By Olivia Leishman
Design by Aimee Lee
The fashion industry is the second most polluting after the oil industry. It’s shocking to hear but it makes sense when we think about the culture of ‘new in’, ‘must-haves’ and continuous sales that dominate the fashion world and our email inboxes. With fast fashion brands constantly throwing new season collections in our face, it can be hard not to get swept up by the low prices and focus on the bigger picture of exploitation and harm.
85% of all textiles go to landfill every year and washing our synthetic clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibres into the ocean which is the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. We are living in a climate crisis. This cycle of waste and environmental degradation has got to change.
Enter: our favourite sustainable activewear brands that are changing the game with their fashion-led and performance-driven, innovative materials. Who would have thought our workout gear could be made from plastic bottles, fishing nets and bamboo?
So it’s time to wise up, and be smart with our purchases, after all they say money is power and with the growing variety of eco-conscious workout gear, it’s never been easier to get sustainably sweaty.
Here are The Collectives’ top picks of sustainable and affordable winter workout gear:
Launched just last year by UK fitness influencer turned entrepreneur Grace Beverly, TALA is leading the way in affordable, fashion-conscious, sustainable workout gear. Their activewear is made from 92% recycled raw materials which helps save 4,817 litres of water per tonne of recycled cotton used. Delivered in 100% recyclable packaging and with clothing tags containing plantable seeds, you can be reminded of your Earth-friendly purchase as you watch your plant grow.
TALA prices start at £26 for the Iris sports bra and leggings start at £30. Branching into athleisure, their hoodies and tracksuits are perfect for keeping warm and motivated over the winter months.
Seattle based Girlfriend Collective is known for its stylish, colour-matching, workout combos. And the best part? It’s all made from recycled water bottles and fishing nets. Their dedication to being eco-friendly is abundantly clear and their supply chain transparency leaves nothing left to the imagination. Favourite pieces from Girlfriend include the compression leggings which come in a range of sizes from XXS – 6XL and their new R&R collection of hoodies and long-sleeved tees- perfect for winter. Due to Covid-19 there’s a temporary halt on UK shipping, however it is set to return in 2021.
In the meantime, head to Selfridges to get your fix with leggings from £62 and bras at £35.
Made from bamboo which absorbs five times more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees, and doesn’t require irrigation or pesticides, bamboo makes for a great performance fabric. It’s temperature controlling, easy on the skin and stays fresher for longer, requiring less washing to help you reduce your carbon footprint. Aiming to be impact positive throughout their supply chain by 2030, the company focuses on achieving the goal of zero in areas such as pollution, water and waste and the guaranteed fair wages and treatment of all people involved.
Their activewear is suitable for yoga through to hiking with leggings from £39, long -sleeved tops at £36 and hoodies at £55.
Born in Sydney, Australia and now with UK offices, Boody is another bamboo-based activewear brand that focuses on the benefits of bamboo. Their catalogue of clothing ranges from activewear to underwear to loungewear that are great for your everyday wear. Boody is certified in a range of accredited certifications ensuring products are produced under lawful, ethical and humane conditions, meets the health and safety regulations of each country it’s sold in and factory production meets environmental management requirements. They are the perfect guilt-free alternative to mainstream fashion brands that won’t hurt the bank either.
Bras at £29.95, leggings at £44.95 and tops at £26.95
5. People Tree
Long-term favourite and pioneer in the sustainable fair trade fashion industry since 1991, People Tree aims to set an example in business and to governments as a Fair Trade business model that is centred around people, sustainability and partnership. They are certified by a range of boards to ensure the socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing of their clothing; Peta, WFTO, Fairtrade International and the Soil Association are just some of the certified organisations they work with. People Tree also has an exciting collaboration with the V&A museum in London showcasing a capsule collection of pieces showing the variety and beauty of pattern which is worth checking out.
Leggings start at £25, bras from £20 and tops from £24 and while you’re at it take a look at their other everyday collections which could definitely become wardrobe staples.
Covering a range of styles, colours and prints,there are now plenty of sustainable alternatives to help you feel and perform your best. Working out this winter can still look good without hurting the bank or the planet. We’re excited for what more is to come.