For the longest time, fashion has been the second most polluting industry in the world, pretty scary stuff. Yet since we wrote our guide on ethical fashion, the popularity of fast fashion has only got bigger and bigger. With more and more clothes being bought, worn once and ending up as landfill; some people would say that fashion has beaten all its rivals, including oil and even planes to become THE MOST polluting industry on the planet.
So what can we do about it? The answer is sustainability. By buying clothes that are made with sustainable processes, use fabrics made from natural fibers, recycled fabrics and/or reduce the number of fashion miles that your garms make; we can all help to reduce the impact that the fashion industry is having on our planet.
In this blog, we want to introduce you to some of the best sustainable plus size brands out there, literally spinning magic back into unwanted clothes and recycling even plastic bottles and turning them into activewear, t-shirts and more.
Featured Image: Grump Online
One of the biggest issues in the sustainable/ethical fashion debate is where do your clothes come from. If the cotton for your dress is picked in Texas, spun into yarn in Italy, woven in the UK, then the pattern cut and sewn in China before being sent back to America for distribution; you can imagine that the fashion miles for just one item of clothing can be huge.
So to try and cut down on these miles, it's worth shopping locally or from brands who make their clothing lines in house.
Best Sustainable Plus Size Brands US.
Hackwith Design House
Last year we introduced you to American designers; Hackwith Design House who describe themselves as being simple, beautiful and ethical.
Well, we can add sustainable to that list too, as Hackwith Design House are all about minimizing fabric waste. With most of their limited edition designs being made to order for just this reason! The HDH Plus line means that you can now find Hackwith designs in up to size +4 (US 26-28/ UK 28-30) and all items are made in house in their Minnesota studio.
We love the Basics Reversible Wrap Dress, available in carbon blue, gingerbread or black lyocell.
Basics Reversible Wrap Dress
L.A.. based designers are all about being radically inclusive. From rewriting the size structure to celebrating body positivity, Sotela is embracing ethical production and sustainable methods. The versatile clothes from Sotela are designed to fit our changing bodies so whether you just had a big lunch, are feeling bloated you can look and feel confident in your clothes. The hand -made pieces are made using eco-friendly fabrics that are designed to last! But Sotela doesn’t just stop there, even their packaging etc is made from recycled items.
The lavender Flor jumpsuit is perfect for your next vacation.
Girlfriend Collective believes that ‘good things come to those who don't waste.’ By using ethical practices and recycled materials, Girlfriend Collective can offer sustainable activewear that is made from recycled plastic bottles and reused fabric. We love their regirlfriend program; send in your leggings when you are done with them and Girlfriend Collective will recycle them!
Blogger Near and Char wears the cocoa high rise compressive leggings and windbreaker.
High Rise Compressive Leggings and Windbreaker
Clothes from the family-run brand Karen Kane are designed and made in L.A. From ethically sourced materials to supporting a team of people who are often underrepresented, we love Karen Kane’s inclusiveness and forward-thinking. You can find the Karen Kane plus collection up to 3X (US- 22/ UK 24)
Jill Ryland of Talk Curvy To Me wears the sand cargo jacket.
Curvy / plus model Mariana Bulatkina from New York knows first-hand all about the fashion industry’s weird way of sizing clothes. Tired of ill-fitting clothes, Mariana decided to design them herself, cue the birth of the Mariana Bulatkina brand
Using a US size 14 ( UK 16) as their sample size, Mariana Bulatkina was able to totally overhaul the way that clothes are designed and cut to get a really great fit. Items are all designed and made in New York’s iconic Garment District by an all-female team using sustainable practices.
The stunning Our Lady J wears the Moscow dress
Best Sustainable Plus Size Brands UK
Kitty Ferreira is in the business of slow fashion.
After graduating from the London College of Fashion, designer Virginia Goode moved to China and was shocked by the amount of pollution that the fashion industry was creating. This was the start of the Kitty Ferreira brand.
The size-inclusive brand, in sizes UK 6-26 ( US 4-24) uses upcycled materials, natural dyes, and sustainable practices. Items are made exclusively in the UK.
The designs of Kitty Ferreira are elegant and sophisticated, perfect for a city chic look. Showing that ethical, sustainable fashion isn’t just for hippies.
The stunning Delice dress (left) is made from upcycled British wool and is naturally dyed using pomegranate and onion skins - yes really.
The ethical and sustainable clothing from Nomads, in sizes 8-18 uses eco-friendly natural fibers and organic cotton. The brand, which started 30 years ago on a market stall in Camden, London is proud to support traditional artisan ways of making clothes like hand-looming and block printing.
We love the super cozy side split merino wool jumper as worn by Gemma of Jacquard Flower
Side Split Merino Wool Jumper
Wild Flora Clothing
Beautiful timeless pieces that are versatile and handmade in Shrewsbury. The core collection is made using premium quality European laundered linen and cottons that are hand-loomed and hand-dyed in India. All their clothes are hand made to order and is available up to UK size 24. (US 22)
These jet black linen trousers with a tapered ankle have an effortlessly refined look.
Best Sustainable Plus Size Brands Australia
If you’re living in the southern hemisphere and are looking for some sustainable basics then look no further than Citizen Wolf. The Sydney based brand is all about on-demand tailoring. Cutting down on fashion miles and producing zero waste are big on the agenda and we love how any fabric leftover from the tees they make goes into making zero waste tote bags.
Fit is another big thing for Citizen Wolf. A massive percentage (81%) of online orders being returned because the clothes don’t fit, so to change that Citizen Wolf introduced magic fit. For women, the algorithm is based on your height + weight + age + bra size. Find out more about how magic fit works here.
Check out the classic three -quarter boat neck top as worn by Brisbane based Eco-warrior Brittslist.
Three- Quarter Boat Neck Top
The founders of Harlow share the core belief that every woman should be able to find clothes that reflect her personality. The timeless designs for the ‘woman who wants to change the world’ are all designed and made in Melbourne, in sizes 12-26 (US 10-24 / UK 12-26)
We love the Seven Wonders Ruffle Maxi Dress: the perfect mix between boho-chic and rock edge.
Seven Wonders Ruffle Maxi Dress
The colorful explosion of prints at Grump.Online embraces your inner quirkiness. All designs of the size-inclusive brand are hand made from 100% ethically produced cotton (from China) and can be customized to your style too. Skirt too short or too long? Kerry can change that for you.
How cute is the black splodge dress as worn by in.the.pine.trees
Whether you are an eco-warrior, are new to the whole eco journey or maybe you just want to cut down your carbon footprint, by buying sustainable fashion we can make a difference- even if it's only a small one- to the impact of climate change. After all, there’s no planet B.
For more on this read about our top ethical brands here or take a closer look at materials in our fabric guide.