You can find eco-conscious independent businesses everywhere in the country, and even in the birthplace of fast fashion giants like Boohoo and Missguided, Manchester, sustainable and ethical fashion brands are being born.
But how did we get here, and what Manchester-based ethical brands should you put on your radar this year?
From Cottonopolis to sustainable clothing hotspot
Manchester was once known as Cottonopolis, the epicentre of Britain’s cotton industry.
Thanks to its easy access to the west coast for importing materials and the abundance of local streams for washing and bleaching raw cotton, Manchester was the country’s mill for more than a century, helping Britain become the world’s top cotton exporter.
Much has changed since the nineteenth century, and even though Britain’s cotton trade has virtually disappeared, the entrepreneurial spirit of the city is still very much with us to this day, especially when it comes to fashion.
Still, consumer attitudes towards mainstream fashion companies have changed, and so has the Manchester fashion landscape: Slow fashion is in, and brands are striving to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing sustainable raw materials and recycled fabrics.
Its mission is simple: To regrow Cottonopolis without compromising sustainability and ethical commitments, showcasing the best sustainable fashion brands in Manchester.
And on that note…
What are Manchester’s best sustainable fashion brands?
So, what are the best sustainable, Manchester-based fashion brands you should look out for?
We’ve rounded up nine of our favourites:
1. Beaumont Organic
Made in: Portugal
Range: Smart casual, essentials, outerwear, footwear, activewear
Price: £45 – 270
Sustainability creds: Uses GOTS-certified organic cotton, OEKO-TEX certified materials, and Responsible Wool Standard wool.
Beaumont Organic is one of Manchester’s most well-known sustainable brands, offering a wide range of minimalist, contemporary-style pieces.
The brand’s collection revolves around organic cotton and eco-friendly materials, with over 70% of pieces made from organic fabrics and the rest crafted from either recycled or OEKO-TEX certified materials.
97% of production takes place in Portugal, prioritizing low impact transport logistics.
You can find the brand’s flagship store in the heart of Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter, where you’ll also find luxury and sustainable furniture pieces and home accessories.
Made in: Fair Wear Foundation factories, undisclosed location
Range: Casual, streetwear
Price: £24 – 45
Sustainability creds: Uses Soil Association Organic Standard and GOTS-certified cotton
Unisex clothing brand Phloem offers a growing collection of jumpers and t-shirts with an accessible price tag, inspired by the wild beauty of Scandinavia.
The brand’s products are made in Fair Wear-certified factories powered by 100% renewable energy, ensuring that all stages of production comply with strict fair labour standards.
Phloem also uses exclusively GOTS-certified organic cotton and 100% recyclable packaging.
Made in: Turkey and Pakistan
Range: Casual, streetwear
Price: £16 – 40
Sustainability creds: Uses GOTS-certified cotton, plastic-free recycled materials, and low-impact materials like Lyocell.
Start-up apparel brand Pirkani is arguably one of the most transparent brands out there, as well as one of the most ethical.
One of the newest sustainable fashion brands in Manchester, the brand offers a wide range of minimalist t-shirts and jumpers, made with 100% organic cotton and sustainable materials like Lyocell, hemp, and bamboo.
Pirkani also honours its ethical commitments by ensuring that all workers in the manufacturing supply chain are paid a living wage, on top of offering health insurance, paid holidays, and free daily meals.
4. Evie Joynes
Made in: Manchester
Range: Casual, essentials, underwear
Price: £15 – 58
Sustainability creds: Uses OEKO-TEX certified materials.
Evie Joynes is the brainchild of Faye Evie Joynes, an independent designer making all garments from her home studio in Manchester.
The brand offers a fun and colourful collection of tops, shorts, and underwear, all handmade to order in the same Manchester studio and therefore free of the extra transport-related carbon emissions found with brands that manufacture their products abroad.
While most garments are made of OEKO-TEX certified materials, the brand does also use plastic materials like viscose and elastane for some stretchier designs.
5. Kiht Collective
Made in: Portugal
Range: Activewear, accessories
Price: £15 – 50
Sustainability creds: Uses OEKO-TEX certified materials and operates in Fair Wear-certified factories.
Kiht Collective is a sustainable activewear brand that values sustainability and labour ethics in every step of production, offering a pastel-coloured range of gym-ready leggings, shorts, and jumpers.
The brand operates in Fair Wear-audited factories and donates all scrapped garments to charity, on top of supporting reforestation initiatives by partnering with the charity TreeSisters.
Kiht’s packaging is also made from either recycled or recyclable materials!
Made in: Manchester
Range: Smart casual, childrenswear
Price: £75 – 125
Sustainability creds: Uses 100% organic materials and eco-friendly denim.
Emiko is another made-to-order brand that both designs and makes all pieces in Manchester, sourcing all fabrics locally within the UK.
The company’s collection is made of 100% natural and organic fibres, featuring timeless designs for dresses, jackets, and trousers as well as a gender-neutral childrenswear collection.
On top of using only organic materials, Emiko uses exclusively Selvedge (unwashed) denim and Indigo Japanese denim for their signature jackets, as well as OEKO-TEX certified corozo buttons for an eco-friendly alternative to conventional denim jackets.
7. Community Clothing
Made in: Lancashire, Yorkshire, East Midlands, South Wales, and Scotland
Range: Casual, essentials, knitwear, outerwear, accessories
Price: £20 – 155
Sustainability creds: Uses 100% locally sourced materials.
Community Clothing offers a wide range of basics, knitwear, and jackets with an affordable price tag and no compromise on ethics.
The cooperative manufactures all pieces in the UK putting special focus on ensuring great working conditions and employee welfare, working with locally sourced fabrics throughout.
Sourcing all raw materials and manufacturing all pieces in the UK allows this social enterprise to keep transportation emissions low, however, Community Clothing does use materials like elastane and conventional cotton.
Made in: Manchester
Range: Casual, accessories
Price: £20 – £90
Sustainability creds: Uses exclusively discarded clothing.
Next on our list of sustainable fashion brands in Manchester is Bravo, a creative upcycling brand giving a new, sustainable life to pre-loved garments.
From colourful jackets to fashionable bucket hats, each piece of Bravo’s collection is unique and packed with personality, all handmade by a truly sustainable business.
9. Joanie Clothing
Made in: China, India
Range: Vintage clothing by era from 1940s to 1990s
Price: £25 – £95
Sustainability creds: Sustainable packaging, use of sustainable materials, audited factories, eco-friendly labels
Embracing retro and vintage vibes and reimagining them for the contemporary fashion scene, Joanie’s designs are unique and on-trend. All offered at very affordable prices, we particularly love the Grable Cord Button-Through Shirt Dress.
All of their clothing is designed at their HQ in Manchester.
While not all of the collection is eco-friendly, the brand is very transparent about what items in the collection are made from sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled synthetics.
Joanie is a member of SEDEX meaning an ethical supply chain, and has audited 70% of factories through the initiative.
Ethical fashion in the Northern powerhouse
The UK fashion industry has long started to embrace eco-friendly products, and in Manchester, sustainable fashion brands are thriving like never before.
If you want to play your part in rebuilding Cottonopolis the right way, keep your eyes peeled for the next Future Fashion Fair event!
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