With news that this year is on track to be the hottest year on record, breaking the record set in 2015 which broke the record set in 2014, it’s amazing that there are still climate change deniers out there (even if it is making our wine taste better). It’s even more shocking that some of them are running for president of the United States.
The health of our planet is in dire condition and we can’t just rely on Elon Musk to fix it all for us. Earth Day is a time to recognize that we all have to do our part and take meaningful action to protect the earth.
That doesn’t mean we have to stop copping fresh clothes and kicks, right? Well, kinda. The “reduce, reuse, recycle” trilogy is hierarchical, with the first two taking precedence. But if you are going to buy new gear, try to buy from brands that make sustainability a key component of their business, and not just on Earth Day.
Of course, you don’t have to look like some new-age hippie, either. Many companies have figured out how to create great-looking garments in a sustainable way. Whether that’s with recycled materials or with fair trade practices, these brands aren’t forgetting that the most goodie-goodie piece isn’t worth a damn if you don’t actually want to wear it.
We found six outstanding pieces that will help assuage your guilt about shopping this Earth Day.
1. OUTERKNOWN POCKET EVOLUTION TRUNK
When Kelly slater announced he was creating a sustainable apparel company, many scoffed. But Outerknown has established itself for making great looking pieces that perform well and have a limited footprint. These boardshorts are made from reclaimed fishing nets and have handy front pockets. Just don’t forget to take your phone out before you go in the water.
2. G-STAR OCCOTIS EMBROIDERED KIMONO
G-Star calls it a kimono, but you’ll recognize it as a jean jacket. Born out of the brand’s collaboration with Pharrell Williams, the jacket uses Bionic Yarn, which is made from plastic recovered from the ocean. Only 250 of these jackets are being made. They feature embroidered messages that say things like “WTF Are You Doing To My Oceans.”
3. NAU SLIGHT PULLOVER
The water-resistant and ripstop polyester used in this jacket comes entirely from recycled plastics. It’s extremely soft to the touch and has a minimalist design that looks as good in the city as it does on the trail.
4. PATAGONIA PATALOHA SHIRT
The Hawaiian shirt (Hawaiians call it an Aloha shirt) is poised to make a big comeback this summer, so get ready to see a lot of Magnum P.I. lookalikes. But for Patagonia the shirt never went away. The company has been making its Pataloha shirt for 30 years and to celebrate the anniversary it’s bringing back an iconic print beloved by women’s surf pioneer Rell Sunn. The lightweight shirt is made with 100 percent organic cotton and coconut shell buttons.
5. APOLIS ALPACA CREWNECK SWEATER
Founded by brothers Raan and Shea Parton, Apolis translates to “global citizen” in Greek, which is why the brand strives to create a business that meets higher social and environmental standards. This sweater is made from the natural fiber from indigenous alpacas in Peru and is knit by hand in the country. The patches on the elbow not only make it more durable they give it the sweater a more distinguished air.
6. OLIBERTE X MCNAIRY GOBOO
Shoes are a tricky thing to make sustainably but you have to have something on your feet. Oliberte is the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear company and makes all of its shoes in Ethiopia. The cow and goat leather used on the shoes comes from free-range and hormone-free animals and is sourced from local tanneries. The Goboo is Oliberte’s desert boot and this grey suede version is the result of a collaboration with designer Mark McNairy.