5 Fashion Brands that Give Back: Ethical and Stylish

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 28, 2020
model sitting at bench with everlane tread sneakers blossoming trees in background

In an age where giving back seems like the fashionable thing to do, it’s hard to know which brands are really walking the walk. After all, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice the planet to look good.

We’ve researched and worked with hundreds of clothing companies—these are some of the best fashion brands giving back today.

Most versatile giving
  • Danish minimalist watches
  • Choose to donate to one of three amazing causes, plus timely donations for urgent causes
  • Carbon neutral HQ
Plastic free oceans
  • Stylish sunglasses and snow goggles
  • Remove 2kg plastic from the Pacific Ocean with every purchase
  • Carbon neutral HQ
Preserving rivers of the west
  • Technical fabric athleisure wear
  • 1% For the Planet members
  • Supports the Western Rivers Conservancy
Funds the ACLU
  • High quality, modern fitting clothes
  • By 2021, will eliminate all virgin plastic
  • 100% Human collection donates to the ACLU
Ending prostitution in Ethiopia
  • Heirloom quality leather bags
  • Provides training and employment for women escaping the sex industry
  • Certified B Corp

You may have noticed a movement growing across your socials. 

No, it’s not just you. More brands are adding an element of sustainability to their philosophy: whether it’s giving back to the planet or to a cause they believe in. 

In the years we’ve been building this blog, we’re proud to have worked with several brands that make philanthropy a cornerstone of their business plan. And even better, they make some of the most stylish clothes and accessories we own. 

Our 5 Favorite Fashion Brands that Give Back

If videos are more your thing, check out our YouTube video covering our five favorite ethical fashion brands:

We discuss the same brands, but there’s room for a few more photos if you want to see these brands styled. The best option is to listen to the soothing sound of my voice as you read. Consider it a meditation.

1. Nordgreen

Nordgreen 23

Based in Copenhagen, Nordgreen makes Danish sustainability principles a cornerstone of their business. 

With every minimalist watch you buy, you can choose to donate to one of three causes: 

  • Supply two months of clean water for one person in Central Africa through Water For Good
  • Provide one month of education for one child in India through Pratham UK
  • Or preserve 50 sqm of rainforest in Latin America through Cool Earth.

Not only that, but beginning in March 2020, Nordgreen partnered with Feed Them LA, donating a portion of their proceeds to provide much-deserved meals for frontline medical and emergency service workers in the city of Angels. 

When there’s a crisis, Nordgreen does their best to step in, including during the Australian brush-fires last year. 

Oh, and one more thing. Their headquarters is carbon-neutral, and they continue to strive to find new ways to reduce their carbon footprint. 

We love Nordgreen watches for their quality and style, but we have to admit that buying from them feels pretty dang good, too. 

What I Like

  • The style and versatility of their watches, particularly the Native.

  • Nordgreen gives back in a multitude of ways.

  • The brand is constantly seeking new, time-critical ways to contribute to communities far from home.

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 800 reviewers giving Nordgreen a 4.8-star average through Feefo, and over 1,200 reviewers on Trustpilot rating them a near-perfect 4.9-stars, Nordgreen has demonstrated an impressive track record.

We love their design and their desire to give back, though their fast shipping and excellent customer service are also at the top of the list for many reviewers.

The Verdict

With a minimalist aesthetic that could only come from the mind of the legendary Bauhaus designer, Jakob Wagner, Nordgreen is quickly building a base of fans. 

Yes, their watches are sleek and versatile. If you find yourself enjoying the minimalist vibe, you’ll be pleased to know your purchase goes to make the world a better place. 

What separates Nordgreen’s giving back program is that you have a choice. When you register your newly bought timepiece, you can select which organization means the most to you. But the Copenhagen watch brand doesn’t stop there. They continue to give beyond their standard program and reduce their impact.

What’s not to love about that?

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Created by the famous Nordic designer behind Bang & Olufson, Nordgreen’s minimalist watches are as stunning as they are simple. While we struggled with minor issues like glare, these timepieces are classic wardrobe staples.

Shop Nordgreen Read Our Review

2. MessyWeekend Copenhagen

Model walking toward camera wearing new depp sunglasses

MessyWeekend makes a range of affordable sunglasses for summer and snow goggles for winter. 

For every purchase you make, MessyWeekend has partnered with 4ThePlanet to clear 2kg of plastic from the Pacific Ocean. Since the brand has been in business, they’ve already removed two tons of plastic. 

Beyond getting garbage out of the water, 4ThePlanet is working with local Colombian villages to create storage and recycling facilities so small communities can protect themselves from increasingly harmful pollution. 

What I Like

  • The sunglasses are made with premium materials like acetate with polarized lenses.

  • The prices are affordable considering the quality for both the sunglasses and goggles. 

  • A mix of classic styles and more modern, funky styles available.

  • Free shipping, free 30-day returns, and a two-year warranty on all products.  

What Other Reviewers Say

MessyWeekend gets an “excellent” rating from Trustpilot with nearly 400 reviews. While most of the reviewers were happy with their purchases, the only negatives we could find was that shipping could sometimes take up to seven or eight business days.

Otherwise, it seems that MessyWeekend’s customer service is on point and consistent.

The Verdict

It’s going to take a massive effort to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but with brands like MessyWeekend taking initiative and doing their part, we’re two tons closer. 

We first came across the brand because we loved the look of their sunglasses, but after learning more, they’ve quickly become one of our favorite brands because of how effective they are with their environmental clean-up program.

MessyWeekend

MessyWeekend offers top-of-the-line sunglasses and snow goggles at a fraction of what you’d find from designer brands. Their commitment to making the world a cleaner place is an example of the power small companies have to create change.

Shop Messy Weekend Read Our Review
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3. Western Rise

DSC 0151

Western Rise are masters of the technical fabric game. They’re a go-to brand if you fancy yourself as an outdoorsy type. 

Their AT Slim pants are popular amongst the travel and hiking communities as they can take a beating without needing a wash. 

The founder of Western Rise is a fisherman, so preserving Western rivers is a cornerstone of the business. Partnered with the Western Rivers Conservancy, the brand has helped save rivers in Idaho, Washington, and California. 

What I Like

  • Their AT Slim and Evolution pants are ideal for travel, camping, and climbing. They’re water resistant and the fabric is antimicrobial.

  • All Western Rise clothes are comfortable, stretchy, and easy to move in.

  • The brand is a member of 1% For The Planet, so they donate 1% of their proceeds to environmental associations. 

What Other Reviewers Say

If you spend any time scouring the web for reviews of Western Rise, you’ll find that many people become repeat customers of the brand. 

Versatility seems to be the aim for many buyers-turned-reviewers. And not just office-to-the-weekend kind, but the versatility you need if you’re going from your favorite fishing spot to the brewery.

The Verdict

It’s true that the Western Rise style isn’t for everyone. But if you’d prefer to spend five days in Yosemite hiking than five days in Aruba drinking fruity cocktails, you may want to scope out what Western Rise has to offer.

Like the other brands on our list, they’ve chosen a cause that’s close to their hearts. With a changing climate, Western rivers are in danger, but Western Rise is stepping up to the challenge and doing their part to help.

Western Rise

The team behind Western Rise are experts with technical fabrics, and they’ve reimagined wardrobe staples with the modern world in mind. Though they have somewhat limited sizing, you can take these light, packable, and fashionable clothes anywhere.

Shop Western Rise Read Our Review
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4. Everlane

DSC 0775

If you’re looking to pick up a few wardrobe staples, Everlane is one of the best brands we can think of. 

Their range of minimalist clothing basics are made with quality materials, and they fit well. 

The brand recently expanded their “100% Human” collection of shirts, sweatshirts, bandanas, and masks. The proceeds from any purchase go to the American Civil Liberties Union, which helps wage some of the toughest battles on injustice.

By providing legal counsel and advocating for reproductive rights, immigration reform, and criminal justice the ACLU is comfortable in the hot-seat. And Everlane is taking a stand by sitting in the hot-seat with them.

What I Like

  • Everlane is an excellent brand for those looking to build a basic minimalist wardrobe.

  • The clothes have a modern fit and match well with each other. 

  • They push the boundaries of sustainability and transparency in their business. 

  • Some clothing items, like those in the Uniform Collection, have a 365-day quality guarantee.

What Other Reviewers Say

Everlane is the go-to for many people. Some people we know don’t both shopping anywhere else because they have such a broad range of classic wardrobe staples that match well together. 

The Verdict

Whether you’re looking to pick up something small or restart your wardrobe from scratch, Everlane is a fantastic choice. 

Their 100% Human collection is their only line that features any sort of graphics, but it’s tastefully done. Any purchase from the 100% Human line helps fund the ACLU, so you can make a statement with your wallet and your clothing.

Everlane

With its high-quality essentials apparel and ethical approach to clothing production, it's no surprise that Everlane is fast becoming the go-to retailer of choice for guys who like to keep it simple.

Shop Everlane Read Our Review
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5. Parker Clay

closeup model walking train tracks leather backpack tan

Parker Clay makes heirloom quality leather bags you’ll be proud to pass on to the next generation. 

There’s full-grain leather, and then there’s Ethiopian full-grain leather. These bags are a significant cut above the competition and while they’re not cheap, the value is excellent. 

Parker Clay bags are made in Ethiopia, where the brand works with a local non-profit to employ young women escaping prostitution. Each woman receives a wage many multiples beyond the basic living standard.

These bags are crafted with love and it shows in the quality. 

What I Like

  • The leather quality redefined what we knew about full grain leather. You might expect it from a luxury brand in bags that cost thousands of dollars, but at Parker Clay’s low price, it’s a steal. 

  • The brand is committed to giving back to their workers, which is a win-win-win. We can feel good about buying from them, and the product quality is no doubt better because of how they treat their employees. 

  • They have a wide variety of styles and prices. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers seemed as pleased with the quality as we were. Some folks feel that the bags are marked up easily, though that’s common with full-grain leather and can easily be reversed with a little leather balm.

The Verdict

Parker Clay’s heirloom-quality leather bags offer excellent value. Their commitment to their employees in Ethiopia has made a tremendous impact on the community in Addis Ababa.

The brand’s partnership with local non-profits has allowed dozens of women to leave prostitution and begin education programs for their children. 

And with the momentum behind the brand, they plan on hiring another 100 at-risk women by the end of 2020.

Parker Clay

Ethiopian full-grain leather is something to behold. Parker Clay keeps the focus on incredible materials and lets them speak for themselves. The designs are simple, but the quality is excellent.

Shop Parker Clay Read Our Review
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Do Good

There are hundreds of ways to make a change in the world, and shopping might be the most fun. 

If you can think of a world-wide problem, there’s almost certainly a clothing brand out there looking to make a difference. 

Some brands like Nordgreen spread the love to several charities and causes, creating big changes across the globe. 

Exclusive Discount Available
Nordgreen
(Get 20% off with code THEADULTMAN)

Created by the famous Nordic designer behind Bang & Olufson, Nordgreen’s minimalist watches are as stunning as they are simple. While we struggled with minor issues like glare, these timepieces are classic wardrobe staples.

Shop Nordgreen Read Our Review

And other brands like Parker Clay are impacting their employees lives forever. 

You’ve come here because you want to give. So how are you going to do it?

To see how I’ve styled these brands, head over to our Instagram or find us @theadultman. On any given day, I’m likely wearing one of these brands because I believe in their mission and I love their style.

FAQs

What are some brands that work with charities?

Many brands work with charities, but there are a few that pursue a better world in everything they do: Nordgreen watches, MessyWeekend sunglasses, Western Rise, Everlane, and Parker Clay are a few of our favorites. 

What is a good sustainable fashion charity?

1% For the Planet is an excellent organization that many fashion brands partner with in order to donate 1% of their proceeds to make the world cleaner, safer, and better.