In the world of menswear, doing good and giving back are no longer just for companies cranking out ill-fitting drawstring pants from recycled materials. These days, some of the most conscientious men’s labels are also the most refined—and the most coveted. These are some of our favorites. They all prove that sustainability and style aren’t mutually exclusive.
The Goods: Apolis gives us finely crafted work wear classics spanning ultra-light chambray blazers and the softest, slickest alpaca beanies. Rounding out their lifestyle selection are smartly designed accessories like leather iPhone cases from a certified-ethical Chinese manufacturer, and imports like co-op coffee from Honduras. Keep an eye out for the Apolis Transit Issue Travel Candle going out in some November boxes.
The Good: Rather than simple charity, the L.A.-based label supports local manufacturers to create 60 percent of its collection. It also thinks globally, forging long-term mutually beneficial business relationships with rural artisans in developing countries, to boost industry in those regions.
The Goods: Using materials both durable and organic, Colorado-based Patagonia creates lumberjack-appropriate flannels, cold mountain-ready fleece pullovers, and recently, a water-repellent down parka that could get you through the most biblical of rainstorms.
The Good: The company commits 1% of its annual sales to grassroots environmental groups, and to date over 1,000 organizations have benefited from $55 million in grants and in-kind donations. Kick-starting a garment recycling program, Patagonia also buys back or repairs used items, urging customers not to buy any new products unless absolutely needed.
The Goods: Whether you’re looking to slip into something trim for the office or something a little more relaxed for a slouchy Sunday, the Swedish label Nudie Jeans offers a pair for every purpose. Its 100% Turkish organic cotton ensures durability and ages as elegantly.
The Good: An accompanying jean repair kit helps jeans last longer while a recycling program turns old pairs into rugs or new creations by young designers.
Photo: Nudie Jeans
The Goods: Brave GentleMan creates customized suits meticulously tailored in Italy, and uses the finest textiles woven in European and Japanese mills. New York-based designer Joshua Katcher allows customers to choose from a bevy of sharp styles for every occasion, taking measurements by e-mail.
The Good: Brave GentleMan avoids the use of wool, a culprit for greenhouse gases and water pollution. Instead, suits are made from animal-free materials, whether it’s a body crafted from organic cotton herringbone or shoulder pads created from recycled soda bottles.
Photo: Brave GentleMan
The Goods: From bold-colored henleys to low-rise chinos, Knowledge Cotton Apparel makes weekend wear for sophisticated gents on jaunts downtown. Comfort and cool also extend to their line of socks and skivvies.
The Good: The Danish company is serious when it comes to producing its signature casual clothing, sourcing its handpicked cotton from chemical-free, certified-organic fields.
Photo: Knowledge Cotton Apparel
The Goods: Rugged leather shoes from Oliberté can dress a suit down or serve as a natty exclamation point to a pair of jeans. Its refined handpicked leather and natural rubber crepe soles earn street style props, while the reverse-backing and reinforcement-stitching make their shoes durable enough for a trek through the Badlands.
The Good: Besides using natural and free-range leather, the company established the world’s first “Fair Trade-certified manufacturing factory” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Oliberté passed 250+ compliance factors that include offering more than double the minimum wage to employees as well as upholding women’s equal rights and empowerment. Since September, the brand has donated 1% of its profits to environmental organizations.
Paolo Lorenzana writes about food and men's lifestyle, though he longs for the days he worked as a chicken farmer in Thailand.