From sustainable denim to vegan leather bags, there are a myriad of ethical and stylish updates you can make to your wardrobe. Now that we are back at the gym(or working at home more) your workout kit too is poised for a sustainable makeover.
But just as you may need a refresher on which machines to use after so long away, your gym clothes will probably need an update too.
Sadly, the majority of all synthetic activewear is made from plastic, and as all the squat-lovers out there will know, the pressure we put on our kit makes replacing our leggings and sports bras an inevitability. So what’s the solution to this sustainable dressing dilemma? Enter the fashion-led activewear brands who are as environmentally conscious and performance driven as they are stylish.
When it comes to sustainable shopping, materials and how they’re made are key. Consider Tencel – the ultra-luxe fabric that you’d never guess is produced from wood pulp. Smoother than cotton and (whisper it) softer than silk, once you’ve worked out in a Tencel vest, you’ll love it for how incredible it feels against the skin as well as the fact that it has a significantly lower environmental impact than the cotton alternatives.
Maybe the first step of shopping ethically is admitting that you will, most likely, not end up keeping that must-have thing forever. So when you’re buying new workout kit it’s vital to consider all parts of your new piece’s lifecycle. ecoYoga’s yoga mats are made from 100% natural rubber, making them a completely biodegradable alternative to entirely synthetic alternatives.
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Whether you’re a runner or a yoga lover, can’t say ‘no’ to a 7am swim or prefer to break a sweat on the rowing machine, we’ve found 12 of the best ethical and sustainable activewear to reinvent your workout in 2021.
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Gym + Coffee
We’re fans of this new-on-the-scene activewear brand that does brilliantly designed separates and sets that feel as good as they look. These buttery-soft leggings are 100% squat-proof and designed for all-day comfort with high-intensity reliability. They come in sangria, petrol blue, black and burnt umber for your A/W 2021 wardrobe – and you won’t want to take them off. Kudos for the brand’s dedication to sustainability too – both in the materials they use to make their gear and the fully composable packing they arrive in.
TALA is leading the pack when it comes to ethical sportswear. They create on-trend, inclusive gym clothes that are 92% upcycled, delivered in recycled packaging and, the best bit, the tags are made from 100% plantable paper that will grow into trees. These leggings are totally squat proof, too.
Silou is a brand that prioritises sustainability and ethical working conditions. This flattering bralette will take you from barre to (kitchen) bar, and is in certified non-toxic materials.
Girlfriend Collective’s Ellie Dinh and Quang Dinh test their compressive leggings on over 100 women to ensure that they’ve nailed the cut and fit. Available in 11 sizes and 18 colours, there’s a pair to suit every woman and every workout.
Based in Madrid, Spanish label Now_Then was inspired by founder Andrea Salinas’ childhood spent diving with her father. The brand exclusively uses Econyl, which is crafted from repurposed marine waste – the idea being that beautiful swimwear shouldn’t be contributing to the sea’s pollution problem. This bikini comes in four colours: blue, navy, burgundy and purple.
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Yoga is a practice that helps one centre with everything, from themselves to the earth around them. British-based brand EcoYoga, founded in 2003, is designed to be planet-friendly – crafted from plant-based materials and natural rubber, this yoga mat is biodegradable and machine washable.
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Manduka’s yoga mats and leggings are designed with sustainability in mind. Focusing on being kinder to the earth, these leggings are made using plant-based materials, organic cotton and recycled polyester.
This Copenhagen-based brand has designed antibacterial and odourless loungewear so that you can wash less and reduce water waste. Softer than silk and smoother than cotton, this simple vest is formed using an eco-friendly wood pulp fiber called Tencel.
With an early focus on sustainability, Patagonia was an environmental revolutionary when it launched in 1973. Now, the outdoor clothing brand has become a wardrobe staple among east London’s cool kids. The brand commits 10% of all its profits to environmental groups. This slogan T-shirt is not only made from 50-100% recycled materials, it also provides 50+ UPF sun protection.
OV isn’t just about aesthetic colour palettes and dreamy workout sets - they have a serious commitment to ethical production and sustainability. They state their mission as operating their business through “a lens of circularity and longevity to minimise environmental impact.”
Threads 4 Thought
Made from recycled water bottles, these moisture-wicking performance jersey leggings keeps you cool and comfortable, with a super soft feel that is perfect for yoga. But Threads 4 Thought don’t just recycle their materials - 80% of their wastewater from production is recycled & reused, too.
Images courtesy of Davy J & brands