A Better Man
By Jenny B. Davis
Guys’ gear doesn’t have to come at the expense of people and the planet. These responsible brands blend style with sustainability.
It’s no secret that the manufacturing and overconsumption of clothing is polluting the planet. It’s also widely known that fast-fashion manufacturing subjects workers to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions and also traps them in cycles of poverty — even in the United States.
Thankfully, companies, consumers and advocates around the world are uniting to find solutions and effect meaningful change. But many observers note a disturbing disconnect when it comes to who’s taking visible action. Basically, the men seem to be missing.
It’s not that men have been specifically excluded from the conversation. London-based fashion journalist and sustainability advocate Aja Barber addressed this recently in her Patreon newsletter. Rather, the focus has been more feminine-centric “because men simply are not targeted by fast fashion in the same way.”
But men also care about these issues — very much so, according to consumer studies. And while they may not be as front-and-center when it comes to advocacy efforts, they’re definitely willing to flex their economic muscle as conscientious consumers. Luckily, sustainable and ethical fashion brands abound, offering wide selections of workwear, sportswear and accessories that respect the planet and its people.
Here are a few favorites.
When it comes to buying better, shopping from local retailers is smart. But nothing beats a brand that’s both based locally and custom. When an item is made to order, it minimizes production waste and is kept longer by the wearer because of its high quality and perceived value. In Fort Worth, Franklin & Anthony is the kind of company stylish men keep on speed dial. Founded by Franklin Moss in 2017, it’s a byappointment atelier that specializes in bespoke clothing for any occasion. Suiting starts at $1,000, with the average suit coming in around $1,500, says Moss.
2800 Yeager St., Suite A, Fort Worth, 817-874-1604, franklinandanthony.com
Online, Pangaia offers casual suiting and more. Backed by sustainability-centered venture capital companies, this British brand calls itself a purpose-based business that elevates human, animal and plant quality of life. While the brand has become a celebrity favorite for its loungewear — Harry Styles and Justin Bieber are fans — it also offers a wide range of unconstructed blazers and trousers, along with polo shirts, tees and denim. Every collection utilizes either recycled or responsibly sourced materials for all of its suiting and separates, down to the trims and tags. Even the product packaging is bio-based and, if composted, is designed to disappear in less than six months.
Fashion icon Tom Ford once said that ethical luxury is the greatest luxury of all, and he should know. In 2020, he launched the world’s first automatic watch made entirely from plastic reclaimed from the ocean, coastal areas and uncontrolled landfills. In fact, each watch removes and repurposes about 35 bottles’ worth of plastic waste, according to the company, with both the case and strap made entirely from ocean plastic. He also created the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, awarding more than $1 million annually to accelerate the development of scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to thin-film plastic polybags, which make up almost half of all plastic waste polluting the ocean each year.
By special order, Neiman Marcus Fort Worth, 5200 Monahans Ave., Fort Worth, 817-738-3581, neimanmarcus.com
When it comes to sustainability, OluKai is committed to reducing its environmental footprint. All of its leathers are sourced from tanneries that hold environmental certifications, which impacts water quality, and the brand incorporates recycled materials in its outsoles and uses natural latex in its gum rubbers. Plus, it’s a certified B Corporation, which means it has a proven and verified commitment to workers, customers, community and the environment. But OluKai also gives back to the land and the people who inspire the brand, donating a portion of its profits to the Ama OluKai Foundation to preserve and restore Hawaii. Most recently, the foundation mobilized to help the people of Maui following the devastating August forest fires by distributing funds directly to families and local nonprofits like Chef Hui, which helped to provide more than 50,000 free meals for those in need immediately following the fires.
The Man’s Shop, 100 S. West St., Arlington, 817-265-1116, themansshop.com
When Todd Andrews and his late father, former professional basketball player AI Andrews, co-founded the activewear brand tasc, most sports apparel was made from synthetic materials like polyester. The duo knew they could do better, and they did, sourcing natural and ecologically responsible fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton that also supported performance. The public agreed. By 2015, tasc was ranked among the country’s fastestgrowing companies. This summer, it opened its first dedicated retail store in Dallas. But this familyowned business is more than just its material. It’s also a leader in ethical workplace initiatives. At its manufacturing facilities in India, workers are paid more than 20% above the local average, and many receive additional benefits like free healthcare.
tasc, 5710 W. Lovers Lane, Suite 103, Dallas, 214-945-0943, tascperformance.com
Patagonia has always been a leader in sustainability and ecology, but last September, the founder of the $3 billion activewear and adventure-wear brand gave his entire company back to the earth. He and his family transferred 100 percent of their ownership interests into trusts designed to combat climate change and to ensure that the company will always be run in a socially responsible way. That includes the company’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, its efforts to increase the amount of recycled content across the entire brand, its advertising campaigns to discourage overconsumption and its continuing support of grassroots organizations dedicated to seeking environmental justice, supporting indigenous communities, developing renewable energy and more.
REI, 1011 E. Southlake Boulevard, Southlake, 817-416-0948; 5924 Convair Drive, Fort Worth, 817-732-9539, rei.com