So, we talk a fair bit about sustainability and environmental consciousness here at Syzzurp HQ. Whether it’s learning how to restyle your current wardrobe or figuring out how to level up your secondhand shopping and Depop game, there’s a tonne of ways that we’re wearing our sustainability on our sleeve (literally) when it comes to fashion. The same principles extend to the stuff we’re wearing when we’re not so much looking cool, as intentionally getting rly sweaty. The sustainable activewear market has ballooned in recent years, with more brands making their leggings out of recycled plastics than you could shake a single-use water bottle at.
While as with all things, consumption under late-stage capitalism is a complicated beast. By no means should you dump your current slick gym gear because you’re committing to a new susty future this Plastic Free July. The most sustainable choice we can make is actually in what we choose not to buy. Instead, think along the lines of grabbing a spoon from your kitchen drawer before you invest in a six-piece bamboo cutlery set… that you were probably going to forget at home anyway.
Disclaimer out of the way, we wanted to highlight some of the sustainable activewear brands we reckon are doing a pretty good job of actually walking the walk. Or jogging the jog, as the case may be.
Mimi Kini is kind of the sustainable activewear line of our dreams? The Aussie label makes beautiful, bright activewear from predominantly recycled materials and are all about body positivity, size inclusiveness and enjoying being active because it’s fun. Add on the fact that their products are manufactured by a family run business that complies with the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and their shipping packages are home compostable… 😭
Created by the super refreshing trainer and fitness influencer Madalin Giorgetta (@madalingiorgetta), the line includes leggings, shorts and tank tops in the fashion-forward colours and cuts that so often are only available to smaller bodies. You love to see it.
A home-grown Aussie label based in Brisbane, dk active focuses on using sustainable materials and manufacturing practices for their high-performance activewear. The design, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution for each piece happens under their one (solar-powered) roof. All of that helps to minimise the emissions involved in transporting textiles and clothing in their long journey from the mill to on your bod on your yoga mat. Some of their favoured materials are organic cotton, organic bamboo and Luxury Italian Lycra (made from a blend of new and recycled materials).
Organic Yoga Company
Organic Yoga Company is your go-to if you’re looking for clean, minimal activewear with ethics and sustainability at every level of their business. All of their clothes are made from 92% organic cotton and 8% lycra which is locally knit in Melbourne and dyed in small batches with low impact dyes. As well as that, their Australian manufacturers are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and use recycled paper and stickers and compostable packaging. We’re also here for the (authentic) diversity in their models! Time to normalise armpit hair in a downward dog, we reckon.
There’s probably no sustainable activewear brand on the Aussie scene that’s more recognisable than Nimble Activewear. The brand has been putting down gear made from recycled plastics since all the way back in 2015, and they have some of the chicest cut active tops and tanks in the game. Just in time for the cooler weather, they’ve released a new custom engineered fabrication called CozyTech, ideal if you’re in studio class that you’re still sussing the sweaty intensity levels of. We’re also partial to their MoveLite range if you’re intrigued to feel how comfy it is to wear a recycled water bottle while you’re working out.
While they’re definitely one of the more luxurious sustainable activewear brands to consider getting sweaty in, you can’t go past Nagnata‘s incredible commitment across the board to ethical manufacturing and sustainable practices. They use certified organic cotton and yarns, avoid synthetic fibres where possible, upcycle unused textiles, incorporate natural dyes, and are involved in fair trade projects. Nagnata’s fair trade artisan initiatives aim to empower women, alleviate poverty and help foster income-earning opportunities for precarious communities, specifically across India in Jaipur and in a Himalayan community. Founder Laura-May is a yogi herself and created the brand because she preferred to practise in natural fabrics.
Another susty-fashion fave of ours, the honeys at Girlfriend Collective also use recycled materials in their leggings. Plus, bc Girlfriend Collective is all about going deeper, the brand also sells a laundry bag that you can use with any polyester fabrics to help prevent microplastics ending up in our oceans—one of the problems with all poly fabrics, even the recycled ones.
One of the main things we’d tell you to look for if you’re trying to suss a brand’s sustainability credentials are details. A vague page on their website that talks about their “commitment to the environment” ain’t cutting in the age of the informed consumer. Prana has a clear and extensive commitment to a number of practices spanning both social responsibility and environmental impact. They explain in depth how they manage their chemical use, use materials like organic cotton, recycled wool and responsible down, as were also the first North American apparel brand to produce Fair Trade Certified™ clothing.
Their active wear range is also extensive, so whether you’re a hiker, runner, yogi, climber or swimmer you’re going to find the gear that’ll suit your preferred endorphin generator.
If you’re into prints, the Sydney-based sustainable activewear brand Dharma Bums will pretty much be guaranteed have something for you. They currently use recycled nylon and organic cotton in their collections and are expanding their use of the bio-textiles and biodegradable fabrics. Plus, they’re committed to ethical supply chains, both here in local Australian factories and overseas.