3 Affordable Sustainable Fashion Brands for Men
For over five years I have been studying different aspects of sustainability. One of the topics I was particularly interested in was sustainable fashion (though I am not a fashion designer). For most of the time I was just a spectator and a modest consumer of H&M’s conscious t-shirts and second hand garments. But roughly half a year ago, I asked myself a question — is there a possibility to dress in fashion brands and at the same time remain sustainable?
During my exploration, I decided to focus on small innovative brands with main values in sustainability. I chose to avoid fast fashion brands, as their sustainability claims were questionable by definition. Though, I would prefer not to criticise them either, because I believe that their attempts to become more sustainable can play an important role in changing the mindset of consumers. But let’s keep this argument for another article.
Another important criteria was affordability. Many expensive fashion brands focus on high quality textiles, durability and local production, which makes them sustainable, even if they do not promote it. But only a few can afford them. My main objective was to find an alternative to fast fashion, therefore the brands presented in this article can (if motivated) be purchased by a student.
Last, but not least, criteria is aesthetics. I am neither a big fan of sustainable garments which try to emphasise their recycling origins, nor of basic shirts and t-shirts made of organic textile but with lack of style. Former create an impression that sustainability is only for hippies and tree-huggers, driving away fast fashion consumers, who are the main challenge. Latter are totally fine but they are not part of fashion, their role is important but different. Therefore it is crucial that sustainable garments will look at least as stylish as the ones from fast fashion.
Please note that this article is only about sustainable menswear. This topic is barely covered in the world wide web, thus I would like to share my personal discoveries, which will hopefully help to start filling the gap.
My objective was to find affordable sustainable fashion brands for men, and here are the results — 3 brands that fit my criteria:
Reet Aus Design
Reet Aus is a talented upcycling fashion designer from Estonia. Her first collection based on principles of upcycling was introduced back in 2002. Since 2012 Reet Aus has been collaborating with Beximco — one of the largest apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh. Together they have developed an innovative manufacturing process, which implements upcycling methods in mass production. This manufacturing process consumes on average 70% less water and 88% less electricity per garment than conventional production.
Reet Aus has the largest collection of sustainable menswear, that I have found so far. Ranging from various models of t-shirts to jeans and jackets. Furthermore, the garments actually do look good with recognisable style. The quality seems also fine. I own a t-shirt and jeans, but not for long enough to test their durability, thus I am not able to evaluate their durability yet. I shall keep it for the next article. To conclude, Reet Aus Design provides a wide choice of sustainable and stylish menswear.
Another positive remark — the prices are affordable for a fashion brand (prices may vary depending on a store). T-shirts cost 40€, shirts are 80€ and jeans are around 140€.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about Reet Aus Design, a documentary was premiered last year.
Pure Waste Textile
Doesn’t posses diversity and aesthetics of Reet Aus garments, but it is still a brand worth mentioning. Founded in 2009 in Finland, Pure Waste Textile focused on the use of recycled textile and both water and energy efficient production. Their product range is quite narrow (t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants), but they have artistic series produced in collaboration with print designers. I own one Pure Waste Textile t-shirt with my personal silkscreen print. The quality is good and it actually looks like a premium t-shirt, thus totally worth its price.
Furthermore, the prices are more than affordable for a sustainable garments. 20€ for a t-shirt and 45€ for a hoody. And artistic series are just 10€ more expensive.
Aluc is an upcycling fashion label based in Berlin. It was founded in 2010 and opened their first concept store in 2011. Aluc works directly with the sewing factories in Poland to achieve fair and transparent production process. Their product choice is limited to a t-shirt and various models of shirts. Unfortunately, I have no personal experience with this brand, but their values sound to be inline with both sustainability and social responsibility. Though the prices for shirts might seem a bit high.
Their price for a t-shirt is 30€ and shirts cost 130€ each.