When you think of activewear you probably think of synthetic materials like spandex and nylon – in other words not a category that’s particularly eco-friendly. Why? Synthetic textiles don’t biodegrade so you end up finding them in oceans, landfills, and even in the digestive tracts of living organisms throughout our environment. A growing group of eco-minded athletic brands, however, are working hard to change that, and they’re doing so without sacrificing comfort or style. From up-and-coming, just-launched brands like AARY Athletica (pictured above) to industry leaders like Outdoor Voices, here’s a look at brands working on biodegradable, eco-friendly fabrics as well opting for eco packaging materials, partaking in initiatives like the DHL Go Green Solutions to help reduce environmental impact, and repurposing synthetic materials.
I’m living in my AARY Athletica set these days. It’s so comfortable that even during my IVF cycle when I was sore and bloated, I felt great wearing it. It literally sucked in my stomach without hurting it. The New Zealand brand just launched with about a half dozen style options – and more to launch soon, along with more eco fabrics – and everything is ethically manufactured by textile workers who are paid a fair wage and work in a safe environment. They use eco-friendly, compostable packaging made from plants. Plus, their labeling is made from sugar cane bagasse (agricultural processing waste) and the brand works with the DHL Go Green Solutions initiative, an environmental protection program with a global target of zero emissions by 2050.
While Outdoor Voices is best known for the signature (and oft-copied) color-blocked separates, the mega-brand is working on making a serious environmental impact. All of their pieces are manufactured in facilities that minimize environmental impact and they use fabrics including recycled polyester crafted from recycled water bottles that are melted down and turned into fibers.
Girlfriend Collective is right on trend with their bright matching sets. I’m obsessed! Unlike popular competitors, however, their pieces are sustainably made using recycled water bottles and recycled fishing nets.
Australian brand Nimble is just as stylish but more affordable than many popular athleisure brands (as many Australian brands are). The brand’s signature compression fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and they work hard to reduce waste, packaging, and transport in their production line.
Manduka‘s active pieces are all made using eco-friendly fabrics, including recycled polyester, organic cotton, hemp, Tencel and Sorona