community clothing

Most of us like to own a few sweatshirts to lounge around in. It’s only natural when it gets chilly on winter evenings. But polyester and nylon sweatshirts leach microplastics into the washing machine, and out to sea. Also read of clothing brands that help animal charities.

The best fabrics are cotton, hemp and linen. Wash synthetic (oil) fibres in a microplastic catcher to stop them leaching from machines into the sea. Bamboo is okay but some companies use chemicals like rayon to make it. Tencel is made wtih flammable eucalyptus trees – Spain and Portugal have already banned new plantations, due to wildfires.  

Community Clothing is a brand that is determined to make organic clothing affordable for everyone. The money goes into making clothes that last, not packaging or advertising. Made in the Midlands to support local jobs, you can also buy hoodies for men.

Outdoor clothing is good for our chilly weather, but it’s best to find natural fabrics, when buying new.  Organic cotton costs a little more, but it’s far better for the planet as it is free from chemicals and pesticides that harm water supplies and wildlife (and farmers who grow the cotton – they also don’t have to wear uncomfortable protective clothing if farming organically). As the fibres have not been treated by chemicals, they tend to last longer too, which means garments are more cost-effective.

Organic (or any cotton) washes safely in the machine without depositing microplastics (unlike synthetic fibres). And at end of life, it safely biodegrades back to the earth, leaving no trace behind. It’s even softer on skin, so ideal for people with eczema or psoriasis.

affordable organic cotton sweatshirts from Bristol

Yes Friends (Bristol) is a fashion brand that pays excellent wages to workers in Vietnam and and India (to help end modern slavery) then passes the savings onto you. Wanting to end the risk of modern slavery (the 2nd highest risk is in the fashion trade), the brand was launched so that you could ‘buy an organic t-shirt for the price of a pint’. At the proper scale, you can buy ethically without much added expense. Avoiding toxic chemicals, most dyes are eco-friendly.

warm organic sweatshirts from Isle of Wight

Rapanui (Isle of Wight) is a fantastic company started by two unemployed men, who now not only create organic cotton casual clothing but run Teemill, a company that lets small charities earn money from print-on-demand organic cotton tees and sweatshirts (all made with green energy and sent in zero waste packaging – you can even sent items back at end-of-life to made into new clothes). Their hoodies for men and women are roomy and soft, and ideal for maximum comfort for slow days on the hills or by the beach.

From t-shirts and hoodies to organic cotton jumpers and men’s flannel shirts (complete with nifty pockets and wooden buttons), the flannel overshirts are made from warm durable organic cotton canvas, with metal poppers and three handy pockets.

warm organic cotton sweatshirts from London

Goose Studios (East London) was founded by two friends in the business of ‘making the world a little nicer’ by making better clothing for everyone. Everything here is simple, transparent and affordable. The everyday items like hoodies and t-shirts are made with ethically-sourced organic cotton, and tested to last years. The idea is that rather than marching down the street to change the world, you simply switch to ethical brands that do things right, then get on with your life.

Everything is designed to be reasonably priced and can be worn for years to come. Great value for lower impact on the planet. And everything’s ‘normal’. You won’t find gigantic ponchos or weird high-fashion, just everyday essentials that most people wear. Everything is sent in biodegradable easy-to-recycle packaging. With free returns – because they’re nice like that!

Matt Sewell’s bird-friendly organic sweatshirts

Matt Sewell is an ornithologist, who creates gorgeous books with pop-art watercolour to make learning all about our feathered friends (and other creatures) fun. He has now teamed up with Sussex clothing company Silverstick to offer lovely 100% organic cotton sweatshirts, all designed with his fun bird-art logos. 10% of profits go to a project to help to rewild (so endangered species can return to natural habitats).

Also in designs for men, many designs feature the lapwing (a red list bird chosen to highlight the plight of endangered birds). The heavyweight fabric means this is a cosy sweatshirt that features a brushed back inner face, double-layer hood and reinforced kangaroo pouch pocket. Made ethically in Turkey.

Outdoor clothing is good for our chilly weather, but it’s best to find natural fabrics, when buying new.  Organic cotton costs a little more, but it’s far better for the planet as it is free from chemicals and pesticides that harm water supplies and wildlife (and farmers who grow the cotton – they also don’t have to wear uncomfortable protective clothing if farming organically). As the fibres have not been treated by chemicals, they tend to last longer too, which means garments are more cost-effective.

Organic (or any cotton) washes safely in the machine without depositing microplastics (unlike synthetic fibres). And at end of life, it safely biodegrades back to the earth, leaving no trace behind. It’s even softer on skin, so ideal for people with eczema or psoriasis.

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