Five Activewear Companies To Feel Good About:

It seems as a collective we’re all making shifts in our day-to day lives to make our daily routines and habits more sustainable. Anything from buying electric cars to composting are going mainstream in a big way. And while the two aforementioned things seem to be trending right now, we’re still hesitant to examine our dirty little addiction to fast-fashion.


The fast-fashion industry is one of the biggest offenders in terms of its effects on climate change, socio-economic impact, fair-trade and ethical working practices. And while the fast-fashion industry as a whole is a real problem in the United States, when you combine the growing popularity of athleisure and fast-fashion you have a real resource sucking, emission spewing, microplastic spreading, monster on your hand.


According to a study by a Princeton researcher, approximately 20% of the World’s wastewater is attributed to the production of fast-fashion. But it doesn’t end there, because of the synthetic fibers used in these materials, these products are also significantly increasing the microplastics in our oceans and drinking water. (The same study indicates that approximately 35% of all microplastics in oceans can be attributed to synthetic clothing fibers). AND the production of these fibers contributes to high levels of CO2 emissions, unfair wage and labor practices, unsustainable farming and harvesting practices, and toxic chemical exposure.


BUT these cheap, quick products exist because there is a demand for them, right? So how do we source ethical, more intelligent, longer-lasting, eco-friendly, active-wear?

 

Here are a few things to consider when shopping:

PRIORITIZE BUYING SECOND HAND

Thanks to some really creative influencers out there with some killer style, thrifting or buying second hand is gaining a lot of popularity. Checking out your local thrift, vintage or second-hand shops can score you some deals on some gently used swag. Also, online platforms like Poshmark, the RealReal or Thread-Up are great places to check out. Not only will you get better prices, but you’ll also be helping to eliminate waste and you’ll probably find some interesting and more unique pieces.


LOOK FOR THE CERTIFIED B CORP STANDARD

Firstly, what is a Certified B Corp? A company with a Certified B Corp emblem, essentially ensures that some of the research has been done for you. To achieve this standard means that the company has answered a rigorous set of questions related to the company’s governance, working conditions, community engagement, environmental impacts and its customer service and achieved a score of 80 or better. To qualify they also need to have stakeholder governance (meaning that they consider the stakeholders in their decision making, not just their shareholders), ensuring that not all of their motives are profit driven.


AVOID SYNTHETIC MATERIALS

Seems straightforward right? Prioritizing buying from companies that use cotton, hemp, bamboo or other naturally derived fabrics will help to reduce microplastic contamination and harmful CO2 emissions.


LOOK FOR RECYCLED MATERIALS

Sometimes absorbent cotton isn’t the best choice for your work-out. When buying non-cotton or cotton derived materials, look for companies that use recycled materials or fabrics created from waste materials.


ETHICS, ETHICS, ETHICS

Look for companies that have donation programs, give a portion of their proceeds to charity, support climate change causes or offer their own internal product recycling programs.



 


If that list seems overwhelming, check out my list below for five of my favorite activewear brands that you can feel good about:

1. GIRLFRIEND COLLECTIVE:




Why They’re Great:


They use 100% recycled and recyclable packing; they use recycled materials in their fabrics; they utilize fair-trade and fair working practices; their materials are BPA free; and they offer a recycling program; they focus on body-positive marketing campaigns


Price Point: $$














2. TASC:




Why They’re Great:


They use bamboo to make their products; they utilize fair-trade practices


Price Point: $$














3. OUTDOOR VOICES:




Why They’re Great:


They use recycled and recyclable materials and packing; they utilize eco-friendly production practices with responsibly sourced materials; they are soon releasing a take-back and repair program to improve the longevity of their products.


Price Point: $$










4. MATE THE LABEL:



Why They’re Great:


The company is women founded and women-run; they prioritize the use of clean materials without the use of synthetic dyes or toxic chemical additives; they use organic cotton grown sustainably; the products are made here in the USA.


Price Point: $$$










5. PACT:




Why They’re Great:


They use organic cotton grown sustainably; their factories are Fair Trade Certified; they use recyclable packing; they have a program to donate worn, no longer wanted items


Price Point: $$










I know that keeping up with the latest trends at the gym can feel more like a necessity than a desire, but the bottom line is that we as consumers have the power to make a change in the fast-fashion industry.

And we do that with how we chose to spend our money.

Hold companies accountable. Buy less, but buy smarter. Demand more than just cheap, trending BS. You’re worth it.
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