Looking for smart yet sustainable men’s clothes for work? To help you out, I’ve rounded up my five top UK brands making stylish ethical clothes that wouldn’t be out of place in the office.
I regularly get emails from Moral Fibres readers asking about sustainable yet smart men’s clothes for work. And I hear you. When you look at my guide to sustainable men’s clothing guide, the vast majority of brands focus on ethical t-shirts, sweatshirts, organic hoodies, and other casual attire. Not exactly the kind of gear you want to be wearing when rocking up to your office or an important meeting.
Don’t worry though. You don’t have to leave your ethics at home. I’ve tracked down some of the best ethical and sustainable UK brands out there. These all offer smart clothing, perfect for work, that’s made with people and the planet in mind.
The Best Sustainable Men’s Clothing Brands For Work
Whilst the men’s ethical clothing market is smaller than the women’s market, I’ve tracked down some sustainable gems for you. Use the quick links below to skip to a specific section, or keep scrolling for the full post:
Neem offers sustainable work clothes for style-conscious men. It crafts its stylish shirts from a blend of Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified recycled cotton and organic cotton sourced from Italian mills. This eco-friendly fabric is then manufactured into shirts in its factory in Romania.
When your Neem clothes are done, Neem will take them back – along with any other cotton clothing you own that has reached the end of its life. Neem’s pioneering Take Back Scheme ensures that all your cotton clothing will be recycled. You’ll even be rewarded for your recycling effort. You’ll receive £20 credit for future Neem purchases, which is not to be sniffed at!
The cotton is then sent to Neem’s recycler, who cleans the fabrics leaving them ready to repurpose into new shirts.
I love what Neem is doing, but Neem doesn’t go into great detail about its Romanian factory. I’d love to know more about this factory’s ethical credentials. I’ll update this post when I know more.
Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Neem newsletter.
Knowledge Cotton Apparel
Budget: ££ – £££
Size range: XS – XXL
Knowledge Cotton Apparel, a Danish brand available in the UK at Brothers We Stand, is a great choice for smart sustainable men’s shirts and clothes. Whilst it doesn’t offer blazers or smart trousers, it does also offer smart chinos in a range of colours.
What makes Knowledge Cotton Apparel sustainable is that it makes all of its clothing from 100% organic and eco-friendly fabrics. This includes organic cotton that is both Fairtrade and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, as well as Regenerative Organic Certified cotton.
Regenerative Organic Certified is a revolutionary certification that focuses on regenerating soil health and the full farm ecosystem. It ensures cotton is farmed in a way that promotes good soil health, whilst ensuring that farm workers and animals are treated well.
Its clothes are made in India in a GOTS-certified factory that is committed to the highest ethical standards. These hold several certifications to ensure fair working conditions. This includes BSCI – a global certification that recognises a company’s commitment to responsible sourcing and ethical business practices. It also holds SA8000 certification – a global standard for managing human rights in the workplace.
Caters for: Sizes S – XL
Yarmouth Oilskins is a UK heritage brand, based in Great Yarmouth, that has been making coastal workwear for over 100 years.
Offering smart work trousers, these are hardwearing and designed to improve with age – yet wouldn’t look out of place in the office.
True to its heritage, it continues to manufacture its clothing in the same Great Yarmouth factory. Here it uses traditional methods and many of the original patterns maintained in its archive. Many of its staff are also longstanding – having been with the brand for over 25 years.
As well as making its clothing in Britain, Yarmouth Oilskins uses British suppliers where possible. This means most of its fabrics are sourced in the UK – mostly from mills in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Its fabrics are also OEKO-TEX certified. This means every component of the finished product, from the fabric to the thread and accessories, has been independently tested, and found to be free of up to 350 toxic chemicals.
While these trousers are on the more expensive side, Yarmouth Oilskins’ philosophy is ‘buy well, buy once and then wear it to death. Every mark and repair is a story.’ These workhorses are sure to be part of your work wardrobe for years to come.
Caters for sizes: S – 3XL
For sustainable men’s clothes for work, another good choice is Seasalt. I would say that Seasalt veers more into smart-casual territory. However, you’re sure to find some practical pieces for your office wardrobe, such as shirts and trousers.
Whilst it’s not the most ethical brand out there, I commend Seasalt for offering inclusive sizing and ethical style at more affordable High Street prices.
Seasalt has been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) since 2018. This is a UK-based independent body that brings together companies, trade unions and non-governmental organisations to ensure compliance with international labour standards in the global supply chains of member companies.
It’s also part of SEDEX. This is an ethical trade membership organisation, that works with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Many of Seasalt’s clothes are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and responsibly sourced viscose, which is made in closed-loop processes to reduce waste.
In fact, Seasalt was the very first fashion company to achieve Soil Association GOTS certification back in 2005. They’ve continued to do great things by bringing sustainability to the high street, whilst catering for a wide range of sizes.
Alder & Green
Caters for sizes: 14.5 – 17.5 collar (various sleeve lengths also available)
Alder & Green – available at Veo – is another sustainable choice for smart men’s work clothes. Specialising in sharp shirts, made from organic cotton, these are perfect for work, job interviews, or any other occasion when a dress shirt or formal shirt is required.
Whilst on the more expensive side of things, Alder & Green is more for the man who wants to invest in one or two key wardrobe pieces that are ethically produced, high-quality, and durable.
Alder & Green only sources organic or recycled fabrics, such as organic cotton, from ethical Italian suppliers.
Its shirts are then manufactured in a family-run, GOTS-approved state-of-the-art factory in Portugal, that Alder & Green has visited. This provides a fair living wage to all employees and clean and safe working conditions.
To help reduce returns, waste and the carbon footprint of their products, Alder & Green offer a range of 30 sizes across 2 fits. As close to made-to-measure as you can get without employing a tailor, this extended size range helps you find your perfect fit.
What’s also to love about Alder & Green is that its shirts are packaged in compostable potato starch bags. The shirt boards and collar inserts are made from recycled cardboard and protect the shape and integrity of the shirt in transit. Plus, all of its delivery packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable.
What About Ethical Suits & Ties?
As far as ethical suits, despite extensive searching, I haven’t been able to find any ethical men’s suits in the UK. There are some available in the States for several thousand dollars. That’s before you even pay postage and import duty.
If you’re spending a lot of money on a suit then I think it should be an investment piece tailored to fit. Therefore, if you’ve got the money to spend, I think the best option might be to find a good tailor and get one made to measure using ethical fabrics. Organic, recycled, or Fairtrade fabrics would be great places to start.
If you’re on a smaller budget, eBay or charity shops are good places to look if you want a more budget-friendly off-the-peg suit. Check out my post on where to buy preloved clothes online if you’d rather browse online.
Similarly, ties. I could not find any ethical ties anywhere. Your best bet is again eBay or charity shops for preloved ties.