Men's Ethical Fashion - How I do it, How we WILL do it...
Mens Ethical / Sustainable Fashion
~ Brought to you by Greg ~
Dressing nicely has always been a thing for me. Dressing nicely, in a way that is all good and well for the planet has not always been a thing for me. But it is now.
Sustainability within the fashion industry can be quite a difficult subject to approach. Greenwashing is widely prevalent, fast fashion giants seem to dominate the space, and Burberry literally burns their leftover merchandise! Bringing light towards simple ways to change old habits for the better, especially within men’s fashion, is a step in the right direction.
Throughout the remainder of this I will loosely cover the following:
How I actually learned about sustainability
My go to sustainable brands
Two or three years ago marked a time where the most important thing about a piece of clothing I was considering buying was the price, if I would wear it a lot and how it fit. Nowadays, this list has boiled down to primarily how sustainably and ethically focused the brand I am buying from is.
A lot has shifted in my mindset when it comes to clothing. Thinking past the utility or aesthetic of the clothes I was wearing had never really been a part of my childhood and upbringing. We simply bought the clothes that made sense, from the typical stores that most people buy their clothes from. Bobs, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, etc. Everything was fine and I rarely ever heard anything about any of these brands other than the discounts they were running that week.
This was the case up until about two and a half years ago. At this point in my life, I was introduced to the idea of actually researching the brands that were creating the clothing I was buying. This change immediately created a substantially larger connection between myself and the stuff I would be wearing, something that has since been one of the best parts of buying what I do. Unfortunately, being personally connected with the brands, individuals that make them and the actual clothes themselves is all too often completely forgotten.
Ever since this change, if the clothing is not made well, for the long haul and in the interest of something other than pure profit, I am not too interested. Consciously creating a piece of apparel that will last, age well, and uses sustainably focused materials is an idea that has become unfortunately difficult to come by. Especially within the men's fashion industry.
With that said, these types of brands are indeed out there and hopefully I can guide you to them, beginning with the following four. Buck Mason, Noble Denim, Everlane and of course, AndAgain. The first three feature a much more minimal, functional form with cotton basics and denim taking roots from American work-wear heritage. Lastly, the in-house beauties featured from AndAgain take a little bit different approach, suited better for the urban jungle. I hope this sparks your interest in shopping "better" and that you're excited for our Fall release coming up very soon featuring gender neutral designs pushed even further. (This entire list is unsolicited, unpaid, and not in anyway affiliated officially to the brands mentioned).
I own the world’s best tee shirt. Plain and simple. This is very accurate and I am willing to hear any reason why anyone might think this is not true in the comment section of this blog. Please try, please…
By world’s best tee shirt, I mean the Slub Curved Hem Tee in white sand venice wash. A perfectly fitting and impressive cut, featuring rising side lengths. The shirt is preshrunk (yes, it actually is), made in the USA with materials the same, and will make any pair of jeans truly come alive.
This shirt has been worn an immense amount. I placed the order about a full year ago and have easily worn it for a legitimate month’s period of time since then. When Buck Mason says that “Our tee shirts get better with time” they really mean it. For the price, this is a must buy and to be honest, a must buy a couple more times for the other colors you were choosing from for your first one.
Receiving a certain email a handful of months ago was a very sad time for me. Noble Denim had an email marketing list I genuinely enjoyed being on. I enjoyed being on it until that day when myself and everyone else on their list received word they would be stopping production. Only a short period of time earlier, Cone Mills, the last genuine denim mill left in the United States had also closed. The denim in my blood flowed a little slower that day.
About a year prior to receiving this saddening email, I placed my order for a pair of dark wash, “Earnest” slim fitting Cone Mills, selvedge denim jeans. Being part of a batch order that had not even closed yet, It was over two months until I received them but when I did everything changed. It was the most connected and in love I had ever been with a piece of clothing. I picked the wash, the stitch color, the button color, the button fly color, the measurements, everything. I knew where, when and how they were made. I will be honest - I was extremely nervous about the fit. They would be my first pair of jeans made from 100% cotton, let alone selvedge denim. They fit perfectly.
Every outfit I could possibly consider wearing included those Noble Denim jeans. I swear.
For that reason, my girlfriend insisted I got another pair of jeans. And for that reason, I insisted she get me another pair from Noble Denim! Luckily for me the holidays were coming up and she did just that. A couple of months later, a pair of pristine, black jeans arrived from Ohio, where all Noble jeans were made.
If I could, I would buy three more pairs of these amazing, amazing jeans. But like most good things, it has come to an unfortunate end and Noble Denim will seriously be missed.
First learning about Everlane when they opened their Nolita location in NYC, I was hesitant to buy in. Why? It genuinely seemed too good to be true. Radical transparency, a seemingly (can’t help but be skeptical basing conclusions simply on photos on the brand’s website) sustainable approach to production, and even relatively good prices all made me think I would need a little bit more convincing.
The convincing did happen and I eventually converted (they spent probably a solid $15-20 on my CPC actions, sorry digital team but it was worth it wasn’t it?).
The Everlane items I have purchased are two tee shirts and a pair of slim fit jeans. $16 for each tee and $68 for the jeans. Not too bad for a classic white tee, an off-pink colored tee and lighter wash denim for the summer.
Overall, the quality of the pieces was better than I expected. Being such reasonable prices, my mind immediately doubted the longevity. It has been about 6 months for the tees and 1 month for the jeans and I must say, they have held up. Help up actually quite well.
One quick thing. For me, the tees are slightly too long. This might be why I am so in love with my Buck Mason tee but the Everlane cut does have me adjusting my shirt every couple of minutes because of the length. Looking past this, the neckline, sleeve length and fabric weight are just perfect. No annoying tags to irritate your neck either (another plus for Buck as well).
All is well one month into owning my pair of Everlane “damn good denim” so I will report back after six months of time to offer a full and honest review.
I have always wanted to be able to wear something from our brand. Until this upcoming Fall release, this was not that possible. All of this changes soon when we will be releasing nearly 15 new design, some of which are completely sustainable gender neutral clothing.
My favorite of the group? All new for this Fall, a longer jacket, available in blue with black trim or all black inspired by varsity athletic wear. Layered with a contrasting lightweight jacket for colder weather or over a simple tee for warmer days, this jacket will be perfect for making the transition into Fall and then winter.
We are also now letting everyone know that our bomber jackets are very approachable for men. It features a shorter, fitted cut and is available in black, solid mid-wash blue and our original mix of washes. Styled in black here with light wash jeans, white tee and brown leather boots. As quick suggestion, choose one size up. I usually wear a medium to achieve the fit of this look and chose a large from AndAgain.
One thing I must say about all of the AndAgain denim jackets is that our designs truly are made to last and in the most sustainable and ethical ways possible. All of these are created by hand, all over the USA using 100% cotton denim from repurposed materials. The real stuff, the stuff Rachel and Monica wore in Friends, the stuff that will change your mind about that new stretchy stuff.
Shopping sustainably is something that the majority of people will never even consider, and if they do it usually is not within the apparel industry. Hopefully this mindset will change for the better with more options, proper efforts towards education of the consumer, and more brands like we just talked about taking the necessary efforts to make a difference.
The time of burning clothes, dying workers, and a general lack of accountability is over. The excuse of “there are no sustainable men’s brands out there!” doesn’t exist with resources and brands such as these. For any questions, concern, or advice regarding men’s sustainable fashion and where to look, please reach out!