12 Sustainable Clothing Brands for People Who Love Color & Prints

posted in brand roundups

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

Author: Denise Caggio & Editorial Team

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)
Image credit: Colorful Standard

Colorful Standard

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


Image credit: TAMGA

TAMGA Designs

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


Image credit: Nube

Nube

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


Lucy & Yak

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


Image credit: Zuri

Zuri

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


Image credit: Thief & Bandit

Thief & Bandit

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


Image credit: Back Beat Co.

Back Beat Co.

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


Colorful Sustainable Underwear

Image credit: Thunderpants

Thunderpants

“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


Colorful Footwear

Image credit: Conscious Step

Conscious Step

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


Image credit: Cariuma

CARIUMA

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


Colorful, Sustainable Accessories

Image credit: Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi

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


Image credit: BAGGU

BAGGU

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


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