Sustainable Clothing Brands: 5 Gorp-Friendly Labels Making Recycled Garms Good For You and the Planet


Let’s start with the obvious: buying new clothing isn’t great for the environment. If you’re shopping with sustainability in mind, the best thing to do is…stop. Close every tab in your browser and take a long, hard look at your own closet—chances are, you’ve got more than enough hanging in there already. (The point is to cut back on consumption, not engage in more of it, right?)

But sometimes, occasion and actual necessity (not, like, the allure of a short-lived dopamine fix) warrant buying something new. So if you’re intent on spending some quality time reacquainting yourself with Mother Nature this Earth Day—and find yourself in need of the proper gear to do it in—there’s plenty of options to help you explore the wilderness (mostly) guilt-free.

Over the last few years, a handful of our favorite outdoors-y brands doubled-down on reducing their environmental impact by introducing programs with a straightforward circularity bent. Not all of them take the same approach—some focus on buying back used goods, some simply recycle your worn garms for you—but all of them offer a viable alternative to copping yet another black puffer or ditching your lightly-scuffed kicks in favor of a brand new pair.

In that spirit, we cut through all the marketing hoopla to round up five initiatives we dig that promise to kit you out in good faith. Global water crisis aside, there’s no shortage of drip here.

Patagonia

Patagonia’s sustainability bona fides need little introduction. So it follows that the brand’s Worn Wear program is one of the most comprehensive in the business. Trade in your gently-used ‘Gonia gear for credit on future purchases, or shop directly from its groovy selection of repaired—or entirely upcycled—clothing.

Patagonia WornWear ReCrafted down vest

Patagonia WornWear down sweater

Patagonia WornWear synchilla snap-t fleece

Patagonia WornWear micropuff jacket

The North Face

The North Face and its Clothes the Loop initiative (puns!) lets you drop off unwanted garms at select TNF locations across the country, but the company’s online shop also boasts an array of crowd-pleasers made almost entirely out of recycled materials.

The North Face first dawn packable jacket

The North Face “Borealis” backpack

The North Face Denali 2 jacket

The North Face wander short

Arc’teryx

You can swap your lightly-worn Arc clothing for store credit, but the brand’s Used Gear section is where the real action’s at. It’s routinely packed with the kind of meme-famous shell layers that made the brand a powerhouse of technical design—and catnip for a certain type of TikTok star.

Nike

Not sure what to do with the dusty running shoes you bought in a fit of motivation at the beginning of the pandemic? Good news: Nike will take them back and recycle ‘em for you. If you’re itching to snag a replacement as soon as you let those go, the Portland-based operation also hawks plenty of sustainably-minded goods made out of recycled fabrics from its archives. 

Nike space hippie 01 sneakers

Nike Air Max terrascape plus sneakers

REI 

You can trade-in your used clothing at select REI stores too, or skip the IRL interaction entirely and shop the retailer’s pre-owned section online. Fair warning, the gear on offer skews capital-C crunchy, but if you’re in the market for some discounted camping gear with plenty of life left in it there’s few better places to turn. 

REI Co-op traverse 65 shoulder strap

Herschel Supply Co. “Little America” echo pack

Ray-Ban RB4267 sunglasses

Mountain Summer Gear self-inflating camp pad



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