In my last article, I have announced that I will be doing a selection of my favorite “Sport” brands. Since I am mainly doing yoga, I had started to list quite a few eco-friendly brands offering super leggings and assorted bralets, also suitable for fitness classes, dance, Zumba, cross-fit or running.
Well as I started going to all the sites, I was looking for brands that make with ecological materials but also that offer timeless styles and trends. It has not been so easy and I will explain why.
The brands are displayed as “sustainable” (many are American) and play with wording. The problem arises because to give elasticity and comfort many brands use Spandex or spandex (brand name Lycra), it makes sense for sportswear apparel. Unfortunately this material is not eco-friendly! Fabric manufacturers are starting to offer alternatives but this might cost more because I have not found any. So my long list became shorter and shorter as I have discarded the brands not specifying an Oeko-TEX certification (the Ecological Fashion Police) or not specifying the origin of certain materials such as Elasthane. By writing this article, I realized that for you, who had no fashion background, choosing a garment that is respectful of the planet can be complicated! And you’re probably wondering how to recognize an ecological fabric or how not to select when few brands have clear labels like in supermarkets?
How to choose eco-responsible fashion?
To help you select the best sportswear, I put down a small lexicon of materials and their ecological impact. I would do another more complete article if you are interested.
My “sportswear” eco-responsible selection
I present here 3 brands: a high-end, a general public and an European. I really did the sorting and selected “la crème de la crème”. I have been very selective as much on the aesthetic as on the materials used. It must be kept in mind that many brands are “eco-responsible” because they are looking for the most environmentally friendly materials. As I heard on Green Dreamer: it should also be stressed that even if the brands are not 100% green, small efforts on the choice of materials and on the manufacturing processes on larger brands are progress with high impact. Moreover, for you too, do not think that your purchases will have no impact, each eco-responsible action makes this movement bigger and more visible.
A natural alternative to synthetic yoga wear
This New York brand has a “luxury” side in its design and by the noble materials it uses. Their wish is to create clothes in tune with the values of yoga. Timeless design and fashion in an ethical and ecological approach. The name of the brand comes from a Sanskrit term meaning “movement”. Their website values the brand: Non-toxic, durable, soft for the skin and done in an ethical manner. What I liked:
- The perfect minimalist aesthetic to make them essentials of your wardrobe
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification
- The materials as luxurious as cashmere as techniques with the mixture Tencel/Elasthane
This brand wants to be a leader in the leggings market and has positioned itself at relatively low prices ($69 a legging) to encourage women to choose the quality. Each legging is made of 25 plastic bottles recycled in Taiwan and certified by Oeko-Tex. You will find a great video on their site where everything is explained (in English).
The brand has just partnered with Reformation (which I’m talking about here, my favorite brand for dresses!) and has just released a new line in Cupra color which is beautiful. As you will learn below, the Cupra is a soft and recycled material from the waste produced in the manufacture of classic cotton. It is thanks to the ingenuity of textile engineers that they have managed to convert the rejected fibres and the pieces of cut fabrics from the production of clothes that are on the market. Making this fabric also requires less water and this is good for the planet. Girlfriend has a 100% sustainable development approach and I like it!
What I liked:
- The affordable price for classic models available in a variety of colors
- A 100% green manufacturing
- The products are worn by models of different sizes (large, small, thin or not)
- The clarity of their site that explains the entire manufacturing process
A brand inspired by trips and travelling, its target is the athletic, conscious and sophisticated woman. Each season, they work with local artists from a country of inspiration to create prints that take you on exotic and serene journeys.
Each sportswear is made from durable European materials, mainly Econyl ®. This polyamide fiber is regenerated from worn materials. The fabric comes from Italy and production is made in Portugal.
What I liked:
- Styles close to brands known as AloYoga or Lululemon
- Everything is produced in Europe: a European brand (finally!)
- A system will be developed to take back old clothes. In exchange for these, you will get a discount
How to choose eco-responsible fashion?
In this article, I was talking about the labels that allow you to be sure that the fabrics are made in an environmentally friendly way. So that you can find a sports garment that you like and make an eco-responsible choice.
Natural and artificial fibres are made from plants when synthetic fibres are made from oil.
- Natural fibers like cotton and flax
- Artificial fibres such as viscose or Lyocell/tencel
- Synthetic fibres such as polyester
Attention! Manufacturing processes such as dyes can be very polluting and that is why the choice of fabric is not enough, it is often necessary to know more to ensure that no harmful chemical has been used to give a nice color or more Softness to the fabric.
So which ones to choose?
Recycled Polyester: Recycled polyester is manufactured from recycled materials, including industrial polyester residues and reclaimed plastic bottles. The manufacture of these fibres requires 75% less crude oil than the manufacture of virgin fibres.
Cupra: Made from the recovery of ultrafine and silky fibers that adhere to the seeds of cotton
Organic cotton: This natural fibre of plant origin if not biological is a catastrophe for the environment. Apart from the pesticides used for the cultivation of the plant itself, the laundering of cotton is often done with chlorine or chemical brighteners. Cotton dyeing often requires the use of heavy metals such as lead or chromium. This is why it is essential to choose organic and untreated cotton when making the garment.
Lyocell: Also called Tencel ® (registered trademark), is a fibre derived from eucalyptus (cellulose) wood. Its manufacture does not require harmful solvents or pollutants. It is an eco-friendly and biodegradable material.
Bamboo: Bamboo garments are generally presented as ecological textiles. However, they are often made of bamboo viscose, the manufacture of which is polluting. The transformation of bamboo fibers into viscose is chemical with soda, hydrogen sulfide or even carbon sulfide. A lot of these products are released into the wild.
Modal: Natural fiber, it is made from cellulose by a chemical procedure. In spite of the chemical manufacture, the modal comes entirely from a natural material and the manufacturing is done in respect of the environment. Compared to purely natural materials, the modal is more durable. Its manufacturing and processing require less water and energy than cotton.
*You will find a lot of sportswear with Elasthane also called Spandex or its brand name LYCRA. Elasthane/lycra/spandex: Spandex is a synthetic fiber, from polyurethane. It is therefore a chemical fiber derived from oil that is distinguished by its high resistance and its high elasticity. Unfortunately, very few brands have chosen a more environmentally friendly alternative to make clothes comfortable and elastic. If you are interested, I could extend the list to all the ecological materials to choose for your eco-responsible wardrobe. This This was a revealing article for me, because by searching and reading all the descriptions of articles I found so few brands 100% eco-responsible… I also realized that even if a brand is not 100% eco-responsible it is still okay. At least a biological or recycled fabric is already a step for the environment!
So even if your entire wardrobe is not eco-responsible, on your next purchase, think about it.
Ask yourself in what fabric is my garment? Is it an ecological fabric?
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