11 Best Non-Binary Sustainable Ethical Fashion Brands 2021
I was eight the first time I convinced my mother to buy me jeans from the boys’ section. I told her boys’ jeans were in style at the time, and that I had been teased for wearing jeans that didn’t cover my shoes. When she agreed to this purchase, it felt like a triumph; like I had tricked everyone.
Back then, the word used to describe me was “tomboy” — an affiliation my parents and teachers assumed I would grow out of. But even as I grew older, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling of wanting to be one of the boys, which began to manifest not only in my clothing choices, but how I felt about my body as well.
When I discovered the term “nonbinary,” it felt like slipping on a pair of jeans I’d owned forever — comfortable and suited perfectly to me.
But as I started to explore this identity with my fashion choices, feeling suddenly free from the obligation to perform femininity, I faced a different problem: Fitting into pants from the boys’ section as an adult was no longer as easy as it was when I was eight years old. My role models for androgynous fashion — David Bowie, Tilda Swinton, and Harry Styles — are all thin, white, and (relatively) flat-chested. I am none of those things.
11 Best Non-Binary Sustainable Ethical Fashion Brands 2021
So, I resorted to sticking with things “made for women,” which at least worked better for my body. But not only am I uncomfortable in these clothes a lot of the time — I’m also not sending the right signals into the world about who I am, and I feel alienated from the queer community as a result. The process of finding clothes is increasingly difficult when your gender identity doesn’t necessarily match up with the body the world thinks it should.
Shopping can be a special kind of hell for gender-nonconforming and trans people. We’re often left feeling uncomfortable choosing a dressing room in brick-and-mortar stores, and disappointed when those stores offer nothing affirming or properly sized for us to even attempt to try on to begin with. But there are ways to work around these issues and make fashion work for us. These are a few tips and strategies that have helped me to revamp my wardrobe.
10 Non-Binary Sustainable & Ethical Fashion Brands That Don’t Care About Your Gender 2021
Creating genderless is not easy. Not only are you contending with a hundred years of gender coding that dictates what is “appropriate” or “correct” or ‘attractive” for men and women to wear, you’re also dealing with bodies that can be shaped quite differently. (This became clear to me when I was trying to figure out what women’s sizes correspond to what men’s sizes. The waist-to-hip measurements start getting wonky real fast.)
That’s why it’s all the more impressive when a fashion brand makes clothing that can be comfortably worn by men, women, and everyone in between and outside those designations, and on top of that is ethically and/or sustainably made.
I’m not talking about brands that have a men’s and women’s section. I’m talking about brands that photograph their core products on men and women and non-gender-binary people — and every single person is rocking it regardless of gender. Or, I’m talking about brands that make clothing that fits a person born with a woman’s body, without hewing to traditional stereotypes, and vice versa.
So here are the sustainable and ethical apparel brands who have pulled off this impressive feat:
Nudie Jeans – Non Binary Fashion 2021
Although they just recently launched a women’s collection, Nudie jeans actually started out with exclusively unisex jeans. I was skeptical when I was told that Nudie Jeans are unisex and fit women, too. But then I tried them on and was shocked at how good these sustainable jeans made with organic look, and also how comfortable they are. Just look at these pictures of my husband and I each wearing a pair and how they fit us so well.
Nudie takes great pride in sourcing only organic cotton for its jeans, which can be repaired in any one of its stores for free forever, no matter when or where you got your jeans. With recycled paper patches (instead of leather) and non-toxic rivets, these jeans are meant to last for years and years.
The same attention to detail goes into their accessories, jackets, and tees. When you’re done with your Nudies, you can turn in your old pair and get 20% off on a new pair. The old jeans will then be washed, repaired and sold as a part of their secondhand collection, Re-use.
Lacher Prise – Non Binary Fashion 2021
This NYC-designed and made brand uses soft and sustainable materials like Modal and Tencel to create its multifunctional designs. Not only are they beautiful on gender body, they can be flipped around and over to be used multiple ways: a skirt becomes a top, a festival-fashion top can be layered under jeans to be a brunch outfit… the possibilities are endless.
Older Brother – Non Binary Fashion 2021
This unisex brand is as eco-friendly as it gets. The completely natural materials are dyed with beneficial plant dyes like chaga mushroom, moss, and indigo, then made into pants, button-downs, and jackets that can be worn by any gender.
AKASHI-KAMA was started by a Japanese-American, Alec Nakashima, with the initial line dedicated to noragis, a classic Japanese workwear piece. They use Japanese cotton and responsibly manufacture in Oakland, CA. Super versatile, their noragis can be dressed up or down and worn by anyone, no matter how you identify. Some of their pieces are organic and others aren’t, so be sure to check before purchasing!
Ziran – Non Binary Fashion 2021
Ziran uses xiang yun sha silk, a beautiful and sustainable silk from China that the founder Kelly Shanahan discovered while researching her undergraduate honors thesis. Made entirely by hand in one small city at the banks of the Pearl River, every yard of this silk is unique and produced in small batches, 15 yards at a time.
No harsh chemicals are used, and the process is completely sustainable, from beginning to end. While there are men’s and women’s sections on the site, the men’s section — full of beautiful floral button-downs, bomber jackets, and silk pajama-style pants that drape beautifully whether you have curves or not — is not for those dudes who uncomfortable with their sexuality. I hope any heterosexual man who shops from here is prepared for the fact that his girlfriend will likely try to steal his stuff. Read more about Ziran here.
One432 – Non Binary Fashion 2021
Modeled after the traditional Pakistan shoe, One432’s update not only refuses to hew to gender norms, it refuses to tell you which foot to wear each shoe on. That’s right, these slipper-like shoes fit both left and right, and are incredibly comfortable. They’re crafted by fairly paid skilled craftspeople in Pakistan, the native country of the founder and dapper Parson’s professor, Ammar Bellal. Find embroidered, patterned, velvet, leather, and monogrammed shoes that straddle the worlds of traditional gentility and worldly travels.
Zero Waste Daniel
Daniel Silverstein (center) creates beautiful textile artwork from upcycled fabric scraps, which is incorporated into custom streetwear that both men and women can wear. You’ll get a ton of compliments on your ZWD piece, I promise.
Chelsea Bravo founded her eponymous menswear label in 2013 that then transitioned into more gender-neutral styles. It is based in Brooklyn, NY and each contemporary, artistic design is made-to-order in-house using plant-derived materials.
A.BCH – Non Binary Fashion 2021
In the world of the Australian brand A.BCH, both men and women can rock long plaid skirts, wide-leg trousers, and rustic hemp scarves. It’s all about attitude… and the organic, natural, and non-toxic materials and dyes they use to manufacture their unisex designs in Australia.
Cosmos Studio sources raw, organic materials, doesn’t use toxic chemicals, and their production takes place in a WRAP Certified factory. They even came up with a new dyeing technology is called GiDelave. It uses 95% less water, 70% less chemicals, and half the energy that traditional processing requires. Not only that, but there is zero discharge involved, meaning no wastewater and no contaminated runoff.
The technology works by basically “printing” the dye onto the fabric threads before it becomes a piece of clothing. After the fabric is dyed, the nontoxic pigment actually returns to its powdered form and the little water that is used to process can be reused since there are no harmful chemicals in it. If you’re a similar size, you and your partner of the opposite sex can trade one of their sleek button-down shirts back and forth between you. Read more about Cosmos Studio.
MATTER – Non Binary Fashion 2021
Another brand that both my husband and I have fallen for is MATTER, which creates sustainable, artisan-made pants and tops entirely in India, from the raw material to the spinning, weaving, dyeing, block-printing, and weaving. He brought their unisex shorts all over the world in our travels, while I wore their side-swept dhoti pants, and then their block-printed washable silks wide-legged pants. In fact, I had the honor of visiting one of the blockprinting workshops where my pants were printed in Jaipur!
After spending a decade in the fashion industry and learning about the impact of fashion manufacturing on the environment, Hoa Huynh and Sezin Calikoglu started Pause., a sustainable and ethical brand that doesn’t sacrifice quality or design. By merging classic silhouettes with modern architectural influences, Pause.
follows a seasonless calendar with transparency at its forefront. Pause. pieces are designed and manufactured in New York City with 100% ethically sourced cotton. Pause. began as a female-forward collection, but has since introduced a collection of Genderless shirts, made from wool, cotton, and faux leather.
What are some examples of non binary gender identities?
Non–binary gender identity: gender identities that do not fall exclusively in man/male or woman/female categories. Some examples include genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, and bigender.
What are some non binary names?
A unisex name (also known as an epicene name, a gender-neutral name or an androgynous name) is a given name that can be used by a person regardless of their gender.
Unisex names of African origin include:
What is gender neutral fashion?
Unisex clothing is best described as clothing designed to be suitable for both sexes in order to make men and women look similar.
How to Shop for Clothes When You’re Gender-Nonconforming 2021
The beauty of online shopping is that you don’t actually have to talk to a person, which is ideal for trans people and introverts alike. Because it’s become such an essential part of retail, most online shops now have chat-based customer service, which means you don’t have to identify yourself or your gender.
The other great part of online shopping is that you can check the company’s Instagram for customer photos to see how their pieces fit on different types of bodies — and to see how they’re styling pieces too. Take time to measure yourself so you can compare your measurements with each store’s size guide before you buy clothes.
With that said, maybe you want someone else’s advice, or maybe you need a little bit of style expertise. Shopping online does remove the ability to see how garments truly fit on your body before purchase, and doesn’t allow you to perform a fashion show for your best friend while you decide what to buy.
When you’re shopping online, you’re mostly on your own. Even measurement charts can leave us wondering, Is this shirt going to fit over my boobs? Will it still fit when I wear my binder? How do I convert “feminine” sizes into “masculine” sizes, and vice versa? No shopping experience is 100 percent foolproof, but it can be fun to try new methods to find what makes you most comfortable.
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