready to introduce new pieces to your wardrobe.


Wardrobe Crisis” by Clare Press

Clare Press loves fashion — but as a fashion journalist, knows the industry needs to change. Big time. “Wardrobe Crisis” is a critique of fast fashion and a journey through the fashion industry, with a strong focus on the history of fashion, including department stores and some of the biggest and highest-end brands in the world. It’s an engaging read!


Fashionopolis” by Dana Thomas

The fashion industry is rife with human and environmental exploitation, and journalist Dana Thomas details many of these issues without the book feeling too dark of a read. “Fashionopolis” is best for people interested in innovations in fashion, including sustainable technologies.

An issue with the book is that the brand recommendations Dana gives is often out-of-reach for the average person — not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a single sustainably produced garment from Stella McCartney. However, My Green Closet has plenty of more accessible suggestions to help in that regard 😊


Loved Clothes Last” by Orsola De Castro

You’ve probably heard the quote, “The most sustainable garment is the one already in your wardrobe.” It was written by Orsola De Castro, the Co-Founder and Global Creative Director of Fashion Revolution — and author of “Loved Clothes Last.” Supporting ethical and sustainable brands is important, but first and foremost, we must love and care for our clothes so that they can have a long life with us. Orsola gives readers plenty of tips on how to do just that!


Slave to Fashion” by Safia Minney

Every piece of clothing has a story before it even gets to your closet, since clothing usually takes the labor of many people to produce. If you want to learn more about who makes your clothes and the exploitative conditions clothes are often made in, “Slave to Fashion” is a great choice. A unique part of this book is a section of photos and interviews with garment workers, as well as an actionable toolkit for how consumers can demand better working conditions and pay for the people who make their clothes.


The Curated Closet” by Anuschka Rees

While this is another book focused on capsule wardrobes, I think this book is incredibly valuable as it is all about avoiding trends and instead finding your personal style and building a wardrobe of pieces you love wearing. Personal style is a key part of slowing down fashion consumption — one of the best things you can do for a more sustainable and ethical wardrobe is wearing what you have until it’s unwearable. However, this is hard to do if you don’t actually like your clothes that much.

Anuschka helps readers figure out a wardrobe that works for them, and she does this without focusing on styles and colours that are “flattering,” which I deeply appreciate — it’s about finding the style that you genuinely want to wear for years!


Mend!” by Kate Sekules

Mending your clothes doesn’t have to be boring — it can turn your worn-out clothes into a fashion statement and give them new life. Author Kate Sekules is a big proponent of visible mending, and her book is filled with plenty of ideas, complete with lots of photos and tutorials. “Mend!” also goes into a history of fabrics and mending/tending clothing. It’s an enlightening and fun read to get your creative juices flowing!


What fashion industry book is your favorite?

What Is a Living Wage and Why Isn’t the Fashion Industry Paying It to Garment Workers?

The average garment factory worker is pressured to work at least 10-12 hours a day — and yet, they still can’t afford to support themselves and their families. An estimated 98% of garment workers, of which 75% are young women, don’t earn a living wage.

Clean Clothes Campaign’s Tailored Wages 2019 Report found that “no major clothing brand is able to show that workers making their clothing in Asia, Africa, Central America or Eastern Europe are paid enough to escape the poverty trap.”

Unfair wages are an old legacy of the fashion industry and one we need to work to fix.

How Do We Calculate a Living Wage? 

Garment workers should be able to maintain a “decent standard of living for [themselves] and their family” by working a maximum of 48 hours a week, according to Oxfam. There are several factors to consider when establishing a living wage, and it varies by country. ABLE, an ethical brand leading a transparency campaign called the #LowestWageChallenge, determines a living wage “based on local prices in each country for housing and utilities, transportation, food and water, healthcare, childcare, education, and savings.” 

Living wage vs. minimum wage: A living wage should not be conflated with minimum wage. Minimum wage in many countries is not enough for someone to support themselves and their families. It is simply the minimum amount of money a person can legally be paid. 

Clean Clothes Campaign calculated that wages for garment production are rarely more than 3% of the final retail price of a garment. A report from Oxfam found that if garment workers were paid a living wage, it would only cost brands 1% more to produce clothing items. At the end of the day, fashion brands are often just keeping most of the profit on garments for themselves. 

“It would cost $2.2 billion a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers from the average wage to a living wage. This is the equivalent of a third of the amount paid out to shareholders by the top five companies in the garment sector,” says another Oxfam report.

What Can Fashion Companies Do to Make Sure Workers Are Paid a Living Wage?

Brands avoid the responsibility of paying a living wage in several ways, such as blaming the factories, saying it’s too expensive, or that they’re paying the legal minimum wage. Instead of pointing fingers, brands need to own up to their mistakes, recognise how they can fix them, and implement solutions like changing how prices are split or how they pay factories. 

Some brands are taking steps to make positive change. For instance, Nisolo and ABLE partnered in 2020 to create the #LowestWageChallenge “because you deserve to know whether or not the people who made the clothes on your body have been paid enough to meet their basic needs and live a life of dignity.” By asking other brands to share the lowest wage they pay and having it third party verified, they are trying to create change in the fashion industry and rectify decades of unfair wages.

Clean Clothes Campaign says they’re working to get brands to change how they pay suppliers so that a living wage can be paid to garment makers. “Our work revolves around asking companies to use living-wage benchmarks when calculating order prices. By putting a figure on the living wage, the labour cost can be calculated and embedded into pricing breakdowns, and companies can use this to be sure that suppliers are receiving enough to pay a living wage,” they say on their website.

This article from The Guardian asked experts from business, trade unions and campaign groups what would need to change in order for garment workers to get fair pay. These experts pointed out various solutions, including  brands taking on the responsibility of making sure each worker is paid a living wage by paying their suppliers fairly, and getting local governments involved so that it is against the law to pay workers any less than a living wage. 

What Can I Do To Support Garment Workers?

There are many ways to help garment workers receive living wages. You could…

Do you have any more suggestions on how people can support garment workers? Comment below!

Spring 2022 Capsule Wardrobe

Even though it’s still cool out here, I’m so ready for spring and was thrilled to pull out some of my clothes from storage!

Watch my spring capsule video:

Items in my Spring Capsule

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Tops

Black tank top – secondhand
Cropped tee – Anne Mulaire
White tee – Miakoda
Black tee – Organic Basics (watch a review here)
Brass mock-neck – Encircled
Cropped puff-sleeve top – Valani
Printed blouse – Tamga
Black wrap top – Matter
Grey long-sleeve – People Tree
Linen button-up – secondhand
Orange sweater – secondhand
Green cropped hoodie – Tentree

Bottoms

Black pocket leggings – Encircled
Green dressy sweatpants – Encircled
Beige joggers – Tentree
Plaid pants – handmade
Printed pants – Tamga
Linen skirt – Son de flor

Dresses

Grey tee dress – Kowtow
Blue tee dress – Tonle
Linen wrap dress – Son de flor
Green linen dress – LA Relaxed

Layers

Beige cardigan – old
Rust cardigan – Eileen Fisher
Red printed robe – Tamga
Grey hoodie – Tentree
White jacket – old

Ultra Fast Fashion: The Newest Wave of Throwaway Clothing

By now you’re probably well aware (and hopefully wary) of the concept of fast fashion. You’ve no doubt conjured up thoughts of mega retailers like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, and even family-focused chains like Old Navy and The Children’s Place. But quickly overtaking these giants of the 2000s is a new kind of fast fashion. A version that’s somehow quicker, cheaper, more disposable, and more addictive than its predecessor. Join us as we take a brief look at ultra-fast fashion: what it is, who it affects, and what it means for the future of fashion. 

What is Fast Fashion? 

Fast fashion first started to gain popularity in the mid 2000s as a go-to choice for teens, young families and folks on a budget. In contrast to the traditional quarterly fashion calendar, these multinationals ushered in a new era of consumerism with their speed to market and low costs. Brands like H&M could take a trend from fashion week and have it designed, sewn, shipped, and merchandised in a store within just a few weeks. Most Zara shoppers can attest to the rapid turnover within stores, inciting an insatiable need to buy. In fact, this Atlantic article noted, “whereas the average shopper visited any given store about four times a year, Zara shoppers stopped in once every three weeks.” 

Motivated by the ever-changing styles and a low financial risk, customers flocked to fast fashion brands. The financial recession of 2008 solidified this new business model’s hold on both consumers and investors. Fast fashion was seen as affordable and accessible, and as a result, it was here to stay. 

Many argue that this was the moment our relationship to our clothing began to shift. From 2000-2015, clothing production increased twofold, but prices continued to plummet. The average consumer was spending roughly the same amount on clothing each year, but getting double the amount. “At its peak, in 2015, Forever 21 made $4.4 billion in global sales,” according to The Atlantic.

It’s easy to see how the constant availability of cheap, trendy clothing has changed the way we consume fashion. According to Bloomberg Green, Americans dispose of up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste a year. That’s equivalent to 2,150 pieces per second. And with this comes a steep environmental and social toll.

At least 60% of our clothing is made from synthetic materials like polyester and nylon (and is expected to double by 2030). Harsh dyes and chemicals are used to treat and finish clothing, most of which ends up polluting waterways and impacting the local quality of life. When these petroleum-based fabrics break-down in landfill, they release harmful gases like methane into the environment, contributing to global warming. To keep costs down, fast fashion brands typically rely on subcontracted work from countries with exploitative environmental and labour laws. Clothing is shipped all over the globe in order to take advantage of the cheapest regions to produce in, leading to even more emissions caused by transportation. 

What Is Ultra Fast Fashion?

Now, we find ourselves in the middle of yet another shift in fashion. One that moves away from the brick-and-mortar retail goliaths and towards the agile and decentralized world of eCommerce. Today, companies such as Shein, those within the Boohoo group (boohoo, boohooMAN, PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal) and Fashion Nova are dominating. Guided by the same unethical business practices and disregard for the environment, this ultra-fast business model relies on many factors including cheap labour, favourable import/export laws, minimal or no physical locations, less inventory on-hand, quicker turnaround times and, most of all, our data. 

What sets this new wave of companies apart is their use of technology to predict demand and track customer behaviour. Most of us have had the experience of viewing an item on a website, only to have it stalk us on our social media for days, or even weeks after. Companies like Shein and boohoo are able to reach millions of people through social media without even needing stores.

In a conversation with Vox, Beijing-based writer and technology analyst Mathew Brennan described this new process as “real-time” retail. In a traditional fashion model, it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for a brand to design, create and receive feedback about their products. With the use of tracking technology and analytics, ultra-fast fashion companies can track demand, get almost instant feedback, and shift strategy. If a style suddenly goes viral, they can increase their order size almost immediately. 

As a result, we’ve become even more obsessed with newness. A quick scroll through TikTok and YouTube reveals thousands of #haul videos depicting mostly young women showing off piles of plastic-wrapped clothing they paid next to nothing for. Younger generations are getting swept up in the quickening pace, even admitting they would rather buy something new than be seen in it again. And when a new dress costs the same as lunch, that’s entirely possible.

As Lauren Bravo, author of “How to Break up with Fast Fashion”, explains, “people are no longer shopping for clothes –– they’re shopping for content.” Where fast fashion retailers used to boast about having fresh styles twice a week, eCommerce brands like Shein are now adding somewhere between 500-2000 new styles a day, according to various reports.

When trends never stop changing, it’s impossible to keep up. And the more we buy, the less satisfied we seem to be. Ultra-fast fashion succeeds by playing to our deepest insecurities.

It harnesses the power and influence of social media, convincing us that what we have isn’t enough, and that with the click of a button we too can bask in the warmth of belonging — until the excitement wears off, at least. It’s an endless cycle that many of us are intimately familiar with.

What Can We Do About Ultra Fast Fashion?

It’s going to take a combination of government regulation, verifiable sustainability initiatives and consumer activism to see real industry-wide change. That being said, there are endless ways to have a more conscious relationship with fashion. In our culture of excess and instant gratification, slowing down is a radical act. Take a look at our list below and be sure to leave your own suggestions in the comments. Change starts with us!

  • Mending & tailoring clothes you already have
  • Upcycling worn-out materials into useful items 
  • Shopping secondhand & vintage
  • Learning to sew/knit/crochet
  • Choosing responsible brands as much as possible
  • Re-wearing & taking care of your clothes
  • Considering when and how often you’ll wear something before buying
  • Unfollowing social media accounts that constantly encourage you to buy
  • Taking social media breaks
  • Sharing information about fast and ultra fast fashion with your family and friends
  • Developing your own personal style

Top 10 Canadian Clothing Brands also Made in Canada

posted in brand roundups 0

Are you already supporting local Canadian businesses? Why not take it a step further to support brands that don’t just design but also manufacture their clothing line in Canada!

While Canada might not be known globally for our garment industry, a lot of clothing production still happens here. By purchasing clothing made in Canada you are not only supporting Canadian businesses but also Canadian sewists, garment workers, and the fashion industry in Canada.

Here are our favourite made-in-Canada clothing brands from coast to coast:

(please note this roundup was created in partnership with Anne Mulaire and contains some affiliate links)

Anne Mulaire

Anne Mulaire - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Anne Mulaire

Looking for comfy, sustainable staples? Be sure to check out Anne Mulaire. Founder and designer Andréanne has successfully built an inclusive brand with deep environmental values, that celebrates her Anishinaabe/French Métis heritage.

Anne Mulaire is proudly Canadian made and has excellent transparency around their supply chain and manufacturing. They even use fabrics which are made in Canada! All their clothing is made in-house in their vertically-owned factory which allows them to produce small batches and made-to-order garments and also means they can ensure living wages for all employees.

We especially love their winter leggings (they’re the only brand we’ve found who makes sustainable leggings for Canadian winters!) and their zero waste collection which repurposes remnants and fabric scraps into new styles.

Use code GREENCLOSET for a free bamboo headband (printed or solid) with any purchase.

Size range: XXS – 6X
Located in: Winnipeg

Image credit: Anne Mulaire

Nettle's Tale - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Nettle’s Tale

Nettle’s Tale

Starting out as an inclusive swimwear brand designing for different bodies, Nettle’s Tale has now also expanded into offering a clothing line of comfy loungewear and some cute essentials.

Nettle’s Tale manufactures their clothing and swimsuits from recycled and sustainable materials in a local, Vancouver factory.

Size range: XS – 4X
Located in: Vancouver


Atelier B - Top made in Canada clothing brands

Atelier B

With over 12 years experience designing and producing slow fashion in Canada, Atelier B focuses on minimalist, timeless garments. They use natural materials and are proud to have a zero waste production process where even the smallest scraps are repurposed.

Atelier B produces their clothing either in their studio or in local workshops all within 10km of their studio. They also offer made-to-order garments as well as repairs and alterations.

Size range: XS – 4X
Located in: Montreal


Encircled - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Encircled

Encircled

Our go-to brand for versatile basics. Encircled has a large collection of soft and comfy essentials and convertible garments. They use a variety of sustainable materials and are one of the few B Corp Certified clothing brands in Canada.

Encircled manufactures in factories that are all within 60km of their Toronto studio.

We love their Dressy Sweatpants – the perfect combo of comfy and pulled-together style.

Size range: XS – 4X
Located in: Toronto


Thief & Bandit - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Thief & Bandit

Thief & Bandit

Oozing artsy, cool-girl vibes Thief & Bandit‘s garments and statement prints are instantly recognizable. This Canadian brand makes unique clothing, swimwear, and childrenswear in their Halifax studio. Their garments are not only sewn in-house but their fabrics are also hand-printed with their custom silkscreen designs.

Thief & Bandit prioritizes natural and sustainable materials and non-toxic inks.

Size range: XS – 4X
Located in: Halifax


Oge Ajibe - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Oge Ajibe

Oge Ajibe

Built on a foundation of sustainability and inclusivity, Oge Ajibe‘s eponymous line features versatile pieces as well as some statement styles made from reclaimed fabrics.

Oge Ajibe produces all the clothing herself, made-to-order in her studio.

Size range: XS – 5X
Located in: Vancouver


Mary Young - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Mary Young

Mary Young

Underwear and loungewear in both classic and statement styles and colours. Mary Young makes cute and comfy intimates, loungewear, and basics.

While they’re based in Toronto they manufacture all their clothing

Size range: XS – 2X
Located in: Toronto


Free Label - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Free Label

Free Label

Free Label is all about comfort and fit and after wearing one of their raved-about bras we have to agree they’ve got it down!

Free Label produces their clothing in small batches at a local factory.

Check out our interview with Free Label here.

Size range: XS – 4X
Located in: Vancouver

Image credit: Free Label

Gotcha Covered - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Gotcha Covered

Modern Sunday

Breezy, romantic pieces made from deadstock linen. Modern Sunday is a relatively new brand but takes sustainability seriously, incorporating many conscious practices throughout their production.

All their clothing is made to order in their Toronto studio.

Size range: XS – XL
Located in: Toronto


Harly Jae - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Harly Jae

Harly Jae

Feminine style in neutral colours made from natural materials. Harly Jae embodies a slow fashion philosophy, designing with care and intention.

Their pieces are all made locally in a Vancouver factory.

Size range: XS – 3XL
Located in: Vancouver


Preloved - Top made in Canada clothing brands
Image credit: Preloved

Preloved

One of the original upcycling brands, Preloved has been using repurposed, reclaimed, and deadstock materials for over 20 years!

Their clothing is made in-house in their Toronto studio/factory.

Size range: XS – XL
Located in: Toronto


And be sure to check out our huge list of Canadian Slow Fashion Brands and look out for the 🧵 symbol which indicates the clothing is manufactured in Canada!

Why Fast Fashion Brands Steal Designs & What You Can Do

The recent Amazon series LuLaRich documents the rise and fall of the infamous multilevel marketing company LuLaRoe, which was known for its quirky, colorful printed leggings that “felt like butter” and had a cult-like following. One of the interviews is with a former designer for the company named Iliana Estarellas. Iliana was bartending before she started at LuLaRoe and saw the job as an opportunity to jump start her career as an artist. However, she describes the process of designing prints for LuLaRoe as “making art with a gun against my head.” At its height, she says, the company produced 100 new prints a day. 

This high production made it impossible for designers to come up with original ideas, so some of them resorted to googling words like “owl” and copying the resulting images without paying any mind to the original artist who made them. This led, predictably, to a flurry of designer knockoffs and lawsuits. Young designers like Iliana were not paid for fresh ideas; rather, they were paid to churn out designs as fast as possible so more product could be sold. Also predictable was the poor quality that resulted from this lightning-fast production process: customers complained of ripped leggings, moldy leggings, and prints that were cut in unfortunate (and hilarious) ways

When the behemoths of fast fashion like Zara and Forever 21 changed the traditional fashion calendar from four seasons a year to 52, it was inevitable that they were going to have to cut corners and copy the hottest trends from the runway to keep up the pace. Enter an even bigger force like Shein and those 52 seasons a year become 365 — along with a lot more copying from an ever-growing pool of sources. 

Shein produces an average of 10,000 new items a month. In order to keep up with social media microtrends, Shein resorts to copying independent designers. There are many cases of independent designers posting about their designs unceremoniously showing up for sale on Shein for fractions of what they can afford to sell them for. 

In one instance, Shein copied a design from Black-owned business Elexiay that sells crochet sweaters handmade in Nigeria. The original design cost upward of $300 due to the hours of labor required to make it, but Shein was able to sell a cheap knockoff for $17. In another, an Etsy slow fashion designer named Tracy Garcia discovered that her silk cami design had been stolen. Her piece is handmade, made out of silk, and naturally dyed. Shein was able to copy her design using polyester and sell it for $10. These are only two of dozens of stories of small designers, often women of color, who discover their designs have been stolen and don’t have much recourse.

What Can Fashion Designers Do When Their Designs Are Stolen?

Here is where many are probably thinking, “Why don’t the designers just sue?” Unfortunately, copyright law does very little to help with the copying of designs for items that are considered “useful,” such as clothing. Designers can threaten with a cease-and-desist letter and hope that leads to the knockoff being pulled from the company’s site. However, companies like Shein and LuLaRoe are hoping that the designers don’t notice or, if they do notice, that they don’t have the resources to pursue legal action. 

Often the best thing an independent designer can do is post on social media, just like Elexiay and Tracy Garcia did, to raise awareness on the issue and hope that the post goes viral. The irony in this, however, is that these independent designers are competing with influencers using the same platforms to promote companies like Shein; for every post showing how a design was stolen there is a post of a Shein unboxing video where an influencer brags about their massive haul. 

@its_mariama

So heartbroken right now. I pour my heart into @sincerelyria.xo just for huge corporations to steal and make millions. How can I even compete smh.

♬ happier – Olivia Rodrigo

This is not to say that social media cannot be a tool for activism. In 2017, Gucci included a jacket on the runway that looked eerily familiar to a 1990s design by Dapper Dan, a Harlem-based designer known for dressing some of the biggest names in Hip Hop, such as Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and Salt-N-Pepa. Dapper Dan had noticed his customers’ interest in wearing accessories with luxury brand logos on them, so he started creating clothing that incorporated these logos —something the brands themselves had never considered. Dapper Dan was forced to close his store when he was sued by Fendi in 1992 for copyright infringement. This ultimately led to Gucci “reappropriating the appropriation” decades later, according to The New York Times. As a result of the social media outcry over the stolen design, Gucci made amends by partnering with Dapper Dan to reopen his store in Harlem — a rare happy ending in a sea of drowning designers. 

What Can I Do?

As long as companies continue to make a profit by pushing production speeds to new heights, there will never be an incentive for them to create their own designs. Good design takes time — the very resource they do not have. By supporting and spreading the word about small designers and opting out of fast fashion, consumers can keep these designers in business as examples of an alternative and slower way of making clothing. 

Sustainable Sunglasses – Types of Eco Materials + Our Top Brand Picks

As spring and summer approach and the bright sun returns from its winter nap, you might be in the market for a new pair of shades. This guide to the best eco-friendly sunglasses has you covered! 

When considering the sustainability of a pair of sunglasses, it’s helpful to think of each pair as having three distinct parts: the lenses, the hinges and the frames. Sustainable frames on the market can be made of wood, cork, bio acetate, recycled plastic, and other recycled materials. Lenses are often outsourced to specialized manufacturers and can be made from glass or plastic, but are not yet made from recycled plastic. Hinges are commonly made of metal or recycled plastic. 

With so many different components, choosing an option can be tough. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of these materials to help you with your choice, and some recommendations for sustainable shopping.

Recycled Plastic Sunglasses

Recycled plastic is a better alternative to virgin plastic, and companies like Good Citizen and Waterhaul (see brands below) have adopted new ways to repurpose discarded water bottles and fishing nets into sunglass frames. It’s important to note that recycled plastic lenses don’t exist yet, so any brand claiming their sunglasses are 100% recycled is likely just referring to the frames. 

Pros: Recycling diverts plastic out of the waste stream and repurposes it into a new product, and recycled plastic is estimated to produce roughly 70% less carbon emissions than virgin plastic.   

Cons: Recycled plastic is still petroleum based and will take eons to biodegrade. For something like sunglasses that can accidentally end up at the bottom of lakes and rivers, being biodegradable is a plus. 


Bio Acetate Sunglasses

To understand bio acetate, let’s take a look at its older cousin, regular acetate. Acetate is a thermoplastic long used in sunglasses frames, replacing real tortoiseshell when that started getting scarce in the early 1900s. It is a cellulose-based material, made from cotton seeds or wood pulp that is reacted with acids and then plasticized with a petroleum-based product containing toxic phthalates. Bio acetate is a greener take invented by the Italian company Mazzucchelli 1849, subbing the last petroleum step for a more bio-based plasticizer.

Pros: Bio acetate is petroleum free, hypoallergenic, and mimics the durability and flexibility of petrol plastic. And unlike regular acetate, or virgin/recycled plastic, bio acetate biodegrades more easily.

Cons: The plasticizer used in bio acetate is only “mostly” from renewable sources, and is only ~68% bio based. Bio acetate still takes a lot of energy and chemicals to produce, and the actual biodegradability of the material is not certain, with estimates between 1 and 10 years in a landfill or roughly 115 days in an industrial composter. 


Wood Sunglasses

Wooden sunglasses can be made from a variety of wood, most commonly walnut, ebony wood, cork, bamboo, maple or redwood. Wooden frames are very lightweight and will often float in water, which is a plus for water sport enthusiasts. Many hardwoods are very durable on their own, but cork frames are often mixed with recycled or virgin plastic to enhance strength. 

Pros: Wood from sustainably managed forests with FSC -Certification or upcycled/reclaimed wood is your best bet. 

Cons: Wood is biodegradable, but look into other ingredients used to seal the wooden frames; these can be plastic based. 


Recycled Metal Sunglasses

If you’re looking for a classic pair of aviators, chances are you’ll run into some recycled metal frames, often made from aluminum or titanium. 

Pros: Metal is durable and doesn’t release harmful phalthates when disposed of, and it can often be recycled. Aluminum and steel can be put in mainstream recycling, but titanium has to be recycled at a special facility. 

Cons: It is resource-intensive to recycle metal, much more so than plastic or glass, and only some forms can be easily recycled


Vintage or Thrifted Sunglasses

Secondhand is always the most sustainable route to go! Scout out a pair of unique frames at your local thrift shops. Or check out Peep Eyewear below, a company that refurbishes vintage and used sunglass frames with new lenses.   


Our Picks for Sustainable Sunglasses

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Good Citizens

Sustainable sunglasses made from recycled plastic bottles - Good Citizens
Image credit: Good Citizen

Good Citizens is a Sydney, Australia based family brand — inspired by their children — dedicated to turning trash into treasure. They make stylish modular frames that can easily be repaired yourself. Each pair uses the plastic of exactly one recycled water bottle sourced from recycling centers around Australia. The frames are manufactured in their small factory in Sydney, with lenses sourced from Carl Zeiss Vision. 

💚 Our founder Erin just got a pair of their Bronte sunglasses. She loves the style and unique modular design.

Pricepoint: $99 – $139 

Values: Recycled materials, made in Sydney, transparent supply chain, built to last, easily repairable, gives back

Materials: Frames: recycled plastic bottles; Hinges: recycled plastic; Lenses: CR39 plastic. Lenses are made separately by Carl Zeiss Vision and it’s not indicated whether they are recycled.

Specs: 100% UVA/UVB protection, polarized lenses, prescription lenses available

Availability: Based in Australia, ships worldwide


Genusee

Eco friendly sunglasses made from recycled plastic bottles in Flint, Michigan - Genusee
Image credit: Genusee

Genusee is a Flint, Michigan based eyewear brand using recycled water bottles from the Flint water crisis to make simple, elegant frames. They aim to provide jobs to Flint residents returning to the area. 

Pricepoint: $99

Values: Closed loop, gives back, fair wage, Flint-first hiring, recycled/plastic-free packaging, buy back program, most of supply chain within 188 miles 

Materials: Frames: recycled plastic bottles; Hinges: metal (from Italy, not recycled); Lenses: CR 39 plastic 

Specs: UVA/UVB protection, prescription lenses available 

Availability: Based in USA, ships worldwide


Peep Eyewear

Upcycled and refurbished vintage and secondhand glasses - Peep Eyewear
Image credit: Peep Eyewear

Peep Eyewear is a UK-based brand that refurbishes a wide variety of vintage and preloved frames and gives them new life with new lenses (or a new lens on life?!). Peep partners with Trees for the City to plant a tree for every purchase.

Pricepoint: £66 – £156

Values: Secondhand lenses, gives back, accepts donated frames to upcycle, FSC Certified recycled paper packaging, 100% recycled plastic cleaning cloths, family-run small business 

Materials: Frames and hinges: variety of secondhand materials; Lenses: plastic and glass (no information online about lens sourcing)

Specs: 100% UV protection, customizable lenses, prescription lenses available 

Availability: Based in the UK, ships worldwide 


Pala

Sustainable sunglasses made from bio acetate - Pala Eyewear
Image credit: Pala

Pala is a UK-based brand that makes fashionable shades from bio acetate. The company partners with TerraCycle to take back old frames for recycling, but most of their frames are made with new materials rather than recycled materials. As of now, the brand is trying to apply circular economy principles, which we applaud, but they self-admittedly have more they could do. Pala donates to eye care centers across Africa through partnering with Vision Aid Overseas.

Pricepoint: £110 – £130

Values: Circular economy, some plant-based materials, plastic- free packaging, transparent supply chain, B corp, gives back

Materials: Frames: bio acetate, 64-68% plant based; Hinges: metal; Lenses: plastic, 39% plant based 

Specs: 100% UVA/UVB protection, 39% plant resin lenses 

Availability: Based in the UK, ships free worldwide


GROWN

Sunglasses made from sustainable and reclaimed wood - GROWN
Image credit: GROWN

GROWN is a sunglasses company based in Australia that constructs their frames with sustainably managed wood — either from FSC Certified sources or fallen trees. They use a variety of woods including bamboo, zebrawood, ebony, Canadian maple and redwood. With every purchase, GROWN donates diagnostic eye examinations to 12 children or sight-restoring surgery to one person.

Pricepoint: $100 – $200

Values: Sustainable materials, gives back

Materials: Frames: FSC Certified wood; Hinges: stainless steel; Lenses: acetate

Specs: 100% UVA/UVB protection, polarized lenses 

Availability: Based in Australia, ships worldwide


Waterhaul

Sustainable sunglasses made from recycled fishing nets - Waterhaul
Image credit: Waterhaul

Waterhaul, based in the UK, converts fishing net ocean pollution into sunglasses frames with scratch-resistant glass lenses. Fishing nets are sourced from waters around England and Wales.  Waterhaul donates some proceeds to mangrove restoration initiatives and directs an outreach program that teaches schools and communities about plastic pollution and recycling.

Pricepoint: £60 – £75 

Values: Recycled materials, recycle & replace guarantee, plastic-free packaging,  gives back

Materials: Frames: 100% recycled fishing net plastic; Hinges: metal; Lenses: polarized mineral glass 

Specs: 100% UVA/UVB protection, polarized lenses, prescription lenses available 

Availability: Based in the UK, ships worldwide


Any eco-friendly sunglasses we missed?

Ethical Bridesmaid Dresses for Your Sustainable Wedding

So, you’ve finally picked your bridal party…congrats! Now, what about their outfits?

Choosing a look that everyone agrees on can be hard enough. Throw sustainability into the mix and you’ve got a real tough one on your hands. But with the wide variety of styles out there today, with plus size and made-to-measure bridesmaid dresses available from many brands, we’re confident your bridal party will end up with a look that perfectly fits your theme, budget, and values. Below you’ll find our roundup of ethical bridesmaid dress options that are just as stylish as they are sustainable. 

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Rental & Resale

First and foremost, why not explore your rental and resale options? Buying a dress that will likely only be worn once can be a big financial stress for your bridal party. With local and online rental services, however, your pals can save money while eliminating the need to produce more clothing. eCommerce sites like Rent the Runway, Beyond the Runway, and Lending Luxury (U.S. only) are great if you’re going for the mix-and-match look. Your ‘maids can pick the styles that suit them best and choose how long they want to keep them for. Brick-and-mortar rental shops like The Fitzroy in Toronto are an excellent choice if you’re looking for the in-person or help online shopping experience. Check out our article about renting dresses to learn more!

If rental isn’t your thing, try the resale route. Sites like PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com or Once Wed offer popular styles at hugely discounted rates. You can even filter your results to show only unaltered dresses, or only sellers in your area. If all else fails, try community-based platforms like Facebook Marketplace. You’d be surprised what you can find with a little patience and creativity!

Image credit: Whimsy & Row

Whimsy & Row

Designed and produced in-house in Los Angeles, Whimsy & Row is an amazing option for your laid-back nuptials. Their elegant dresses and separates are all made using low-impact fabrics like certified organic cotton, linen, Tencel and cupro, as well as deadstock and recycled materials. Best of all? They use the same colours across many different styles, meaning your bridesmaids can each pick the dress that suits them best, while still looking perfectly coordinated! 

Price point: $190 – $320

Size Range: XXS – XL

Values: Local production, low-impact fabrics, carbon neutral, minimal waste, textile waste recycled through Marimole

Availability: Based in California, ships worldwide


Image credit: Bastet Noir

Bastet Noir

Bastet Noir is a style-forward brand on a mission to celebrate both the women who wear and make their clothes. Produced exclusively in northern Macedonia, Bastet Noir supports female entrepreneurs by providing them with fair wages and reinvesting their profits to help fund the growth of these women-owned businesses. Each piece is created using deadstock materials sourced from local factories and is created on a made-to-order, made-to-measure basis. This helps minimize waste caused by overproduction and ensures that your bridesmaids end up with dresses they truly love. Talk about a win-win!

Price point: $125 – $250+

Size Range: Made-to-measure

Values: Local production, deadstock materials, supports social causes, made-to-order, carbon neutral delivery

Availability: Based in Macedonia, ships worldwide


Image credit: LOUDBODIES

LOUDBODIES

If you’re on the hunt for vintage-inspired bridesmaids dresses with a tailor-made experience, LOUDBODIES is for you. These made-to-order pieces come in a wide range of colours and styles that can be fit to your bridal party’s specific measurements at no extra cost. All of their clothing is made from OEKO-TEX 100 certified fabrics. Once you place an order, your custom piece is cut and sewn at their atelier in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and shipped to you in their recycled packaging.

Price point: $115 – $465

Size Range: XXS – 10XL; custom

Values: Local production, made-to-order, low-impact & recycled fabrics, carbon neutral delivery, plus sizing, low waste

Availability: Based in Romania, ships worldwide


Image credit: GUARDI

GUARDI

GUARDI was founded on the idea that style and sustainability really can work together. Made in limited quantities, their effortlessly chic pieces are all produced using deadstock, recycled and environmentally friendly materials at their family-run factory in Europe. On their website you’ll find a mix of bold and solid prints in a range of styles. Another thing we like about GUARDI is their commitment to zero-waste production and the elimination of fabric waste. Any excess material is used for their elegant accessory line. 

Price point: $185 – $359

Size Range: XS – XL

Values: Local production, low impact & recycled fabrics, low waste

Availability: Based in the U.K., ships worldwide


Image credit: Amour Vert

Amour Vert

For something more casual and wearable but still very lovely, Amour Vert has options that bridesmaids are sure to get a lot of use from after the wedding. They have dresses in a variety of sustainable materials including silky and wrinkle-free cupro (made from cotton waste), Tencel, and Ecovero. We love their mix of solid colors and sweet floral prints perfect for spring or summer weddings.

Price point: $130 – $300

Size Range: XS – XL

Values: Sustainable materials, take-back recycling program, eco friendly packaging, made in USA, gives back

Availability: Based in USA, also ships to Canada, Australia, France, Germany & UK


Image credit: Kaela Kay

Kaela Kay

Do you envision bright colors and bold prints for your bridal party? Be sure to check out the stunning dresses from Kaela Kay! They offer classic fit-and-flare styles, romantic maxi dresses, or sleek shifts in their signature cuts and bold prints. Kaela Kay also makes gorgeous co-coordinating separates – a chic and extremely versatile option and perfect if you want to mix some cuts in the same print or are looking for matching pants/jumpsuit options for some members of the party! Their pieces are all made in Canada from mostly cotton fabrics.

Price point: $300 – $475

Size Range: XS – 3XL + custom

Values: Local production, made-to-order, plus sizing, made in Canada

Availability: Based in Canada, ships international


We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief list of ethical bridesmaid dress options. Did we forget any?! Let us know in the comments below!

Also check out this post for more sustainable wedding ideas.

Looking for shoes to go with the dresses? Here’s our list of sustainable heels.

Written by Alexia Khan and MGC Editorial Team

14 Linen Clothing Brands – Our Top Picks

We’ve already shared why linen is such an amazing fabric and perfect for a sustainable wardrobe. So you might be wondering where the best places are to find linen clothing. Here’s our roundup of high-quality, sustainable, and ethically-made linen garments:

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
Image credit: NotPerfectLinen

NotPerfectLinen

This Etsy shop has grown a following of people who adore their washed linen garments. NotPerfectLinen’s pieces are made-to-order and they have a large selection of colours to choose from as well as other customization options.

I have one of their skirts and it’s been a favourite piece in my wardrobe for years!

Sizes: XS – XL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, made-to-order, seasonless fashion, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics
Availability: Based in Lithuania, ships international


Cedar & Vine

This Canadian company has a lovely collection of linen garments and homegoods. Cedar & Vine’s pieces are all made-to-order in their Saskatchewan studio and they do their best to accommodate sizing modifications.

Sizes: XXS – 4XL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, made-to-order, plus sizing, low waste
Availability: Based in Canada, ships international


Image credit: Conscious Clothing

Conscious Clothing

With tons of sustainability initiatives Conscious Clothing embraces linen and other eco conscious materials. Their linen collection includes both casual everyday pieces as well as more unique styles. All their garments are made in-house and designed and constructed to last.

Sizes: XS – 4X
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, plus sizing
Availability: Based in USA, ships to US and Canada.


Magic Linen

Best know for their linen sheets and bedding, but Magic Linen also has a clothing line! Their products are made in-house from Oeko-Tex certified linen made from European-grown flax.

Sizes: XS – XL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics
Availability: Based in Lithuania, ships international


Image credit: Son de Flor

Son de Flor

Romantic, vintage-inspired linen pieces. Son de Flor makes their clothing in-house and also has a resale program where you can buy preloved garments at a discount.

I have a skirt and dress from them and they are staple pieces in my capsule wardrobe every season.

Sizes: XXS – XXL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house (not all garments), seasonless fashion, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics
Availability: Based in Lithuania, ships international


Beaumont Organic

Drapey dresses and classic minimalist pieces. Beaumont Organic is a UK based brand using natural fibres such as linen and organic cotton. Their clothing is sustainably and ethically made in Portugal.

Sizes: XS – L
Values: Sustainable materials, take-back/circularity initiatives
Availability: Based in UK, ships international


Image credit: Two Days Off

Two Days Off

A small-batch and made-to-order clothing brand based in LA. Two Days Off uses linen for their core collection as well as doing small style runs from deadstock fabric. They have been carbon neutral since day 1 and ship their products plastic-free.

Sizes: XS – 4X
Values: Sustainable materials, made-to-order or small batches, made in USA, plus sizing, carbon neutral
Availability: Based in USA, ships international


LA Relaxed

As their name implies, this LA based brand makes comfy staples from sustainable materials including a small linen collection.

I recently got their washed linen dress and have already been wearing it on repeat because it’s such an easy and comfy piece!

Sizes: XS – XXL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, Bluesign®­­­ ­certified dyeing, made in USA
Availability: Based in USA, ships international


Image credit: Beaton

Beaton

If you’re looking for a little unique twist on classic linen styles check out Beaton. Their linen pieces come in both neutrals as well as some statement colours and patterns. Beaton’s collection is made locally in Vancouver.

Sizes: XS – 5X
Values: Sustainable materials, made in Canada, plus sizing
Availability: Based in Canada, ships international


Linen Fox

Comfy and breezy linen garments in a variety of styles and colours. Linen Fox’s pieces are all made-to-order in their studio from locally sourced linen.

Sizes: XS – XL
Values: Sustainable materials, made in-house, made-to-order
Availability: Based in Lithuania, ships international


Image credit: Gotcha Covered

Modern Sunday

Focusing on the use of deadstock linen, Modern Sunday has many sustainability initiatives. Their minimalist collection is great if you’re looking for neutral colors and timeless pieces.

Sizes: XS – XL
Values: Sustainable materials, low waste, made in Canada, gives back
Availability: Based in Canada, ships international


Eileen Fisher

One of the few brands who uses organic linen. Eileen Fisher’s linen collection includes staples pieces like tees and shirts.

Sizes: XXS – 3X (including petite options)
Values: Sustainable materials, take-back/circularity initiatives, B Corp
Availability: Based in USA, ships international


Image credit: Pyne & Smith

Pyne & Smith

Another great option if you’re looking for linen dresses – they have both loose and more fitted styles. Pine & Smith‘s garments are made in LA from European linen.

Sizes: XS – 3X
Values: Sustainable materials, low waste, made in USA
Availability: Based in USA, ships international


Lanius

A brand with many sustainability initiatives and certifications, Lanius uses a variety of eco-friendly and natural fabrics including many linen blends. Blends can be a great way to get the benefits of both linen and another fabric. They are also only one of very few brands who use organically-grown linen.

Sizes: 34 – 44
Values: Sustainable materials, GOTS certified, take-back/circularity initiatives, various certifications, carbon neutral
Availability: Based in Germany, ships international


What are your favorite linen clothing brands? Any we missed?

7 Eco Friendly & Organic Weighted Blankets for Adults & Kids

posted in family, home 0

Weighted blankets have become more popular and have been found to help with sleep issues, anxiety ADHD, stress, chronic pain and more. I personally have bad insomnia and while a weighted blanket isn’t a “cure” it does help me sleep better. They also claim to help kids relax (although be sure to get children’s weighted blankets which are lighter than ones for adults).

One big reason that I avoided trying a weighted blanket for so long is the many seemed to be made from synthetic fabrics and microfleece with plastic poly pellet filling (a large culprit of environmental plastic pollution). This not only is bad for the environment but I also don’t want to sleep under a pile of plastic.

Luckily more brands have been addressing this issue and offering sustainable weighted blanket options out of natural, organic, and more eco-friendly materials. Here’s some of our top picks:

🧼 And to help out in your search we’ve also included the laundry info for each brand because something people always want to know is: how to wash a weighted blanket?

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Bearaby

I have a Bearaby blanket and these are not only super cute and stylish but I love how the knit construction cocoons around you. (Check out my video about testing the Bearaby blanket)

They are only made from fabric with no filling and they have options in organic cotton, Tencel – their “Tree Napper”, and recycled PET velvet (although I would recommend the natural ones over this one). They also have a queen/king size option and their organic cotton “Nappling” which is designed for kids.

🧼 Some Bearaby blankets can be machine washed and dried if your machine can handle the weight, but 25lbs and the velvet napper must be dry cleaned.

Weights: 6 lbs (kids), 10 lbs – 35 lbs (adults)
Prices: $139 – $149 (kids), $199 – $399 (adults)
Values: Sustainable Materials, fabrics are Made in Green by OEKO-TEX and Fairtrade International certified, Vegan, Plastic-free Packaging
Based In: USA, they have a Canadian site and US site


Image credit: Baloo

Baloo

With both weighted throw and comforter options, Baloo’s blankets are made from plant-dyed cotton with glass bead filling. They also have a kids option naturally-dyed with lovely colours. They also offer a linen duvet cover.

🧼 Some of Baloo’s blankets can be machine washed as long as your machine can handle the weight. They recommend taking the king size blanket and all comforter options to a commercial washer.

Weights: 9 lbs (kids), 12 lbs – 25 lbs (adults)
Prices: $149 (kids), $159 – $269 (adults)
Values: Sustainable Materials, Vegan, Gives Back, Carbon Neutral
Based In: USA, ships international


Saatva

Saatva offer a weighted blanket in 100% organic cotton velvet with glass bead filling. If you like the fuzzy, plush fleece blankets, this is a great natural alternative!

🧼 Saatva recommends dry cleaning their blankets.

Weights: 12 lbs – 20 lbs
Prices: $345 – $445
Values: Sustainable Materials, Fair Trade Certified cotton
Based In: USA, only ships within US


Image credit: Sommio

Sommio

A knit weighted blanket option for those in the UK and Europe! Sommio’s knitted blanket is made from 100% organic cotton.

🧼 Their knitted blankets can be machine washed as long as your machine can handle the weight.

Weights: 7 kg – 10 kg
Prices: £184 – £229
Values: Sustainable Materials, Made in the UK
Based In: UK, ships international


Image credit: WeeSprout

WeeSprout

A comforter style exclusively for kids, WeeSprout‘s weighted blankets are made from 100% organic cotton with glass bead filling.

🧼 WeeSprout suggests using a duvet cover and primarily washing that. The blankets are hand wash or dry clean.

Weights: 5 lbs – 10 lbs
Prices: $79 – $89
Values: Sustainable Materials
Based In: USA, ships US only


Image credit: Karmara

Karmara

Karmara’s “switch” weighted blanket is a comforter style made from organic cotton with glass microbead filling and comes with an organic cotton cover. They also have the same style in a children’s version.

🧼 Their blankets can be machine washes as long as your machine can handle the weight. They do not recommend using a dryer.

Weights: 3 kg – 6 kg (kids), 6kg – 12kg (adults)
Prices: £100 – £120
Values: Sustainable Materials, Made in Europe
Based In: UK, ships only within the UK


Silk & Snow

Another knit weighted blanket option. Silk & Snow’s blanket is 100% cotton (not organic) and comes in a variety of colours.

🧼 Their knitted blankets can be machine washed as long as your machine can handle the weight.

Weights: 8 lbs – 25 lbs
Prices: $180 (kids), $250 – $320 (adults)
Values: OEKO-TEX Certified,
Based In: Canada, ships within Canada and US.


Have you tried a weighted blanket? What did you think?

1 2 3 4 17