The number of ethical brands on the market has skyrocketed over the past few years, but it’s womenswear companies that tend to take the spotlight. So what about conscious menswear – where’s the best place to shop for mens clothes that are stylish AND sustainable?
As a quick disclaimer: there’s an ever-growing number of ethical fashion brands created to be unisex or genderless, which is great! Ethical fashion brands that are working in this way include Lucy and Yak (colourful dungarees and funky separates) , The Pangaia (vibrant loungewear and underwear) , Wilde Mode (gender neutral, funky underwear) , Humphries and Begg (colourful unisex shirts and trousers), Riley Studio (neutral loungewear, knitwear, and shirts) , and Good Morning Keith (70s rock n’ roll inspired shirts and tees) to name a few of my personal favourites.
Of course clothes don’t need to be male or female-specific, and it’s especially important for brands who view themselves as shaking up the current fashion system to embrace this. And as a consumer? Wear what makes you happy! However, for the purpose of this article the focus is around brands that provide clothes conventionally designed for men – shirts, t-shirts, jeans, chinos, jackets etc. Several of these brands do offer womenswear too, but I’m solely reviewing their menswear offering for now (there’s loads of ethical womenswear lists across my blog section).
What makes a brand ethical and sustainable?
First, let’s look at the criteria for menswear brands to make it onto this list. For me, this falls into two categories – how the clothes are made, and what they are made from. That means a commitment to work with factories that treat workers well and pay fairly (as well as supply chain transparency), and a conscious effort to use natural, recycled, or otherwise sustainable fabrics. It also means creating quality clothes designed to last, with relatively small collections for sale.
Many of the brands listed below are still small, and therefore they might not be absolutely perfect (limited sizing is a common issue, for example). However, each one is actively working to make a difference with their manufacturing practices and fabrics, and to create clothes that will last and therefore fight the system of overconsumption . Shopping with small brands who are trying to be as ethical and sustainable as they can be is still miles better than shopping with big companies who should be working much harder to be conscious, such as Zara, Asos, and Boohoo Man.
It’s also important to chat briefly about our role as consumers. In my experience, my male personal styling clients are much more sustainable than they realise, and without actively trying to do so. That’s because they only buy a few pieces of clothing a year (if that), look for good quality, and wear what they have often. Buying less and buying better is the best thing you can do to create a sustainable wardrobe, even if you can only afford to shop on the High Street. When you are looking to invest a little more in your clothes, the brands I’ve listed below are ideal for doing so.
The best ethical menswear brands to add to your bookmarks now
Luxury and traditional menswear and tailoring has been using artisan craftsmanship and quality, natural fabrics for centuries, but for this list I’ve not focused on these types of brands. Instead, I wanted to champion the smaller, more affordable companies (who are also slightly more mainstream style-wise). These are menswear labels that will serve your everyday wardrobe needs well.
Here’s 12 ethical menswear brands I think offer the perfect combination of style and sustainability, all of which are either based in the UK or offer simple shipping here with no additional fees.
And Sons offers immaculate, classic menswear with a slight vintage feel. I’d describe the overall style as James Dean-meets-Tom Hardy (sounds niche I know, but you’ll see what I mean), and these are the type of pieces you’ll wear for years. Best sellers include Henley shirts and workwear-inspired jackets that are seriously cool. One of my favourite things about And Sons is that as well as offering a general size guide, there’s measurements for each specific style. This means it’s much easier to shop for your perfect fit.
And Sons states on its website that it has “paid such close attention to sourcing from only the best providers of tailored clothing with care in every stitch and love in every seam.” I emailed customer services for more information, who told me the brand’s clothes are manufactured in Turkey, Portugal, India and the UK, though I’d love to see more information published about these factories. Only natural fabrics are used for its garments, and the brand is working to use as sustainably sourced materials as possible.
Are you looking for an ethical capsule wardrobe? Asket was created to fill this niche, offering well-made staple pieces designed to last. The collection is small and the designs are simple: think neutral Oxford shirts, versatile knitwear, classic jeans, and timeless outerwear. This is a great menswear brand if you like to buy your wardrobe in one go every few years, and then mix and match the pieces with ease.
Ethics and sustainability-wise, each product listing provides a ‘Full Transparency’ report, showcasing the costs associated with producing the garment, to what extent Asket can trace the product’s whole supply chain, and the CO2 impact. Asket is a European brand, but offers simple shipping to the UK that includes all customs charges.
Clothing should be equally fun and practical, and this is something Brothers We Stand has perfected with its curated collection. As a multi-brand platform this isn’t a menswear brand per se, but each of the thoughtfully chosen featured labels compliment each other to suit a laidback, trendy style. The spring/ summer offering right now features smart and versatile organic cotton shorts, stylish shirts, and even sustainable flip flops!
Ethics-wise, each product listing features information on the items suppliers (often beyond just the cut and sew stage, which is brilliant transparency!), the workers’ conditions, environmental impact, and even areas for improvement for each brand. If you want to buy menswear confident in the fact that you are supporting brands who are genuinely working for good, then Brothers We Stand is a brilliant platform to shop from.
I love stumbling across a brand that makes high-quality garments here in the UK, and Community Clothing does exactly that. The brand’s collection of versatile wardrobe basics are manufactured in ethical factories across the UK that prioritise craftsmanship. Natural fabrics are key, too.
As for the clothes themselves, Community offers timeless pieces like rugby shirts, lambswool knitwear, simple shirts, and quality tees. They might be classic styles but these aren’t stuffy, old man clothes by any means. Rather, well-made basics you’ll use for years to come.
Far Afield is an all-rounder ethical menswear brand, offering everything from loungewear to jazzy shirts and smart over jackets. There’s a definite 70s/ 80s vintage feel to these pieces, which makes them trendy yet unusual. The retro-style polo shirts and chunky stripe tees are real stand-outs.
Far Afield offers a transparency map on its site, showcasing where different sections of the supply chain are located. Natural fabrics are a priority too, with organic and BCI cotton used across the collection. Swimwear is made from recycled polyester.
If you’re an outdoorsy type of guy, then Finisterre is a must to add to your bookmarks. However, this isn’t some boring clothing company, but rather a stylish menswear brand that designs clothes made for exploring in. You’ll find practical pieces like insulated outerwear, swim shorts and cargo trousers alongside stylish knitwear and shirts.
Finisterre is a certified B Crop, which is one of the most valued (and rigorous!) ethical and sustainable accreditations available to brands. This means the brand has been independently assessed to ensure they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Finiesterre provides a supplier map on its site, with detailed information on each of its partner factories. On the sustainability side, as well as prioritising conscious fabrics, the brand offers a repairs service.
This is a brand from my favourite city of Edinburgh. Created by Kestin Hare, this eponymous brand is about timeless men’s fashion with an edge. If you like your clothes to make a statement then you’ll love Kestin’s considered range of immaculately designed shirts, jackets, and trousers.
Ethical manufacturing is important to Kestin, and the company uses factories in the UK and Portugal to create its styles, although personally I’d like more detailed information on these. Natural fabrics like cotton and Tencel form the basis of the collections, and pieces are made to last.
Kow the Origin is another multi-brand store, offering a mixture of its own designs and curated pieces from similar ethical menswear brands. The overall look is casual and comfortable, with tees, sweats, jeans, and trainers central to the collection. While you’re browsing there’s also sustainable homeware, toiletries, and shaving products on offer, too.
Know the Origin has devised its own criteria for the brands it stocks, focusing around ‘People’, ‘Planet’, and ‘Purpose’. These are displayed on each product listing to help you make an informed choice. There’s also a nifty ‘Cost Per Use’ calculator for each item, which showcases exactly why buying less and buying better makes financial sense.
Komodo is one of the longest standing ethical menswear brands in the UK, and it’s pieces are seriously cool. Style-wise, Komodo has a surfer/ skater vibe, with definite 90s and early 00s influences. You’ll find oversized tie-dyed and print tees, boxy shirts, stylish shorts, and fun accessories.
Sustainable fabrics are essential to Komodo’s values, and the collection includes organic cotton, Tencel, linen, and recycled polyester. The brand produces its garments in factories in Kathmandu, Bali and India, and suppliers are required to pay workers a living wage.
Mud Jeans is based in The Netherlands, but with free shipping and returns to the UK, and if you’re after well-made, ethical and sustainable jeans then you should definitely check them out. As well as purchasing jeans outright (prices start at €119/ £102), there’s an option to lease jeans, which is a brilliant initiative that considers how our bodies and tastes change. Mud’s mens jeans come in tapered, loose, straight, and slim fits. There’s also jackets and shorts on offer. Mud Jeans are also available to buy in the UK from Know the Origin (affiliate link).
Jeans are one of the most resource-intensive items in our wardrobes (particularly in regards to water), and Mud’s styles are crafted from a mix of recycled and organic cotton for a conscious alternative. There’s information on where each style of jeans is produced on the product pages, and the brand promises that everyone in its supply chain earns above minimum wage. Mud Jeans is also a Certified B Corp, which as we know means a big thumbs up for its sustainability efforts.
If you like that clothes with a classic feel, then you’ll love Peregrine. This is a great brand to shop with year-round. The spring/ summer collection features incredible knit tees and colourful polo shirts, while in autumn/ winter you’ll find classic knitwear with a stylish twist. The blanket shirts are a great wardrobe addition, too.
Peregrine is proud of its Made in Britain credentials, working closely with a factory in Manchester, and sustainable fabrics such as wool and organic cotton are central to the collection. To reduce waste the brand has also started creating whole knit garments, which means no waste is created at the seams.
Every wardrobe needs good basics (especially for layering in the UK!), and The White T-Shirt Company offers exactly what it says on the tin. It’s great when a company does one thing and does it well, and the organic cotton tees from this ethical menswear brand are super soft and luxurious. What really sets The White T-Shirt Company apart from similar brands (of which there’s several) is that it offers t-shirt tailoring. While the standard fit is ideal for most wardrobes, this is a rare option if you prefer your tee fitted.
As you’ll have gathered by now, ethical manufacturing is as important as the use of sustainable fabrics, and The White T-Shirt Company offers an interactive supply chain map on its site.
So there you have it – 12 of my most recommended ethical menswear brands. If you’d like help choosing your wardrobe staples from ethical brands like this then my online personal shopping service is designed to help you do that, and is available to book now.