According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned.”
I don’t know about you, but that makes me kinda sick. And if you’re trying to live more sustainably, you definitely don’t like hearing that.
I’m somewhat of a walking billboard for thrifted clothes, as those make up the majority of my closet. Still, I wanted to dive into some of the best sustainable capsule wardrobe brands for those shopping for one and who want to avoid fast fashion at all costs.
Up until a few years ago, I had no clue what a capsule wardrobe was. In fact, the first time I heard the term I thought they were something one would wear when traveling to the future 😑
Fortunately, I’m able to laugh at myself. But needless to say, I now know what they are and how useful they can be.
So, let’s dive in.
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What are the best sustainable capsule wardrobe brands?
- Capsule wardrobes for women
- Use sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, recycled polyester, etc.
- Factories ethically run and/or GOTS certified
- Participate in carbon offsetting
- Utilize recycled materials for shipping
- Hold transparent business practices
- Average Price: $$
Cossac’s entire focus is on creating sustainable fashion that is both trendy yet timeless, beautiful, and ethical.
They are a sustainable capsule wardrobe brand that truly empowers women to embrace slow fashion while also taking pride in their appearance by having beautiful clothes that can be edited with each change of the season.
In other words, owning multiple garments that can be worn in a variety of ways.
What I love about Cossac is that they work hard to keep their business practices transparent, so you don’t have to worry about greenwashing.
So what do they do, and what materials do they use to make them a sustainable fashion brand? Let’s take a look.
- They’ve eliminated all virgin plastic and use minimal packaging when shipping.
- Shipping boxes and tags are made from recycled paper and are also recyclable.
- The factories they use are either family run or GOTS certified, and one of those factories currently runs on 30% solar power (read more here.)
- One mangrove tree is planted with every purchase, which is one of the most earth-friendly trees as they consume a large amount of harmful gasses from the air.
- Carbon neutral delivery options are available, and they further participate in carbon offset programs.
- And last but definitely not least, Cossac sticks with the following sustainable fabrics:
- Organic cotton
- Tencel lyocell
- Recycled polyester
- Cupro (a vegan version of silk)
- Organic and recycled wool
- EcoVero (a trademarked fabric made from sustainable wood pulp)
I was really excited to discover Cossac because finding more ethical clothing companies that also provide capsule wardrobes isn’t the easiest.
- Capsule wardrobe brand with an emphasis on circular fashion & timeless pieces
- Quality pieces inspired by the Japanese kimono
- Sustainable fabrics and ethical production line from sourcing to manufacturing, all the way to shipping
- Big variety of eco-friendly clothes, shoes, and accessories
- Participate in Renew program (see below)
- Certified B corporation
- Average price: $$
Eileen Fisher has so many awesome traits that make them one of the best sustainable capsule wardrobe brands out there, it’s hard to know where to start.
Inspired by the timeless Japanese kimono, Eileen Fisher started her own clothing company years ago with the intent of creating a sustainable yet simple line of clothes that can be worn in a variety of ways.
Since starting the company in the 80’s, she has grown it into a highly respectable and ethical clothing brand that focuses on keeping things eco-friendly and sustainable, from the way fabrics and materials are sourced, all the way to ensuring you get your clothes with minimal greenhouse gas emissions.
And speaking of GHG emissions, this is one area where they fall a little short compared to other sustainable fashion companies.
The screenshot below is from their website, specifically their Science Based Targets PDF where they show their commitment to 100% reducing GHG emissions from their own operations, by 2025.
I’m not exactly sure where shipping will be headed as it doesn’t seem they are working to reduce GHG emissions in that department, which is why they are not in my #1 spot.
However, Eileen Fisher does have a lot of other qualities that make them an ethical brand and I think they’re worth investing in.
Through their Renew program, they will take back ANY of their clothing, give you a $5 credit to use on Renew items, and either resell it (if it’s in good shape) or, if damaged beyond repair, it will be repurposed into something that can be used around the house: a pillow, a work of wall art, a cute accessory like maybe a scarf or wallet.
I think this is a great option to help offset the ill effects of fast fashion and I hope that customers take advantage of it regularly.
Vetta closed shop just a few months ago (you can read about it here), and fans of the brand were truly upset to hear the news.
But Vetta claims they will remain open for online shopping until the end of September, so I recommend you check them out ASAP before everything is gone.
When open, Vetta offered 10 different capsule wardrobe styles, from casual and classic to edgy and dressy. Each capsule set included 5 pieces that could be mixed and matched to make up 30 days’ worth of different, unique outfits.
They used mostly sustainable materials and fabrics, like Tencel, recycled polyester, organic cotton, EcoVera (eco friendly viscose) and “deadstock” fabric – which is unused fabric leftover from other designers.
Also, their international factories in Mumbai and Peru were Fair Trade Certified, and their sweater factory in L.A. ran on 70% renewable energy.
Now, however, the brand new capsule wardrobes seem to be all gone. But you can shop the archive for pre-loved outfits.
Not all of the outfits have been worn, though. Some sellers claim they are still “new with tags.” And since I’m all about finding pre-owned clothes at an excellent price point, I wanted to give them a shout-out.
Being only 7 years old, this capsule wardrobe company was still a baby in so many ways. They went above and beyond to provide high-quality, durable clothing in a more ethical way.
But the founder, Cara Bartlett, claimed that she was essentially running herself into the ground and had to close because she needed to take care of her mental and physical health. I can totally relate to that, and I’m sure a lot of you can as well.
Vetta’s commitment to ethical fashion is evident in not only the capsule wardrobe selections, but also the fabrics and materials used, the ways in which clothing is processed, and the fair treatment of its workers.
With factories in New York, California, Mumbai, and Peru, Vetta strove to stay ahead of environmental impact issues. Their international factories were Fair Trade Certified and factories in the U.S., while not certified, were closely monitored and audited for ethical practices.
That’s why I hope you’ll check out some of their pre-loved clothes if you’re in the market for a capsule wardrobe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe Brands
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe refers to a collection of clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits. The term “capsule” implies a compact and versatile collection that focuses on quality, versatility, and timeless style rather than a bunch of trendy or seasonal clothing.
A standard capsule wardrobe should include foundational pieces like shirts and sweaters, pants and skirts, coats, and shoes that are worn in different styles to create different looks. For example, an oversized sweater that can be turned into a sweater dress, or a blouse that can be in worn 5-6 different styles. Neutral colors like black, white, gray, and beige are often favored as they are versatile and can be easily paired with other items.
What’s the purpose of a capsule wardrobe?
The purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to simplify your fashion and allow you to create a smaller, curated collection of classic pieces that can be worn in different ways. With a capsule wardrobe, you’ve got a well-rounded collection of items—for example, 8-10 articles of clothing—that can be styled into possibly dozens of outfits.
The goal is to cut down on fast fashion by having high-quality clothes that last a lifetime and hopefully won’t end up in a landfill after it’s been worn several times.
How many items should you have in a capsule wardrobe?
The number of items in a capsule wardrobe varies, depending on personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Some people opt for smaller capsule wardrobes comprising 15 items or less, while others may have slightly larger collections.
The goal is to focus on quality rather than quantity within your capsule collections and choose pieces that reflect your style and can be worn interchangeably.
How is a capsule wardrobe sustainable?
Capsule wardrobes aren’t always sustainable or eco friendly. A lot of it depends on the types of fabric used, whether they contain toxic chemicals, the company’s business practices, and the quality of the clothing items that will affect how long they last.
Stating the above explains what goes into making a capsule wardrobe sustainable as the goal is to eliminate dangerous byproducts during manufacturing and have clothes that are not likely to end up in a landfill.
One of the perks is that by implementing a capsule wardrobe, you can simplify your daily outfit decisions, save time and money, reduce clutter, and develop a more sustainable approach to fashion by investing in timeless and durable pieces that can be worn for years.