World’s Top 10 Yoga Brands With A Heart

Sustainable fashion has finally made the jump into fitness, so it’s time to embrace the era of eco-chic!

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Sustainable fashion has finally made the jump into fitness, so it’s time to embrace the era of eco-chic!

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1. Asquith

Asquith first launched in 2002 with an ethically sourced collection that could be worn with confidence on and off the mat. Today ‘athleisure’ is a global trend, and Asquith is recognised as one of the most eco-conscious versions on the market. Their elegant, feminine ranges subtly blend the styles of everyday and activewear, crafted in high quality certified organic cotton and bamboo.

With a low-carbon footprint and biodegradable fibres, these chemical-free soft fabrics mould to your body like a second skin, so you can flow smoothly through your practice. Thanks to the eco-textiles used, Asquith clothing keeps its shape and doesn’t fade, bobble or stretch. And because they aren’t synthetic and the bamboo is naturally antibacterial, their collections allow your skin to breathe, keeping you fresh post-workout. Check out the Spring/Summer 2016 Wanderlust Collection inspired by the beauty, colours and energy of Brazil.

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2. Cozy Orange

Breathing life into the world of sustainable fabrics is Californian brand Cozy Orange. Their fashion-forward upgrade to the beige eco-clothing of the past has led to innovative fabrics such as Revive Eco-Lux, the most advanced recycled polyester. Soft yet durable, it’s a favourite with runners and yogis for its superior compression capability and anti-sheer coverage; a yogi must-have for confidence during downward dog.

Fans of Bikram will also love the quick-drying Cozy Eco-Lite. It’s their thinnest recycled micro polyester blend that’s breathable and lightweight. But it’s not just about the function. Each piece looks just as good pre- or post-workout as it does on the mat, track or treadmill; with options available in plain or printed, bright or monochrome. Order your new favourites online and add a small donation to a charity for clean water, and Cozy Orange will match it up to US$100,000 per year. Garments come wrapped in reusable cloth bags and their catalogues are printed on recycled paper.

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3. LVR

LVR was founded by a couple who sought to create quality, eco-friendly lifestyle apparel that would be loved not just for its design and function, but for its values too. Their latest range of pretty and functional yoga wear proves they achieved just that. The buttery soft cotton blends used throughout the collection are made using organic, pesticide-free agricultural methods that treat the fibres with care and have a minimal effect on the environment.

Spearheaded by the couple that created it, this family-run brand proves its continued commitment to giving back through quarterly contributions towards a wildlife rescue centre in Guatemala, and regular clothing donations to the Downtown Women’s Center in their hometown of Los Angeles, who work to create a safe space for women in need.

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4. Lululemon

In many countries around the globe, you can’t take a yoga, spin or HIIT class without spotting a Lululemon logo. Their printed leggings and flattering, quick-drying tops have become workout wardrobe staples; praised for their fit, fashion and function season after season. But there is another reason to buy Lululemon: sustainability as they are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint.

Few people know that the coveted Canadian brand was one of the first large companies to be recognised for their energy efficiency, and even started a Community Legacies programme back in 2005 that targeted eco-efficiency and waste reduction. Recycled materials can be seen in many Lululemon stores worldwide, and the brand’s ‘luon lifecycle’ ensures the greatest care is taken at every stage of production.

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5. Tasc Performance

Athletic apparel from family-run tasc Performance is the result of 68 years in garment development and two years of research on natural fibres in textile engineering. Their eco-conscious BamCo fabric finishing process means every piece ticks every box: moisture-wicking, quick-drying, anti-odour, breathable, chemical-free, silky soft and with great shape retention.

Each of their eight signature fabrics is finished this way, resulting in pieces that feel amazing and are designed to move with your body. While organic and responsibly sourced bamboo is at the heart of their collections, they also blend it with other fabrics (such as organic cotton, merino wool or elastane) to deliver extra capability, depending on the workout.

Whether it’s their temperatureregulating outerwear, brightly coloured yoga clothes or super lightweight fabrics that dry rapidly for the perfect tri transition, the thought and innovation behind every piece is evident from the first wear.

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6. Lily Lotus

Inspired by the rich natural beauty of Oahu in Hawaii, the Lily Lotus line of yoga and lifestyle wear is the perfect example of laidback glamour and eco-style. Unique prints such as their signature tie-dye wash, vibrant colour blocks and environmentally friendly production encapsulate the brand’s passion for living colourfully, mindfully and beautifully.

They aim to thrive in sustainable harmony with the world that surrounds them; a notion demonstrated through the use of eco-conscious materials and a partnership with a solar-powered dye house. There, low-impact dyes and soy-based softeners are used to bring their easy-to-wear leggings, camis and lightweight layers to life.

Those based close to Lily Lotus headquarters in Oahu can make the most of their community events about healthful and mindful living, while others around the globe can purchase the collection online and from some of the world’s premier studios, luxury spas and select boutiques.

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7. Manuka Life

Holistic living isn’t just about caring through food choices and positive affirmations; it’s also about caring for the earth via the products you choose and clothing you workout in. London-based brand Manuka Life craft luxurious yoga and lifestyle wear from fabrics that are eco-conscious, sustainable and non-toxic. Leading well-being experts have been known to test their collections and provide feedback to help achieve perfection. The cut, fabric, style and feel of each piece is scrutinised and improved until the brand’s yogi creators are happy, and it shows.

The high-quality cotton of their Manuka Yoga Core fabric is cultivated on lands surrounding the beautiful Aegean Sea, and combined with elastane for a strong, high-stretch fabric that works for the most dynamic practice. Even their accessories (such as yoga mats and fitness balls) are non-toxic so you can find your Zen with a clear conscience.

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8. Yoga Democracy

For sustainable style that stands out on the mat, look to Yoga Democracy – a brand that has the concept of giving back built into its DNA. Their beautifully bold and nature-inspired collections are made from 95 percent recycled fibres, with the vibrant colours created in-house through a unique dyeing process that generates zero water or carbon emissions.

Though relatively new on the eco-activewear block, Yoga Democracy’s printed leggings (such as the new Dragonfly Collection) are sought-after for their smooth feel and ultra-flattering fit. Even better, each pair is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and requires half the energy of their standard counterparts to produce.

And it’s not just the leggings! Feel good about practising in tops and shorts for SUP or hot yoga that started off as plastic bottles and fishing nets; keeping in mind that 10 percent of their profits are donated to organisations for environmental causes and the empowerment of women.

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9. Sundried

When an activewear brand is founded by a triathlete, you can trust that it will have function at the forefront of its design. Sundried has the added benefit of an eco-conscience. Dark, sleek and timeless, their new collection is built to last in lightweight, breathable materials that streamline and support the body through every athletic challenge.

Ethical sourcing has been key to Sundried’s development, and they are proud to have investment from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund; ensuring low emissions continue in all aspects of production. They have added unique donation codes to every item, which when entered by the customer, pledge a donation from Sundried towards the Water For Kids charity.

The website lists exactly how the donation will be used – whether to pay for a man’s labour for the day or a bag of cement to build a dam help to ensure clean water reaches children and communities in the developing world. The clothing is great, and the ethics to be admired.

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10. Wellicious

The secret behind the sumptuous comfort of Wellicious yoga wear is the carefully selected blend of natural and organic fabrics. Founder and yogi Heike Schnell embraced selfless yogic philosophies through using only ethically sound materials that allow you to channel prana and focus on the breath without worrying about your clothing.

Their new range of opaque tops, leggings and bras are specifically designed for yoga, with thoughtful details such as cuffs and drawstrings to ensure each piece stays in place as you move. It’s no surprise that Wellicious is a favourite of globally admired yogis, given the brand’s commitment to ethical endeavours such as the SOS Children’s Village in Peru. Each season, a percentage of the profits are donated to the charity, and each staff member sponsors a different child from the orphanage.