Sports and sustainability are my two favourite things (after eating chocolate in bed that is!). Since I started teaching barre last year, my requirement for Activewear that isn’t soaked in sweat has increased somewhat. So I’ve been on a quest to find more sustainable sportswear, scouring the net for companies that care about their people, the environment, and the communities in which they operate. Here’s a round up of my five favourite conscious Activewear brand discoveries and how they’re tackling sustainability throughout their supply chain…
Sports Philosophy are committed to fighting child labour across the world. Aiming to be the first truly ethical Activewear brand, they work to understand and eliminate child labour through their own charity the Freedom For Children Foundation. The Foundation hires impact consultants for research in areas where child labour is rife. This includes connecting with families, local authorities and local businesses all affected by child labour to identify the root cause and help develop community-led solutions.
Launched by Stella and Matthias in the summer of 2015, they align their work to their three key principles: look good, feel good, do good! They wanted to prove that activewear can combine ethics and aesthetics, and that more sustainable options don’t have to compromise on style. Their latest collection features beautiful laser cut sports bras, a little bit of mesh and a lot of magenta. I am particularly fond of the prism leggings and the peek-a-boo vest (which I’ve worn for both a workout and a night out!).
I’ll be writing a profile on the brand and charity soon as I recently met up with co-founder Stella to find out more, so keep an eye out on my page. If you can’t wait to find out more, visit their website and use the following discount code for 15% off: ZARA01SP
Sundried offer sustainable activewear trialled and tested by athletes across the world. Their focus lies predominantly on the environment, aiming to reduce their carbon footprint throughout all areas of their business. For example, they only use fabrics from the countries in which their items are produced. They have two factories, one in Italy, the other in Portugal, so only materials from Portugal are used at the Portuguese factory, and materials from Italy in the Italian one. Sundried have also partnered with the Low Carbon Innovation Fund to contribute to a low carbon economy. They conduct a full lifecycle analysis on each piece of clothing, covering design, manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal, to ensure the carbon footprint of each product has been fully assessed.
What about the conditions throughout their supply chain you might be asking? Sundried carefully select the factories they work with, making regular visits to ensure their standards are being met. Their production manager spends a considerable amount of time in their Portuguese factory and knows all of the workers personally. Sundried have also created the concept of Every Hour On the Hour (EHOH), when employees spend 5 minutes of every hour at work exercising to stay fit, healthy and productive in a world where we are too often glued to our desks.
Sundried also work closely with their charity partner Water for Kids. With every purchase, they provide a unique code enabling customers to see where the donation from their purchase is going, from bricks to build dams, to rainwater harvesting for schools.
To find out more and browse their latest collection visit the website and use this exclusive discount code for 50% off: ZARA
Inspired by yoga and wellbeing practices, Starseeds aims to find a balance between style and ethics. Using natural and organic fabrics from across the world, including certified organic cotton from Germany and bamboo yarn from China, they provide Activewear that is good for you and for the environment. Starseeds also use an innovative material from Taiwan that is made of leftover coffee, making waste into something wanted!
Whilst their materials are sourced across the world, they work with five main factories in Portugal and Poland. These factories were carefully selected and are visited regularly to ensure good working conditions are maintained. In addition to the sense they got of each factory during their initial visits, a major factor in the selection process was the turnover of employees. Frequent turnover usually indicates employees aren’t happy and so leave in search for better opportunities. The factories they work with have a number of long-standing employees, including those of retirement age who work to keep busy with reduced and flexible hours.
VYAYAMA, pronounced ‘vai-ah’mah’, design natural Activewear with quality, beauty and joy in mind. Aiming to provide an alternative to the synthetic fabrics often used, they use an innovative TENCEL® fabric crafted in Europe from eucalyptus. Described as smooth, sliming and supportive it is kind to both your skin and the earth, with moisture management qualities helping you to stay cool and comfortable. Taking a year to develop with their fabric team in Portugal, it is Eco-Awarded and Certified Non-Toxic by the European Oeko-tex Standard 100.
VYAYAMA also ensure environmentally-friendly practices throughout the production process, including the use of internal water treatments to prevent dyes from breaching production facility walls. They also knit their custom fabric in the same area as their garment production, reducing transportation and associated emissions.
Find out more by visiting their website and get 30% off with discount code ZaraW30
Jilla Active create Activewear with a focus on comfort and quality, aiming to ensure pieces are versatile and timeless to maximise their use. Formed of soft fibres, they make Activewear you want to wear all day every day! They love bamboo as it has a lower environmental footprint than other fabrics, with yields the same volume as cotton from just 10% of the land area. They’re also introducing fully biodegradable garment bags for their latest AW17 collection and are seeking to ensure every element of their packaging can be reused or recycled.
They work with one family run factory in China that meets internationally-recognised standards by WRAP and SEDEX. Olivia, founder and designer, makes regular visits and works alongside the production team to ensure quality. She’ll be visiting the trade fair in Shanghai in October to search for recycled and organics yarns.
What are your favourite sustainability-conscious brands? What are the most important factors to you when shopping for activewear? Let me know by commenting below!