‘I’m going to start my exercise routine again soon’, she said as she nibbled on a piece of Green&Blacks Organic Chocolate and conveniently ‘forgot’ where her running gear was… But first of all, as with all new routines that you don’t really want to do, there needs to be some shopping. Ohhh yes, we need to keep our exercise goals and our economy up up up! The fact I have never used the word economy anywhere other than this blog is something we won’t bring up. SO I have decided to put together a veritable list for those yoga and exercise-lovers who just can’t get enough of the great grassy outdoors and like to stay green and sustainable doing it… even if that means seeing your breath turn frosty in front of you as Autumn sets in. Let’s get dressed.
As a girl who has slightly larger than usual boobs, I have to say that the pickings were slim on the sustainable circuit for bras that would actually keep you in place. There is clearly a gap in the market here. I usually wear two Extra High Impact Non-Padded Sports Bras from Marks & Spencer and call it a day. I also like how these sports bras are labelled ‘high impact’, like – ‘they’re-so-big-they’re-gona-knock-you-out’ kinda impact.
The only one I found that I would trust with my (boob) life was the Alexa Sports Bra from ethical clothing company Threads 4 Thought. It is made from recycled poly-spandex which is super absorbent and breathable, plus it has that zip down the front which shows extra support.
If you would like to go down the more leisurely and prettier road to working out (or if you simply don’t have this support issue from bras) then I would really recommend Naja’s Ana Strappy Sport Bra Madagascar or Ivory Flowers.
Catalina and Gina, co-founders of Naja, have created a lingerie company based around the core themes of female empowerment, body acceptance, and giving opportunities to underprivileged women. Naja’s garment factory primarily employs single mothers or heads of the household. Every employee is guaranteed books, school supplies, uniforms, and school meals paid for by Naja for their child. There is much more about their work in Columbia, the craftsmanship and ‘Underwear for Hope’ message on their website.
I don’t know why after all these years I always put my sports bra on first when getting dressed. It really doesn’t make that much sense. I think it’s because if I do things in an illogical manner it stalls me before I actually have to workout. Thankfully these Patagonia Women’s Barely There Bikini underwear are something I want to put on. Made from 66% recycled nylon and finished with their own brand of biosoft ‘quick-dry’ weave, they are also Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. Breathable, quick-drying, super-cute and tag-less ‘for itch-free comfort’.
Winter break: Or, for those of you in colder regions with seasonal frolicking in the great outdoors, try the howies Temperature Regulating Boxers (his & hers are available) – made from 100% Merino wool. These are their new ‘athletic brief’ for men and women, plus naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant.
Okay, so you know how tank tops have that incredibly annoying way of flapping up over your head every time you
attempt do a star-jump? Well, I decided those ones weren’t going on here, no siree – too many bad memories of THOSE. So – off I went and found these incredibly chic sportswear tops by Port de Bras. I am obsessed.
They designed their apparel to recreate the look of a warming-up ballerina, stating that their purpose is to create beautiful, classic, high quality and eco-friendly pieces that shoppers can trust. Port de Bras also do leggings, leotards, onesies, and shorts.
If you don’t don’t have this problem of potential nip-flashing because you happen to be probably more coordinated than I am, take a look at these cute options I pulled from Good hYOUman, Alternative Apparel, & Motivatee. The High-Waisted Printed Eco-Jersey Tie Tank Top is Alternative Apparel’s Eco-Jersey ™, which includes organic and recycled materials, and Motivatee’s fun Avocando Top is sure to put a smile on your face crafted from 50% organic cotton or 50% recycled polyester.
Just to feel extra good about working out, Motivatee pledge to donate 40% of their profits to Mental Health Charity Mind to support life-saving services and they have a full range of other inspirational designs too!
⇑ Finally for this section, my favourite top by good hYOUman. This tank also comes in a tight version and in black. Their ethos and their apparel tags tell of the story of this company’s partnership with numerous charities and organisations to spotlight individual tales hope and resilience.
My favourite shorts have been and always will be American Apparel Jersey Shorts and Interlocking Running shorts. I think it’s probably a combination of the fact they’re affordable and also timeless, plus when I go in and something fits me from there (even if it has an elasticated waist up to infinity inches but whatever) it basically makes the rest of my day. American Apparel and Alternative Apparel – my two go-tos for comfy cute shorts.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit more quick-drying and nautical (I’m looking at you surfer girls, or anyone who works up a sweat beacoup) try these specialist ones from Patagonia:
100% nylon (92% recycled)+ water repellent finish and Fair Trade sewn
It’s a funny thing, socks. How do you make socks interesting to talk about? Thankfully, in sustainable fashion, everything is interesting because everything has a story, including socks. In fact, these guys have a great one.
This company is called Stand for Socks and the above is their Women’s Pink Ankle Safe Land Sock. They had all sold out on their website, but I found them here. Let me explain – “These pink sports socks with heel support represent UN Global Goal 2 “Zero Hunger”. In collaboration with Mines Advisory Group (MAG), each pair helps to remove landmines and unexploded bombs from 1 square meter in former war zones. This makes the land safer for local communities and enables people to grow food without risking their lives. One of the areas where MAG operates is, for example, the Khammouane province in Laos (affected by the Vietnam war).” – from their website.
They also do Men’s Yellow Landmine Sock ⇑ These sports socks are not only for an astoundingly good cause, they also come with:
- Reinforced arch support
- Seamless toe closure (no rubbing on the toes!
- Reinforced heel and toe durability
- Ethically sourced material (BSCI and Sedex audited)
- – 80% Cotton, 18% Polyamide, 2% Elastane
My favourites are the Women’s Pink & Black Health Sock and the LGBT – Homeless Sports Ankle Sock. But the best thing about Stand 4 Socks?
You can pick your own CAUSE! For example, the Pink and Black Women’s Sock supports UN Global Goal 3: “Good Health & Well Being” – they have collaborated with Women and Children First so that each pair vaccinates 3 children against measles in Bangladesh, therefore, helping to reduce child mortality. And with each pair sold of the LGBT – Homeless Sports Ankle Sock, Stand 4 Socks gives a specially made pair of thick, antibacterial socks to a homeless person – because socks are among the most requested items at homeless shelters. So there we go – the most interesting sock on the market!
I’ve gone for highly unusual type of trainer for you today, mainly because the ones I use (Asics) only scored a 7 (out of 20) on the Ethical Consumer list for ethically-made trainers and I haven’t tried either of the ones that scored the highest, but I’ve heard many people rave about the benefits of ‘barefoot running’.
Welcome to Vivobarefoot for ‘Minimalist Everyday Running and Barefoot Shoes’, who encourage you to wear your sustainability statement loud and proud with these striking exercise trainers that mould to your feet and have little structure other than to keep the foot firmly in place – in other words, barefoot running without actually going barefoot (which would be painful). They offer a Vegan range and a Winterproof range, which includes a water-resistent outer layer with either a removable thermal sock or a built-in fleece lining for extra warmth. Some of these, like the Primus Swimrun Hi are made from approx. 17 recycled plastic bottles to create a breathable mesh. And if you don’t like the barefoot feel? They’ll give you your money back, no questions asked, up to 100 days after purchase.
Outer mesh crafted from approx. 17 plastic bottles
So because it’s the weekend and because matching activewear is hot right now – please Use Code: 20ACTIVE to get 20% OFF People Tree Activewear until Sunday! My pick is the Yoga Cross Back Top and matching Colourblock Cropped Leggings in Fiesta: “The ultimate fusion of fashion, function and Fair Trade”. This is made with 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane – plus it’s designed and crafted by People Tree, the prolific ethical clothing company who have set the standards for others in the industry all around the world.
95% Organic Cotton, 5% Elastane & Fair Trade Sewn
TAPT on Etsy
Cork has long been heralded for its durability and sustainability in place of plastic fibres, and these hand-painted eco-cork yoga mats by TAPT on Etsy are beautiful to boot. Cork ensures that the mat is also safer to do yoga on as the cork grips to the floor much stronger than plastic. You can also head to CorkYogis, which is a company intent upon giving back from West to East in gratitude for the gift of yoga that originated there which we now enjoy around our hectic lifestyles.
CorkYogis are partnered with the Destiny Reflection Foundation, whose work supports female victims of human trafficking in India by providing a family environment, free training courses and financial independence through sales of handmade products made out of recycled saree material. For every CorkYogis bag purchased, CorkYogis provides jobs for women who are creating their steps towards financial independence.
The perfect addition to your new cork yoga mat and a great gift for anyone who likes their workout to smell and feel heavenly whilst pressing your nose into doing ‘downward dog’… Behold the cleansing yoga mat spray! There are a couple of options on the market, but the main thing is that the spray is ethically made and uses natural ingredients that won’t harm the skin on contact, which this one is.
Oh, I’ve been waiting for an appropriate moment to tell you about these: welcome to the magical and whimsical world of Gold Sheep Clothing. Handmade and designed in the O.C., California, by a group of enthusiastic individuals the uniqueness of these leggings is apparent just from a glance at their Instagram page. They honestly make me want to workout and get some of that glowing “I just drank five orange, wheat grass and ginger smoothies, look at me goooo!” feeling… You know? Let’s do a spot of window shopping, shall we?
These are so helpful in times of great sweat – I just had to include them. Plus they’re made from recycled plastic waste and have matching athleisurwear to match, so what’s not to love! Elle Evans crafts lingerie, swimwear and activewear from recycled ECONYL® lycra in Melbourne, Australia. This lycra is constructed from 100% recycled plastic waste dredged from the ocean, including old fishing nets, scrap fabric and pieces of industrial plastic. Elle Evans also uses water-based non-toxic inks to colour the patterns on their apparel. You can read all about it on their website.
Handmade from ECONYL® Lycra (plastic ocean waste) in Melbourne by Elle Evans
Handmade in the O.C. by Goldsheep Clothing
Designed and produced locally in California by Vitamin A
There are honestly so many different ways one can go with this – swimsuits, bikinis, vintage two-pieces, if it works for you and the workout (or paddle) then great. Swimwear really is one of those areas of the sustainable fashion industry that ethical manufacturing and innovative, eco-friendly techniques have taken off – no one wants to feel like their most beloved bikini contributed to the waste and pollution we see in the ocean today! So I’ve pulled a few options from those companies here, but if you would like to read more about this and browse yourself please feel free to peruse this article I wrote on the top brands and why they work so well.
The Lotte Bikini Top and Bottoms by Ocean Positive’s Fourth Element are up there with the very best ethical swimwear brands. Smart and sassy, they also look like you might legitimately be running down the beach to the sounds of the Baywatch theme-tune in the background. Plus, they’re made using recycled nylon from abandoned fishing nets. They work with World Animal Protection, Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust to ensure the beaches and waters they love are kept clean and free from danger, participating in beach clean-ups and fishing net retrieval. 78% of all swimwear apparel continues to be made from recycled materials.
Made by Fourth Element from 79% recycled materials
By Baiia, Australia
Crafted from recycled fabrics and water-based dyes by Australian eco-swimwear brand Baiia, these reversible wrapsuits and bikinis are perfect for that ‘I just woke up in Monaco’ look. I love that you get 2 for the price 1 and that they built this into the design.
You can watch a video of the Baiia collection here:
In Love&Light FS XOX