Eco-Experts' Straightforward Guide to Sustainable Fashion Brands

A comprehensive list of the clothing labels following through on their environmental promises.

Two women wearing Prada tops and skirts standing in front of a lake
(Image credit: Betina Du Toit)

It's a common experience: In an effort to be a more eco-conscious consumer, you start researching sustainable fashion brands. You find a clothing company that uses all the buzzwords you know are important—clean, circular, transparent—and buy an item that catches your eye. But it's itchy and rough on the skin when it arrives a few days later. You inspect the tag and find a confusing list of polyester blends, none of which align with the organic, earth-friendly vision initially advertised. It hits you that the brand likely isn't as sustainable as it promised. You've been greenwashed.

Marina Testino, a sustainability strategist who works with brands like Stella McCartney and Gucci and organizations like Greenpeace and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, developed a comprehensive checklist to help people avoid the faux-eco pitfall.

Testino calls it the "Five Pillars of Conscious Fashion:" To assess a brand's environmental impact, look for sustainably sourced materials, either "recycled, organic, upcycled, or biodegradable;" a responsible production process (how many collections the brand offers a year, if pieces are made to order); transparency on "where fabrics are sourced and by whom garments are made;" carbon emissions management (zero-waste processes, re-purposing textiles, etc.); and the brand's social responsibility, including fair labor operations and community involvement.

A model in a white Maria McManus dress posing in front of ivy and a chain fence

Maria McManus, a New York-based label offering contemporary heirlooms, is a brand Testino spotlights for its legitimate sustainable strides.

(Image credit: Maria McManus)

A clothing label doesn't need to tick every single box on Testino's list to qualify as sustainable. "If a brand is making an effort with at least two of the five pillars, that signals a genuine commitment to conscious values and solutions," she says. It's more important that the brand is genuine with its mission and has proof to substantiate its efforts. "No brand is perfect, but if you see a claim without any evidence, that's a red flag," says Alyssa Hardy, journalist and author of Worn Out: How Our Clothes Cover Up Fashion's Sins. "Do they provide supplier information or certifications? It can't hurt to ask before you buy," the writer shares.

More than anything, both Hardy and Testino emphasize that sustainability is more of a mindset than a consumption practice. "It's less about the physical things you purchase than about the personal value you put into each piece," explains Testino. You can invest in a $600 pair of pants made from organic, locally-grown hemp, but if they sit in your closet with their tags still on, it wasn't a worthwhile purchase. "Only buying what you truly love or need is key," says Testino.

To help you build a more eco-conscious closet, ahead is a comprehensive round-up of the best sustainable fashion brands researched by Marie Claire and co-signed by Testino, Hardy, and Erin Allweiss, the co-founder of No. 29 Communications, an impact-oriented, purpose-driven public relations firm. Below, discover and shop 17 labels that are truly green.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Sustainable Brands

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Mara Hoffman

A model wearing a red floral dress by Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman makes vivid pieces that will make both you and your conscience feel good.

(Image credit: Mara Hoffman)

Hardy shouts out the New York-based designer Mara Hoffman, whose self-titled brand is renowned for its vibrant color palette and feminine-focused designs. The label's commitment to more sustainable and responsible practices dates back to 2015, with it using natural, organic, and recycled materials, not including any animal fur, leather, or feathers, and prioritizing mono-materials that can be easily recycled. "I view my company as a living, breathing entity," Hoffman says. "It also has opinions and a voice, and we use it to advocate for the rights of the oppressed, the marginalized, the underrepresented, and the under-resourced."

Baserange

A model wearing a white Baserange top and skirt

Baserange's simple staples are those you invest in once but wear forever.

(Image credit: Baserange)

"For true basics, like elevated T-shirts and pieces for layering, I'm a Baserange girl," Allweiss shares of the brand headquartered in Denmark and France. She notes the label offers wardrobe essentials with a quirky, playful slant—cutout tank tops, silky slip dresses, and paper bag-waist linen pants. It offers detailed and thorough information on each of its materials used, in addition to a map that pinpoints the origin of each fiber and a written walk-through of Baserange's supply chain. Future initiatives include installing solar panels on the roof of their headquarters and integrating more organic hemp into upcoming collections.

Maria McManus

A woman wearing a white dress, blazer, and jacket by Maria McManus.

Maria McManus is minimal and traditional in design but innovative and future-thinking with its ethos.

(Image credit: Maria McManus)

In 2020, the Dublin-born designer Maria McManus launched her eponymous line as a streamlined, traceable collection of sharp suiting, cloud-soft knitwear, and other wardrobe essentials that serve as modern heirlooms. All materials are sourced from England and Japan and use high-quality natural, recycled, and biodegradable fibers. Alweiss and Testino both praise Maria McManus, the No. 29 co-founder who specifically loves the label's front-pleat trousers, which she pairs with a sturdy button-down shirt.

Veja

A model wears navy shorts, a tan jacket, and white Veja sneakers.

Veja is on a mission to make sneaker collections across the globe greener, one pair at a time.

(Image credit: Veja)

Allweiss and Hardy both recommend the French sneaker brand Veja, which launched in 2004 with the mission of reinventing sneakers by merging social responsibility with design. All sneakers are produced in high-standard factories in Brazil and Portugal from ecological materials, including organic and agroecological cotton, raw Amazonian rubber sourced by indigenous cooperatives, and mesh made from recycled polyester. As for specific pairs, Allweiss references its recently re-issued Volley silhouette, which she bought in black and "wears every day."

Maggie Marilyn

A Maggie Marilyn wears an orange dress in front of the ocean

Maggie Marilyn makes pieces you can see yourself in today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

(Image credit: Maggie Marilyn)

New Zealand native Maggie Marilyn marries elegantly youthful designs and conscious practices while abiding by its three core values: people, the planet, and prosperity. The brand has a transparent value chain (tracking its manufacturers, textile sources, and suppliers), was certified Carbon Zero in 2020, and follows a direct-to-consumer model. "When you let go of the grow more, buy more, discard more cycle, and find comfort in buy as you need, repair what you can, and repurpose what you can't - that's when you'll find a home at Maggie Marilyn," notes the brand.

Lauren Manoogian

A model wearing a knit cardigan, top, and pink boots by Lauren Manoogian'

Lauren Manoogian's cloud-like Alpaca knits are a fashion industry favorite and a cozy code of the brand.

(Image credit: Lauren Manoogian)

Brooklyn-based designer Lauren Manoogian offers "subtle essentialism" with minimalistic pieces incorporating natural textural narratives. The designer works with naturally derived materials and ethical handcrafted production practices. Pieces are hand-loomed and crafted by artisans in Peru, including its warm Alpaca knitwear pieces, roomy trousers, sleek trench coats, and kitschy woven bucket hats.

One/Of

Shoes, fans, and swatches of fabric from One/Of

One/Of re-purposes rare fabrics from celebrated French archives to historic heritage Italian mills.

(Image credit: One/Of)

"My true obsession these days is One Of, which is one of the more special brands," says Allweiss. The New York-based label uses the highest-quality deadstock and excess fabrics from heritage brands and mills to create bespoke, limited-edition collections. While they're known for stunning dresses and suits, I've been living in the Ludisia sweater all winter long. It fits perfectly, and the difference in quality is so clear," she notes.

Citizen

One gold Citizen Bianca watch and one silver Citizen Bianca watch hanging from flowers.

Citizen's Bianca watch is powered by light through its proprietary Eco-Drive technology, meaning it never needs a battery and will stay ticking forever.

(Image credit: Citizen)

Citizen is a stand-out timepiece brand in the ever-evolving world of sustainable fashion and accessories. Their Eco-Drive was created in 1976 (nearly 50 years ago!) and is the leader in light-powered, sustainable technology for watch movements—the technology is powered by any light and never needs a battery. Citizen has also teamed up with conservation organization 1 Percent for the Planet and has pledged to donate one percent of its U.S. website sales to nonprofit organizations supporting the environment.

Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

A model wearing a black corset top and yellow and black swirl print skirt Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

(Image credit: Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese)

Hope for Flowers was built on the idea that when one knows better, they do better. Designer Tracy Reese uses organic cotton, linens, Cupro (cellulose-made rayon), and Tencel Lyocell (regenerated cellulosic fibers). To offset its carbon emissions, the brand donates products to organic waste organization Detroit Dirt. Hope for Flowers offers free Art Enrichment Programs to adults and children to encourage engagement in art and sustainability. Tracy Reese states, “It's about slowing things down, not over-producing, delivering products closer to need and not having to be present in every category of fashion.”

Stella McCartney

Cara Delevigne in a yellow shirt and tan suit for Stella McCartney Summer 2024

Stella McCartney is known for her pioneering use of plant-based textile, like grape-waste leather and mushroom-made materials.

(Image credit: @stellamccartney)

"Twenty years ago, strictly using cruelty-free alternative materials made me something of an 'eco-weirdo,'" McCarney previously told Marie Claire . Since 2001, British designer Stella McCartney has committed her fashion collections to responsible practices and has adapted her "progressive luxury brand" to an ever-changing landscape of sustainable fashion. In 2008, McCartney began using organic cotton; in 2012, the company joined the Ethical Trading Initiative; in 2016, it created a 100-percent sustainable viscose; and in 2024, it uses innovative textiles like regenerative wools and plant-based, plastic-free animal fur and feather alternatives.

Lemlem

A model wearing a tiered white dress by Lemlem

When in need of new items for a seaside vacation, Lemlem is where you'll want to look.

(Image credit: Lemlem)

100 percent of Lemlem pieces are ethically made in Africa, including artisanal workshops in Ethiopia and small factories in Kenya and Morocco. Each piece is made by hand to preserve traditional African weaving while creating job opportunities for local artisans. The brand's cotton is locally sourced in Africa—50 percent of it is organic. Any excess fabric is repurposed into accessories or donated to sewing schools.

Carolina K

A Carolina K model wearing a floral two-piece set

Since 2005, founder Carolina Kleinman has been an industry-recognized poster child for intentional, thoughtful craft and textile use.

(Image credit: Carolina K)

Carolina Kleinman's brand, Carolina K, supports approximately 300 artisans in remote regions of Latin America. Through their employment, the brand helps preserve ancestral techniques that have been passed down for generations. Each collection prioritizes natural and recycled fibers, such as organic cotton, Cupro, FSC-certified viscose, linen, recycled polyester, and Econyl. The brand's handmade styles are created by female artisans in rural Mexico and Peru and take 10 to 50 days to finish.

Cordera

A model wearing a Cordera outfit of black pants, a button-down shirt, and a green cardigan

Don't go to a fast fashion retailer the next time you need a new pair of trousers—turn to Cordera instead. Its bottoms offer longevity and a clean conscience.

(Image credit: Cordera)

Launched in 2008, Cordera creates timeless, minimalist designs ethically crafted in Galicia, Spain. The garments are produced using natural and recycled synthetic fibers and upcycled yarns, and all knitwear is made using Japanese knitting machines and hand-finished by artisans. Additionally, Cordera doesn’t follow traditional fashion seasons, encouraging the customer to wear its pieces year-round and hold onto them for future seasons.

Chloé

A model wearing a white Chloé knit maxi dress and woven slides

A brand that hardly needs any introduction, Chloé is one of the few designer labels with ambitions to make the luxury space more earth-friendly.

(Image credit: Chloé)

Certified B Corporation Chloé is committed to transforming its operations to become more socially and environmentally sustainable, alongside greater transparency and accountability. Looking ahead, the brand's objectives for 2025 include using 90 percent lower-impact materials in its ready-to-wear collections, reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent for each individual product, and increasing its fair-trade sourcing by 30 percent.

Apiece Apart

A model wearing a white cardigan sweater by Apiece Apart

(Image credit: Apiece Apart)

Apiece Apart creates pieces that adapt to the versatility of life–97 percent of its materials are eco-friendly, natural, or certified. The brand also considers the distance to its factories in India, China, Peru, Turkey, and the US to reduce carbon emissions. Through its charitable arm, Apiece Apart Future Forward Fund, the label donates one percent of e-commerce sales to organizations striving to make the world safer.

Kotn

A model wearing a brown sweater by Kotn and laying in the grass

From white tees to your new favorite slouchy sweatpants, Kotn gives "feel-good fashion" a new meaning.

(Image credit: KOTN)

Certified B Corporation KOTN holds the fourth-highest B Impact score of all apparel brands in North America. The brand focuses on biodegradable and natural fabrics and only uses OEKO-TEX non-toxic certified dyes to color its garments. The brand works directly with the farming communities in Egypt and partners with a local NGO to reinvest its proceeds into the education systems. Currently, KOTN has helped build seven schools and fund 10 others.

Esse The Label

A model standing in grass wearing a one-shoulder black dress

(Image credit: Esse the Label)

Esse The Label aims to inspire consumers to consider the garments' purpose and life cycle. The brand releases seasonless styles in small capsule collections that only include garments made of organic, renewable, and biodegradable fiber, including GOTS-certified organic cotton, Tencel Lyocell, and OEKO-TEX-certified linen. When choosing a fabric, the brand considers water use, land use, eco-toxicity, human toxicity, and greenhouse gas emissions. All garments are produced ethically between three workshops in Vietnam and Indonesia, with each workshop having no more than five employees.