To be honest, it’s been a very long time since I’ve gotten this excited about new tech in the sustainable fashion space, but when I heard about Disco I had to try it and learn more!
TLDRDisco is a Chrome extension and when you’re browsing popular clothing websites it will pull secondhand options from Poshmark, Depop, and other re-sale sites. Making it super easy to find more sustainable and affordable pre-loved garments from your favorite brands. It’s new and not fully flushed out, but they’re growing and adding to it weekly. Definitely worth a try!
What I find so exciting about Disco is how it helps make it very easy to choose a more sustainable option, and this was a big driver for Disco creator Alina Liu to build the extension.
She explained to me that the spark for Disco initially began after having such positive experiences participating in Buy Nothing groups and she wanted to apply her skills to a business in the secondhand space that could help reduce waste. After a chat with a frustrated friend about how hard and time consuming it was to scour across so many secondhand sites vs the convenience of just jumping on Amazon and buying something new, the idea for Disco was formed. “His frustration inspired me to build a Chrome extension that automatically aggregates from multiple sites and meets you directly where you’re already shopping, a seemingly clear way to tackle this problem,” Alina explained.
It initially could be used for all products but then Alina decided to build it specifically for clothing; “it used to search for anything, which resulted in poor search quality, but is now completely focused on fashion. The fashion industry reaps over $1.5 trillion a year, landfills 85% of its products and stands out as one of the most influential consumer industries in the world, so I think it’s a great place to start.”
We of course couldn’t agree more!
How the Disco Extension Works
Disco has a growing list of brands it works on such as Columbia, Aritzia, Reformation, Theory, Patagonia, Dior, Canada Goose, L.L. Bean, Hermes, Girlfriend Collective, and many more. When you look at a product on their websites Disco will use the brand and product name to show similar items for sale secondhand on the side of the screen.
Disco currently finds alternatives on Poshmark and Depop, but they are planning to add eBay, TheRealReal, ThredUp, and other sites soon.
Since Disco is still very new Alina also explained that they will be refining and fine-tuning the search algorithm with feedback from more users. So expect improvements and updates as it grows – for example I was very happy to see just last week they added the option to filter results by size!
Will Disco Change How We Shop?
We know that the majority of consumers want to shop more sustainably, but it can be hard! Sustainable fashion often comes at a higher price point and it takes extra time most of us don’t have to research and find alternatives. So anything that can do the searching for you and help make choosing a sustainable option easier and more affordable is a great tool to have.
Alina says another key benefit of Disco is how it offers the same familiar shopping experience for people, “so many secondhand marketplaces have cropped up over the years and have done an incredible job pushing the world towards greener fashion, but there’s so much more we can do to bolster these businesses. I think Disco can really change the game because it meets people where they’re already shopping and does all the searching legwork for them. It makes the experience almost exactly how someone would shop online normally.”
With time she believes tools like Disco can help get people more comfortable with buying secondhand and shift how we shop for clothing, “I think Disco will help people build the habit of shopping with sustainability and re-sale in mind and hopefully it’ll become where their mind goes first.”
Future Plans for Disco
Alina has a bright vision for Disco. She acknowledges that it will likely go through many iterations to have the extension working optimally, but after tackling fashion she wants to expand it to other areas as well. “In the future we’ll be looking towards all categories like electronics, household items, furniture, appliances and more. I believe taking on a strategy like this will move us towards our mission, which is to accelerate the world’s transition to a circular economy.“
Have you tried Disco? Let us know what you think in the comments!
I got my first pair of Knickeys (now named Subset) about four years ago and since then have been slowing replacing my underwear and bras with Subset to the point where they now make up the majority of my underwear drawer. So suffice it to say I’ve had a lot of experience with their styles, fits, and fabric to do a thorough review!
(Please note: this post contains Subset affiliate links which means we get a % commission from sales. I also received some Subset products as gifts and purchased some myself. However gifted products do not affect my reviews.)
Undies are up first because they are my faves. When anyone asks me what sustainable/organic underwear I recommend, I always say Subset. The organic cotton (95%) is super soft and their elastics are a nice blend of being lightweight and not digging in but also with decent stretch and recovery – very comfortable!
Subset has a great variety of underwear styles depending what your looking for. They have 3 rises; low, mid, and high. As well as some different cuts including thong, bikini, brief, hipster and retro brief depending on what type of style and coverage you’re looking for.
I personally prefer their high and mid rise styles. I have the high-rise brief in a few colours and also the high-rise thong. They have the most cuts available in the mid-rise, with the hipster and brief style being my two favorites (although I’m interested in also trying the new fuller-coverage retro brief style!).
For colour options they have the classics; black, white, and grey, as well as a few nude-ish shades, and a navy blue in their core collection. Then they regularly add fun and bright limited edition colours.
If you want to try all the styles check out their Starter Set.
Subset’s underwear come in a size range from XXS – XXXL and I find their size guide to be accurate and true to size. If you’re between sizes they recommend sizing down.
However if you’re still unsure of sizing and fit, Subset also has an amazing “First Pair Guarantee” return policy for US customers to help you find the best fit without any worries.
Many of the styles also give you the option to see it on a few models of different sizes which I love!
On average my Subset undies have lasted about a couple years with proper care (no dryer!) before the fabric and elastic are very obviously starting to get worn out. So the quality is good!
Also the idea that you need to replace your underwear every 6-12 months? That’s a total myth. Especially if you stick to natural fabrics which are more breathable, and properly wash them after every wear there is no time limit for underwear!
The only quality issue I’ve ever had with a Subset product was with my very first pair which I got right before my pregnancy (pictured below). After a while some stitching must have broke and the elastic came off in one section but this definitely could have been because I wore them for a while during pregnancy (although Subset now has maternity underwear!) which likely put extra strain on the elastic. It was a simple repair though and I’ve never had this happen with any other pairs.
Their undies are all $17 USD per pair, except for the maternity underwear. Which honestly is a very good price when compared to many other organic cotton undies. Of all the brands we’ve collected in our sustainable underwear round-up Subset is top 2 for affordability and the most affordable of any organic cotton options.
Subset Bralette Review
Since I had become such a fan of their underwear I was very exicted when Subset added bralettes to their collection in their same soft, organic cotton. Bralettes are trickier with fit though so there are some ‘winners’ an some that just don’t work for me.
Subset has four bralette styles, the sportier ‘scoop’ and ‘tank’ styles, a classic triangle style, and a cute keyhole cut-out. Of the four bralettes three have adjustable straps (the Tank, the Triangle, and the Keyhole) and two have hook-and-eye closures (the Triangle and the Keyhole) while the other two are pull-over styles (the Scoop and the Tank). Overall their styles feel very intentional, each has unique attributes and no two bras serve the same purpose, so you’re likely to find at least one that works well for you.
Note that the both the Tank and Scoop have princess seams which are fairly visible under clothes if that’s something you care about.
Quality & Comfort
All the bralettes are self-lined in their soft organic cotton which adds extra support and also makes them super comfy. They are definitely good lounge bras but more supportive than many other bralettes I’ve tried – for me they strike an ideal balance between comfort and support, not tight and restrictive but also feeling secure.
The fabric, elastics, and components are all high quality and incorporate sustainable materials. I’ve had no quality issues with their bralettes.
Sizing & Fit
Subset’s bralettes use letter sizing instead of alpha-numeric and are available in a range from XXS – XXXL. Be sure to check out their Fitting Room for sizing, measuring and fit info.
Sizing for me was a little tricky because I have a larger cup to band ratio. On Subset’s size guide I fall under size M for band but size L for bust. So to test them out I ended up getting two styles in the L (Scoop and Keyhole) and two in the M (Tank and Triangle).
Subset Bralette Fit for Larger Busts & Cups
So even though letter sizing isn’t ideal for most with larger cups I was still pretty happy with how most of the styles fit. Also along with the rebrand they have now added options in a couple styles with fuller cups for larger busts!
The Keyhole is my favourite and top pick for larger cups. It has good support, winder straps at the front/top and I like the cup shape. It also has the most adjustability with both slider straps and a hook-and-eye closure.
Both the Scoop and the Tank have a similar fit although the Tank has adjustable straps. Sizing down in the Tank was a good call and I find it comfortable in the band and also not too small in the bust. Although I do prefer the larger straps on the Scoop, and I think if I had sized down it would also be a fave because my only current issue with the L is the band being a little loose.
For for about the fit, watch my try-on fit review of both the Keyhole and Scoop styles.
Finally the Triangle unfortunately did not work for me. It is my newest bralette from Subset and the one I was most unsure of because typically triangle styles don’t work well for my larger cups, which is also the case with this bralette. The style is very cute and the fit is not bad with the adjustable straps and closure however because of the shape of the cups and lower neckline I spill out a bit whenever leaning forward and then need to constantly re-adjust. If you have larger cups I’d recommend the other 3 styles over the Triangle.
Their bralettes are all $48 USD.
Subset Socks Review
Subset also offers organic cotton socks, made from a blend of 76% organic cotton, 22% polyamide, and 2% elastane. They come in a crew and quarter (ankle) style in 3 classic colours; white, grey, and black.
The socks are very lightweight with a slim fit – a more “dressy” sock compared to the chunky or athletic styles I mainly see from sustainable brands. These are true wardrobe staple socks.
I’ll update this post in a few months with my thoughts on the quality and longevity of the socks after I get a check to wear and wash them many times.
Subset’s Ethics & Sustainability
All Subset undies and bralettes are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory in India so we know workers are paid a living wage and certain ethical standards are met.
Their products are packaged and shipped plastic-free using sustainable and recycled boxes and paper products. Subset is carbon neutral and offsets the shipping of each order, the transportation from India to the US, and their manufacturing emissions.
Don’t know what to do with your old or worn out underwear? Since underwear typically goes straight to the landfill, Subset also has a recycling program where they will take back both their own as well as old undies from any brands. The underwear gets shredded and turned into insulation, carpet padding, or furniture stuffing.
When you send underwear for recycling you get 15% off your next order so it’s really a win-win! Unfortunately though the recycling program is only currently available in the US.
Shipping & Ordering
Subset is based in the US and they ship domestically as well as to many international countries.
For Canadian customers if your order is less than $150 CAD you typically don’t have to pay any duty charges but likely still have to pay tax.
Have you tried Subset’s underwear, bralettes, or socks? What did you think?
Did you know humans consume about a credit card or plastic bottle cap’s worth of microplastics every week?! And if you’d like some visuals, this article shows the cereal bowl of plastic we eat every 6 months and the heaped dinner plate we eat every year. Yuck.
So how can we reduce the amount of microplastics we ingest? Here’s 10 things you can do:
It can be very hard to eliminate plastic packaging when it comes to food, but try your best to switch to plastic-free options where possible. Bring your own bags for produce and your own takeout containers to restaurants. For food storage switch to reusable containers and wraps.
Any food packaging swaps you can make has the double benefit of both reducing microplastics in your food and also reducing plastic waste in general.
Our homes are full of plastic material and in particular fuzzy textiles, like carpets, can be both sources and traps for microplastics. A study found that homes with primarily carpet had almost double the amount of plastic microfibres as homes without carpet.
We also tend to have synthetic throw blankets (those fluffy ones are especially bad), rugs, pillows, mattresses, bedding, sofas and other upholstered furniture which all release microplastics in the form of tiny fibres. Switching to natural materials where possible can help reduce this and it’s particularly important with items and areas that babies and small children interact with – you can read more about reducing microplastic exposure for babies and kids here.
5. Regularly Clean & Dust
What’s in dust? You guessed it, more microplastics that we breathe in and consume. This study collected dust samples from homes in 12 different countries and found microplastics in all of them.
In order to keep the amount of microplastics in your home to a minimum it’s helpful to regularly dust and vacuum, as well as timely change filters in any air systems.
6. Start a Low-Waste Beauty Routine
Many of our bathrooms are another source of plastic. From microplastics and microbeads added directly into products (thankfully microbeads have now been banned in some countries) to all the plastic packaging. This report found that when looking at thousands of skin/hair care and cosmetic products from the 10 most popular beauty brands 87% contained microplastics – that’s almost 9 of every 10 products!
Cuppa tea with a side of plastic. A single plastic tea bag can release billions of microplastics into your tea and especially if you drink it daily that adds up fast. Luckily it’s fair easy to switch to 100% paper bags or loose leaf tea!
8. ‘Green’ Your Wardrobe
Of course your wardrobe has an impact too! Opting for natural materials is a great way to reduce microfiber pollution and for any synthetics you do have, you can wash them in a Guppyfriend Bag, use a Cora Ball or get a washing machine filter.
9. Assess Plastic Cooking Tools & Kitchen Gadgets
Take an audit of your kitchen and how many tools and utensils are made of plastic. Start by adressing the plastic items with the highest risk of shedding microplastics into food, such as items that contain or come in contact with anything abrasive, are heated, or get the most use/wear.
10. Tackle the Toys
From stuffed animals to plastic figures, there’s a lot of plastic in the toy box. Try to choose natural material toys, especially for items that get a lot of wear or for anything that will end up in a baby or toddler’s mouth! Here are some plastic-free toy brands to check out.
and especially watch out for Craft and Art Supplies
Glitter is an obvious top offender and I try to never let it in the house, but there are also many other kids craft supplies that are plastic and shed bits of plastic, such as pipe cleaners, felt, pom poms, glue, stickers, sequins, paints and even some crayons are made with plastic. And if you’ve ever done crafts with kids you know how quickly stuff gets everywhere.
Try to use natural materials where possible (or even better, upcycled materials) and clean up after any crafting.
In the age of microtrends, social media, and influencer marketing, we are constantly bombarded with a combination of overt and subtle advertisements. We are conditioned to believe we need to follow the latest fashion trend or buy the newest clothing item not only to be cool, but fashionable as well. All this noise makes it hard to develop your personal style.
What Are Microtrends In Fashion?
Microtrends are short lived trends that are only popular for a few weeks to a few months. In fashion, specific clothing items or entire aesthetics can be microtrends. For example, the green wool House of Sunny dress was popular for the summer months of 2020. Even Kendall Jenner hopped on this trend! By the end of the season, however, this garment was viewed as overdone and out-of-date (ironic, considering the design rose to popularity only a few months prior). Microtrends harm personal style by convincing consumers they need to constantly buy into new trends to be fashionable.
The Role of Influencers In Fashion
Over the past 5-10 years there has been a rise in popularity of influencers, or online tastemakers. The role of influencers is simple — to influence people to buy products and buy into specific trends. When we see 20+ influencers posting about the hottest new jacket, shoes, or bag, it is easy to get enticed into buying that item. A lot of the time, the constant online exposure to microtrends via influencers causes us to buy into a trend, even if we do not find it cool or attractive at first.
How To Tune Out Social Media Telling You What to Wear
Developing your personal style in a world of influencers and microtrends is difficult, and social media and the rise of fast fashion does not make it any easier. The key to enhancing your personal style is to tune out these social media messages and fast fashion advertising. Fashion is consumed differently than it was a decade or two ago. Instead of waiting for seasonal runway shows and occasionally flipping through a Vogue magazine, we now have endless fashion content at our fingertips thanks to social media. For example, there are over 1.2 billion videos with the hashtag #fashionhaul on TikTok alone!
The growing popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram has led to the hypervisibility of trends on social media. Fashion trends and specific clothing items are plastered all over social media, quickly becoming popular. We are conditioned to believe we are missing out if we do not hop on a trend, yet we quickly become sick of the trend after buying into it due to constantly seeing the trend online. One microtrend currently circling the internet is the Ugg Ultra Mini boots. The hashtag #uggultramini has over 60.4 million videos under it on TikTok. This hypervisibility of trends causes a quick turnover from trendy to tacky.
One way to not let social media dictate your sense of style is to avoid watching hauls, or if you do enjoy that style of content, watch thrift hauls. Thrift hauls are entertaining but do not pressure you to “click the link in the description box” and mindlessly buy into current trends. Another tip is to filter who you follow online. Only follow people who inspire you rather than influencers who dictate what you should and should not wear.
How To Tune Out Fast Fashion Brands Telling You What to Wear
Shein and other fast fashion brands rely on influencer marketing for a lot of their advertising, so limiting the amount of influencer and haul content you watch online will help prevent you from being influenced to buy into every trend. There are, of course, other reasons to steer clear of fast fashion, from environmental concerns to human rights issues. Check out “Which Brands are Fast Fashion? We Break it Down” to know which brands to avoid.
More Ways to Develop Your Personal Style
Being exposed to trends is inevitable, so instead of blindly buying into a fad, find elements of trends you like and incorporate them into your wardrobe. For example, the wrap sweaters seen in balletcore outfits may perfectly align with your personal style, while ballet flats do not. Don’t just copy an outfit you see an influencer wearing; instead ask yourself “Do I like this outfit? What do I like about it? Will I like this item/style in six months? In a year? Would I wear this if it wasn’t trendy?” Taking a step back and thinking critically is a great way to weed out trends that do not align with your specific sense of style.
Another way to develop your personal style is to repurpose old clothes. You do not need to get rid of old clothes that were once trendy; you can alter them into a new garment! Reworking old clothes is sustainable and allows you to have one-of-a-kind pieces that make your style more unique.
Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to fashion inspiration. Many people turn to apps like Pinterest for outfit images and styling content, but the astronomically large amount of content can be overwhelming. To combat this issue, find outfit inspiration through other channels. Look at what people are wearing on the street, flip through fashion magazines, and take note of what your friends and peers are wearing.
Another tip for finding your personal style is to not confine yourself to a single aesthetic. Social media and influencers often teach us that to have a strong sense of personal style, we need to fit ourselves into a box. Fashion sense is often divided into categories, such as grunge, dark academia, downtown girl, and coquette aesthetics. Real fashion sense, however, comes from being able to switch up your look and experiment. Fashion is supposed to be fun! Have fun with your outfits and do not be afraid to try out looks that cannot be categorized as a single aesthetic.
Lastly, remember that the words stylish and trendy are not synonymous. We often associate style with wearing the trendiest clothing and knowing what’s popular. Instead of associating style with trends, associate style with how clothing makes you feel. Someone with good personal style wears clothes that make them feel confident, powerful, and like their best self. Tune out the social media, microtrend, and fast fashion background noise and dress in what makes you feel like your best and most authentic self.
If you love colorful clothes but are still convinced that sustainable fashion is plain with only earth tones, get ready to be proved wrong! We put together a guide with bold brands we love.
Why Do So Many Sustainable Fashion Brands Use Earth Tones?
Taking a step back to try to understand why people think sustainable fashion has a standard, boring look, it’s important to clarify that one way slow fashion brands differ from fast fashion brands is that they usually invest much more time and resources into research in order to minimize their impact on our planet and people throughout their entire production process. Color is a fundamental component of fashion production but bright, warm colors and prints can not easily be reproduced with natural dyes and as a result, “a toxic soup of chemicals is discarded from the fashion industry’s synthetic dye processes, filtering into the water systems of the planet,” according to Fashion Revolution.
That’s why a fair amount of slow fashion brands are opting for natural dyes, such as those made from vegetables, which are often restricted to a limited palette of neutral and earthy colors, according to Vogue India. Not to say there’s anything wrong with these colors — they make your clothes versatile and timeless, ensuring that they will be treasured in your wardrobe for a long time to come.
Colorful Sustainable Fashion Is Possible
Luckily, for those of us who love bright and bold colors, a bigger palette of natural dyes is becoming available thanks to the research that brands and companies are investing into. In addition, new regulations and certifications (such as OEKO-TEX) encourage brands to reduce their harmful impacts even when using synthetic dyes, and help consumers make informed decisions (and avoid “toxic soups”).
As production processes are changing, people’s tastes are changing too. While minimalistic fashion, dominated by neutral, earthy, and plain colors and shapes, will forever be considered effortlessly cool, it seems to be taking a backseat in favor of maximalism. One big historical event that has shaped and is still shaping our behaviors, even when it comes to how clothes are made and how people dress, is the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to MakersValley, “the fatigue of pandemic minimalism has turned people back toward maximalism, though the current maximalist aesthetic differs from previous iterations thanks largely to the internet offering up a plethora of new resources for inspiration.” For example, many people turn to TikTok for bold outfit inspiration.
Lovers of color and prints who are looking for ethical brands to support and perhaps also want to play with the maximalism aesthetic to add a pinch of pepper to your outfits, we’ve got you covered – head to toe.
Colorful Sustainable Clothing Brands
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
With a mission to “color the world responsibly,” Colorful Standard makes clothing using either 100% organic cotton or 100% merino wool. Their clothing is available in a wide variety of solid colors, from neutral to bold and vibrant, and all of their 50 colors come from OEKO-TEX certified dyes. The brand is known for long lasting and ethically made fashion staples such as T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, and socks. Colorful Standard is headquartered in Denmark and produces their clothing in Portugal with fair wages.
Size range: XS – 2XL Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled materials, Factory transparency, Seasonless collections, Low waste production Availability: Based in Denmark, ships worldwide
If you’re on the hunt for colorful, twirl-worthy, floral dresses, TAMGA Designs is the place to go. TAMGA gets their bright colors from OEKO-TEX certified dyes that “use 70% less water than conventional synthetic dyes,” and that react beautifully to their sustainable and ethically sourced fabrics — Tencel, EcoVero, flax linen, and Modal. In addition to dresses they sell tops, bottoms, loungewear and more in feminine styles with hand-drawn prints or solid colors.
Size range: XS – 2XL Values: Sustainable materials, Factory transparency, Low waste production, Plastic-free packaging, Vegan, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics, Gives back Availability: Based in Canada, ships worldwide
This woman-owned, USA-based activewear/loungewear brand collaborates with artists and designers who create unique and colorful prints. Each artist receives 5% of the profits for each item sold with their design. Their fabrics are made in the USA with recycled polyester and dyes that are “non toxic, low impact and lead free.” The coloring and finishing procedures take place locally in LA, and Nube strives to reduce energy use and toxins at every point in the process.
Size range: XS – 2XL Values: Recycled materials, Factory transparency, Seasonless collections, Low waste production, Plastic-free packaging, Made in the USA, Vegan, Gives back Availability: Based in LA, ships to the USA with options to ship worldwide
Since founders Lucy and Chris left their 9-5 jobs to hit the road in their van Yak, where the brand began, they’ve been continuously working to source more sustainable fabrics and create new prints, shapes, and cuts. Lucy & Yak is a GOTS certified brand that makes dungarees, jackets, dresses, trousers and more in whimsical patterns. All their suppliers are OEKO-TEX certified, meaning that items “have been tested for harmful substances and ensure the product is harmless for your health.” The brand also uses natural dyes — including charcoal, stone green, and umber.
Size range: XS – 4XL Values: GOTS Certified, Sustainable materials, Recycled materials, Factory transparency, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics, Body-inclusive models Availability: Based in the UK, ships worldwide
In Swahili, “mzuri” — the inspiration for this brand name — means “good.” Founders Sandra and Ashleigh strive to embody this “good” ethos in everything that they do: Zuri operates fairly and ethically to support a long-term, sustainable economy in Kenya. They make simple and plain styles but play with colors a lot, inspired by African traditional prints and textiles. Many of their fabrics are hand printed or hand loomed by partnering with local craftspeople using traditional methods, like the batik process.
Size range: 2XS – 3XL Values: Factory transparency, Body-inclusive models, Seasonless collections Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
Thief & Bandit‘s whimsical and edgy statement prints are instantly recognizable. Their garments are not only sewn in-house in their Halifax studio but their sustainable fabrics are also hand-printed with custom silkscreen designs. Their inclusive collection includes clothing, swimwear, underwear, and accessories all made in their Halifax studio.
Size Range: XS – 4X Values: Sustainable materials, Low waste production, Made in-house, Made-to-order, Made in Canada Availability: Based in Canada, ships worldwide
Back Beat Co. serves up cool, Californian style and are a great option if you’re looking for colorful cotton knitwear, comfy lounge wear, and some not-so-basic basics. Their garments are all made locally in LA.
Size Range: XS – XXL Values: Sustainable materials, GOTS certified cotton, Factory transparency, Made in America, Plastic-free packaging Based In: USA, ships worldwide
Printfresh is the go-to for those who love prints and colors, even in bed. This lifestyle and sleepwear brand is inspired by plants and animals, and all of their sleep sets are 100% cotton. Founder Amy believes that “there is a way to produce products with great care”, and she and her team do that by cutting down waste and emissions throughout production and shipping, by using natural fabrics like organic cotton, and by keeping an anti-fast fashion approach overall.
Size range: 2XS – 6XL Values: Sustainable materials, low waste production, vegan, gives back Availability: Based in the US, ships worldwide
“No riding, rolling, bunching, wiggling, or wedging,” that’s Thunderpants. The brand was founded in 1995 by two sisters who were frustrated by irritating undies and set out to design “the ultimate comfy undie” — and they did! They partner with a large roster of artists to design prints or hand-dye fabrics for unique underwear, bralettes, camis and swimwear you can’t find anywhere else. If you check out their limited collection of one-of-a-kind items, make sure you don’t miss the Flower Press Botanical selection: a dye process you can… DIY, too.
Price: USD 24 – 46 Size range: XS – 4XL Values: Fair Trade certified, Body-inclusive models, GOTS certified, Sustainable materials, Made in the USA, Factory transparency Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
Want to make an impact every step of the way? Conscious Step’s got you covered with their organic cotton socks with fun colors, prints and characters. This brand gives back with every purchase, with a wide variety of causes to choose from including women empowerment, rainforest conservation, protecting LGBTQ+ lives, and many more. Their products and factory are certified by OEKO-TEX and Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).
Price: USD 13 – 17 Size range: S – L Values: Fair Trade, GOTS certified, OEKO-TEX certified, Sustainable materials, Factory transparency, Gives back, Vegan Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
CARIUMA’s sustainably-made sneakers are the touch of color that every jeans and T-shirt outfit needs. They offer many styles for men and women in a variety of eye-catching prints and colors — neutrals as well as vibrant and Pantone shades. To ensure that no hazardous chemicals would be used in their manufacturing process and to also make things as safe as possible for their workers, the brand only choses Bluesign-certified chemicals to dye their materials. Check out CARIUMA’s designs in collaboration with international artists if you’d like to reach a new level of boldness.
Price: USD 79 – 169 Size range: US 5 – 13 Values: GOTS certified, Recycled materials, Sustainable materials, Low waste production, Factory transparency, Gives back Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
Cotopaxi is a certified B Corporation that makes durable and colorful adventure gear while prioritizing sustainability and giving back to communities in South America. The brand sells a variety of bright accessories and gear such as backpacks, travel packs, fanny packs and hats. One particularly fun line is their collection of bags and backpacks that are made from fabric scraps leftover from other companies, giving them a color-blocked pattern Cotopaxi is known for.
Price: USD 40 – 295 Size range: US 2XS – 2XL Values: GOTS certified, Recycled materials, Sustainable materials, Fair trade, B Corp, Factory transparency, Gives back Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
Oh, how many battles we’ve fought against single-use plastic bags – and how long the road towards a future free from them is still. BAGGU produces a wide range of products from socks to slippers, hats, and many other everyday accessories but it’s most known for its eye-catching reusable bags. The brand’s mission is to reduce waste, particularly through the elimination of single-use plastic bags. They inspire more and more people to invest in funny, colorful, playful totes that can be used for a looong time and they also walk the talk! In fact, their sustainability efforts are all focused on the elimination and minimization of waste in their own operations and production processes, too.
Price: USD 12 – 78 Values: Recycled materials, Vegan, Plastic-free packaging, Low waste production Availability: Based in the USA, ships worldwide
How many times are you really going to wear that new piece of clothing you’re eyeing? When shopping with Cost Per Wear in mind, that question is front and center. Cost Per Wear is a simple equation that helps you realize that sustainable clothing may not be as expensive as you think it is, if you focus on the bigger picture. Let’s find out how to calculate it and why it could drastically change your shopping behaviors.
Cost Per Wear: The Formula
When calculating the Cost Per Wear (CPW), you are breaking down the upfront price of a clothing item by the number of times you will realistically wear it.
Cost Per Wear ($) = Upfront cost ($) / Times worn (#)
It’s clear that the Cost Per Wear is not an objective indicator and that the CPW of the very same item could differ from person to person, depending on their own style and habits.
Let’s take a $300 coat as an example: If you live in Canada, where winter hits you in the bones and lasts for months, you’re probably reaching out to your coat at least 60 days per year. Now, if we consider that a well-made coat lasts for a minimum of 5 years (and I’m being very conservative), this means you could wear your $300 coat 200 times. The Cost Per Wear of that item would be $1.50 for you.
If you live in California instead, you’d probably wear your $300 coat only a few days per year (unless you’re traveling to Canada), so the CPW of that very same item goes up for you. If you wear the coat 50 times over 5 years, the Cost Per Wear is $6! Doesn’t sound so worth it anymore…
The Cost Per Wear formula allows you to estimate what the real value of a garment is for you, before you buy it. The lower the CPW, the more it’s worth it for you to make that purchase if you really need new clothing. The higher the CPW, the less that item is valuable for you so you should really think twice before buying.
This is one of the pillars of sustainability: “Think before you buy,” and the Cost Per Wear equation is there to make us think indeed.
We’ve learned that the price tag does not reflect the real value an item could have for each one of us. The CPW indicator does, and just because a fast fashion item reports a much lower price on its tag it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will cost you less over time.
In the era of Instagram and TikTok where fashion influencers are never pictured or tagged in the same dress twice, it’s no big surprise that in the UK “one in three young women, the biggest segment of consumers, consider garments worn once or twice to be old,” as reported by The Guardian.
While social media perpetuates a “FOMO” culture, ultra fast fashion brands are not simply bystanders: they play a key role, conscious that introducing users to new products every minute and motivating their desire for the trendiest clothing can lead to expensive habits.
Let us take a practical example and compare a fast fashion outfit that you only plan to wear twice (or may only be able to due to low quality) to a more sustainable outfit that you’re going to take care of and wear for years to come.
Breaking down the Cost Per Wear of both outfits (calculated based on the 30-wears rule for the more sustainable option), the verdict is that the pricey, ethically-made outfit does actually cost you less over time than the fast fashion ensemble. The case is closed.
How Can the Cost Per Wear Be Lowered?
There are a few elements that everyone should pay attention to and look for when you need new clothes and go on a mission to find some that are worth the purchase:
Quality of the materials, seams, and other components like zippers, buttons, etc; the higher the quality, the longer that item is going to last, the lower the CPW would be
Style, and especially how that item you’re considering fits with the rest of your closet: if it does not, you’re probably going to struggle styling it and end up not wearing it that much
Staples vs trends: only focus on buying clothes that you think you’re going to reach for over time as opposed to designs that are trending this season but are likely going to be not-so-cool anymore in just a few months
Needless to say, these rules also apply to second hand shopping if you’re into it. And not only that: the Cost Per Wear concept is a true master key that you can use on different occasions. In fact, you can easily swap out the “Wear” of this equation to replace it with “Use” so that the formula applies to other categories than fashion, like toys or tools.
H&M is quite vocal about their sustainability efforts. The company has been releasing yearly sustainability reports since the early 2000s. Their 2021 report details their approach to sustainability and goals for circular and climate positive practices. But is H&M all talk?
One pillar of H&M’s sustainability efforts is their Conscious Collection. This clothing line within the brand is marketed as a sustainable fashion collection that uses eco-friendly materials. In its advertising materials, the brand states, “Our Conscious products contain at least 50% recycled materials, organic materials or TENCEL ™ Lyocell material- in fact many contain 100%.”
Hold onto your hats, because if you read that previous paragraph and thought “this sounds too good to be true,” then you are correct…
The Lawsuit Against H&M
Chelsea Commodore, a marketing student and H&M customer, filed an advertising lawsuit against the fast fashion giant in July 2022. Commodore alleges that H&M is guilty of greenwashing its products. Greenwashing is when a brand makes themselves or their product appear eco-friendly via false information or deceptive advertising. Commodore argues in the lawsuit that H&M “misrepresented the nature of its products, at the expense of consumers who pay a price premium in the belief that they are buying truly sustainable and environmentally friendly clothing.”
In this day and age, many of us are attempting to shop more sustainability and are more selective of the brands we bring business to. H&M, aware of this rising demographic of conscious shoppers, saw a business opportunity. Instead of creating a truly eco-friendly line, the brand used smoke and mirrors and marketing ploys to attract customers.
H&M Greenwashing Examples
H&M’s previously mentioned Conscious Collection reeks of greenwashing. One example of greenwashing marketing H&M engaged in is the sustainability scorecards placed on many of their products. These scorecards were designed to flag which H&M pieces are sustainable, and the cards shared facts about the materials used to create the garments. These green tags were meant to draw in eco-conscious shoppers. An investigation from Quartz, however, revealed the information on these sustainability scorecards was fictitious. One alarming find from this investigation is that one dress contained a label saying H&M used 20% less water than average when producing the garment, when in reality it took 20% more water to produce the dress! The scorecard told a straight up lie.
In the lawsuit, Commodore is also calling out H&M for not actually using sustainable materials for their Conscious Collection clothing. Many of the clothes from the Conscious Collection line are made from polyester, a synthetic material that is not biodegradable or recyclable. Polyester is also known to shed harmful microfibers.
*It is important to note that H&M has pulled its Conscious Collection both in store and online, with the collection being completely removed from stores by the end of October 2022.
H&M’s Business Model
Another part of the problem lies in H&M’s business model. The brand’s low-cost, high-volume, trend-driven business model is not conducive to green business practices. H&M’s business model involves creating clothes cheaply and in high volumes, as is typical for fast fashion companies. Frequent and large-scale production of clothing is not sustainable or eco-friendly. Even if H&M’s Conscious Collection were eco-friendly, a few better choices among the brand’s estimated 550 million garments produced annually is not really sustainable at all.
Even the brand’s clothing donation initiative is problematic. H&M stores feature donation boxes where shoppers can recycle their old garments in exchange for a store coupon. The donated clothes are then sorted into three categories: Rewear, Reuse, and Recycle. Rewear clothes become secondhand clothing; Reuse clothes are turned into new products, such as cleaning rags; Recycle clothes are recycled into new textile fibers. This seems like a noble program, right? The fact is, however, this clothing recycling program promotes throwaway culture. Instead of investing in quality items that can be worn season after season, throwaway culture promotes constantly swapping out one’s wardrobe by throwing away/recycling old items and buying new replacements. The donation program rids shoppers of consumer guilt by convincing them that constantly buying new clothing is okay since they are donating old items. It is also worth noting that only 0.1% of clothing donated to programs like H&M’s actually gets recycled into new fibers.
H&M’s low-cost, high-volume business model also raises questions about the brand’s labor conditions and practices. On their website, H&M conveniently explains that they outsource production and therefore do not have control over worker salaries. The brand does, however, offer up a plan on how to increase wages for garment workers, including educating workers on their rights, monitoring wages, and engaging in collective bargaining. However, there is no proof that every employee receives a living wage. H&M has also faced criticism on the working conditions in factories where their clothing is produced. H&M has 42 suppliers in Myanmar, where there have been reports of wage theft and sexual harassment. Like H&M’s grand sustainability plans, there seems to be a lot of talk about improving working conditions, but not a lot of evidence of improvements occurring.
Is H&M Sustainable? The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that H&M is not a sustainable brand. Their sustainability efforts, while sounding good on paper, appear to be another sad case of greenwashed marketing. If the brand is serious about making a change, a new business model is needed for H&M to truly become an eco-friendly, sustainable company. For the time being, H&M will not be recognized as a sustainable company.
Looking for a sustainable gift ideas for clients or employee appreciation? Or maybe you’d like eco friendly gifts for wedding guests or other large groups? Check out and support these lovely small businesses that offer corporate, personalized and customizable, or bulk gifting options that are better for the planet:
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
EarthHero offers ready made gift boxes feature sustainable home and lifestyle products as well as a huge section of goods that can be made into a custom gift box. They also have reuseable items and sustainable swag such as water bottles, coffee cups, pens, notebooks, bags, chargers, and more that can be customized or branded.
EarthHero offers an easy-to-use custom gift box builder or you can also contact them for order and info.
Good Earth Gifting is a Canadian company that solely focuses on sustainable curated gift boxes. You can select from their themed boxes such as ‘Snacks’, ‘On the Go’, ‘Self-care’, ‘Cocktail, ‘Kitchen Essentials’ and more. Alternatively you can customize a box yourself or have them build a box for you.
You can order boxes or contact them for other corporate gifting options.
Let’s face it, many corporate gifts just become unwanted (and unsustainable) clutter, solve that problem by going digital!
Libro.fm audiobook credits are unique because they partner and share profits with independent bookstores. They have a huge selection of fiction and non-fiction audiobooks, bestsellers, and curated collections/recommendations so your gift receivers are sure to find titles they’ll enjoy.
Libro.fm offers gift credit bundles (1 credit = 1 audiobook) ranging from 2 to 24 and you can contact them about other bulk credit options or bulk order of a specific audiobook.
Puzzles are a classic holiday activity and these offer something new and environmentally conscious!
Goodfit’s puzzles are exclusive and designed in collaboration with artists. Plus each puzzle is made from 100% recycled cardboard and donates 10% to an organization or charity of the artist’s choosing.
They offer bulk discounts and you can contact them about personalization options.
Experiences make the best sustainable gifts and Tinggly’s gift vouchers mean everyone can pick their own experience.
They offer both hotel stay/getaway vouchers and experience vouchers which can include things like guided tours, spa packages, adventure and adrenaline experiences, culinary excursions and many more.
Tinggly’s vouchers can either be sent as an e-voucher or in a gift box which can be custom branded. The gift boxes are 100% recycled and all experiences as well as shipping are carbon offset. Plus Tinggly gives back to reforestation and plastic cleanup projects.
Wabanaki Maple‘s maple syrup is aged in oak, whiskey, and bourbon barrels to develop unique complex flavours. Or if you want to give a beautiful traditional maple syrup they have that too.
Wabanaki Maple is an Indigenous, female-owned small business that carries on the history and tradition of maple syrup harvesting and refining. Their products are made locally in Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), New Brunswick.
You can contact them about corporate and bulk orders.
Speaking from experience, Unbelts unisex stretchy belts are incredibly comfortable and make a great gift. Their Intrepid Belt is ethically made from recycled plastic bottles and comes in 15+ colors and styles.
For bulk order and corporate gifting Unbelts has custom packaging and logo printing available.
Sḵwálwen Botanicals is a Canadian Indigenous brand making small batch skincare using cultural plant knowledge and showcasing ingredients responsibly foraged on the pacific coast. Their products are a beautiful gift of indulgence and self-care.
Sḵwálwen Botanicals offers bath salts and soaks as well as some of their balms and salves for bulk gifting so you can customize a gift bundle. They have discounts available for orders of 60+ units.
Location: Canada, ships to Canada and US
Candles always makes a lovely gift and for more sustainable options look for vegan, coconut and/or soy wax, and cleaning burning candles. Here are some of our favorites that also offer corporate gifting and bulk order options:
After a summer of home renovations and wearing dirty painting clothes most days, I’m not only excited to be settling into our new place but also to wear cute clothes again!
I’ve been navigating weight fluctuations over the past few years but for this capsule in particular I let go of many pieces that no longer fit and invested in some better fitting items, and pieces that will work through weight fluctuations.