Contact us
Timothée Richard 01.17.21

6 Eco-Friendly Activewear Brands that You Should Know About


Sustainable practices are making their way into activewear, a segment that represents a goodly part of the clothing market. Let’s take a look at six brands that NellyRodi has on its radar.

What happens when we wash our clothes – especially our sportswear – made of synthetic fabrics like nylon, acrylic or polyester? Plastic microfibers are released into the wastewater and stay there, even after the water has been treated. As a result, between 4 and 12 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean every year. It is estimated that plastic pollution kills one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals annually. And these numbers could double by 2030 according to a report issued by WWF.

In the garment business, activewear is on the rise on the ready-to-wear and fashion scenes. In 2019, the global sportswear market was worth an estimated 398 billion dollars and, with annual growth averaging 6.8%, it is expected to reach 567 billion dollars by 2024.

Riding this wave, many sportswear brands are integrating the fact that today’s consumers are very much aware of threats to the environment. The sector is seeing the emergence of virtuous brands in favor of a more holistic, eco-friendly approach.

The following six brands offer ideas about how to “go sustainable” without sacrificing style:

Pangaia loves botanical dyes

Pangaia makes garments from sustainable natural and bio-engineered materials including seaweed fiber, organic cotton and recycled plastic. It has also adopted an all-natural antibacterial treatment featuring peppermint oil as the main ingredient. But its specialty is non-toxic botanical dyes derived from plants, fruits, vegetables and food waste. The brand’s most recent innovation is a puffer jacket using “flower down”, a fully biodegradable material “created with natural wild flowers, a biopolymer and infused with aerogel” that provides an alternative to goose and duck down.

Asquith has a thing for bamboo

Asquith makes sportswear in natural, breathable and durable fabrics. In particular, it uses organic cotton, bamboo (the world’s fastest growing plant, able to absorb C02 in large quantities) and Bambor®, the brand’s trademarked performance fabric, a blend of organic cotton, bamboo and a bit of elastane. Its fabrics are Oeko-Tex certified, which means that they are processed without using harmful chemicals in the dyeing and finishing stages.

Pure by Luce prefers recycled nylon

This Belgian label creates travel-inspired activewear collections notable for their eclectic design codes and sustainable European materials. Specifically, it uses Econyl®, a technical material consisting entirely of “regenerated polyamide fiber from post-consumer materials” i.e. waste, such as fabric scraps, carpet flooring, fishing nets and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans. In addition, the Belgian warehouse and shipping facilities run on 100% renewable energy.

Girlfriend Collective likes yarn made from recycled water bottles

Girlfriend Collective is a brand of workout apparel for women that advocates size-inclusiveness and diversity. Many of its items are made from a yarn manufactured in Taiwan from recycled plastic water bottles. It also uses other yarns, such as Econyl® and Cupro, a silky fiber made from cotton waste.

Nagnata‘s knit fabrication eliminates yarn wastage

The brainchild of two sisters from Australia, this brand offers a collection of technical knitwear that stands out for its unusual style choices (e.g. houndstooth patterns and Nineties colors). Its innovative process of circular knit fabrication that eliminates yarn wastage has also attracted attention. The brand’s materials include organic cotton, Australian merino wool and Tencel, a soft, highly breathable and durable fiber made by dissolving wood pulp (e.g. from eucalyptus trees or bamboo).

Organic Basics helps us offset our carbon footprint

Organic Basics is known for its innovative eco-solutions. The company only uses natural, recycled, renewable or biodegradable materials and it sells packs of “climate credits” online allowing customers to compensate for the carbon emissions of one individual or an entire family over a specific period. All of the proceeds are donated to CHOOOSE, an organization that fights climate change by investing in UN-verified carbon reduction projects in developing countries. The brand has also set up a fund to donate to people, groups and projects that help fight climate change, regenerate natural resources and restore biodiversity.

Cover image credit: © Nagnata

More news

Reconciling creation and responsibility

As a B Corp, NellyRodi is part of a global community of companies that adhere to high social and environmental standards.