5 SUSTAINABLE (&STYLISH) WORKOUT BRANDS TO KNOW
With her finger firmly on the pulse, fitness writer and avid runner Flora Beverley shares her favourite eco activewear
In my last piece for The Forward Lab, I explored how to supplement training more sustainably as a runner. As a follow-up, I’m sharing some of my favourite (and most reliable) activewear brands that keep planet and people in mind.
As we know, the fashion industry has been labelled one of the most polluting industries on the planet thanks to harsh chemicals, impactful materials and the huge amounts of energy required to create seemingly endless quantities of clothing. As an extension of the fashion industry, athleisure is no different. The good news is that, as with mainstream fashion, the activewear industry is slowly moving in the right direction. Brands big and small are continuing to innovate and incorporate recycled materials, eco-friendly dyes and low-impact fabrics into their collections. While nothing is more sustainable than using the activewear you already have at home, here are some of my favourite brands for the next time you need some new pieces. Remember, recycled polyester still sheds microfibres so it’s important to launder it carefully. We recommend a Guppyfriend washing bag.
“Earth’s number one fan” Girlfriend Collective makes bold activewear out of recycled materials and has become a cult success globally. The brand diverts waste – such as fishing nets and water bottles – from landfills and supports an ethical work environment. Recently, it has started to take back old GC pieces to recycle into new products too, thus closing the loop. I love how it offers a good size range too, which is worryingly rare for both activewear and sustainable brands.
Parisian brand Luz creates graphic swimwear and yoga wear using certified organic materials and recycled fabrics such as ECONYL®, which is made using recycled fishing nets and other nylon waste. The designs are typically bold and colour-blocked, so they’re a great choice for anyone who’s the style opposite of a wallflower. As a member of 1% for the Planet, 1% of the company’s profits are donated to environmental organisations each year.
Allbirds has recently released its first range of activewear that’s made from ethically sourced merino wool and eucalyptus-tree fibres. For the brand, it was important to move away from synthetic fibres altogether and create a breathable, soft and fast-drying range of gear that’s suitable for a number of sports. Interestingly, each piece in the range is labelled with its carbon footprint – something Allbirds hopes other brands will echo. My personal favourites are the bike shorts and natural run form tank (with an inbuilt bra!). There’s something for everyone as each item comes in four colourways with options for men and women.
Imagined in the sand in Australia, Indigo Luna’s collections are handmade in Bali – every person involved in production works in comfortable, safe conditions. Materials for its swimwear, lingerie and yoga lines range from certified organic to natural to regenerated fibres, while the gentle plant-based dyes are locally sourced. This family-run business prioritises quality, transparency and sustainable practices, and pays a living wage to all employees. The label offers an XXS to 3XL size range, too.
Organic Basics consistently rates highly on sustainability roundups, thanks to its use of eco-friendly materials and renewable energy throughout its supply chain. It is known for its buttery soft, pared-back underwear (which I love!), but also stocks activewear, swimwear and everyday basics. Its activewear, like the rest of its offerings, is chic and simple, made from stretchy and sweat-wicking recycled materials in factories that pay the living wage.