As we know, the textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world. Between 7,000 and 10,000 liters of water is required to produce a single pair of jeans, more than 2,000 liters for a t-shirt, hectares of land ravaged by intensive cotton cultivation, etc.
It’s hard to deny these facts, especially when you’re a bit interested in the world of clothing. Far from us, the idea of playing the reprobates, the goal is to offer different keys in order to consume the garment differently. Today, we list the main eco-responsible brands. If generally, this echoes for some of us, the latter proves that it is possible to combine fashion and respect for the environment. Here are the ones that impressed us the most.
Two years ago, Romano established a list of brands specializing in the production of quality basics, divided according to their favourite pieces: coat, t-shirt, shirt, etc. In addition, they were classified according to their price range, which greatly facilitated the choice of a particular brand. Today, we take this classification principle somewhat by setting aside the price in order to focus on one aspect that is invariable for each of them, producing eco-responsibly.
Jeans are pieces requiring the cultivation of cotton. Suppose its production consumes even more water than that of the t-shirt (on average 10,000 liters). In that case, we must, unfortunately, add to this the almost obligatory passage of denim in dyeing tanks. Once this is done, the wastewater, loaded with heavy metals, among other things, is found directly in nature. The best example remains that of the city of Xitang, in China, nicknamed the “capital of jeans.” In the streets, the water is a blue that is not natural!
Unfortunately, the production of jeans does not stop there. Very often, sanding operations and chlorine bleaching are carried out in order, for example, to hole the canvas or give it a bleached side (which could very well have been done naturally!). Add to that thousands of kilometers of transport between the factory and the various points of sale, and you get the most polluting part of our dressing room. But fortunately, solutions are possible to minimize the impact of this production. Again, some brands favor the use of organic cotton. This is the case for Nudie Jeans and 1083, a French brand established in the Drôme. From design to washing, the entire production process is made in France. What’s more, it achieves laser washing that does not require sanding!
Brands to know:
1083 | Atelier Tuffery | Gustin | Mud Jeans | Nudie jeans
Without a doubt, wool is one of the best insulators. Indeed, the expression “take out your wool” is more than verified when the temperatures cool. The problem with this natural fiber is precisely its very nature. Indeed, needless to say, that the wool is of animal origin, most of the time coming from sheep. And since almost the dawn of time, man has been using it to cover himself and protect himself from the cold. While this was clearly not a problem then, it is now.
Indeed, and despite the fact that it represents only 1.7% of the fibers used in textiles, the breeding of sheep intended for the wool harvest is a real hecatomb for the environment, and this on many points. In addition to their mistreatment in some countries, the growing number of sheep promotes soil degradation, pollution of the atmosphere and water, or the loss of biodiversity as well as, more generally, global warming.
Also, farm animals represent 20% of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the spaces they occupy today were once naturally intended for the habitat of wildlife. But even worse, it is the use of insecticides, intended to protect the herds from parasites that can alter their wool, which can directly harm the animal and the environment. Once harvested, the wool undergoes a new treatment so that it can be machine washed. There are three main methods: Superwash, based on chlorine or acid, the polymer bath as well as the Kroy-Hercosett process, which consists of combining the pre-chlorination with the application of the polymer resin.
Despite everything, and although there are synthetic substitutes, it will always be preferable to favor natural fibers over those obtained from petrochemicals. It is, therefore, better to select so-called organic wools. This term implies that the production of wool, from rearing sheep to treating them against parasites, is done without the use of pesticides or chemicals. More and more brands are turning to this type of fiber. This is the case of José and Misericordia, which also works with Peruvian associations to make alpaca pieces. Better yet, Hopaal, via his ” Sweater of the future,” Offers a piece made from recycled wool (38%) but also recycled polyamide (28%), recycled cotton (22%), recycled acrylic (7%), and other recycled fibers (5% ).
Brands to know:
Bask in the sun | Field of maneuvers | Everlane | Hopaal | José | Misericordia | Patagonia
It is undoubtedly the room that poses the environmental problems. A true emblem of the male wardrobe, it is almost unthinkable to think of a wardrobe worthy of the name without including at least one model. The problem is the material used in the production of a tee (and I’m not talking about the golf accessory). Indeed, and everyone knows it, a t-shirt is generally made from cotton, a natural fiber, therefore. To produce one kilo of cotton, 5400 liters of water must be consumed. Cotton cultivation alone accounts for a quarter of global pesticide consumption and 10% of fertilizer.
To limit this overconsumption, some brands have chosen to make t-shirts from organic cotton. But, in concrete terms, what are the differences with the fiber traditionally used? First, this organic cotton is, by nature, GMO-free. Also, it is grown using natural compost, which can replace fertilizers and various chemical pesticides. This method of cultivation also significantly reduces the water requirement of the plant. In France, GoudronBlanc is one of those brands to have switched to this type of fabric. GOTS certified cotton, respect for workers, the brand makes it a point of honor to produce responsibly. Another alternative, Tencel, used in particular by Seagale. It is very flexible and more breathable than cotton. Also, it is obtained from wood pulp and consumes significantly less water.
Brands to know:
BDRD | Castart | TarWhite | Mr. Chicken | Seagale
As with the t-shirt, the shirt is mostly made from cotton. In fact, we come across the same environmental issues: water consumption, pesticides to treat cotton fields, etc. While most models in the men’s wardrobe see their weaving made from this fluffy fiber, there are nevertheless alternatives that are just as effective and more respectful for the environment.
And the first is, of course, linen. Four times less water-intensive than cotton, this natural fiber is lighter and more robust. If the models in 100% linen exist, it is not rare to see this material and organic cotton, which gives a soft, supple, and airy fabric. This mixture is also found in several models from KnowledgeCotton Apparel, which has used organic cotton since its creation. Another substitute fiber, which we have already mentioned just before, is Tencel, also mixed with cotton. But that’s not all! We talked about it through a news item, Le Chemiseur now, offers in its fabric catalog a creation by Verne and Clet, the NEWLIFE, which includes 30% recycled cotton, 30% recycled synthetic fibers, and 40% synthetic fibers from recycled bottles.
Brands to know:
Fyu Paris | Histon Project | KnowledgeCotton Apparel | The Chemiseur | House Standards
5. Trainers and Formal Shoes
He is undoubtedly one of the worst students in our wardrobe in terms of eco-responsibility. They are often made from materials that are among the most aggressive towards the environment (cotton, leather, rubber, plastics, and synthetics). Also, mounted with chemical components, such as glue based on solvents. Worse yet, the color models whose dyes used are as harmful as those used in making jeans. While this is especially true for our sneakers, leather shoes’ production also poses a problem: tanning hides with chrome, intensive breeding of cattle at high risk of deforestation, etc. For example, in Brazil, this type of breeding is responsible for about 80% of the deforestation of the Amazon.
Some brands have therefore taken matters into their own hands and are working to limit this impact. Surprisingly, the first to have set up a system for recovering used shoes and reusing different materials is none other than Nike, with its “reuse a shoe” program launched in the 90s. Recycled plastic is offered by Adidas following its partnership with the Parley organization. The German giant also plans to use only recycled plastic from 2024.
In addition to using Burkinabe wax fabric (which favors the local economy), the brand has its models manufactured in Morocco, making a point of honor to respect the workers. Another responsible shoemaker, Jules & Jenn. The brand is based on a system of ” slow fashion,” which consists of offering models of timeless style and products that are durable in their quality. Using vegetable tanned leather but also fish leather.
Brands to know:
Jules & Jenn | Panafrica | Subtle shoes | VEJA | Zespà
A pair of vegan leather shoes? Check. An organic cotton t-shirt? It’s good. Jeans made from recycled fibers? Yep. We can say that our outfit is good for the planet. Well almost! Indeed, our underwear is still too often made either in synthetic materials or in cotton, sometimes even both. Fortunately, brands have looked into the issue. Again, we could cite KnowledgeCotton Apparel or Nudie Jeans, but others have specialized in the production of eco-friendly boxers and socks. The best known is undoubtedly Organic Basics, which has made Tencel its raw material for most of its parts. Petrone, freshly arrived on the market, favors for its part quality materials so that the life of its underwear is as long as possible, thus not forcing us to change it every two months.
Brands to know:
The French Slip | Organic Basics | People tree | Petronius | Thinking MU
As you can see, more and more players in the clothing market want to change things by offering both fashionable and eco-responsible products. Of course, this article does not list all of these! More and more, online stores specializing in their distribution are flourishing on the web. We would therefore recommend highly enough e-shops such as Klow, Wedressfair, or La Fine Fleur. By their approach, they prove to us that it is possible to consume the garment differently.