Squat-Friendly and Synthetic-Free: Our Favourite Sustainable Activewear Brands
These brands are banging the biodegradable drum and calling for an eco-conscious approach to activewear, turning fishing nets, ocean plastic and used plastic bottoms into cute co-ords and sweat-resistant sets.
Not-so-funfact: fast fashion contributes more to the climate
crisis than air travel and is the second most throwaway industry
after oil. Textile production produces 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per
year, which is substantially more emissions than flights. We're
wising up and making better choices when it comes to our wardrobe.
Typically, activewear is made from planet-polluting plastics and
synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon, none of which are
biodegradable, while all are energy intensive in their production.
In short, your grab-and-go gym leggings maybe squat-proof but
they're definitely not planet-proof.
Sportswear giants have finally got the memo. Adidas recently
collaborated with Parley for the Oceans to create a lightweight
trainer made from ocean plastic; Stella McCartney continues to be a
fashion frontier with her biodegradable manicures and innovative
textile-tech and Nike have brought out a "Reuse-a-Shoe" initiative
to reduce their waste. Even Sweaty Betty has followed suit with
their recycled-plastic leggings.
But long before the big brands caught on, smaller sportswear
designers have been banging the biodegradable drum and calling for
an eco-conscious approach to activewear, turning fishing nets,
ocean plastic and used plastic bottoms into cute co-ords and
Gym wear is going green. Here are our favourite sustainable
Championing body inclusivity, Tala's mission is to create 100%
upcycled activewear - and they're 92% there. Slate-grey and
oatmeal-coloured co-ords are made from recycled plastic bottles and
factory offcuts, with all packaging and tags fully recyclable.
We've got our eye on pieces from the Core collection, mainly
because they lean more to Sunday brunch plans than sweaty gym
Two guesses as to what's the main material in Bamboo Clothing's
unisex garms? The plant packs as much punch in the sustainability
sector as we do in our Kobox class. It's the fastest growing plant in the
world and only needs rainwater to grow. We're not done yet - it
also absorbs three times its weight in water, keeping sweat away
from the skin and locking in water when it's a bit nippy. Bam
Bamboo Clothing hope to be "impact positive," by 2030 - that means
net zero carbon emissions, no landfill waste or pollution and not a
drop of wasted water at any point in the production process.
In attempt to combat mass production, London-based Adrenna
creates made-to-order, colour-blocked sets using technical
eco-fabrics from Italy. You'll have to wait 14 to 21 days for your
custom creation to arrive, but their sustainable sports bras are
one of the few options on the market that provide sufficient
Technical, well-tailored and made using non-toxic fabrics in
ethical factories in Portugal and Lithuania, Silou London sets themselves
apart with their range of signature pieces that'll take you from
spin class to coffee date.
Studio-to-streetwear Australian brand Nagnata gives us serious
Clueless vibes with their retro short sets and houndstooth
halternecks. The co-ords are created using a premium knitwear
method (as opposed to the wasteful cut-and-sew technique favoured
by fast fashion brands) to ensure there's zero yarn waste and the
sets last for years rather than just a few sessions.
Girlfriend Collective's squat-proof, performance-driven leggings
are each made from 25 recycled bottles - all sourced from Taiwan, a
world leader when it comes to recycling - while 11 bottles go into
their sports bras. These would have ended up in landfill sites if
Girlfriend Collective hadn't reconstructed them into bold,
The S Café range by Starseeds uses coffee grounds to construct
high-performance unisex garments that simultaenously help save the
planet by reducing waste. The coffee-knitted fabric locks in odour
and acts as natural UV protection making this kit ideal for outdoor
Stocked in the Scandi colour palette of neutrals and the odd pop
of rust, everything in this Copenhagen-based brand's collection - yoga
sets, underwear, sleepwear - is made from organic cotton. To make
their garments long-lasting (and encourage less frequent washing,
of which we're always a fan) silver thread is woven throughout the
garments to create SilverTech, a unique textile hybrid which has
heat-regulating and odour-controlling properties.
Born in Bondi Beach, the capital of athleisure, Nimble
uses pioneering MoveLite and Compresslite fabrics that have been
constructed from post-consumer plastic bottles, spun into a yarn
and knitted with spandex, meaning their high-waisted,
ultra-compressing leggings are also super flattering.