8 Sustainable Companies Changing The Face Of Workwear

Look sharp: producing and selling clothing suitable for the office is no longer a conflict between style and sustainability. Here, eight of the 2019 CO Leaders show how to succeed in workwear. Image: Bav Tailor
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Dressing for work has changed enormously over the past decade, with increasingly relaxed dress codes and flexible working conditions allowing for a more casual incarnation of office wear to take hold in the boardroom. 

Tailoring no longer just means the chalk striped suits of city workers or dated shift dresses; it now includes more fluid takes on suiting, relaxed linen shirting, and a much broader colour palette in general.

Image: Maggie Marilyn

Dressing for work has changed enormously over the past decade, with increasingly relaxed dress codes and flexible working conditions allowing for a more casual incarnation of office wear to take hold in the boardroom. 

Tailoring no longer just means the chalk striped suits of city workers or dated shift dresses; it now includes more fluid takes on suiting, relaxed linen shirting, and a much broader colour palette in general.

Image: Maggie Marilyn

Women’s workwear attitudes in particular have changed, moving away from adhering to the traditional pencil-skirt, blouse and high heels expectations, and instead opting for more versatile outfits which better reflect the tasks they have to perform in their busy everyday lives. 

Add to this that people at work also have sustainability cares, and it makes sense that leading brands are tapping into this by producing stylish sustainable office attire that professionals want to wear. 

Here are 8 of the best - all of whom were recognised as CO Leaders 2019 for their success in 3D business.

Image: Mara Hoffman

Women’s workwear attitudes in particular have changed, moving away from adhering to the traditional pencil-skirt, blouse and high heels expectations, and instead opting for more versatile outfits which better reflect the tasks they have to perform in their busy everyday lives. 

Add to this that people at work also have sustainability cares, and it makes sense that leading brands are tapping into this by producing stylish sustainable office attire that professionals want to wear. 

Here are 8 of the best - all of whom were recognised as CO Leaders 2019 for their success in 3D business.

Image: Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman

US label Mara Hoffman excels in beautiful relaxed tailoring in office-friendly hues of charcoal grey, black and camel. Loose-fit jackets made from Lyocell-Linen mix fabrics for example, as well as smart hemp trousers, are a more practical solution for the modern woman who juggles her time between work, play and family.

Mara Hoffman is a shining example of a business with a 3D approach to sustainability in fashion; its commitment to providing surplus fabric to Queen of Raw, use of innovative and natural fabrics, and customer education with regards to washing less and dealing with the end of life of their garments, are just a few of its clear brand initiatives.

Mara Hoffman

US label Mara Hoffman excels in beautiful relaxed tailoring in office-friendly hues of charcoal grey, black and camel. Loose-fit jackets made from Lyocell-Linen mix fabrics for example, as well as smart hemp trousers, are a more practical solution for the modern woman who juggles her time between work, play and family.

Mara Hoffman is a shining example of a business with a 3D approach to sustainability in fashion; its commitment to providing surplus fabric to Queen of Raw, use of innovative and natural fabrics, and customer education with regards to washing less and dealing with the end of life of their garments, are just a few of its clear brand initiatives.

Bav Tailor

Fittingly named Tailor cites her sartorialist grandfathers as the inspiration behind her brand, and a dapper couple of chaps they must be as is clear when perusing the label. Soft greys are paired with rich shades of coral and turquoise in modern shapes inspired by Tailor’s Indian heritage and architecture. Think printed capri pants with chic “wings” of fabric on each leg and lotus flower-shaped skirts.

The brand uses a huge variety of materials in its collection, including recycled cotton buttons, green wool, and organic silk. It may have a 'less is more' mantra, but the collection has the luxury quality you would expect from a label with Made In Italy credentials.

Bav Tailor

Fittingly named Tailor cites her sartorialist grandfathers as the inspiration behind her brand, and a dapper couple of chaps they must be as is clear when perusing the label. Soft greys are paired with rich shades of coral and turquoise in modern shapes inspired by Tailor’s Indian heritage and architecture. Think printed capri pants with chic “wings” of fabric on each leg and lotus flower-shaped skirts.

The brand uses a huge variety of materials in its collection, including recycled cotton buttons, green wool, and organic silk. It may have a 'less is more' mantra, but the collection has the luxury quality you would expect from a label with Made In Italy credentials.

MoralFibre

Khadi is a traditional hand-crafted fabric which is unique to India, and it is this age-old textile that MoralFibre is working to reinvent for contemporary fashion and promote for a modern audience. The Khadi fabric lends itself brilliantly to the new workwear rules, particularly the simpler plain fabrics and especially the striped designs (imagine them on a Mara Hoffman blazer, for instance).

The company produces its fabrics using co-operatives in small villages which support over 2,500 artisan weavers in Gujarat. It is a clean and energy efficient way of producing fabric. Moral Fibre is also a member of the Fair Trade Forum, India, which is part of the WFTO.

MoralFibre

Khadi is a traditional hand-crafted fabric which is unique to India, and it is this age-old textile that MoralFibre is working to reinvent for contemporary fashion and promote for a modern audience. The Khadi fabric lends itself brilliantly to the new workwear rules, particularly the simpler plain fabrics and especially the striped designs (imagine them on a Mara Hoffman blazer, for instance).

The company produces its fabrics using co-operatives in small villages which support over 2,500 artisan weavers in Gujarat. It is a clean and energy efficient way of producing fabric. Moral Fibre is also a member of the Fair Trade Forum, India, which is part of the WFTO.

Maggie Marilyn

With fans including The Duchess of Sussex and Livia Firth, this fledgling New Zealand label already has an impressive clientele when it comes to dressing smart women, and has 75 stockists globally including Net-a-Porter, Saks and Selfridges. Its long, loose trousers and structured jackets are clearly aimed at successful working women; it even has a jacket called “Like A Boss”.

Maggie Marilyn Hewitt, the brand’s namesake founder, feels a huge environmental and social responsibility in her role in the fashion industry. As well as being energy and water efficient and using organic materials, Maggie Marilyn works with local manufacturers in New Zealand and everything is shipped in biodegradable bags made from root starch.

Maggie Marilyn

With fans including The Duchess of Sussex and Livia Firth, this fledgling New Zealand label already has an impressive clientele when it comes to dressing smart women, and has 75 stockists globally including Net-a-Porter, Saks and Selfridges. Its long, loose trousers and structured jackets are clearly aimed at successful working women; it even has a jacket called “Like A Boss”.

Maggie Marilyn Hewitt, the brand’s namesake founder, feels a huge environmental and social responsibility in her role in the fashion industry. As well as being energy and water efficient and using organic materials, Maggie Marilyn works with local manufacturers in New Zealand and everything is shipped in biodegradable bags made from root starch.

Arthur & Henry

Of course, even with the advances in attitudes towards womenswear in the office, nothing beats a good men’s shirt (for both men and women), whether that’s in the form of a traditional double cuff, an Oxford or a more casual linen option. Arthur & Henry’s traditional organic cotton shirts fit the bill perfectly; they also come in some very on-trend yet traditional colours, including a best-selling pale blue and pastel pink.

Arthur & Henry ensures that its shirts are made from organic cotton and with good working conditions. They are also vegan, many carry the Fairtrade Mark, and in addition, much of the packaging is made from recycled or biodegradable materials.

Arthur & Henry

Of course, even with the advances in attitudes towards womenswear in the office, nothing beats a good men’s shirt (for both men and women), whether that’s in the form of a traditional double cuff, an Oxford or a more casual linen option. Arthur & Henry’s traditional organic cotton shirts fit the bill perfectly; they also come in some very on-trend yet traditional colours, including a best-selling pale blue and pastel pink.

Arthur & Henry ensures that its shirts are made from organic cotton and with good working conditions. They are also vegan, many carry the Fairtrade Mark, and in addition, much of the packaging is made from recycled or biodegradable materials.

Dibella India

Dibella India, based in Bangalore, produces a large range of sustainable products which are ideal for workwear. In fact, it makes organic cotton woven shirts for Arthur & Henry - seen previously in this showcase - as well as supplying the recycled polyester and organic cotton that Sandqvist uses to make backpacks, popular with stylish cyclist commuters and pre-office yogis alike (this one has two slip pockets - one for a laptop and one for a yoga mat).

The company has extensive experience with a wide range of sustainable textiles, as well as product development and quality control which enables it to deliver a timely, high quality product.

Dibella India

Dibella India, based in Bangalore, produces a large range of sustainable products which are ideal for workwear. In fact, it makes organic cotton woven shirts for Arthur & Henry - seen previously in this showcase - as well as supplying the recycled polyester and organic cotton that Sandqvist uses to make backpacks, popular with stylish cyclist commuters and pre-office yogis alike (this one has two slip pockets - one for a laptop and one for a yoga mat).

The company has extensive experience with a wide range of sustainable textiles, as well as product development and quality control which enables it to deliver a timely, high quality product.

Korbata

As with Arthur & Henry’s shirts, it’s hard to avoid a discussion about ties when on the subject of men’s tailoring and workwear. Korbata’s come in a narrow width, something that appeals to the younger professional customer, and it also makes bow ties. Its clever use of vibrant colour is anything but garish thanks to the natural matt finish of the fabric.

Korbata has a strong commitment to ethical fashion. The ties are hand-woven by artisans in Guatemala, whose lives are empowered by using the unique heritage skills that have been passed down to them through the generations.

Korbata

As with Arthur & Henry’s shirts, it’s hard to avoid a discussion about ties when on the subject of men’s tailoring and workwear. Korbata’s come in a narrow width, something that appeals to the younger professional customer, and it also makes bow ties. Its clever use of vibrant colour is anything but garish thanks to the natural matt finish of the fabric.

Korbata has a strong commitment to ethical fashion. The ties are hand-woven by artisans in Guatemala, whose lives are empowered by using the unique heritage skills that have been passed down to them through the generations.

Behno

This New York label - which is stocked at Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and Shopbop.com - stays true to its chic roots with minimal designs suited to busy city living. Catering for all sizes of workwear needs, Behno bags, with their sleek, minimal designs in simple single colours, tick every box; from laptop-friendly practical totes to desk-to-dinner cross-bodies.

The bags themselves are made sustainably - linings and dustbags are constructed from upcycled twill, for example - as well as ethically. The brand has a strong focus on the rights of its workers and has even created its own benchmark ‘The Behno Standard’ to ensure everyone in its supply chain adheres to its high expectations in this area. 

Behno

This New York label - which is stocked at Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and Shopbop.com - stays true to its chic roots with minimal designs suited to busy city living. Catering for all sizes of workwear needs, Behno bags, with their sleek, minimal designs in simple single colours, tick every box; from laptop-friendly practical totes to desk-to-dinner cross-bodies.

The bags themselves are made sustainably - linings and dustbags are constructed from upcycled twill, for example - as well as ethically. The brand has a strong focus on the rights of its workers and has even created its own benchmark ‘The Behno Standard’ to ensure everyone in its supply chain adheres to its high expectations in this area. 


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Author
Hannah Rochell

freelance fashion journalist at En Brogue/freelance

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