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image: ABLE

image: ABLE

Sustainable Shorts for Summer

Shorts are a warm-weather essential that you probably dig out of your closet every spring or summer. But as you wear them, season after season, they can get worn out and you might need to purchase a new pair. 

Shorts are a wardrobe staple you might wear all summer long, so you want them to be comfortable, lightweight and they have to fit your body well. 

But if you’re eco-conscious, you probably want to avoid buying them from fast fashion brands, because they’re very polluting and wasteful. You can easily opt for more sustainable alternatives! 

The most eco-friendly way to shop for a pair of shorts is either to get them second-hand or from sustainable brands. If you prefer the second option, we’ve compiled a list of 16 sustainable fashion brands that sell shorts you’ll want to wear all summer!

WHAT MAKES YOUR SHORTS SUSTAINABLE?

Like every clothing item, sustainable shorts are made with eco-friendly materials. It means either recycled fabrics, or natural and biodegradable ones. Shorts should be made to last for years, so they have to be high quality and durable. 

Also, make sure that the brand is transparent about its supply chain, and that it offers workers decent working conditions and fair wages. Brands that are B corporations or certified GOTS, Oeko-Tex 100, or Fair Trade should be your go-to when looking for sustainable shorts! 

WHAT ECO-FRIENDLY FABRICS SHOULD YOU SEARCH FOR? 

As you’re most likely to wear shorts in the summer, you want them to be lightweight and breathable. The best eco-friendly fabrics for such shorts are linen, organic cotton, hemp, and Tencel. All are sustainable and great for the summer, so pick your favorite! If you plan to be active and work out regularly, look for recycled polyester or recycled nylon. 

NOW, OUR TOP PICKS FOR SUSTAINABLE BRANDS THAT SELL SHORTS:

Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | ABLE.jpg

1) Able

For: Women

Made In: India, Mexico

Materials: Cotton, Lyocell 

Price: $65-68

 Able was founded to help Ethiopian women come out of the commercial sex industry. It started by making handwoven scarves, but is now selling clothes, shoes, and accessories.

The brand’s shorts are all casual, yet chic and easy to style. Able makes its denim shorts in Mexico, and to reduce its carbon footprint from shipping, sources all components from the western hemisphere (mainly Mexico). Its Mexican vendor also recycles 100% of the water it’s using to produce denim.  

Able aims to employ, educate, and empower women to alleviate poverty. I love that the brand is very transparent as to where its clothes are made, and how! 

Shop ABLE
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Ninety Percent.jpg

2) Ninety Percent 

For: Women

Made In: Bangladesh, Turkey

Materials: Organic Cotton, Tencel

Price: $64-113

Ninety Percent is a London-based womenswear brand that sells all types of clothes from tops and skirts, to dresses and bottoms. Natalie, founder of Sustainable Chic, loves these shorts pictured here.

Ninety Percent’s shorts are mostly cycling and running shorts. As it’s difficult to find cycling shorts that are ethically and sustainably made, this brand is your best bet! 

Its shorts are made of GOTS certified organic cotton and Tencel. They are available in neutral colors, which makes it easy to mix and match them with colorful workout tops. 

 Ninety Percent donates part of its profits to charitable organizations that promote social justice and wildlife conservation. You even get to choose which one you want to support with your purchase! 

Shop Ninety Percent
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Colorful Standard.jpg

3) colorful standard

For: Men & Women

Made In: Portugal

Materials: Organic Cotton

Price: $70-80

If you are looking for the sustainable alternative to American Apparel, this will be your stop! Colorful Standard’s shorts come in 18 different colors, and they are Oeko-Tex® certified dyed and PETA approved. The Twill shorts are definitely a new favorite of Sustainably Chic, especially this gorgeous seaweed color!

Shop Colorful Standard
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | People Tree.jpg

4) People Tree

For: Women

Made In: India, Turkey, Bangladesh

Materials: Organic Cotton 

Price: $61-124

People Tree is a Japanese brand that has been a pioneer in sustainable fashion, creating all kinds of clothing and accessories for women. 

All its shorts are vegan and made of GOTS certified organic cotton.

Different styles are available, but all are very flattering and chic. The brand makes its denim shorts using up to 95% less water compared to conventional denim production. 

People Tree is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, which means that its shorts are produced in compliance with fair trade principles. The brand also gained the Soil Association certification back in 2006.

Shop People Tree
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Harvest & Mil.jpg

5) Harvest & Mill 

For: Gender-Neutral

Made In: USA

Materials: Organic Cotton

Price: $44

Harvest & Mill is a clothing brand that makes 100% organic cotton apparel for both women and men. 

The brand has just launched its shorts line. It sells the same simple unisex model for both men and women, and it’s available in black and white.

These shorts are very soft and breathable, which is perfect for the summer! 

The black model is dyed with non-toxic dyes. The “natural” white-colored shorts are dye-free and bleach-free, which means that the brand is eliminating unnecessary chemicals in the production process. 

The brand’s supply chain is hyper-localized. Its clothing is entirely American-made; even the cotton the brand uses is grown in the USA. To top it all, Harvest & Mill is entirely carbon-neutral! 

Shop Harvest & Mill
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Sezane.png

6) Sézane

For: Women

Made In: Bulgaria, Morocco, Portugal, India, China

Materials: Organic Cotton, Viscose, Recycled Polyester, Vegetable-Tanned Leather 

Price: $60-230

Sézane is a French clothing brand that creates timeless and high-quality pieces that outlive trends. It sells many pieces that are certified Oeko-Tex 100, GOTS, & FSC. 

The brand offers a wide variety of shorts, with different styles and fabrics. There are so many pieces that you will surely find exactly what you’re looking for! You can even buy short jumpsuits, which are amazing for the summer.

Sézane shorts are also great for every budget, starting from $60 to $230. 

In 2018, Sézane created Demain, a philanthropic program that supports charities promoting equal access to education and opportunities for children and young adults around the globe. 

Shop Sezane
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Eileen Fisher.png

7) Eileen Fisher

For: Women

Made In: Indonesia, USA, Vietnam, Peru

Materials: Organic Linen, Tencel, Organic Cotton

Price: $98-148

Founded in 1984, Eileen Fisher creates clothing, shoes, and accessories for women who want to wear well-made pieces that work well together. 

The brand shorts collection is entirely made with sustainable materials. Its pieces are versatile and great for easy everyday looks. They’re all in neutral colors, so you’ll be able to reach for them again and again. 

Eileen Fisher has been a certified B corporation since 2015. It is very transparent about its supply chain, and where its greenhouse gas emissions come from. 

I love that the brand is size-inclusive (shorts up to 3X). It also has a take-back program and turns damaged clothes into new designs to give them a new life. 

Shop Eileen Fisher
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Taylor Stitch.png

8) Taylor Stitch 

For: Men

Made in: China 

Materials: Organic Cotton, Linen, Deadstock Fabric

Price: $88-98

Taylor Stitch sells clothing, footwear, and accessories for men who want clothes that are built for the long haul. The brand makes different models of shorts, each available in several colors.

Every pair of shorts is versatile, classic, and easy to style; the perfect men’s summer staple! Not to mention that all its cotton shorts are organic!

Taylor Stitch also uses deadstock fabric to create its products. It means that the brand upcycles textile waste into new garments. This process helps save water and reduce CO2 emissions. 

The company offsets its carbon footprint from shipping, and has made donations to social justice and environmental organizations. 

Shop Taylor Stitch
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Mate The Label.jpg

9) Mate the Label

For: Women

Made In: USA 

Materials: Linen, Organic Cotton, Tencel

Price: $54-88

Mate the Label is a women-owned brand that makes clothes with organic materials and non-toxic dyes. The brand creates various styles of shorts, in different fabrics, and they’re all comfortable and lightweight.

From linen, fleece, and thermal shorts, to sleep and lounge shorts, they are perfect for the summer! 

Mate the Label is usually importing its yarn from India. Apart from that, all its supply chain is located within a 17-mile radius of its Los Angeles headquarters. This reduces the brand’s transportation emissions, making it even more sustainable! 

In 2020, Mate the Label partnered with 1% For The Planet and was certified climate-neutral. The brand also donated over $95,000 to organizations promoting social justice and environmental protection. 

Shop Mate the Label
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | The Reformation.jpg

10) Reformation

For: Women

Made In: China, USA, Turkey, Vietnam

Materials: Linen, Deadstock Fabric, Recycled/Organic Cotton, Tencel, Recycled Polyester

Price: $38-128

Reformation was initially selling vintage clothes in a small store in Los Angeles. It quickly expanded and now makes clothing, wedding dresses, and shoes for women. 

The brand creates multiple styles of shorts using eco-friendly materials. It even produces some of its pieces with deadstock fabric, which is an amazing way to reuse damaged fabrics. 

Reformation’s linen shorts are the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe! It’s also selling denim, sports, and biking shorts. A brand that covers all your needs!

The company has been carbon-neutral since 2015, and aims to become carbon-positive by 2025. It also partnered with Bluesign and Oeko-Tex to make sure it manages chemicals safely in its supply chain. 

Shop Reformation
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | United by Blue.jpg

11) United by Blue

For: Women + Men 

Made In: China, Vietnam, Pakistan

Materials: Organic Cotton, BioNylon, Recycled Polyester, Lyocell, Hemp

Price: $35-80

United By Blue is an outdoor fashion brand whose mission is to pick up litter from our shorelines by organizing beach cleanups.

For every product we buy from them, the brand removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways! 

United By Blue creates various shorts for both women and men, so you can easily find a pair that suits your needs. 

It has more stylish pairs of shorts that are perfect for the city, but also more casual ones that can be worn at the beach, during adventures, or even for sports. 

The brand has been a certified B corporation since 2011, and all its factories are GOTS certified. 

Shop United by Blue
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | Sustainable Shorts | Threads 4 Thought.jpg

12) Threads 4 Thought

For: Men & Women

Made in: Guatemala & China

Materials: Recycled Polyester, Modal, Organic Cotton,

Price: $38-108

We know for a fact these shorts are SO comfortable, and they come in a variety of colors. Threads 4 Thought is well-known for their activewear, but they also carry a few styles in denim, as well.

Shop Threads 4 Thought
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Babaa.jpg

13) Babaà

For: Women

Made In: Spain

Materials: 100% Spanish Cotton

Price: $195-201

Babaà makes quality knitwear that is entirely made with natural yarns, in a hyper-localized supply chain. The Spanish brand only makes one style of shorts, but it’s a timeless and versatile model.

From bright flashy colors to neutrals, its shorts are available in most colors.

They are all knitted shorts that are made in Spain with 100% Spanish Cotton. It means that there is no synthetic fiber in them, and shipping emissions in the supply chain are greatly reduced. 

The brand also colors its pieces with eco-friendly dyes, and doesn’t use any toxic chemicals nor bleach. It’s very transparent and uses the latest technologies to save water during the production process. 

Shop Babaa
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Girlfriend Collective.jpg

14) Girlfriend Collective

For: Women

Made In: Vietnam

Materials: Recycled Polyester, Recycled/Organic Cotton, Recycled Nylon

Price: $48-58

Girlfriend Collective is specialized in the production of sustainably made activewear for women. It sells a variety of shorts in different colors: biking shorts, running shorts, lounge shorts, skorts (exercise skirt with built-in shorts).

You can even find maternity shorts, which is so unusual and cool for an activewear brand! 

The majority of Girlfriend Collective shorts are made from recycled water bottles, and the recycled fabric is certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.

I love that this brand is affordable and that most of its shorts have pockets! Girlfriend Collective is very size-inclusive: its shorts are available in sizes from XXS to 6XL. It also has a take-back program that recycles old clothing into new pieces. 

Shop Girlfriend Collective
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Brava Fabrics.jpg

15) Brava

For: Men & Women

Made In: Portugal

Materials: Organic Cotton

Price: $50-100

If you are in the need for classic, everyday organic cotton shorts, Brava will be perfect for you. Not only are they made with comfortable fabrics, but they have elastic waist bands as an extra comfy bonus! 

Shop Brava
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | Best Sustainable Shorts | Amour Vert.jpg

16) Amour Vert

For: Women

Made In: USA

Materials: Organic Cotton, Tencel, Linen, Modal, Sandwashed Cupro

Price: $49-98

Amour Vert creates clothing, shoes, and accessories for women who are looking for classic and sophisticated pieces. 

The brand sells several styles of shorts that are all made with eco-friendly fabrics.

For instance, its modal is made from sustainably harvested beechwood trees, and its cupro is produced using rescued cotton waste fabric. 

Amour Vert shorts are available in different colors, and they all look feminine and flattering. 97% of the brand’s products are made in California to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. The company produces its pieces in limited quantities to eliminate excess waste. It’s also participating in a tree-planting program: the brand has planted more than 340,000 trees since it was created. 

Shop Amour Vert
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Passion Lilie.jpg

17) Passion Lilie

For: Women

Made In: India 

Materials: Organic Cotton 

Price: $40-50

Passion Lilie is a fair trade fashion brand that sells womenswear, accessories, and home items. Each product is handmade in small batches. The brand creates many shorts with a variety of patterns.

They’re classic silhouettes that are either handwoven and dyed through the ancient ikat dyeing process, or block printed with eco-friendly dyes. 

Most of Passion Lilie’s shorts can be dressed up and dressed down, and they’re all effortless to style. They’re affordable and made of GOTS certified organic cotton. 

Passion Lilie is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. To reduce its textile waste, the brand also uses its run-offs to create face masks, tote bags, and home goods. 

Shop Passion Lilie
Sustainably Chic | Sustainable Fashion Blog | The Best Sustainable Shorts | Whimsy & Row.jpg

18) Whimsy + Row

For: Women

Made In: USA

Materials: Tencel, Modal, Linen

Price: $84-148

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand that offers a wide range of womenswear, accessories, as well as home goods. Its different models of shorts are stylish, yet breathable; perfect for everyday wear! The brand also makes biking shorts that will be great for your summer workouts!

Whimsy + Row produces limited batches that are all handcrafted in Los Angeles. It has a waitlist feature on its website so that the company knows exactly much clothing it has to create. 

The brand only uses locally sourced and eco-friendly materials, and recycles every scrap of deadstock fabric to turn it into new garments or accessories. 

Whimsy + Row is also carbon-neutral, and its pieces are made using recycled water as well as low-impact dyes. 

Shop Whimsy + Row
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About the Author:

Eva Astoul is a French freelance writer, specializing in content related to sustainability, simple living, and a growth-focused healthy lifestyle.

She runs her own blog, Green With Less, to inspire people to live a more minimalist and sustainable life.


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