Can ethical essential clothing be high fashion?

Ethical can be editorial – here’s how to keep your style while protecting the planet.

What does essential clothing mean?

Essential clothing is timeless clothing. Think products that are made to last, tackle overconsumption, and do not adhere to seasonal trends.

Ethical essential clothing is produced via sustainable or eco-conscious methods.

Can it be high-end?

We think so! Take a look at Stella McCartney. The designer label is well known for luxury catwalk fashion that’s created responsibly.

The brand sells lots of avant-garde pieces as well as essential basics like tees and trousers. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, but we love the brand’s vision: to make a positive impact on the planet and look after its future.

Other high-end ethical brands that design essential clothing include Eileen Fisher, Reformation, Acne Studios and Re/Done.

The style evolution of ethical fashion

Think back to what sustainable clothing used to look like. For many of us it brings up mental images of lofty, loose knitted and fitting shapes and textured straw-like clothes that weren’t popular among the masses.

It’s remarkable how things change over time.

Today, eco- conscious sustainable fashion is possibly one of the biggest trends out there (and a trend we hope will stick). We have more opportunities than ever before to weave our personal styles into sustainable practices.

Today’s eco-friendly fashion trends

Vegan options

Well-loved brands like Birkenstocks and Doc Martens are keeping up with the trends by releasing vegan versions of their shoes. These are made with sustainable materials instead of leather.

Vintage gems

This can generally mean any item of pre-loved clothing from past times. Vintage styles are always booming- And it’s not just about 60s tea dresses – Y2K is a huge trend at the moment.

Ethically sourced fabrics

In artisan markets or from independent sellers online, you can often find clothing made of recycled silk from garments like old saris. Head to art or music festival, and you’ll see these are popular with festival-goers – many adorn themselves in items like kimonos and crop tops.

The revamped sustainable look

Woven straw bags for the beach, shopping or storage dips in and out of fashion and has done so for decades. Nowadays, you can get innovative items like sandals made from recycled rope, and brands like Patagonia regularly use organically grown hemp within their products.

Neutrals and Linens

Linen is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics to be produced as it’s made from plants that don’t need pesticides or fertilisers. The perfect material to wear on a hot summer’s day, linen is a favourite among those who want a smart-casual and comfortable look.


Over recent years, sports clothing has become more than just what you wear to the gym. With that has come many sustainably made and stylish choices. Stella McCartney collaborated with Adidas, and many independent, responsible activewear brands are gaining force.

How we combine the two

Here at Manava, we design ethically produced essential clothing, such as hoodies, t-shirts and joggers.

Our essential clothing reflects our brand’s name – Manava: the Samoan word for breathing – as they move effortlessly with the natural rhythms of our bodies.

All our garments are unisex, in neutral colours and soft, organic materials that complement various people and their personal styles. We may sell basics, but our clothing is stylish and made to high standards, providing wearers with a luxurious feel.


Written in partnership with Stephanie Bulter

June 24, 2022 — Jade Whittaker