6 Great Brands for Sustainable Basics in the UK
I have a confession. Over the past few months, I have spent hours and hours researching to find the perfect sustainable basics that ship to the UK. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve sat on my laptop trawling websites, only to find that the brands I liked:
- were wayyyy too expensive
- didn’t have sizes that fit me
- wouldn’t ship to the UK (or shipping was very pricey)
- didn’t have the colours I needed
I was almost ready to give up.
But I persevered! And in doing so, I’ve found some amazing online shops that sell sustainable basics at reasonable prices AND ship to the UK (without it costing a fortune). Let me tell you, it was no mean feat. In this post, I’ll share my discoveries!
Check out my post What Makes a Brand Sustainable: How to Find Sustainable Fashion
What are sustainable basics?
By sustainable basics, I mean those items that you wear everyday. The layering tops, bras, and knickers that become a staple in your wardrobe.
I was particularly looking for vest tops for layering (it’s the UK – you can never have too many layers!), but most shops selling sustainable basics will also have other everyday must-haves.
Top tip: Looking for bras in particular? Check out my post The Best Sustainable Wireless Bras for Style and Comfort
What materials are best for sustainable basics?
When you’re on the hunt for sustainable basics, it helps to check out the materials used in production. Here are just a few to look out for:
- Organic cotton
- Bamboo (but keep an eye on the supply chain – transparency is key with bamboo!)
- Hemp (as with bamboo, make sure the supply chain is clear)
- Lenzing Ecovero
- Tencel/Tencel Lyocell
Top Tip: If you see ‘made with organic cotton’, it’s worth digging a little deeper to see: a) how much of the product is actually made of organic cotton (100%? 75%? Less than half?) and b) if the brand produces the product sustainably and ethically. Just using a bit of organic cotton doesn’t make a basic ethical or sustainable!
6 great brands for sustainable basics in the UK
Based in Denmark, Organic Basics is pretty clear in it’s branding – it offers organic basics! From bras to briefs to bodysuits, you’ll find basics made of recycled and sustainable materials and ethically produced in Europe. In fact, Organic Basics says that sustainability is ‘the only way we act’.
While the brand is definitely on the pricey side (a basic organic cotton t-shirt is £44!), there are offers to be had in the form of bundles and sales. And because the pieces are high quality, you’ll save in the long run as you won’t have to buy sustainable basics again and again.
Why to buy: Super comfy, long-lasting basics that you’ll want to wear every day.
BAM Bamboo Clothing
Like Organic Basics, BAM bamboo clothing is pretty clear in what it provides, namely bamboo clothing! You’ll find base layers, underwear, vests, and other basics, all in super soft, comfy, and sustainable bamboo (and sometimes other materials like organic cotton). The company traces the production of their bamboo, which is then turned into sustainable basics in factories that you can find on their website. You can even see the environmental impact of each product!
Whether you’re lounging, layering, or looking for a simpler piece, you’ll find something at BAM bamboo clothing. There are lots of options across the sustainable basics, everyday, and workout ranges for you to choose from. And while the price is still relatively high (about £25 for a simple t-shirt), there are bundle deals to be had.
Why to buy: Soft and sustainable basics that you can feel good about and great in.
People Tree is an ethical and sustainable fashion pioneer. It was the first fashion company to receive the World Fair Trade Organisation label, and products that have the Fair Trade certification have been produced fairly across the entire supply chain. On top of their ethical practices, People Tree also has a strong environmental policy. As just one example, in 2018 93% of the cotton used was GOTS certified organic.
People Tree offers an amazing range of stylish pieces and beautiful prints, but did you know they also carry sustainable basics? Click on the ‘underwear’ tab on their website and you’ll find camisoles, knickers, socks, and slips. You can also find simple tees, tops, and trousers throughout the website.
Why to buy: Simple, classic styles that can go under anything.
All of Colorful Standard‘s range of sustainable basics are made from 100% organic cotton or 100% recycled merino wool. The company has its own manufacturing centre in Portugal – and you can actually visit it! With laser cutting and a recycling scheme, Colorful Standard is also making strides to reduce waste. Clean and simple is the approach to product and production from this sustainable basics brand.
You know when you find a perfect item and you think ‘I wish I could get this in every colour’? With Colorful Standard, you can! Their simple tees, tanks, shorts, and sweats (to name a few items) come in a range of 41 colours, perfect for packing your wardrobe full of brightness.
Why to buy: Colour, colour, and more colours!
Products made thoughtfully – not quickly – in a wide range of sustainable materials is what you’ll find at Thought! Organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, Lenzing Ecovero, seacell, and bamboo are all featured in Thought’s items, alongside recycled materials. The brand is guided by a Code of Conduct, Environmental Policy, and Animal Welfare Policy, all ensuring that thought for people and planet are at the heart of Thought.
Alongside plain singlets, t-shirts, and leggings (perfect for lounging and layering!), you’ll also find a great array of colourful sustainable basics at Thought. Cute patterned bralettes sit alongside funky coloured bamboo tights and black, white, and grey t-shirts with a wide range of fits and necklines. Come to Thought for the basics, stay for other wardrobe staples!
Why to buy: Sustainable basics to fill out any wardrobe.
Boody is a certified ethical and sustainable basics brand, confirmed by Ecocert, PETA, OEKO-TEX, and B-Corp. They’re also a member of the Fashion Forever Green Pact, calling for action to build a better and more sustainable fashion industry. Factories must follow a strict Code of Conduct (which you can see here), following four underlying principles: respect, fairness, safety, sustainability, and activity (meaning monitoring and compliance). It’s fair to say Boody is putting sustainability and ethics first.
But with great ethics comes great design, too. You’ll find an array of t-shirts, tank tops, underwear, and other essentials that will quickly become everyday essentials. The colour choice is fairly basic (grey, white, black, and nude mostly), making it easy to build a capsule wardrobe that will go with everything.
Why to buy: Simple styles steeped in sustainability.
Top tip: Concerned about shipping costs? Reach out to your family, friends or colleagues and make a joint order! Not only does this mean you’ll most likely go over the minimum spend for free shipping, but you’ll also save on shipping emissions and maybe introduce your fellow fashionistas to new sustainable brands. Win, win, win!
Whether you’re looking for a go-to vest top for summer, a comfy bra for everyday use, or layers for those cold UK winters (or springs or autumns – or even summers sometimes!), there are lots of amazing options for sustainable basics out there. I hope this list helps you find the best ones for you.
Find what you love, buy what you need, and treat them with kindness.