Kayla Marci

September 20, 2021

Sustainable cult brands to watch

A snapshot of the next generation of sustainable brands.

Sustainability is not a trend, but a core component in a business's future and retailers need to look beyond their competitors to navigate fashion's environmental problems.

With the anticipation of our annual sustainability edit to come next month, this report identifies the emerging labels and brands with a loyal cult following that prioritize people and the planet over profit.

Reach out for a demo to see how your competitors are offering sustainable products. 

New in 2021

UNLESS

The brainchild of a former adidas exec, this streetwear brand aims to offer zero-waste, zero-plastic fashion designed to decompose at the end of its life.

&Isla

A wholesale label specializing in biodegradable cashmere made in small batches twice a year to minimize waste. Prices range from £65 to £95.

Issue Twelve

Minimalist pieces rooted in functionality are produced in London with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) fibers and responsibly sourced wool.

Cou Cou Intimates

Photographed on size-inclusive models and made from 100% GOTS organic cotton, the brand bridges the gap between comfort and special occasion underwear.

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Images via UNLESS; Instagram - &Isla; Instagram - ISSUE TWELVE; Instagram - Cou Cou Intimates

Active & Loungewear

PANGAIA

A material science company reusing fruit waste, air pollution, seaweed, eucalyptus, wildflowers and more to create everyday apparel for men, women and kids.

NAGNATA

Produces garments for "movements not seasons" using low-waste cutting techniques. It recently branched out into a genderless collection.

nu-in

Inclusive-sized products spanning categories made from recycled and responsible materials. Each garment has a QR code linking to the factory it was made in.

Presca

Athletic wear crafted from recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets and elastane using less energy and water, packaged in home-compostable bags.

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Images via Instagram - PANGAIA; Instagram - Nagnata; Instagram - nu-in; Instagram - Presca

Tala

Activewear made in ethically accredited factories across Portugal, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong and China using bamboo, lyocell and regenerated waste materials.

Caur

Described as eco-responsible and gender-neutral activewear created with materials containing 100% recycled or organic components in eco-credited European factories.

Ninety Percent

Timeless products with 90% of distributed profits donated to charitable organizations, voted by consumers using a QR code on each garment.

HARA

Size-inclusive lounge and intimate styles manufactured locally in Australia from bamboo colored with natural turmeric, indigo and madder root dyes.

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Images via Instagram - Tala; Caur; Instagram - Ninety Percent; Hara

Denim

MUD Jeans

A climate-positive B Corp company, each pair of jeans is produced with 47% less land and 6,419 liters of water less than the industry standard.

Armedangels

Its DetoxDenim is made from GOTS organic cotton, 20% recycled cotton from the brand's own waste and is dyed with minimal chemicals and no water.

Boyish

A brand with 100% carbon neutral and OEKO-TEX® certified denim made with 99.7% plant-based materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

Kuyichi

Dubbed the first organic denim brand since 2001, it's also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, an organization that fights for better labor conditions.

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Images via Instagram - MUD Jeans; Instagram - Armedangels; Instagram - Boyish Jeans; Instagram - KUYICHI

Soorty

Manufactures genderless and size-inclusive denim with GRS-certified recycled polyester, Lycra T400, Ecomade T400, CoolMax Ecomade and Repreve.

Thinking MU

Combats overconsumption with no sales and offers denim made from hemp and upcycled from leftover garment waste. Products include a QR code to track impact.

E.L.V Denim

Seasonless, size-inclusive, zero waste denim upcycled from jeans destined for landfill. Hand cut in a London atelier and transported in electric vehicles.

Outland Denim

The brand is anchored by human empowerment and environmental sustainability, enabling secure, fair work for victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia.

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Images via Instagram - Soorty; Instagram - Thinking MU; Instagram - E.L.V. DENIM; Instagram - Outland Denim

Footwear & Accessories

Roscomar

The brand creates sneakers designed with a low carbon footprint and offers free end-of-life returns to recycle old products.

BRIE LEON

A slow fashion brand with products made from PETA-approved vegan leather, recycled PU, rPET, rPVB and recycled gold and silver.

ZOU XOU

A Black-owned, female-founded slow fashion brand offering artisan footwear handcrafted in safe working conditions in Argentina in small quantities.

Mateu-lo

Whimsical one-of-a-kind jewelry boasting a summer camp aesthetic sustainably sourced and handmade from upcycled flea market pieces and deadstock.

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Images via Instagram - ROSCOMAR; Instagram - Brie Leon; Instagram - Zou Xou; Instagram - Mateu-lo

Rens Original

Known for its recycled waterproof performance sneakers. Every pair is made from six recycled plastic bottles and 150 grams of coffee waste.

SAYE

Uses recycled, vegan and bio-based materials such as corn, cactus and mango leather. For every sneaker sold, the company plants two trees.

Virón

Transforms waste and old rubber into sneakers which can be returned at the end of their lifespan. It also uses natural dyes derived from food and flowers.

BEEN London

Artisan crafted handbags made entirely from recycled materials, including off-cut leather, discarded clothes, single-use plastics and food waste.

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Images via Instagram - Rens Original; Instagram - SAYE; Instagram - Virón; Been London

Underwear

kiri™

The latest brand to tackle the waste from menstrual products, the Hong Kong-based label offers leakproof underwear for all ages designed to be worn all day.

Parade

Size-inclusive products made with recycled yarns. Parade also created the first carbon-neutral underwear, offsetting emissions in partnership with Native Energy.

Fruity Booty

Over 80% of products are made from surplus fabrics in limited runs. Its supply chain has a zero single-use plastic policy and it offsets emissions through Greenr.

PACT

Among apparel, PACT offers organic cotton underwear made in a Fair Trade factory. Each product online details the amount of water saved.

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Images via Instagram - kiri™; Instagram - Parade; Instagram - Fruity Booty; Instagram - Pact

International

PHYNE

A German streetwear brand focusing on durable, minimalistic and high-quality pieces produced with GOTS fibers and offering plastic-free packaging.

(di)vision

A Copenhagen-based label that utilizes deadstock fabrics or upcycles military tents and parachutes to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Anyango Mpinga

A Kenyan designer creating circular size-inclusive products alongside founding the Free As A Human initiative to raise awareness of human trafficking.

imprm studio

Offers a wide range of artisan products produced locally in Poland using GOTS and fairtrade cotton, Oeko-Tex-® linen and ECONYL® swimwear.

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Images via Instagram - Phyne; Instagram - (di)vision; Anyango Mpinga; Instagram - imprm studio

House of Dagmar

The Zalando Sustainability Award winner, the Swedish brand's collections are made from organic, recycled, regenerated and animal-friendly materials.

Bogdar

A contemporary Bulgarian brand working with small family-owned, socially responsible fabric suppliers using organic silks and cottons and tree-friendly viscose.

Sabatucci

An ethical brand made and based in Melbourne, Australia pushing gender boundaries. Avoids overproduction by offering made-to-order pieces.

Gnana Studio

A Romanian brand using fabrics such as handloom, upcycled wool, viscose and cottons. Partners with the SOS Children's Villages association.

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Images via Instagram - House of Dagmar; Instagram - Bogdar; Instagram - Sabatucci; Instagram - Gnana Studio 

Don't forget to sign up to our weekly Insider Briefing to get notified when our annual sustainability report drops. 

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