Don’t sweat the small stuff: My favourite ethical activewear brands
Here is a blog post about something I have never thought I would be writing about: activewear. I think it’s safe to say that obviously I am not the sporty type, but alas, I have learned and changed a lot in the past few months.
For the longest time, I didn’t really care about what to wear when exercising for the simple fact that I (ehem) didn’t exercise. I barely kept anything for the gym and have been guilty of being part of the ‘I don’t care, I’m wearing my converse to go jogging’ club.
This January I decided to try the gym one last time and surprisingly, I’m actually loving it! I have invested in proper running trainers from Adidas’ Parley collection (made of recycled fishnets) and a few pairs of running socks, progress!
I’m still wearing my old sports bra I bought 7 years ago at TK Maxx, my one Lululemon leggings and a few running tops from the chazza shop (in that classic bright pink that is oh-so flattering), but, once I stick to the gym a little bit longer, I will make sure to invest in high quality gear from the companies I am about to mention in this post.
When it comes to activewear, I believe that manmade fabrics do play an important role and are actually functional. Spandex and other materials are more durable and can stand the constant wear and washing. The main issue is that the way these materials are made are very detrimental to our environment and a lot of exercise garments are made in factories where there isn’t any control on the way they treat their employees.
Buying second-hand is then, still the best option for activewear. I will still buy running tops and leggings this way when I can, but if you are like me and can get tired of the hot pink gym wear bonanza, here are some brands to look up when thinking of buying new:
Organic Basics (aff link) is a Danish brand that has already done so much for the ethical and sustainable fashion industry in such a short space of time! I have briefly mentioned them in my underwear post, but today I will focus on their active wear! Their streamlined cuts and colours make their pieces incredibly versatile and gender neutral, which is such an important thing to notice as not a lot of brands think about these simple details that are really a make it or break it deal for a lot of people. Their material is also really well thought out: It’s called SilverTech and is made of a small percentage of spandex, recycled nylon and real silver threads. The silver helps control the growth of bacteria in the garment, which means that people are able to use each piece more times before needing to wash them. Washing your clothes less means that they last longer, save water and also avoid the over shedding of microplastics into our water system.
Girlfriend Collective is like a best friend that knows you well - the answer is in the name - They are sustainably produced of 83% recycled ocean waste nylon and are made for people who love to be bold! I’m a massive fan of their colour and size selection. They have a great size inclusivity ethos that is more than necessary in this staying age, but still so uncommon for other brands to develop that! The only issue that I have heard about their pieces is that they aren’t sweat resistant, which means that they will show sweat patches if you practice any heavy exercises with them. For that reason, I haven’t yet purchased one of their pieces as I use activewear mainly for running. I do love the way they look and their whole aesthetics, so I really hope they can develop a high intensive exercise range as I’ll be all over it!
Outdoor Voices is often seen sported by some of my favourite influencers. Their NYC athletic vibes are functional, yet different from the usual activewear brands. Their ethos of '“doing things” is a way of the brand to say that any sort of activity is valid. You can wear their garments while running a marathon or walking your dog, as long as you are out, doing something to move your body, Outdoor Voices got your back! Not all of their pieces are made of recycled materials, but they have a high stand for ethical practices in their factories and also strive to use as many natural materials they can. One of their top ranges is made of 100% recycled fishnets and another range is made of mainly merino wool.
Patagonia is old-school, but still more relevant than ever! Their range is focused on outdoor activities and is all about durability and comfort through any weather conditions. They are known for having a lifetime warranty which allows their customers to get their items fixed no matter how long you have them for! Patagonia was also one of the first brands to research ways of producing their clothes in a more sustainable way, looking for alternatives and recycled materials options whenever possible. Patagonia is also the brand behind the washing bag Guppyfriend - which is the first tool created to prevent the ocean contamination of microplastics. Whether or not we are thinking of investing in an item from Patagonia, we should all think about purchasing this washing bag and use it every time we wash any synthetic materials.
Nimble Activewear is an Australian brand that I have just discovered. Their styles and colours remind me of Sweaty Betty and Lululemon, so if that’s the vibe you are searching for on your gym gear, look no further as Nimble got your back! Their material is made ethically near Taiwan, which means that they don’t have to transport their fabrics across the ocean. Their Compresslite range is made of recycled plastic bottles and much like Girlfriend, most of their range is made out of this sustainable fabric, with the difference that they claim for it to be sweat resistant (hooray!).
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an UK based sustainable and ethical activewear brand that really resonates with me. I know Sundried is an ethical brand and they do have a top made of 100% recycled materials, but their leggings and sports bras aren’t. If any of you know of any brands I have mentioned, please feel free to send them my way!
PS: As being part of the affiliate program from OB, you can use the code CAMIHXOBCO100 for any of you who feel compelled to use it and get 15€ off your first purchase! Please not that Organic Basics haven’t paid ma for this blog post and all opinions expressed are solely mine.