Six years have passed since I published my previous article about affordable sustainable fashion for men. A lot has changed. What was a niche within a niche, now became a mainstream. There is hardly any clothing brand out there that doesn’t have an “organic cotton” or “from sustainable sources” or “contributes to a circular economy” labels added to their garments. And these are great news — what used to be an exception now becomes a norm!
This, of course, also increases potential greenwashing risks, as consumers cannot easily validate those claims. For example, just recently H&M and Decathlon have been found greenwashing by Dutch authorities and will now have to either adjust or no longer make sustainability claims. Moreover, one of the brands mentioned in a previous article has ceased to exists, hence not everything is rainbows and sunshine.
Still, I find this is a good moment to revisit the topic of small fashion brands, who were founded on sustainability principles, and whose garments are real pleasure to wear (from a personal experience).
As in the previous article, I will follow the same selection criteria for brands being innovative, affordable and aesthetically pleasant.
Where innovation stands for brands providing both new manufacturing techniques, e.g. upcycling, as well as new business models and services, e.g. resell platform. Where affordable means that also students if motivated are able to purchase those garments instead of fast fashion. And last but not least, garments should be both aesthetically pleasant as well as comfortable to wear, which also means that people may keep them for a longer period of time.
Please note, that same as in 2016, my objective was to find affordable sustainable fashion brands for men, and here are the results — 3 more brands that fit the criteria:
Established 15 years ago in Germany as a sustainable fashion brand, Armedangels is leading the way with several sustainability innovations.
With the strong focus on circularity as well as social responsibility, their projects stretch from data & technology oriented, e.g. using NFC tags in tees and denim to create a close loop circular fashion, till helping small farmers in India to convert to organic cotton that they use in their products.
In addition to an online store, Armedangels is offering a “return your old clothes” service, where customers can either sell their used garments or return it for recycling and receive a discount coupon. They also tackle longevity by providing repair guides to encourage people to fix their clothes instead of throwing away.
Armedangels has a wide selection stretching from t-shirts to jackets and coats. And they also look great. Based on a few items in my personal possession, I can add that they sit well and are quite comfortable. The prices are also reasonably affordable.
T-shirts starting from 25€, shirts from 70€ and pants are from 80€.
Established in 2008 by a group of young fashion designers, this brand from Barcelona quickly embraced sustainability values while keeping its original and fun approach to clothes and lifestyle.
Thinking Mu is using organic cotton, hemp as well as recycled materials to manufacture their diverse collections. All their garments have a transparency tag that provides access to the story and its impact. Thinking Mu is tracking a wide variety of data, including carbon footprint, animal welfare etc, and is verified by BCome. Furthermore, the fashion brand has a strong focus on fair-trade practices.
Thinking Mu has a wide choice of garments that are stylish and comfortable to wear, including tees, jackets, sweaters and more. Their prices are not as affordable, but still OK.
T-shirts starting from 40€, shirts from 110€ and pants are from 90€.
Knowledge Cotton Apparel
Most probably the most recognisable sustainable fashion brand from all six that I covered in both articles, with its famous Owl trademark.
Founded in 2008 in Denmark, Knowledge Cotton Apparel was inspired by 50 years old family values of responsible cotton farming and textile production. With its Scandinavian heritage the company has a close link with nature and environmental action. They donate all revenue from sales on Earth Day to Environmental Defence Fund.
Knowledge Cotton Apparel emphasises and promotes sustainability lifestyle and mindset. Their goal is to produce multi-functional durable garments that can be worn in both cities and outdoor, so that people can manage with less, while still spending more time in nature.
Knowledge Cotton Apparel values knowledge and innovation sharing as well as supporting various environmental and social activities.
While being urban outdoor brand its garments are still aesthetically pleasant. Every time I wear my Owl sweatshirt I hear a compliment. Furthermore, their clothes are indeed comfortable as well as durable. The price is good as well.
T-shirts starting from 30€, shirts from 80€ and pants are from 100€.
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Related story: 3 Affordable Sustainable Fashion Brands for Men