Now, I don't know about you, but when I go running it does not look like the lovely lady in this picture... There is nothing serene about me running. I'm a graceless, fat-wobbling, huffing and puffing, red-faced, sweaty mess... But alas, if we can't look good while doing sport, at least we can feel good about the clothes we do it in. So here are some of the brands that not only care about selling neon coloured sweatbands and stretchy pants, but also about the people that made them and the world they're made in.
Outdoor and Running
Patagonia produce outdoor and sportswear to dress you on your rock-climbing, off-piste skiing, or fly fishing adventures. From as early on as 1985, they have invested in protecting and rebuilding the world we're destroying. Patagonia are open about the footprint of their goods, support local and international initiatives, such as the World Trout Initiative, and they invest 1% of their sales back into our planet. Over the years, they have invested over $46 million in grassroots environmental groups and are encouraging other businesses to do the same.
Patagonia also pledged itself to the Common Threads partnership in an attempt to work with its customers to reduce waste and bring about a more sustainable way of living. Watch this beautiful video, to find out more:
Yew create women's and men's running and active wear out of 100% recycled polyester and organic cotton. The polyester is recycled out of post-consumer waste, meaning the t-shirt you buy was probably at one point a soft drink bottle!
Their prices are very affordable and they do free UK delivery. Unfortunately their range is quite limited and they mainly sell t-shirts, tops and jumpers.
Nike, Puma & New Balance
Big brands such as Nike, Puma, New Balance and others have since jumped on the eco-bandwagon and are investing in more sustainable business practices. You may have seen this yourself, but some of the Nike gear now has tags on it claiming that 70% of the materials used in this garment are recycled. Both Puma and Nike have launched shoe recycle campaigns; Nike's is called Worn Out. Play On. and Puma's is the Bring Me Back campaign. The idea behind both is the same; you drop your old runners or trainers into the recycle bin provided in their shop, they are sliced up, ground up and the materials re-used to build athletic tracks, football fields and playground surfacing.
The sports label New Balance has taken steps against the trend to manifacture cheaply in Asian countries and are producing part of their line in the US and the UK. Their Made in UK sports shoe collection is produced in their factory in Flimby, Cumbria, which employs over 210 people. Unfortunately, the collection is limited to men's shoes only so far.
With big labels such as these, I always find it difficult to know how much of it is just paying lip-service to a current trend, but at least the big ones are aware that eco-friendly and ethically made goods is what consumers want.
Among other things, Asquith and Gossypium sell a range of organic and ethically made yoga clothing. These mainly consist of stretchy and very very comfortable looking pants and tops in various colours. Compared to Asquith, Gossypium's range is a bit more limited. Asquith's garments are all manufactured in the family-run factory in Southern Turkey and they guarantee fair wages and treatment of employees. Gossypium work with various fairtrade enterprises and factories in India and England. Both companies use sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton and bamboo.
We live in a nation of football lovers. Football is truly everywhere. However, the sport, and the balls in particular, have attracted a lot of negative publicity in recent times, when it was revealed that the millions of sports balls we kick about daily are hand-stitched by children in in-human conditions. So here are two alternatives where you can purchase your football and keep a clean conscience:
Senda Athletics and Fair Corp both produce fairtrade certified sportsballs. While Senda seems to only focus on footballs, Fair Corp also sells volleyballs and rugby balls.
So this year why not purchase some ethical and sustainable sportswear to help you on your way to fitness and that bikini body? Consider it your first step and you won't have to train for the rest of the week!
Do you know any other ethical or sustainable sports labels? Let me know!