Along with losing weight and quitting smoking, getting fit ranks as one of the commonest New Year’s resolutions, with a staggering 46 per cent of us pledging to tone up in 2012 according to a survey conducted by comparison website, Go Compare. But as the survey also revealed, of the 26 million British adults who make yearly resolutions, 40 per cent give up before January is out. While reducing your alcohol intake and eating more healthily will improve your waistline, for overall health, nothing beats hitting the gym. According to website, 24hourfitness.co.uk, not only will getting fit reduce the flab and boost muscle tone, it can also help protect you from a range of ailments, including diabetes, osteoporosis and even cancer. And that’s without the lovely serotonin high you get from an hour’s bikram yoga. But whether you choose pilates or football, you need to get the kit right, and that’s where it can all go wrong for the planet.
Whether it’s chemical inks or polyester shorts, most sportswear comes with a huge carbon footprint. Although some brands are attempting to reduce their environmental impact, finding gym-worthy t-shirts that are eco-friendly as well as practical is harder than you might think. Take t-shirts for example. How do you know that the print on your organic cotton t-shirt was created using vegetable rather than chemical inks? Answer: it’s difficult. ‘Traditional inks like Plastisol contain carcinogenic chemicals whereas water-based inks do not,’ says PLB Design’s Pier-Luk Bouthillier. ‘It’s difficult to recognise whether or not a garment uses ethical inks just by looking at it. The smell will be an indication and the touch of the print will be softer, making the garment more comfortable to wear.’ To make your life easier, we’ve rounded up five chemical-free, ethically made and environmentally-sourced t-shirts that will make keeping your fitness resolution a cinch. Oh, and they make great weekend wear too.
PLB Designs ‘Orphelins’ t-shirt, CAD27 (approx £18)
‘We would be orphans without landscapes to name the world,’ says PLB Design’s ‘Orphelins’ t-shirt in the words of Montreal-based environmental poet, Isabelle Gaudet-Labine and it lives up to its eco-friendly message. A sporty cobalt-blue t-shirt made from organic cotton, the print was produced using non-toxic water based inks, while the rest was manufactured to high ethical standards.
Find out more: www.plb-store.com
FAIR+true Sustainable Racer Back vest, £39
Where would we be without the classic Breton stripe - the print that never goes out of fashion regardless of what Anna Wintour says? Such a classic is the Breton stripe, it’s become a fashion editor staple and that's why, despite being a vest, this piece has made the top five. Not only will FAIR+true’s lovely offering bring style to your sit-up session, it’s also made from 100 per cent organic cotton right here in the UK. Zero carbon footprint plus maximum style points: what’s not to like?
Find out more: www.fairandtrue.co.uk
Eco Boutique ‘Corvus’ t-shirt, £32
Corvus, in case you weren’t aware, is Latin for crow but few real ravens look half as beautiful as the one splashed across Eco Boutique’s fabulous limited edition t-shirt. Loose fitting for easy movement, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to get to grips with yoga or pilates in style. What’s more, it’s made from 100 per cent organic cotton in one of the brand’s ethically run UK factories.
Find out more: www.ecoboutiqueshop.co.uk
Bringing art, politics and the environment together is Des Artistes, a label whose fabulous limited edition t-shirts feature designs by a mixture of up-and-coming and established artists. Low-impact water-based inks are used to print the designs on the brand’s 100 per cent organic cotton t-shirts and a portion of profits goes towards the charity of the artist’s choice. Chinese dissident Weiwei’s choice is, rather ironically, Médecins Sans Frontières.
Find out more: www.desartistes.org
Belle&Dean organic peacock fitted t-shirt, £16
Who knew that peacocks and organic cotton could be such a ravishing combination? Belle&Dean it seems. A gently form-fitting t-shirt, Belle&Dean’s ultra-pretty offering is made from 100 per cent organic unbleached cotton, with the design printed on using water-based non-toxic inks. It’s almost too lovely to wear to the gym.
Find out more: www.belleanddean.co.uk
Risqué business: how Holloway-Smith Noir is making burlesque fashionably green
Eco-friendly smalls anyone? Green Living editor Ruth Styles meets the duo turning burlesque glamour into planet-pleasing nipple pasties
Transparent fashion: why the industry needs to come clean on supply chains
Adding to your wardrobe can be an ethical nightmare, which is why a number of eco-brands are working on new systems that show exactly where your clothes come from
A belting idea: meet the pioneers turning discarded firehose into fashion
Firehose isn’t an obvious choice of textile for an accessories range, but for the entrepreneurs behind Elvis & Kresse, it’s simply perfect. Gavin Haines reports
Patagonia: the anti-fashion fashion brand
It's the 'Gucci of outdoor wear' but for founder, Yvon Chouinard, there's far more to Patagonia than fashion. He spoke to Matilda Lee
The new north: why Scandinavia is leading the world in eco-design
The Nordic flair for design has taken eco-fashion to new heights and is setting an example for the rest of the world to follow, says Ruth Styles