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Image / Style / Irish Design

Sustainable Irish clothing brands you can feel good about supporting this Earth Day

An annual celebration, today marks the 51st anniversary of the universally-celebrated Earth Day.


by Sarah Finnan
22nd Apr 2022

Aoife McNamara

Sustainable Irish clothing brands you can feel good about supporting this Earth Day

A day dedicated to emphasising the importance of looking after our home planet, it’s also an occasion to pay credence to the many independent businesses and retailers that are doing their best to make positive changes. Below you’ll find a selection of different Irish clothing brands who have committed to doing their part in the fight against climate change.

Aoife McNamara 

A champion of slow circular fashion, Aoife McNamara is a mainstay on the Irish fashion scene. Recently launching her latest collection, “Enchanted by Nature, In a Disenchanted World”, exclusively at the Aoife McNamara Kildare Village pop-up (open until this Sunday, April 24), the new line comprises 15 gorgeous pieces all entirely produced in Ireland from traditional and innovative sustainable materials. 

Inspired by the natural world and a mission to protect it, each individual garment evokes the vivacious spirit of Ireland’s wild beauty, with Aoife’s hope being that her designs will reignite a sense of wonder in our natural environment. 

Rebellious and empowering, but romantic and feminine all at once, key pieces include a puff-sleeve blush pink linen gown, mint green corset dress in duchess satin and statement coral two-piece tweed suit. A fresh new colour palette of sea blues and pistachio greens reflects the raw beauty of the local landscape, while a focus on traditional fabrics such as  Irish tweeds and biodegradable Irish linen shows McNamara’s intuitive skill for marrying modern design with innovative sustainable materials. 

Aoife Mc Namara also follows a made-to-order model, a more ethical and sustainable approach that eliminates overproduction and reduces the risk of excess stock.

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Fresh Cuts Dublin

An ethical and sustainable clothing company based in Dublin, Fresh Cuts began selling its original designs in Temple Bar’s famous Cow Lane market. Growing legs from there, they’ve since expanded their offering, really pushing themselves to continue challenging themselves in their sustainable practices. 

Gearing up to launch their SS21 line this weekend, the new collection has helped the brand save over seven million litres of water – also adding a new carbon offset tool to their website which will make all deliveries carbon neutral. 

Speaking of the new collection – title The Food of Life and inspired by the moments people have shared, missed and look forward to around the dinner table – founder Steven Murphy said, “We are constantly researching new technologies and fabric to ensure we are always using the most sustainable practices and continue to reduce our footprint.”

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Human Collective

A relatively new Irish clothing brand, The Human Collective launched in November of last year. A group of people who believe in spreading a message of equality and supporting social inclusion, they specialise in Irish Urban Leisure clothing that’s both environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.  

All jumpers are made with organic cotton and recycled polyester and feature an equal “=” symbol, to show support for racial, LGBTQI+ and opportunity equality. The team also donates €3 from every jumper sale to their three charity partners – Sports Against Racism Ireland, LGBT Ireland and The Irish Youth Foundation – to support their work tackling inequality. 

Recently launching their new SS collection, the latest collection completely embodies the ethos of the brand and encourages customers to be comfortable not just in what they wear, but who they are. Featuring a new Lux Hoody along with three new crew necks styles and the brand’s first-ever jogger, the campaign imagery showcases people from all walks of life. 

Speaking about the campaign, Human Collective Founder, Conor Buckley said, “From our very first shoot we have always had a mix of professional models and non-models. For this shoot we wanted to show the beauty of normal people and how our differences are what make us unique”.

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Bogman Beanie

Born in the bog but made in Donegal, the folks at Bogman Beanie believe in old traditions. Proclaiming an undying love for the treasures found in “dusty attics and old photographs”, their products are made from natural fibres and colours – also offering customers the chance to custom create their own specific design. 

Specialising in beanie hats, t-shirts and pure wool sweaters, the chosen colours reflect life in rural Ireland, with some of the delicious offerings including “squishy moss green” and “dusty rose pink”. 

All beanies are made using 100% Donegal tweed yarn, meaning that Bogman Beanie products only take between five months to 50 years to biodegrade – as opposed to the 20 to 200 years needed for products made from synthetic materials to do the same. 

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Jill & Gill

Another name that most people will be familiar with by now, Jill & Gill are an award-winning Irish brand famous for their fresh approach to illustration and print. Spanning across fine art, fashion and design, sustainability is at their core and founders Jill Deering and Gillian Henderson aim to empower with their creations. 

Already with several big collaborations under their belts, previous projects they’ve worked on include commissions for singer James Vincent McMorrow, the Repeal project and Brown Thomas. 

Known for their bold, eye-catching designs, they’re created with the intent to be timeless and you’re going to want to wear each one until it’s completely threadbare.

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Theo + George

Firm believers in the “ease of buying less and choosing well”, Theo + George was started to help shoppers get more from life, with less. Providing buyers with a timeless collection of wardrobe essentials, each piece hopes to make dressing yourself as effortless an endeavour as possible. Something that we’ll be all the more thankful for when “normal” life returns and we find ourselves rushing out the door, late for a meeting!

Putting an emphasis on textile and social responsibility, their “slow fashion” ethos encourages people to really think before they invest, only buying items that are durable, timeless and made in fair conditions. 

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Organic Movement

An Irish business selling organic cotton, ethically made yoga wear, Organic Movement was founded by Emylou Hurley after a trip to India back in 2018. Discovering her passion for both yoga and sustainability, Emylou credits the Netflix documentary The True Cost Movie for helping her to realise the true impact the fashion and garment industry has on the world. 

Hand selecting each beautiful design, all Organic Movement pieces are ethically and sustainably made in Bali and Europe. Covering all activewear bases, products range from leggings to tops and tees, with menswear options also available on the website. 

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Due South Clothing

Born in 2016, Due South Clothing creates simple, minimalist designs that reflect life in Ireland – something cofounder Mel refers to as “la nostalgia” for a piece of home. Designed to mirror the rugged coastline and rolling green hills, designs are made using eco-friendly materials with those including 100% organic cotton and recycled polyester. 

Making the decision to only work with manufacturers taking proactive steps towards sustainability, all of their manufacturers are also PETA certified meaning that the do not conduct or commission ingredients/formulations/finished products that were tested on animals.

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Grown

A community of curious individuals inspired by nature, Grown draws inspiration from the world around us – honouring that connection by creating clothing that feel part of nature but also pay tribute to their sustainability beliefs. 

Speaking on that topic, founders Stephen O’Reilly, Neil McCabe and Damien Bligh, commented, “over the years we have found that the role of responsible business is to be not only a reflection of what is but to uphold a vision of what could be. We need community, collaboration and connection to create positive change; we can’t do it all on our own.”

Taking things one step further in the fight against climate change, owners have also invested in land at Grown Forest in Co. Wicklow and will plant one tree for each garment sold – a tree that as it grows, will supply enough oxygen for four people per day. 

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31 Chapel Lane

An independent family-run luxury clothing label and garment making house, 31 Chapel Lane is headquartered in the Georgian centre of Limerick city. So-named after a place in Co Cavan, the brand was born from a “connection to the past and the socially transformative qualities of industry and design”. 

Celebrating the virtues of structure, materiality and stability, each piece is the product of countless hours of love – hand-crafted and tailored from Irish linen or pure wool, Donegal tweed.

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All Things Fiona Lily

Many of you may already be familiar with Fiona Lily’s colourful creations. Routinely spotted brightening up our Instagram feeds, her designs are made using end-of-line fabric she sources from different warehouses, thereby saving it from ending up in landfill. 

Really taking off last year during the onset of the pandemic, her sweaters come emblazoned with a number of different positive affirmations – ranging from “be kind” to “you got this babe”. Inspiring people to keep the faith during what is an otherwise very worrisome time, Fiona Lily also set up a self-love club that customers can subscribe to for exclusive access to different workshops and events. 

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FéRí

A “vibrant and imaginative” clothing brand, FéRí is rooted in creativity and nostalgia. Brought up to know the value of being resourceful, Faye Anna Rochford – the brand’s founder – tries to capture the energy of both old and new through her designs. 

Setting herself the loft goal of becoming as fully sustainable a business as possible, everything is designed in a small studio in Wexford with the resulting products hand-made in tiny quantities both locally in Ireland and with further afield with an ethically accredited manufacturer in India. 

FéRí products are made using “reclaimed fabrics” or natural fabrics, with the latter made from natural fibres that are biodegradable. All packaging is also recyclable and or/biodegradable with 90% of it sourced in Ireland. 

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Imara

Very much a family affair, Imara came to be in the summer of 2019 with founder Amy enlisting the help of her mother, grandmother, sisters and neighbours as she first found her feet. A “hair brain idea” that was the result of fleeting, late-night inspiration, each piece is made with sustainability in mind – from multifunctional and unisex designs, to ensuring materials are natural and locally sourced. 

Working closely with Irish linen mills, each purchase from Imara has a knock on effect, supporting local businesses further down the line that you may not even have thought about when perusing the website. 

Also committed to cancelling the carbon footprint each design leaves behind, Amy and her family plant one tree on their family farm for each piece that leaves their doors. According to their website, “we can’t conquer every world problem in one day, but every small step brings us one step in the right direction.”

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Zzzana

A new sustainable luxury sleepwear brand designed in Ireland, Zzzana is on a mission to bring you the best sleep of your life. Made from 100% organic bamboo, their garments are as soft as silk but without the maintenance. 

Sometimes referred to as “air-conditioned clothing” due to its natural temperature-regulating and sweat-wicking properties, bamboo fabric is also anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic making it perfect for sensitive skin.

However, sleep benefits aside, bamboo is also a highly sustainable material because it thrives naturally without using any pesticides or fertilisers and requires no watering to survive. The fastest-growing plant in the world, it’s 100% biodegradable and releases a significant amount of oxygen into the air (even more than trees do), so planting bamboo can help reduce carbon dioxide in the air.

Available in a selection of beautifully curated limited edition prints in both full-length and short styles as well as matching eye masks, they’re also very inclusive with their sizing and have sets from UK size 8 right up to UK size 22.

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Rue Studio 

Headed up by Irish fashion designer Hannah Moran Jackson, Rue Studio has marketed itself as an “outfit repeating brand”… which means that all pieces are designed with longevity and versatility in mind. 

Encouraging customers to style each garment in as many different ways as possible, Rue products have specific design features which were added to maximise the potential for rewear – think drawstring ties, 2-in-1 sweatshirts and longer silhouettes that allow pieces to serve a multiplicity of functions (e.g. tops that double as dresses). Each design is produced in either small batches or made to order so that there is minimal waste too.

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Style Ignite Studio

An exciting new Irish knitwear brand that launched last summer, Style Ignite Studio aims to help shoppers both look and feel good. Set up by Louth sisters Ruth and Jane Flanagan, the twosome teamed up to create a womenswear collection that is as affordable as it is stylish. 

Speaking of where they drew inspiration from, the Flanagan sisters told me, “the idea of going back to nature and slowing down to appreciate the natural things around us inspired the hand-embroidered floral designs of summer blossoms and garden daisies which are very evident in our designs.”

Intent on ensuring the collection is as ethical as possible too, they opted for GOTS certified organic cotton – not only because it’s soft and breathable but because they feel it is vitally important to support organic cotton farmers. In an effort to amp up their sustainability efforts even further, Style Ignite Studio will also donate €1 to Friends of the Earth Ireland for every sale made. Part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, the organisation will celebrate its 51st anniversary this year.

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Afore After 

Another relatively new to the market womenswear brand, Afore After endeavours to make conscious shopping a breeze. Set up by Sandra Murphy and designed on the Wild Atlantic Way down in Clare, it all came to be amid a period of great global uncertainty and multiple lockdowns. However, several months on since their initial launch and the brand is still thriving. 

Already with over 20 years of experience under her belt, Sandra combined that with an unfaltering passion for sustainability and every aspect of production has been carefully modified to reflect this. Everything from the thread to the buttons to the labels has gone through rigorous certification processes… and it’s all infinitely wearable too with their first collection featuring 27 colourful dresses, tops, skirts and face coverings too.  

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