Last Updated on September 20, 2022
Looking for the elusive unicorn of totally natural, 100% plastic-free, and biodegradable clothing? I’ve found some options!
Did you know even if the tag says 100% cotton, it shouldn’t be composted as we don’t know if it actually safely biodegrades. However, there are some brands who make biodegradability a top priority — using organic fabrics, certified nontoxic or natural dyes, natural trims and components, and even biodegradable elastics, so when your items are worn out they can be tossed in the compost with zero waste and no worries!
Founder Stephanie Devine started the Australian brand The Very Good Bra with a mission to create a completely zero waste bra. The entire bra, even the hooks, elastics (made from natural rubber), thread, and labels can be put into a home compost at the end of its life! Learn more about their materials here.
What The Very Good Bra has been able to accomplish is pretty impressive. It’s amazing to see a brand who even tests their product’s biodegradability in a worm farm!
Chatting with Stephanie, she expressed that creating a compostable bra has certainly had challenges. Sourcing materials can be very hard and often there is only one supplier of certain components, like their natural rubber elastic or Cradle to Cradle certified Tencel thread. They also had issues with a supplier leaving out the fact that a synthetic stabilizer was added to their cotton hook and eye closures. However, seeing their transparency around the product and learning about this mistake was very refreshing, and since then Stephanie has been able to develop a fully composable closure for the new styles!
For more about TVGB and the fit, check out this post and video.
Sustain in a US-based brand, all about sustainable, natural, and skin-healthy garments. They make organic and plant-dyed clothes, accessories, underwear, and baby clothes.
As opposed to conventional dyeing, which can be toxic and harmful to people and the environment, Sustain uses traditional natural dyeing methods and materials. Some of the pieces incorporate Ayurvedic dyeing techniques, and they also have an undyed and colour-grown cotton line for those with very sensitive skin or who just love the look and feel of natural cotton!
Even natural dyeing may not be totally safe for the environment, with some processes using heavy metals, but Sustain only uses safe and nontoxic dyes and mordants.
I really appreciate how transparent, genuine, and dedicated founder Kat is about sustainability. I messaged her to check if all components can be composted and she mentioned that everything is fine to compost except for the labels — even though they use soy ink, she is not 100% sure there are no additives, so to be safe the labels should just be cut off.
Learn more about Sustain and how they use natural dyes in this post!
US-based brand Harvest & Mill makes tees, tops, and joggers. They offer undyed and unbleached cotton in a natural creamy white and an undyed, colour-grown light brown. Harvest & Mill also has some naturally dyed options and a black colourway dyed with low-impact dyes.
They prioritize local production, using US-grown organic cotton, and all the spinning, knitting, and sewing happens within 20 miles of their studio.
Please note: Harvest & Mill also sells socks but these have some stretch nylon blended in and therefore are not compostable.
Kent is a US-based brand with 100% plastic-free, compostable, organic pima cotton underwear styles.
Natural clothing is not only good for the environment but also for our skin, and this is especially important when it comes to our most sensitive areas!
Kent offers undyed and natural, plant-dyed styles, as well as a black colour option dyed with GOTS certified dyes. They use plant-based and latex-free elastics.
With a focus on natural products and regenerative agriculture, California Cloth Foundry makes women’s organic clothing in “collaboration with nature”.
Their casual and lounge pieces are naturally dyed and ethically made in the US.
Please note: Some of their pieces do contain 2% spandex and these items are not compostable, but they are currently looking for solutions and testing a bio-based alternative to eventually have a fully plastic free clothing collection.
If you’re a sewer, CCF also sells their fabrics by the yard!
Did you know cotton actually grows in different colours? Danu Organic’s clothes showcase the beauty of colour-grown cotton and natural-dyes.
Based in the US, their collection includes basics and loungewear for kids and adults.
UK-based brand Bedstraw + Madder makes 100% compostable and botanically dyed underwear using regeneratively grown cotton from an organic farm in Southern India. Learn more about their values here.
If it’s time to upgrade your underwear drawer, Bedstraw + Madder offers single-colored bikinis and briefs as well as fun and frilly styles. Depending on the style, the knickers are made from 100% organic cotton or GOTS certified organic cotton and recycled elastane “proven to biodegrade within three years.” Bedstraw + Madder partners with regenerative fiber organizations Oshadi, Fibreshed and RADDIS.
Are there any 100% natural and compostable brands I missed? Please share them in the comments!
Updated September 20, 2022