Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t have failed to have noticed the paradigm shift towards sustainability in the fashion and retail industries in the last few years. About time, too. The fashion industry is one of the worst contributors to environmental damage: it produces an estimated 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while the textile industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the world, and is culpable for roughly one-fifth of all industrial water pollution. We’re constantly being told to ‘shop less, buy better’, but find ourselves stuck on a marketing merry-go-round of hype-train seasonality. So what to do?
There are no quick fixes, but there are ways to build critical mass on a personal level. Switching your aesthetic to be more timeless and buying better quality clothes will invariably extend the life cycle of said garments, leading you to buy less in the long run. What do we mean by ‘better quality’ clothes? Garments that are constructed from natural fibres that have been produced organically or in a sustainable manner with minimal environmental impact.
But we get it – shopping is meant to be fun! Nobody wants to be asking store staff to verify the provenance of their stock. Plus, there is so much smoke and mirrors in the form of greenwashing that can you ever be certain you’re buying what you think you are? Well, in short, yes you can. A new era of brands is going the extra mile when creating sustainable collections.
Dedicated, founded in 2006, is one such company that we’ve come across that looks to be creating top-notch casualwear using only sustainable fabrics. The brand uses organic, chemical-free cotton certified by GOTS, while all the polyester is 100% recycled. They also incorporate TENCEL™ into their collections, which is a super-sustainable and very soft fabric made from wood pulp. Moreover, they’re one of the most transparent brands, too, sharing the details of their suppliers on their website and the Open Supply Hub platform.
If their environmental credentials stand up, so too do their collections. We’ve curated a list of eight pieces for their timeless style and versatility, garments that could walk into any discerning wardrobe and do it proud.
The Organic Cotton T-Shirt
The T-shirt is a rudimentary piece of kit, but it also comes in an incredibly diverse range of styles. Plain tees are excellent tools for layering or creating a clean base to contrast darker tones with; patterned tees can help to break up looks with bold geometry; whereas graphic tees are much more of a statement about yourself.
Dedicated has one of the most eclectic T-shirt collections we’ve seen, thanks to its policy of collaborating with creatives from all over the world. From bold slogans to humorous sketches, its tees project personality. Moreover, they are all made from organic fairtrade cotton, while the printed elements are non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals.
The Organic Flannel Shirt
The flannel shirt is an enduring menswear symbol of Americana, harking back to the days of railroad workers and frontiersmen building the Great American Dream. The fabric itself – a type of brushed wool, or cotton – is thought to have come from Wales in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until 1889 that the American entrepreneur Hamilton Carhartt (yes, that Carhartt) started to manufacture it in the US.
Carhartt decided to create a cotton flannel alongside traditional wool flannel, to make warm rugged workwear, and from that came the iconic plaid flannel shirt. Dedicated have crafted some of the nicest styles we’ve seen, in a soft organic cotton fabric and with bold Buffalo and multi-colour checks.
They’re a brilliant addition to a workwear-inspired wardrobe but can also be styled in a grungy streetwear way, layered over a hoodie and jeans.
The Recycled Wool Knit
Wool is already a good option for environmentally conscious men since it is naturally biodegradable, so Dedicated’s recycled wool and recycled acrylic crew neck take those credentials up a notch.
A classic winter menswear silhouette, the crew neck jumper has been a staple part of discerning wardrobes, amplified by the likes of Steve McQueen back in the 1950s and 1960s. Dedicated’s version has been woven with melange wool, which has subtle flecks of colour in it to give the texture even more depth.
The body has been woven in a traditional cable knit while the arms and neck ringer are in a ribbed knit. It’s a versatile piece that you can wear with black trousers for a tonal monochrome fit.
The Organic Fairtrade Cotton Hoodie
Casualwear exploded during the covid lockdowns, elevating the hoodie from humble sportswear garment to a symbol of quiet luxury. It was first invented in the 1930s by Knickerbocker Knitting Company, which later became Champion.
Born out of sports utility, it’s still to this day worn as a warm, protective layer, and although it’s mostly associated with streetwear looks, it can also be layered beneath long wool coats and even boxy blazers.
Dedicated has created a pretty eclectic collection of 100% Organic and Fairtrade-certified cotton hoodies, from plain colour styles to graphic print options. The cotton comes in a 320gsm lightly brushed French terry knit, so it’s super soft and feels substantial.
The plain styles come in a whole spectrum of colours, making them easy to assimilate into your wardrobe.
The TENCEL™ Shirt
TENCEL™ (a marketing name of lyocell) has been around for a while now, first introduced into the textile market in 1992, but it has only recently picked up steam as an environmental alternative to other fabrics.
It’s made from highly compressed wood pulp that has a soft, almost silky handle, making it perfect for garments such as tees and shirts. Dedicated has used it to great effect in creating a vibrant collection of graphic print shirts to complement its organic cotton range.
From a colourful butterfly motif to a fanciful floral design, these silk-like shirts are a fun and stylish option for your off-duty summer outfits.
The Recycled Parka Jacket
For a jacket that started life in the form of stitched animal pelts on the shoulders of the Inuit people, the parka has remained a remarkable steadfast piece of menswear, evolving through various military iterations, to become as popular now as it was when lauded by the Mods in the 1960s and 1970s.
We say ‘evolved’ but the parka’s shape hasn’t altered that much, besides being crafted in a modern shorter length than the traditional fishtail styles. However, the key change that has occurred is in the fabrics used – namely lightweight synthetic waterproof cloths. While they are super functional, they are not the most environmentally friendly, but Dedicated has been able to offset this downside by creating a parka jacket made exclusively from recycled PET bottles and organic cotton.
The jacket is still waterproof thanks to the BIONIC-FINISH® ECO treatment, while the lining comes in 100% GRS-certified recycled polyester. Available in black and light brown, it’s a great contemporary jacket that will slide into techwear wardrobes and even modern preppy looks.
The Organic Terry Shorts
As we write this in the depths of a northern hemisphere winter, summer shorts are probably the last wardrobe addition on your mind, but Dedicated’s recycled cotton terry shorts are a super comfortable style to elevate your loungewear looks until the sun comes out of its slumber.
Great for chilling in at home, these shorts are constructed from organic French terry cloth, featuring a dense pile of soft threads knitted into loops to create that unique terry texture.
It has been all over summer collections in recent years, but don’t sleep on its loungewear credentials throughout the year.
The Organic Cotton Chinos
Chinos have long been the unsung heroes of the stylish smart-casual wardrobe, dancing the broad line between rugged workwear and refined tailored separates. Traditionally, they were designed as blue-collar trousers, cut from a hardwearing cotton twill from China, hence the name. Today, chinos come in a variety of cuts and cloths, making them just about the most versatile style of trousers you can own.
Dedicated’s chinos are on the more casual end of the spectrum, designed to have a relaxed straight-leg fit. They’re made of 98% organic cotton, with the remaining 2% being elastane, added to give the cloth a little stretch for comfort.
Available in six different understated colours, they’re an excellent way to give your casual wardrobe myriad new styling options.