Whether you are here because you jumped on the “knit your own sweater” fashion wave or because you are interested in why knitwear seems to be the new sustainable black, I’ve got some amazing news for you. Keep knitting or wear those beautifully knitted sweaters – because eco knitwear is actually one of the most sustainable clothes choices you can make.
Knitwear is a slow fashion darling because the longevity of wool makes it one of the most environmental fibers. It is natural and it lasts season after season after season (i think you see where I am going with this).
But of course, not all knitwear is eco-friendly. Knitwear can be unsustainable like everything else if the materials used are died with harsh chemicals, the work conditions on the factories are inhumane or the wool or cotton isn’t “produced” in an eco-friendly way.
In this guide, you will get the answer to why eco knitwear is better than non-eco knitwear as well as a list of the best 11 eco knitwear brands! Sound exciting? Then let’s get started.
Why eco knitwear is better than non-eco knitwear
So when can you call something eco knitwear? And why is that better than fast fashion knitwear or non-eco knitwear? Let us take a closer look at this and explore all of this down below.
Well, basically for something to be eco approved the materials used to make the product has to be eco and the things used in the process such as the colors used to dye your clothes need to be ecological as well.
Eco-friendly knitwear should also be biodegradable and no harmful sort of microplastic or chemicals should be used in the production. This means that eco knitwear and eco sweaters have a much less negative impact on the environment and the people who produce the clothes won’t be exposed to harmful chemicals and dying materials used by many regular and cheaper knitwear brands.
All in all, this means that eco knitwear is a much more sustainable alternative to regular knitwear and sweaters.
My all-time favorite 11 eco knitwear brands
And now to the fun part – the brands with the most amazing eco knitwear. Down below is a list of what I think are some of the ultimate must-know brands if you are as obsessed with knitwear and sweaters as I am.
My go-to “uniform” often consists of a soft, knitted turtleneck sweater and a pair of high waisted jeans, so let me tell you – I know my knitwear. I’ve done my research so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the list of amazing clothes that you can wear with a clear conscience.
1. People Tree
People Tree is a pioneer within the sustainable Fair Trade industry with the award-winning Sofia Minney behind the helm.
All the products are made with high ethical and sustainable standards from start to finish, and all the knitwear is 100% organic as well as 100% luxurious.
The knitwear is handmade by artisans in Nepal, and each piece is PETA certified, which means no animals have been hurt in the production. All the timeless and modern styles are also verified by the World Fair Trade Organisation.
Website: Free People
Carcel is a quite expensive brand and is one of those brands you probably only by one piece of clothes at. But they make beautiful sustainable knitwear that is as soft as you imagine a cloud would be.
Carcel is fully in charge of its own supply chain and this way they make the choice to create social impact and reduce their environmental footprints. All their items are seasonless and can be used year after year along with your more “daring” pieces of clothes.
The brand is pure luxury and all its items are biodegradable and made of locally sourced natural materials.
3. Muse Wear
Under the slogan “good quality never goes out of style” Muse Wear makes knitwear that will last season after season. In fact, they actually encourage the consumer to buy fewer clothes and instead buy better.
They want to change the way we consume and see themselves more as a design brand making clothes instead of a fashion brand. Do I have to say they don’t support fast fashion and see themselves as a slow fashion brand?
Most of their knitwear is made by 100% merino wool, but they also have some 100% recycled items. The brand only produces as many pieces as they have sold, which equals no waste of clothes. Can it be more sustainable than that?
4. Eileen Fisher
The knitwear from Eileen Fisher is, as the brand puts it, made from the most luxurious yarn they could find.
This brand is committed to changing the clothing industry and it is really a top-notch sustainable brand. The brand has started numerous initiatives such as Women together and Waste no more that is made to create a more sustainable fashion industry.
The knitwear is made by recycled and organic materials and the wool support the welfare of the sheep and the land they grass on. All in all a must-know eco knitwear brand!
5. Genevieve Sweeney
Genevieve Sweeney is both the name of the brand and the designer behind this eco knitwear brand. All the knitwear is made entirely with the UK and by combining new handmade techniques and contemporary design, Genevive has expanded the meaning of what an eco sweater can be.
The brand uses costume yarn blend from British spun natural fibers as well as carefully chosen eco blends from Italy. Each piece is finished by hand and in close collaboration with sustainable manufacturers across the UK.
Kowtow is a New Zealand brand committed to only use renewable and organic fibers and ethical manufacturing.
It is the ideal eco knitwear brand for the minimalist and all their knitwear is made entirely of 100% organic cotton. This means that the knitwear doesn’t contain any wool, and thereby no animal products.
The brand is all about fair trade and they have even decided not to use any zippers in their items, because the couldn’t find anyone that was sustainable enough! The collection isn’t huge, but the few exclusive styles are definitely worth a look!
Hesperios differs from your usual understanding of what a sustainable fashion brand would be. Because not only do they make timeless knitwear that will last a lifetime, they also publish books.
This combination of a passion for sustainable fashion and literature is very in the design of each garment. All their elegant silhouettes are inspired by art and books, and all the pieces are made by artisans, who are chosen by their amazing craftsmanship and love for the environment.
Hesperios is committed to only work with factories and suppliers that do not exploit workers or animals and who have a sustainable and ecological production and supply chain.
Aiayu knitwear is made to last. The brand creates timeless stylish designs, you will cherish forever and it is made with the biggest respect for the men and women who made them.
The product is made to care for the environment, the worker, and the wearer, and the llama wool used is naturally organic, which means the animals only eat what they can find in nature.
The knitwear is made in creamy and neutral colors which gives the items a luxurious look.
Chic, cozy, sustainable, and wearable year-round is basically how you would describe this eco knitwear brand.
Baukjen believes that sweaters and knitwear should be used all year round, and not just during winter, so they make chic styles you want to wear through all seasons, made from eco-friendly fabrics.
You will find knitwear in both creamy and popping colors and in soft, sustainably sourced, and ethical made materials.
Outerknown makes clothes that will last a lifetime. Actually they are so sure about this claim, that you actually get a lifetime guarantee on their jeans, just so they won’t get thrown away when they break and end up on a landfill along with all other clothes waste.
Sustainability is incorporated in the core of this brand, and even before they started shipping clothes, they pursued the Fair Labor Association.
Today 90% of all the fibers they source are organic, recycled, or regenerated. They strive to be an innovative sustainable clothing brand and makes casual and timeless knitwear and sweaters.
11. Mogli & Martini
This is an all cashmere brand that is certificated by OEKO-TEX, which means they only use toxin-free, natural products.
The brand has its roots in the Himalaya mountains in Nepal, where most of their garments are made by hand by the locals, and social responsibility is on top of this brand’s list.
They strive to help the local community and with every article you buy online, a part of the profit is reinvested in the local community.
Look for brands who care about animal welfare
When searching for your next cute sweater for fall season remember to look for brands with the Responsible Wool Standart Mark as this means that the wool used in your sweater comes from animals who are treated well and taken properly care of.
Many animals aren’t treated right in the process of getting the wool, but by choosing brands that have a transparent and traceable wool policy you make sure you don’t support farmers and manufacturers who mistreat the animals.
Take care of your knitwear
The longer you keep your clothes the more sustainable it is, and of course, the same goes with knitwear. A way you can protect the environment is taking good care of the knitwear after you bought it, because the longer you keep it, the more you are cutting down on clothes waste.
There are several ways to make your knitwear stay in (almost) the same condition as you bought it. As a rule of thumb you should always wash your knitwear by hand. This way you make sure the washing machine doesn’t break the delicate fibers of the clothes. But remember that you should never twist or wring the clothes! This will break the fibers and ruin the look of your knitwear.
You should never put your delicate knitwear into the dryer/tumble and if you want to use the washing machine you should always check the label first!
As always I hope you enjoyed this list of eco knitwear brands and the few tips on how to take proper care of your knitwear and what to look for when you are shopping.
I know many of the brands on the list makes knitwear that isn’t exactly cheap but remembers that instead of buying 4 pieces a month you should instead cut down on your general consumption habit and invest in quality pieces a few times a year.
Also remember to invest in classic pieces that will last season after season. If you need some inspiration to help get you started check out our article about affordable minimalist clothing brands right here.
If you have any eco knitwear brands that just have to make the list add them in a comment down below, so others who want to become more sustainable can benefit from your tips and knowledge as well.
If you liked the article remember to check out some of our articles on sustainable fashion such as this one explaining the production of sustainable fashion or this one on sustainable fashion tips in 2020.