Whether it’s shopping less or shopping better, many of us have made big changes when it comes to our wardrobes recently. But what about activewear?
Most of our go-to gym kit is made from non-biodegradable synthetic materials like polyester and nylon which require non-renewable fossil fuels to create. Add in the fact that numerous squats, runs and downward dogs place more pressure on these pieces than the rest of our wardrobe, plus regular washing, because, well, hygiene, and it’s inevitable that our activewear will probably need replacing more frequently than say, a pair of jeans.
The good news is you can make your next sweat sesh sustainable and stylish thanks to the savvy activewear brands whose green credentials are as brilliant as their designs. Say hello to the ones we love…
Stripe & Stare
Sustainable underwear brand Stripe & Stare has just branched out into activewear, and it’s bloody gorgeous. Crafted from super-soft TENCEL™ modal, the range is 100% biodegradable, meaning styles can be buried in the garden and will completely disintegrate withing 180 days. You’ll find leggings, tees, shorts, bras and vests in classic black, hot pink or cool tie dye prints – Hannah road-tested the leggings and sports bra at a yoga class earlier this week, and can confirm they are ultra-comfy and the perfect amount of high waisted. Available in sizes 6-16, shop it here.
Allbirds started life as a trainer brand, with founder Tim Brown and renewables expert Joey Zwillinger creating a revolutionary, sustainable wool fabric specifically for footwear. The label has since branched out into equally-sustainable activewear, offering everything from running tees to rest day tracksuits. Each carbon neutral design is made from a blend of technical, eco-friendly fabrics, comes in a range of luxe, muted shades and runs from size 4-26. Shop it here.
Founded in 2019 by fitness-influencer and entrepreneur Grace Beverley, TALA has become a cult activewear label with a following of over 1 million. The brand doesn’t just pride itself on sustainability, (all pieces are created using either recycled plastic bottles, upcycled or recycled yarn including factory off-cuts) but inclusivity too. TALA’s imagery champions a diverse range of women and price points are accessible, with sports bras and leggings starting at £30.
SkinLuxe™ is TALA’s best-selling collection – made using 76% recycled nylon and 24% lycra – and is designed to be both functional and stylish with a “second-skin” fit. TALA’s sustainability promise doesn’t stop with the clothes either: product swing-tags are filled with seasonal plant seeds that customers can grow at home, while all packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable.
Founded by husband and wife Ellie and Quang Dinh, Girlfriend Collective is another activewear brand banging the drum for sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Recycled water bottles and fishnets destined for landfill are turned into super-soft, insanely flattering leggings, sports bras and more. Girlfriend’s signature Compressive leggings and bras are made from an impressive 25 and 11 recycled water bottles respectively, while the trademark covetable colours – think everything from zingy lime to chic navy and the perfect pale pink – are achieved using eco-friendly dyes.
From where the designs are manufactured to concerns about microfibres, Girlfriend pride themselves on being completely transparent, answering everything you could possibly want to know on their website. Shop Girlfriend on our side of the pond via Net-A-Porter and The Sports Edit.
Childhood friends Margot and Katie dreamt up Samudra whilst on furlough during the first lockdown when living sustainably became even more important to them. Delivering elegant, comfortable activewear as well as solution to the ocean plastic problem, Samudra’s designs are made Econyl yarn, which regenerates ocean plastic into a fibre that is then used to make up a variety of high-spec fabrics. Considered a luxury performance material, it’s durable and technical, making it perfect for performance activewear and swimwear – which the brand’s styles cleverly double up as.
The range is streamlined, comprising of the timeless Pacific sports bra and leggings, unisex tees, a scrunchie and a tote bag, and Samudra pledge to donate 5% of profits to female-focused conservation projects, choosing Oceanswell in Sri Lanka as their first charity. Definitely one to watch.
Manchester brand Contur also uses Econyl yarn for its pieces, which are produced by skilled designers and seamstresses in London. As well as doing good, Contur pieces are designed to make you feel good, aiming to “supercharge female self-confidence and empower women to enhance their natural shape, turn heads and feel unapologetically free in their own body.” With mood-boosting colours, bold designs and soft, supportive fabrics, we’d say they’ve succeeded.
Katia & Vera, two Bondi beach besties who bonded over a shared love of R’n’B and aerobics in high school, are the duo behind Nimble. The brands signature MoveLite and Compresslite fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles that are cleaned, melted and turned into a yarn that’s knitted with spandex.
High-waist fits, quick-drying materials and cool colours and prints are Nimble’s calling card, and alongside essential leggings and bras, you’ll find everything from windbreakers to loungewear, bucket hats to bumbags.
Londoner Bronte founded SOS Activewear in 2018 with a view to uniting people who care about the planet as much as they care about working out. Another brand hoping to help eradicate ocean plastic, SOS uses Econyl to create leggings, bras, tanks, tees and jumpers.
High-waisted, sweat-wicking and compressive, the brand’s bestselling Vaquita Power Leggings, £95, get five-star reviews for their flattering, comfy and confidence-boosting design.