Being a yoga teacher and personal trainer, I practically live in activewear. Until recently, when shopping for activewear my three most important tick boxes were; does it look good? Does it fit well? Is it affordable? I had never even considered the environmental impact of these items. At a time when we are starting to wake up to the fact that plastic pollution is destroying our planet, it seems mad that most of us are blissfully ignorant of the fact that our consumption of fast fashion and polyester is a huge part of the problem.
Part of the issue is that many of us don’t realise that our polyester clothing is in fact the exact same material that is destroying oceans and the planet. When we see the videos on Facebook of plastic engulfing our oceans we’re shocked, disgusted and ready to make a change. Its high time we made the connection that our polyester clothing including activewear, is just as damaging to the environment as the visible plastic swarming oceans and landfills.
Polyester is the world’s most widely consumed fabric and it is the third most used plastic in the world. Almost all activewear is made from polyester because its stretchy, versatile and very cheap. Between 1980 and 2007 the amount of polyester produced annually increased from 5.3 million tonnes to 30.9 million tonnes million tons. By 2025, that number is projected to nearly triple; 90.5 million tonnes.
Our appetite for polyester has various negative impacts. When we put our polyester items in the wash, thousands of tiny micro fabrics make their way into sewage system and ultimately into the ocean which are then consumed by sea life. What’s more, the poorly made polyester items that inevitably end up in landfill can take hundreds of years to degrade. Also the harsh chemicals needed to treat polyester are not only harmful to our health when we spend all day wearing them, but also the chemicals end up in rivers and oceans.
Perhaps the most shocking fact is that fast fashion is the SECOND biggest environmental damage to the planet, second to oil. And guess what polyester plastic is derived from? You guessed it, oil. our unquestioned behaviour is hugely damaging.
But…. here is the positive, you are reading this article, so hopefully you’re up for making a change!
I thought I’d help start the process of making better choices by finding four activewear brands that actually give a sh*t.
Moonchild Yoga wear is an ethically and environmentally conscious activewear fashion brand based in Denmark and manufactured in the EU and throughout the entire manufacturing process. The best thing about Moonchild Yoga wear is that they recognize the need to make items that are good quality that you can wear again and again over a long period of time until they literally wear out. The fabric which is used for all the products is made with OEKO-TEX® certified Italian fabrics, which means that they can guarantee there are no harmful substances or chemicals. Their designs are effortlessly cool and minimal with a hint of bohemian with perfectly placed moon cycles on the backs on leggings gorgeous colour combinations. Their ethos is to make everything with such a high level of quality that will last, so you can rest assured that nothing will ever end up in a landfill.
Made with bamboo and organic cotton which are eco-friendly and sustainable. They are unbelievably soft to touch and fit like a second skin, allowing your skin to breath. Their products are designed to be durable and will last much longer than high street versions - better for you and the planet. The minimal and streamline designs make you feel sophisticated and prepared to go straight from the class to going about your day.
Their awesome bohemian print leggings are made from recycled plastic bottles and all their tops and are made from organic cotton and bamboo - all sustainably sourced. They also only use non-toxic dyes. They also make sure that all their products are manufactured in an ethical way, personally visiting their factory in South India giving them greater control in ensuring the quality of products and also a highly ethical work environment. Wearing the eye-catching printed leggings, teamed up with one of their cute white T's made me feel like a cute surfer babe/eco warrior. What more could you want??
These guys use recycled materials composed of 78% recycled polyester (discarded fishing nets, carpets etc) and 22% elastane are soft, lightweight and high-performance. The production saves raw materials and uses less chemicals, energy and water than conventional processes. By deciding to produce the collection in the UK they reduce their carbon footprint. The factory that makes the active wear is a UK social enterprise who pride themselves on minimising fabric waste. Aside from the fact they are eco-friendly, the thing that stands about this activewear is the strikingly vibrant and unique prints. They have a beautiful African inspired feel to them which I’ve never seen before in activewear. If you want to feel vibrant, beautiful and know that your helping save the planet, then this is the brand for you.
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