The T-shirt is one of the most iconic and popular staples of the 20th and 21st Century. Originally designed as an undergarment for workers and soldiers in America during the late 19th Century, this simple and relaxed shape has been a popular stand-alone garment in the fashion industry and everyday life for nearly 80 years. Not only did it become an acceptable piece to wear as outerwear in the 20th Century, the T-shirt was also was associated with a movement of rebellion. As the ideal blank canvas for showing graphic logos and slogans, designers like Katharine Hamnett rose to fame by printing bold political and environmental statements onto T-shirts to tackle important issues during the 1980s. Since then, the T-shirt has been a go-to for all of us and universally loved for its simplicity and versatility. With the rise of organic cotton and other regenerated materials, we’d like to share our favourite sustainable T-shirt brands that combine comfort, simplicity and style.
Based in London | Made in UK and Slovenia | Hanstand T – £190
We kick off our list with our very own organic cotton printed T-shirts! Whether you’re looking for long sleeve or short sleeve, tight fitting or oversized, printed or plain, high neck or standard, we have a wide range of unique Tees here at ELLISS. Using exclusively organic cotton and working towards using regenerated fibres such as TENCEL and ECOVERO, sustainable and ethical practices are at the very core of our brand. Our ‘Handstand T’ is part of our new collection ‘The Beach’ and is dropping very soon! Until then, discover some of our older T styles on our shop page.
Based in USA | Made in USA | Women’s Organic Cotton Box-Cut Heart Tee – £24
If you’re on the hunt for a classic and simple sustainable T-shirt, look no further than Everlane. The brand focuses on beautiful and timeless pieces that are made to last and don’t believe in seasons. They also work with the best ethical factories around the world and source the finest sustainable and organic fabrics. All profits from this organic cotton boxy white T-shirt go to the Loveland Foundation, which helps provide therapy support to black women and girls nationwide. And as an added thank you to the Loveland Foundation’s work, Everlane will also be matching all funds raised which will supply a total of 360 therapy sessions to communities in need.
3. FOR DAYS
Based in USA | Made in USA | That’s so Retrograde Tee – $48
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This black long sleeve graphic Tee from For Days is comfy and casual yet bold, with its oversized shape and contrasting green font which is subtly placed on the front pocket and side front. This T-shirt comes from a new collaboration with ‘That’s so Retrograde’, the leading podcast in wellness hosted by Stephanie Simbari and Elizabeth Knot which combines their witty and thought provoking approach to wellness, giving listeners an entertaining and deep understanding into consciousness. For Days’ products, including this T-shirt are made with 100% organic cotton and the brand offers a fantastic recycling programme where customers can swap in their old, torn, stained or stretched garments for new pieces, with everything sent to them being upcycled or recycled.
Based in New Zealand | Made in India | Classic Tee Red Purple Stripe – NZ$79
This contemporary brand creates beautifully made garments that combine simplicity and uniqueness if you’re on the hunt for a Tee that’s a bit bolder. This classic Tee comes in a variety of colours and prints and is made from 100% organic cotton that is naturally farmed and free from chemical sprays and genetically modified seeds. Kowtow’s pieces are also made in a transparent supply chain which works with fair trade certified farmers and manufactures from seed to garment, and source local New Zealand mohair, alpaca fleece and wool from farmers who are committed to the highest standard of animal welfare and environmental and social responsibility.
5. FILIPPA K
Based in Stockholm | Made in Italy and Portugal | Elena Tencel Tee – £65
Made from 100% Lyocell – a biodegradable fibre created in a closed-loop process from wood pulp, this simple yet elegant T-shirt from Filippa K embodies comfort and sustainability. Its sleeves are slightly longer than a standard short sleeve Tee and has a slightly wider neckline for a more unique look that can be easily dressed up or down. Filippa K creates beautifully minimal ready-to-wear pieces and sportswear that stand the test of time, with sustainability running through the core of the brand. One of their suppliers in Italy recycles all off-cuts from their wool outerwear and suiting into new yarns, as part of the Re.Verso process.
6. STORY MFG
Based in UK | Made in UK | Growing Peace Grateful Tee – £95
These handmade oversized screen-printed Tees by STORY mfg will make you stand out from the crowd while also doing your bit for the environment and for charity. This husband and wife run brand was born out of a desire for a more authentic, fulfilling and kind approach to fashion and believe that fashion can be a form of social activism. The ‘Growing Peace’ Tee is 100% organic cotton, naturally dyed with organic materials and screen printed with water based inks that will biodegrade. STORY mfg looks to create a more positive future by creating beautiful handmade products that are completely vegan and cruelty-free. The brand reuses all fabric off-cuts from production into lining, stuffing or other times and the pieces that are too small are driven down the road and made into paper which they then use for their swing tags and packaging.
7. RÊVE EN VERT
Based in UK | Made in UK | Navy Tencel Lite Tee – £48
Rêve en Vert believes in better made basics that are designed to last, with their ‘Navy Tencel Lite Tee’ made exclusively from the eco-friendly wood pulp fibre called TENCEL. This sustainable fibre is super soft and the T-shirt has a slouchy oversized silhouette which is ideal for casual wear but would also look great worn out and about. Rêve En Vert produces their pieces locally to cut down on their carbon footprint and to pay attention to local communities and to give business back to them.
Based in Italy | Made in Europe | Organic Cotton Wide Sleeve T-Shirt – £75
The Pangaia (PAN meaning all-inclusive and uniting and GAIA meaning Mother Earth) is one of the pioneering casual wear brands using scientific technology to incorporate new and innovative fibres to make their garments as sustainable as possible. Currently using some amazing natural materials such as Seaweed Fibre, organic cotton and natural dyes, the brand works with some of the highest quality ethical factories around Europe. Pangaia’s wide-sleeve T-shirt has an oversized statement silhouette that nips in slightly at the waist and is made with Seaweed Fire and GOTS certified organic cotton. The subtle sand colour comes from using eco-friendly dyes and a recycled water system.
Based in Los Angeles | Made in Los Angeles | Scour Boxy Trash Tee – $42
Made from 100% organic recycled cotton, Everybody.World’s ‘Scour Boxy Trash Tee’ will be sure to become your new plain white Tee staple! The gorgeous natural off-white colour comes from raw, unbleached organic recycled cotton that hasn’t been dyed. The jersey fabric is made from post-industrial cotton waste that’s collected from yarn factories across the US, which is then cut and sewn into the T-shirts at their locally based, ethical factory in Los Angeles. Since the launch of the brand in 2016, Everybody.World sought to ‘make useful things without exploiting people or the planet’ and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Based in UK | Made in UK | Women’s Organic Cotton Rib Long Sleeve T-Shirt – £50
Sunspel brings you this beautifully simple fine ribbed long sleeved T-shirt that will last for years to come. Made from a very soft organic cotton that is soft on your skin and kind to the earth, this top is ideal for layering or as a stand alone piece paired with some jeans. Sunspel believes in making timeless, everyday pieces with care so that they last which helps overconsumption and waste.
11. COLOURFUL STANDARD
Based in UK | Made in Portugal | Classic Organic Tee Faded Pink – £27
Colourful Standard’s unisex T-shirt is made with 100% organic cotton and dyed using an environmentally friendly dye, Oeko-Tex®. The brand is all about essential classics made responsibly and want their customers to buy less but better products they will carry on wearing and loving for years or even decades to come. All of their garments are made with 100% organic cotton and they eliminate any unnecessary stops from factory to customer which reduces their carbon footprint.
12. LUCY & YAK
Based in UK | Made in India | Maya Organic Cotton Tee – £18
Lucy & Yak is a husband and wife founded and run brand that focuses on sustainable and ethical practices. They work closely with a small factory in a rural part of India that are having solar panels installed on the roof that should be able to power the factory 100% of the time. Lucy & Yak’s ‘Maya Organic Cotton Tee’ includes a gorgeous hand drawn flower print by illustrator Deycha Nhtae who is a Black, Queer, Femme artist living in Seattle USA. The T-shirt is made from a super soft white GOTS approved organic cotton which is one of the highest standards of cotton production and ensures strict environmental and social responsibility in its production and supply chain.
13. BEAUMONT ORGANIC
Based in UK | Made in Europe | Maliah Organic Cotton Top in Tan & Cream Stripe – £28
Beaumont Organic works hard to bring their customers full traceability of every product, from the farm where the raw materials are grown, to the factory that cuts and stitches the garment. They source organic cotton, end of roll or deadstock fabrics and wool which is harvested according to non-mulseing practices. They also only work with EU-based factories that pay a fair living wage and provide a good working condition for staff. This ‘Maliah Organic Cotton Top’ comes in a range of beautiful colours and bold yet wearable stripe prints which is ethically made in Portugal.
Whether you dress it up or down, or go plain or printed, do it sustainably with ELLISS’s top T-shirt picks that won’t cost the earth. We’d love to know what your favourite sustainable and ethical T-shirts are! Drop us a line at [email protected] so we can add to our list…