Game, sweat, match; ethical and sustainable activewear you’ll love
Water bottles into leggings? This is activewear reinvented
It’s the wardrobe staple that continually showed up for us during lockdown and WFH, but did you know that there’s also a dark side to activewear? Constructed largely from synthetic materials, it’s not only a contributor to plastic waste, materials are difficult to recycle and microfibres can shed during washing and pollute our waterways. Heartbreaking, we know! But… If you’re not quite ready to say bye-bye to sweats – and let’s face it, who is?! – you no longer have to sacrifice the holy grail of comfort at the cost of the planet. There’s a number of brands looking to organic cotton as well as recycled nylon and polyester to create workout gear without the worry. From recycled fishing nets, to biodegradable Spandex, the technology is finally catching up with our love affair with tights.
So whether it’s yoga, HIIT or Pilates, or simply lounging around at home, here are some of the best ethically produced and sustainable activewear brands going. And don’t forget to use a Guppy Friend or Cora Ball when you throw them in the wash!
This Brazilian made (sweatshop free) yoga brand is revolutionising the activewear industry with its biodegradable active wear. That’s right, activewear made using fabric that actually breaks down in landfill. From shorts, full-length and 7/8 tights in great colours and patterns, and sizes from XS to XL, there’s something for everyone.
At less than $30, these seam-free and super soft leggings make a wonderful addition to yoga or Pilates class, a walk around the block or simply chilling out at home. Made from bamboo, the impact is considerably less than synthetics or cotton. And as well as its sustainability efforts, Boody also supports a number of not-for-profit organisations including Greening Australia and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. It’s also part of 1% for the Planet, so it’s great to know that each purchase you make goes to helping others.
We’ve loved their whimsical and ethically produced designs for as long as we can remember and now the Spell ladies are adding activewear to their already impressive repertoire. Spell Active is constructed using recycled polyester and has just two designs in its range; a crop top and ⅞ pant in its Wild Things leopard print and floral Folk Town. Much has already sold out, so watch this space!
Modibodi’s active leggings aren’t just made with recycled nylon, they also allow you to do away with pads, liners or tampons at the same time. The period underwear brand has branched out to include activewear that’s supportive as well as functional. It has also created active shorts and active briefs.
Team Timbuktu found its feet via a successful crowdfunding campaign and has gone from strength-to-strength ever since. Sustainably made using recycled fabrics and ditching the plastic packaging, we love their print sweat-wicking leggings made from recycled water bottles as well as their technical jackets made from recycled plastic.
Bondi-born, this slick brand takes no prisoners in the gym, on the court or in the yoga studio. Ethically produced, founder Alison Cotton is committed to transparency about its manufacturing as well as the company’s sustainable practices. Activewear is made from 78 per cent recycled materials and cotton is GOTS certified. They also use recycled packaging and support the Plant-A-Tree program in collaboration with Carbon Neutral Pty Ltd. They’ve also just introduced a made-to-order range too!
After recently interviewing co-founder and designer, Claire Tregoning we were thrilled to learn about PE Nation’s sustainable trajectory. A sustainable snow collection was followed by a sustainable swim collection, while its Conscious Nation edits feature recycled nylon and organic cotton pieces. They use Better Packaging Company compostable mailers, recycled cardboard swing tags, are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative and also donate to i=Change.
Bhumi Organic Cotton
Fairtrade and GOTS certified, Bhumi also uses non-toxic dyes in the production of its yoga and activewear. As well as the usual suspects to guide you through your downward dog, it also boasts joggers, tops and cardis to ensure you get to class (and beyond) in style. Rest easy knowing your package will arrive in recycled, non-toxic packaging.
Inspired by the ocean, these leggings founded by surfer Danielle Clayton, are made from ECONYL aka salvaged plastic, ghost fishing nets and carpet and textile offcuts. They can be worn surfing, on soft sand runs or in the yoga studio and boast a sun protection factor of SPF 50+. Mix and match with their cute cropped rashies.
Patagonia was putting sustainability at its very core before sustainable fashion was even a concept. Recycled polyester and organic cotton makes up the majority of their clothing, and they also donate 1 per cent of sales to grassroots environmental groups. Their activewear and jackets make hitting the pavement or a hike through the mountains a breeze.