Driving down California State Route 1 with the windows down, running barefoot into the waves at Leo Carrillo, biting into a crispy fish taco at Neptunes Net—these are a few of our favorite, oh so California, things. But what is it about that California state of mind, that is at once so accessible yet at the same time so elusive?
Here one day, and gone the next, LA’s ethereal state of bliss is something you can’t hold in your hand. But that doesn’t stop us from trying.
Case and point? These eight sustainable clothing brands that evoke that California state of mind, wherever you happen to live. From expertly washed denim, oversized corduroy, and a starlet-loved bucket hat; to the perfect floral dress, the softest Malibu-made leggings, and (of course) a bikini made from hemp.
Aside from having a flurry of LA ‘it girl’ fans, it’s each brand’s implementation of things like: fair-labor practices, zero-waste production, diverse and inclusive campaigns, reduced water consumption, and the use of up-cycled fabrics; that make the eight sustainable clothing brands on our list so freakin cool.
West of Wild Sustainability Rating
Our Sustainability Factors:
Ethical Labor Practices Small production runs Use of Local Craftsmanship Use of Recycled Materials Use of Upcycled Materials Use of Natural Fibers Zero-Waste Production Reduced Water Consumption Sustainable packaging Support of Underserved Communities
How We Determine A Brand’s Sustainable Rating
Sustainability Rating = The total number of sustainability factors implemented by brand.
8 Ethical Clothing Brands For California Vibes
1. Boyish Jeans
- WOW Factor: Boyish Jeans is a sustainable denim brand inspired by vintage pieces and incorporating modern details.
- What You Need To Know: Boyish Denim uses one-third the amount of resources used to make traditional denim.
- Sustainability Rating: 6
- Click here for an exclusive Boyish coupon code.
If you’ve ever described your style as “Boyish”, then these jeans were made for you. Created using men’s fabrics, tailored for a woman’s body, Boyish denim gives tomboy style a serious upgrade with classic silhouettes and a distinctly vintage aesthetic. After learning about sustainable denim-making techniques during a design stint at Reformation, founder Jordan Nodarse became passionate about making jeans with as little environmental impact as possible. From working exclusively with recycled fabrics and using less harmful chemicals during the dying process; to using only one-third of the amount of water traditionally used to make a pair of jeans; Boyish Denim has sustainability woven into every part of their production process. We love that the styles are designed with an understated aesthetic and “Boyish” fit in mind– so that your look is effortlessly cool.
- WOW Factor: Be a true original in KkCo’s boundary-pushing designs.
- What You Need To Know: Loved by celebrities like Calin Russo and Rumor Willis, this is the underground fashion brand every LA starlet is whispering about.
- Sustainability Rating: 4
- Our current fav? KkCo’s Hand dyed, LA Made, Vacationer Hat West in Cloud Tie-Dye.
For an edgy cool girl vibe, look no further than LA designed and made KKCO. With a focus on individuality and walking the line between sport and special occasion, a piece from this eclectic collection is sure to elevate your look, and your style savvy. Their hand sewn garments, made in their design studio in LA, are offered at wholesale price point to further their mission of promoting sustainable designs that last for years to come. The lower quantity collections, help to reduce fashion waste associated with mass production. All good things for you and for the planet. KkCo’s fans include songstress Calin Russo and Hollywood royalty Rumor Willis.
- WOW Factor: This brand makes easy breezy California clothing that’s ethical AF.
- What You Need To Know: Based in Los Angeles, California, this sunny side up brand makes effortless clothing and incorporates sustainable practices into essentially every part of their manufacturing process.
- Sustainability Rating: 7
The perfect cropped wide leg pants, Upcycled overalls, and easy-breezy dresses are some of the items you’ll find at this company’s whimsical website. We love the use of earth tones like plum, cream, tan, and olive, that make these clothes endlessly repeatable and easy to put into your daily rotation. One of the most sustainable fashion brands on our list, Whimsy and Row checks nearly every box in the conscious manufacturing world: their clothing is made natural or Upcycled fibers in limited quantities; there is a waitlist feature to ensure they don’t over cut or overproduce styles; they ensure ethical labor practices at their factories, use low impact dyes and recycled water for production; they don’t pack with plastic; and they’re a carbon neutral business.
- WOW Factor: Original design meets a sustainable process, Paloma wool delivers some of fashion’s most unexpected prints, colors, and cuts, every time—and what’s more LA than that?
- What You Need To Know: Located in Spain, Paloma utilizes the breadth of local craftsmanship located around their studio: from handcrafted leather goods to locally made knitwear, it’s all made custom, in small production runs, before it’s sent to you.
- Sustainability Rating: 5
From a sustainably made “Twister” knit, to an oversized check puffer named “Buzz”, Paloma Wool has got the goods. Think elaborate prints, modern silohouettes, and irresistible leather boots, and that’s just the start. Paloma’s design team is truly revolutionary when it comes to dressing. They are also the first to admit the fashion industry’s shortcomings, and lay the groundwork for a different type of production process. Working with local artisans, use of natural fibers, manufacturing transparency, and ethical printing methods are just some of the ways this team of designers set themselves apart from the pack.
- WOW Factor: Curated vintage in the heart of the vintage shopping Mecca: Melrose Avenue.
- What You Need To Know: Stop by this brick and mortar boutique to shop one-of-a-kind vintage finds that are sure to satisfy.
- Sustainability Rating: Vintage
What’s more LA than a vintage Laker tee? Probably nothing. But if sports aren’t your thing, they’ve always got a good supply of vintage Levi denim, vintage ‘Polo’ Sweatshirts, and much much more. Located on Melrose Avenue, only a few blocks away from Reformation’s flagship store, Reformation Vintage give us a whole new reason to love this sustainably-minded brand. Want to make an LA day of it? Get your morning sweat on at Playlist Yoga, grab an adaptogenic drink at Moon Juice, and then wander over to this vintage boutique that is sure to have something you love.
- WOW Factor: California cool meets WFH essentials.
- What You Need To Know: While this brand doesn’t hit all the sustainability factors we’d like, they make up for it with their transparency and commitment to supporting underserved communities.
- Sustainability Rating: 2
Shop by category, collection, or price at La Causa’s easy to navigate website, chalk-full of consciously made pieces you’ll want to add to cart. Embody the effortless ease of a California native with their tie-dye tanks, striped henleys, and comfy crewnecks that are perfect for your new WFH wardrobe. While the brand aims to keep the core of their manufacturing in their local Los Angeles, they are transparent about the fact that they produce a small percentage of raw goods and garments overseas (in responsible factories). They also donate to a number of important organizations that are working to create positive change in underserved communities.
- WOW Factor: The basics you need, in the softest material ever.
- What You Need To Know: Bleusalt is the sustainable knitwear brand that has all the influencers coming to the yard, not the least because the brand is based in Malibu, is designed by and for celebrities, and makes super soft…everything.
- Sustainability Rating: 2
A machine washable blazer designed by Patrick Dempsey? Check. A timeless wrap dress? Check. Flared leggings designed for Kaia Gerber and a not-so-classic button up? Check and Check. Bleusalt has got all your basics covered with super-soft machine washable fits. The Bleusalt fabric is made entirely from beechwood fibers that come from 100% sustainable Beechwood forests. We love that they refuse to use plastic in their packaging and ship their clothing in recycled boxes.
8. Natasha Tonic
- WOW Factor: if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly bikini, and want to support a designer that’s truly a master of her craft, then Natasha Tonic’s hemp swimwear is the perfect choice for you.
- What You Need To Know: Hemp Swimwear is naturally antimicrobial, UV resistant, and durable. Which means the fabric doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals some companies use to make synthetic fabrics anti-microbial, UV resistant, and chlorine resistant.
- Our current fav? Tonic’s Golden Bikini, which features (hand-drawn) gold hemp leaves against a luxe black fabric.
- Sustainability Rating: 6
With the US swimwear market reaching heights of 18.85 billion dollars in 2018, and expected to grow to 29.1 billion by 2025, the plastic pollution caused by swimwear, is not to be overlooked. However, there are now alternatives to swimwear made with synthetic materials. Meet Natasha Tonic, the LA designer who is setting out to change the fabric of the swim industry, as we know it -literally. Her eponymous brand creates bohemian inspired one pieces and bikinis from hemp fibers and low impact organic dyes. The best thing about her suits? They are ultra flattering and designed in classic silhouettes that will last much longer than a single season.