Guide to Men's Ethical Fashion
About a year and a half ago I was introduced to the term Ethical Fashion and the impact it could have on both consumerism and the world. Simply put, Ethical Fashion to me is an approach to purchasing that ensures I’m buying thoughtfully sourced and manufactured products that are empowering artisans and mindful of the environment around us. This process has been slow, as I’ve found that every new purchase requires research if I’m going to really know the origin of the materials and how the employees within that business are being treated. In the end though, the time taken to understand and know the companies I’m buying from has been rewarding.
Over time, my husband Phil showed interested in finding his own options for clothing where he had greater confidence in the companies he was purchasing from. While the conscious fashion options for women has really expanded in the last few years, our own journey in discovering men’s brands highlighted that there are fewer options readily available to men. However, this standard is changing every day, and over the last few months alone we’ve come across many businesses that are giving guys more and more ethically made wardrobe choices.
To help you discover new ethical fashion brands, we’ve carefully curated the below list of businesses and broken them down into various shopping categories. This list is by no means comprehensive – there are many other brands doing good work in sustainable fashion! We’ve provided a handful of options in each category, with various price ranges, styles and give-back models. Our goal is to make men’s ethical fashion more approachable for all age groups, personal styles and day-to-day needs!
PACT was founded on the desire to create extremely comfortable clothing without harming the planet or people in the process. The outcome is extremely cozy basics for the everyday needs, made from sustainable ingredients and Fair Trade certified factories. For Men’s basics, the Boxer Brief is offered in an affordable 2-pack with a range of colors. If you are looking for some undershirt options, PACT also offers both a crew neck and v-neck undershirt in black and white.
Marc Skid is an underwear company with a determination for changing the world. Their underwear is made from organic pima cotton grown on family farms in Peru. The waistbands are even thoughtfully produced using Repreve, a recycled polyester made from plastic water bottles. Their products come in a variety of colors, each color representing one of their giving models which includes curing the ill, feeding the hungry and saving the earth.
Threading Water provides men’s basic short and long-sleeve shirts, perfect for a casual outfit, around the house or even pulling double-duty as active wear. Threading Water partners with a non-profit, Lifewater International, and for every product purchased a 1-year supply of water is provided to those without access to clean water. One of our favorite shirt is the Mogoro Tee in gray.
Conscious Step focuses on creating comfortable and stylish socks for men that also provide a support to variety of causes, to include literacy, gender equality and education. They’ve also thought through making socks truly functional, by adding a reinforced heel and even ventilation. We loved these particular socks that focused on giving back to local schools – each purchased pair provides two books to Conscious Step’s partner, Room to Read.
Billiam was born out of founder, Bill Mitchell’s, need for a better fitting jean. Self-taught from YouTube on a sewing machine purchased from craigslist, Billiam is quickly redefining the art of handmade and custom made pieces. Specializing in all things denim, Billiam offers multiple fit options for jeans as well as a newly released jacket. On top of all that, 20% of their year-end earnings is donated to Wellspring Living in Atlanta to fight sex trafficking.
Thought was established in Australia with the need for cooler, natural clothing options. What began as a men’s shirt collection made from sustainable hemp and ramie, has expanded to numerous options for men, to include the Jacob Organic Cotton Trousers, a perfect work pant that can easily transition to a casual weekend staple.
Outland Denim uses their resources and passion for denim in a way that is impacting lives. Outland sources quality, raw materials for their products and trains and employs women who have been rescued from human and sex trafficking. There denim comes in multiple fits and colors ranging from a light wash to black. A great option for an everyday casual jean is the Ranger in Bondi Blue.
Nisolo is a shoe company pushing the limits in the fashion industry for more sustainable footwear options that also places the highest emphasis on design quality and their customers. Their shoe options range from dressier loafers to edgier boots, with our favorite design being the Lockwood Trench Boot in Brandy.
Veja’s vision is to offer fair trade footwear that helps to link together the environment, ecology and social initiative that are positively impacting our culture and world. If you are in the market for a more casual shoe, something you might pair with jeans and a T-shirt, Veja has you covered. We’re really loving the Esplar Suede Natural Pierre.
Mamahuhu provides premium leather footwear handcrafted by artisans and material in Columbia. The shoe designs draw inspiration from the founders’ world travels and different encounters with other cultures. Mamahuhu directly provides support to unemployed artisans creating opportunities for them as sustainable businesses owners. Each pair of Mamahuhu is beautifully handcrafted by artisans with Colombian leather. One of our favorite leather options was their Oxford style in Velvet Chocolate.
Homegrown Cotton uses the farm-to-shirt model, using their own cotton farms to produce and harvest the necessary materials for the men’s classic polo shirt. Based in S.C. Homegrown Cotton has a fully transparent supply chain within the Carolina’s and produces premium, all-natural cotton shirts in multiple colors, our current favorite being the Carolina Garnet.
United by Blue was established in 2010 to make a tangible impact on our oceans. For every product sold, a pound of trash is removed from the ocean and waterways through company-organized cleanups. United by Blue offers a variety of products in almost every category that we list in this guide, but one of our favorites is the Men’s Brook Plaid. Their cozy shirts work both for a business meeting and dressed down for fly fishing – a win-win in our book.
Tuckerman & Co. creates timeless pieces that focus intently on design and quality. They specialize in classic collared button-down shirts, crafted in New England and made from European fabric. We love the Navy Gingham Check for a winter wardrobe choice.
Pistol Lake This company creates performance wear designed for the minimalist. This U.S. based factory and company engineered a fabric called Eudea, which is a blend of fibers made from Eucalyptus Tree pulp and recycled bottles. They offer a variety of active-wear shirts and hoodies, our favorite being the Minimalist Performance Hoodie and these multi-functional shorts, perfect for the outdoorsman.
The Kozm Athletic gear inspired to help break the stereotypes of yoga and make the practice more approachable for men. The business grew out of the need for men’s yoga shorts that were ethically produced. The Kozm offers a variety of yoga gear, with one of our favorite offerings being the Warrior Too Yoga Short.
Krochet Kids is a knitwear and clothing company that provides training and employment to women around the world. The jobs created allow for the women to care for their families and send their children to school. Krochet Kids offers a variety of casual shirts, pants, knit hats and even pieces that can be used on outdoor adventures. The Hudson hoodie in Olive is a great lightweight layering piece. Each item has a tag signed by the artisan that made the piece.
Everlane makes it a point to partner with the top ethical factories around the globe and sources only the highest quality materials in their pieces. They offer dressier shirts and sweaters, as well as denim, bags and even swimwear. The Cashmere Crew comes in 10 colors and is a great basic to add for fall or winter.
Patagonia was created by a group of surfers and climbers who valued minimalistic style. Their own personal styles are reflected in Patagonia’s products, offering quality products for the everyday adventurer and outdoorsman. They have a wide variety of jackets depending on the type of sport or weather conditions you might encounter. One item that seems to be the perfect staple for the naturalist is the Performance Better Sweater Fleece.
Prana is designing clothing for the everyday activities and travels, with each piece brought to life based on their team’s own adventures and experiences. Everything from yoga to climbing, Prana has something to match the need and occasion. The Bronson Jacket in Cargo Green is a different look than we found on most sites, and offers a lot of versatility.
Botany Bow Ties is a U.S. based handmade business that specializes in crafting statement bow ties with natural elements, such as eucalyptus, birch, and other foliage. Botany Bow Ties sources their plants from a small business in California, and even works with a N.C. based business to craft their unique wooden box that each tie comes in. Two favorites that we’ve purchased previously include the Elder and the Maton designs.
Brackish Bow Ties handcrafts sustainable pieces of art in South Carolina through their unique bow ties – each one created out of beautiful, carefully selected bird feathers, that otherwise would have been discarded after molting. No one tie is exactly like the other, providing you with a true and rare piece of wearable art. Two ties we really admire for their amazing patterns and craftsman include the Big Sky and the Grey Bobwhite.
Neck & Tie Company is a true cut and a sew shop that creates high quality neckwear that embodies a mission of compassion. Neck ties, bow ties, pocket squares and even bandanas are available through their online store. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase go toward benefiting various organizations or charities handpicked by Neck & Tie Co. The Country Floral Bow Tie is a current go-to piece and one that we’ve recommended to others. Not a bow tie kind of guy? No problem. They offer each of their designs in a neck tie option as well! Did you miss our bow-tie tutorial? View it here.
Mitscoots is a U.S. based company offering a variety of accessories to include ball caps, scarves, socks, beanies and more. For every item purchased a piece of equal value goes to another in need. Additionally, Miscoots is really making an impact through employing those transitioning out of homelessness. They have a great beanie selection for guys, including the Graphite Lumberjack Knit Beanie which is both versatile and functional.
About the Author
Michaela Judge is a military veteran and Southern transplant. As a Public Relations specialist by day, she is overjoyed to use her love of writing to help fight for freedom and justice through Dressember! Her favorite moments are spent with her husband, Phil, and daughter, Ellie, adventuring in Charleston, South Carolina, and spreading hospitality .