Green. Eco-friendly. Sustainable. These words would have had no meaning 30 years ago. But today, while the planet is declared to be approaching its next major extinction event, these words grab your attention; they mean, “Maybe my grandchildren can call Earth home too.” With paradigm-shifting books out like How Cows Save the Planet, the average American is becoming more critical about the food they buy and the clothes they wear.
Though you can find organic food everywhere, even in Wal-Mart, conscious clothing options are sparse. Considering that organic cotton only accounts for 0.7% of global cotton production, it seems that most people are putting their sustainable money only where their mouths are. Given the research that shows how chemicals and herbicides in conventional farming impact human health, it is a smart decision to eat organic. But to wear organic and sustainably produced clothing doesn’t seem so pressing, to our health at least.
Cotton, however, has the single greatest demand for pesticides of any crop. And though it only covers 2.5% of cultivated land, it consumes at least 16% of all pesticides. The chemicals and herbicides that go into conventional cotton farming disrupt the delicate balance of living creatures, like fungi, nematodes, arthropods, and bacteria, which decreases quality of soil and the viability of all living things.
The importance of wearing sustainable clothing is clear enough. And lucky for us, there are some really great options that not only prevent deterioration of the earth, but also help to restore vitality to our planet. Here are three of the top sustainable clothing lines you need to try.
Few noteworthy companies have such a humble and earthy background as Prana. This sustainable clothing giant was started in the early ’90s by Beaver and Pam Theodosakis out of their home in Carlsbad, Calif. Believing that yoga and climbing apparel were lacking in stores, Pam and Beaver created their own clothing line out of their garage and began by shipping orders to local grocery stores in fruit boxes. As if that wasn’t cute enough, they even created their own homemade recycled paper tags.
Now Prana is a worldwide heavy weight that stays true to its roots. Not only does it use recycled paper for tags, it uses recycled wool and recycled polyester in many of its clothes, which reduces the impact on our environment. Prana clothing also features organically cultivated cotton and sustainably grown hemp. Hemp is a hearty plant that doesn’t require pesticides, and its roots improve the soil by driving deep into the earth.
Prana has some of the best selection for organic cotton shirts, pants, jackets, and sweaters — check out the selection here. See its ultra-breathable and durable hemp products here. Scope out its recycled wool products here. And browse its recycled polyester.
Prana is also active in the fair trade movement to ensure hospitable working conditions in the factories it uses abroad. Be sure to also view its fair trade section.
2. Vital Hemp
If the members of the Vital Hemp (VH) team weren’t in the hemp manufacturing business, they would certainly thrive as political activists or revolutionaries. Though the idea of hemp clothing seems benign enough, Vital Hemp is actually spearheading a grassroots movement to repeal antiquated legislation that prevents farmers from growing this incredibly industrious and sustainable plant. Hemp is used in virtually every industry from construction to food production, and has been prized by cultures all around the world for its utility.
Ron Alcalay, founder of Vital Hemp, recognized the vital need for hemp in our country and decided to do something about it. Since the 2000s, Vital Hemp has been cultivating a unique brand with an ever-expanding repertoire of hemp products for every occasion. Not only is Vital Hemp rethinking the way we wear clothes, but the members of its team are also visionaries for ethical business; all of its products are manufactured in family-owned shops in Los Angeles.
VH has a simple line that has so much class and versatility you might never take them off. And you could do it too because hemp is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial! You could transition from your third cousin’s beachside wedding to frisbee in the park and feel natural in each setting. Here is Vital Hemp’s shirts selection. Check out Vital Hemp’s pants and shorts here.
Nau is a sustainable clothing company founded by self-proclaimed idealists who believe that the earth doesn’t have to be a casualty of stylish clothing. Whereas many clothing lines have a focus on sustainability, Nau has an obsession. Its stylish wares are almost entirely organically sourced, and the rest is guaranteed sustainably harvested or recycled.
Nau’s line caters to trendy professionals who are conscious of the environment, and it’s been building a substantial fan base since 2007. Its products are pricier than many of the competitors, but the quality and style more than justifies the expense. Every man needs slacks, jackets, pants, and crisp shirts, but many of the sustainable companies have a slant for casual. Nau steps up to plate and offers all of the above in various styles with organic cotton, recycled wool, and recycled polyester. It also carries accessories like glasses, backpacks, scarves and bags.
The store also has an incredible women’s selection, so don’t forget about your girlfriend with christmas coming.
Best sustainable online retailer: Modavanti
Modavanti makes it easy for you to purchase everything from shoes to bags to outerwear and accessories while keeping your conscience clean. Whatever you can’t find in the three featured lines of this article, you’ll be sure to discover at the best sustainable clothing aggregate on the web: Modavanti. Belts, wallets, socks, jewelry, watches, and ties are all on the menu, and the site also carries some of the finest threads on the web. If you have a granola woman in your life who likes nice things, don’t forget to check out its women’s section with the holidays approaching.