Up-cycled fashion: the latest runway trend

These sustainable clothing brands will make you feel good inside and out.

Fashion is a fast-paced business, and as quickly as trendy styles change, older styles get tossed away.

Although you may toss all of your worn out clothing into those donation bins in parking lots, in truth only about 15 percent of used clothing is donated or recycled annually in the U.S. The majority, 85 percent of used clothing, clogs up the landfills.

Forunately, Danbury Fashion Week is featuring a handful of  designers who’s feel-good collections are made with recycled or “upcycled” materials, meaning fibers from used clothing, plastics, and other scraps is turned into a much more beautiful item. And it makes you feel beautiful inside too, knowing you’re wearing something that helped reduce the overwhelming amount of fashion waste.

In honor of their effort to reduce waste, here is a resource list of great sustainable clothing brands to shop anything from undies to outerwear.

  1. Affordable Brands
    1. Bleed – a German brand with the motto “we bleed for nature,” their clothes are made from a variety of sustainable fibers from organic cotton to hemp. They use cork as a sustainable alternative to leather, and tencel in place of polyester.
    2. Nau-– named for a Maori greeting, this brand’s casual cotton tees, dresses, shorts and outdoor apparel are crafted from 100 percent organic cotton and 100 percent recycled polyester. Nau actively seeks more sustainable fabrications, and donates to Green causes
    3. Nisolo– handcrafted leather shoes made ethically, a portion of every sale goes to protect the Amazon basin rain forests. Their Soles4Souls program recycles used shoes to entrepreneurs in developing countries who repair and sell them.
    4. Organic Basics — like their name, these organic cotton underwear are made in Denmark and ship worldwide.
    5. Organic Threads – 100 percent organic cotton socks made in the U.S.A. Their website isn’t much but your feet will feel comfy and loved in these pure socks.
    6. Outerknown — a surfer wear brand made with 100 percent organic cotton and recycle fishing nets into premium nylon jackets and board shorts
    7. Patagonia (outerwear) — their Worn Wear collection thrifts used Patagonia items and recycled destroyed items. They pay you in credit when you turn a used item so you can buy more worn wear. Also source sustainable materials.
    8. People Tree – this classic fashion womens-wear brand uses GOTS (Global Certified Organic ) cotton, tencel (see above link) and handcrafted work by artisans across the world, who use ancient techniques to color and print textiles. Try their Po-zu footwear to literally lower your ecological footprint!
    9. Satta — a leisurewear/lifestyle brand built by a skateboard designer, this brand is committed to sustainable clothing made of organic cotton and hemp.
    10. Veja — this fashion sneaker brand is reshaping the way the industry works. Their sneakers are made from organic cotton, Amazonian natural rubber and eco-leather (made from natural fibers).
  2.  Luxury Brands
    1. TOME NYC — their White Shirt collection was produced locally to reduce pollution
    2. ALYX – An athleisure brand, their ALYX Visaul collection featured clothes made from upcycled plastics and cotton fibers spun into yarn.
    3. Nudie Jeans — jeans made sustainably with fairtrade-certified 100 percent organic cotton. Their manufacturing process also cuts out most of the water used in processes like fabricating, washing, and dying their products.
    4. Maison de Mode— this luxury fashion brand has markers to indicate how socially and environmentally responsible each item is, featuring recycled and organic cotton pieces, and handcrafted artisanal items.
    5. Olderbrother— this sustainable fashion brand’s Hand Me Down series redyes and recycles old pieces for unique fresh garments. All their clothes are dyed naturally.


This list will continue to grow as I conduct more research on sustainable brands, and as more sustainable brands spring up! Check back in from time to time and don’t miss a chance to shop sustainably!