What Makes A Clothing Brand Sustainable?

Let's make shopping from conscious labels easier!

Sustainable fashion begins with you, by choosing from an amazing sustainable clothing brand. But what does this mean? It refers to buying and using clothes to help protect the planet and those who made them for you. And at GoodGuilt, we believe that wearing eco-friendly clothing is more than just a fad; it’s a good cause to help our planet.

The demand for fair, ethical, and conscious clothing has increased as people have become more aware of climate change and the environment. As a result, far too many sustainable clothing brands and initiatives have made having an ethical wardrobe simple and accessible.

So, in this post, we will look at what is sustainability in fashion, why it’s important, and six characteristics of what makes a clothing brand sustainable. We have also listed a few sustainable clothing brands to consider on your next shopping trip.

The rise of sustainable clothing

Sustainability in fashion refers to creating a green, zero-waste, or minimalist wardrobe to ensure the future of fashion and the next generation.

Fortunately, the demand for sustainable fashion has been rising rapidly in the US, with 35% of consumers willing to spend significantly more on it. This shift in focus is a win for those clothing labels that have worked hard over the years to introduce us to ethical shopping while also considering the environment. But, even though the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter after the oil industry, 67% of consumers consider sustainability when purchasing clothing today.

Now that you know the fashion sector is responsible for 10% of all CO2 emissions, it is up to you to choose only to buy sustainable fabrics in particular and sustainable clothing brands in general.

Related: What Is A Zero-Waste Lifestyle? Is It Really Possible To Go Zero-Waste?

Why is sustainability important in our clothing?

Sustainability is critical because, if we do not make changes in our shopping patterns now, fashion waste is anticipated to rise and become a 148 million ton problem by 2030.

The clothing industry’s pollution and environmental hazards are the last things the Earth needs right now, given the impact of climate change. The good news is that these challenges are being addressed by sustainable fashion by using only sustainable fabrics and packaging while offering conscious clothing options. These companies have made it possible for fashion to be created in a way that’s more sensitive to people and the environment, minimizing any adverse effects. We appreciate the unique brands or designers who avoid fast fashion in the production of their collections and adhere to sustainable fashion principles.

Related: What Is Fast Fashion, And How Exactly Is It Affecting The Planet?

How do you know if a clothing brand is sustainable?

factors making a clothing brand sustainable
GoodGuilt / Canva

When it comes to sustainability, as a shopper, you should be concerned about more, than just how the clothes look on you. Instead, it is crucial to understand how it was created, where it came from, and whether or not sustainable fabrics were used. So, at GoodGuilt, we’ve provided you with six criteria below to help you make an informed choice while shopping from a sustainable clothing brand.

1. Natural or recycled fabrics

Of course, the most important aspect when looking for a sustainable clothing brand is the fabrics used to make it. Sustainable fabrics should be organically grown and made entirely of the same material. For example, according to the World Resources Institute, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt. On a lighter note, the negative effects of the fashion industry have sparked the rise of slow fashion brands, giving rise to numerous sustainable clothing brands that produce garments from sustainable fabrics.

Since anything that can hurt the environment or animals is a big no-no, the fabrics used to make sustainable fashion clothing should ideally be not only sustainable but also cruelty-free. In addition, any synthetic fabric that contaminates oceans with microplastics, such as leather, wool, or silk, should be avoided.

Related: Linen Vs. Cotton — Which Fabric Is The Eco-Friendly Choice?

2. Fair wages and no child labor practices

A clothing company’s regard for the environment, its resources, and the people who put their hearts and souls into manufacturing the clothes is the second most important criterion for a sustainable clothing brand. But unfortunately, most fast fashion companies pay their suppliers the lowest wages and hardly even know where their clothes come from. On the other hand, paying fair salaries, ensuring fair production, and maintaining suitable working hours are some of the best ways to identify a sustainable clothing brand. Of course, it should not support or use child labor in any way.

3. Lower resource consumption

Utilizing the least resources possible is required for sustainability in the fashion industry. The sustainable fashion industry must minimize its resource usage even while utilizing natural dyes. Green methods should be followed throughout the manufacturing chain and at the end of these procedures. Additionally, it refers to the use of green energy in manufacturing facilities, the reuse of water used in natural dyeing processes, sustainable fabrics, the avoidance of waste disposal, sustainable packaging, and renewable energy.

4. Carbon neutrality

Even after adopting sustainable fashion practices, there is still a possibility that an ecological imprint would be left behind; hence some fashion firms even go as far as utilizing carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality. But a legit sustainable clothing company will adopt carbon offsetting schemes by either financially supporting initiatives or reducing their own emissions. However, you should be aware that certain companies may achieve carbon neutrality even if they do not use sustainable fashion practices. But definitely, it is one of the aspects that makes a clothing brand sustainable.

Related: How Does Carbon Insetting Help?

5. Natural dyeing methods

The amount of water used in the fashion industry is staggering; but did you know that most of the water used during manufacture is consumed during the dyeing phase? Unfortunately, the dyeing practices account for 15% – 20% of total wastewater flow.

To prevent contaminating the oceans, eco-friendly clothing brands refrain from using harmful chemicals in the dyeing process. Since the textile industry consumes 79 billion cubic meters of water each year to dye clothes, you must avoid these toxic dyes at all costs. It should be no surprise that poisonous chemical-filled waterways are bad news for every living organism that comes into contact with them. However, eco-friendly clothing brands use natural dyes or avoid using them altogether.

6. Ethical clothing certifications

Nowadays, it can be difficult to tell which brands can support their lofty claims of sustainability and which are just ‘greenwashing.’ One quick and simple way to verify if a company is practicing sustainable business practices is to look for its ethical fashion certification.

Related: How To Tell If A Brand Is Ethical Or Sustainable? 8 Ways To Avoid Getting Greenwashed

Five sustainable clothing brands to shop in 2022

sustainable clothing brands listed
GoodGuilt / Canva

Pick from any of these labels that will make shopping from conscious clothing brands easy for you.

1. Pact

Pact is passionate about creating super-soft sustainable clothing that helps contribute to a better world. This ethical brand goes above and beyond to ensure that every step of its supply chain, from the cultivation and harvesting of organic cotton to the actual stitching, is green and ethical. As a result, Pact is one of our go-to sustainable apparel manufacturers for basics.


With its durable five-piece capsule collection that translates into more than 30 ensembles, VETTA is the sustainable clothing brand that helps you create a thoughtful wardrobe. You can also buy items separately or create a customized, timeless outfit that you’ll enjoy wearing for years to come. For their range, the eco-friendly clothing company uses deadstock, sustainable, and recycled textiles. We especially appreciate this LA-based label’s use of solar energy, which accounts for 70% of its energy needs.

Related: What Exactly Is A Capsule Wardrobe? Here’s How To Create One For Yourself!

3. Quince

Quince, a sustainable clothing brand, views sustainability ‘as the standard, not a luxury.’ With its coats, blouses, and even $50 cashmere, the brand aims to provide eco-friendly clothing at affordable prices. Even better, the company uses compostable and virgin plastic-free sustainable packaging. In short, you can easily find effortless, versatile basics at this one-stop-shop sustainable clothing brand.

4. Reformation

Reformation is the epitome of sustainability in fashion; it offers trendy pieces that are so versatile you’d want to wear them all season. The Los Angeles-based sustainable clothing brand only uses recycled and sustainable fabrics to make its clothes. We love the company’s sustainable blouses and denim, which will make you cherish your summer wardrobe. Visit Reformation’s website to learn more about its sustainable practices!

Related: 10 Most Stylish And Sustainable Blouses Your Wardrobe Deserves This Summer


The sustainable clothing brand ABLE works around the clock to give makers and women, in particular, equal opportunities. This brand offers free virtual styling, a try-before-you-buy program, free exchanges, and even free returns. So, the next time you want to support the environment or women artisans, be sure to include ABLE in your ethical wardrobe.

Here are some more conscious clothing brands to check out: 11 Ethical And Sustainable Clothing Brands To Shop This Summer


There are numerous sustainable clothing brands available in the market; the key is to identify which ones are authentic and then stick with them. The brands you should take into consideration on your next shopping trip are those that follow sustainable practices. Look closely at these brands’ activities to effectively halt climate change.

And if you’re still unsure about which sustainable clothing brand to opt for, we’re sure busting these fashion myths will help you along on your sustainable journey.

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