Because keeping warm shouldn’t cost the Earth
It’s officially not summer anymore! Which makes it well and truly coat weather, and as such I’ve had a lot of messages on Instagram asking me where to buy responsible winter warmers.
I’ll be honest, this is not an easy one to answer. When I gave up shopping I educated myself on the non-fast fashion ethical and sustainable brands that are my go-tos now that I allow myself the odd new items of clothing here and there. But many of them stop short of producing anything REALLY warm, and I imagine this is because it often means the use of down (and feathers are often not collected in a cruelty-free manner), and/or waterproof polyester (AKA plastic). Plus they are an expensive thing to produce.
I doubt I will be buying a new winter coat for about a decade. I was lucky enough to accumulate a few really good quality ones when I was still accepting gifts as a fashion editor – in the picture above I was shot for a New York Fashion Week feature in InStyle magazine which I was made redundant from over five years ago! – and this is hands down my favourite coat of all time. It’s by Filippa K, which is making great strides in sustainability and innovative fabrics – I wear it pretty much every day of the winter and it’s just been returned to me after being repaired as the zip broke (this is in no way a criticism of the quality – it’s at least 7 years old).
One thing I know for sure is that this is the most useful style of coat I’ve ever owned is this: the padded parka. Not only is it incredibly practical (waterproof and warm – including over the bum) but it’s a timeless style classic and looks great with everything. I’ve also seen a lot of sustainable brands touting another lovely style – the puffer jacket – which is always a great option for keeping warm.
So just for you, I’ve done some research into the best sustainable parkas and puffers out there – most of these should be waterproof and warm, but do always read the small print. There is some polyester in this edit, but if you’re buying something that you’ll wear for decades you’ll want practicality, and recycled polyester helps to solve the plastic pollution problem, so I don’t have an issue with it in this instance. There are lots of high street brands producing recycled puffers this year too, but you’ll have to hunt those out for yourself as I prefer not to promote brands that don’t have a 360 approach to sustainability.
Anyway, I hope you find this useful, and if you’ve come across anything else you think I should know about, leave a message in the comments. This article contains some affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you buy something.
Passenger ‘Flora’ recycled insulated jacket, £109.95 (passenger-clothing.com)
I discovered Passenger Clothing earlier this year via my love of sea swimming, which I am still doing now in October and am going to try and keep doing through the winter. This meant I needed to invest in a warm changing coat! Passenger has a lovely burnt orange one made entirely from recycled materials, which I invested in and I am in love with it. And if I ever did need to replace my beloved Filippa K parka, then this lovely green beauty – which is also 100% recycled – would be top of my list. It comes in two additional colours, including a lovely buttery yellow.
Everlane recycled polyester long liner, £151 (everlane.com)
I love this idea! If you just want to add an extra layer to your existing winter coats, Everlane has this handy quilted liner. Made from 100% recycled polyester, it’s available in 5 different colours and is really lightweight, making it perfect for packing and easy to throw underneath everything from a peacoat to a Crombie. It also looks great worn on its own, as you can see here.
Thought ‘Elisha’ recycled puffer, £185 (wearethought.com)
I really like the brand Thought’s approach – as well as using only certified natural and recycled fibres and fabrics (this coat is made from recycled polyester), this label only makes clothes from start to finish in the same country to prevent them being shipped all over the place (which frighteningly does very often happen). There’s a wealth of information on the brand’s transparency for you to read online too – as a rule of thumb, if you can’t find information like this easily the brand is unlikely to be sustainable. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, always email the brand in question to ask. Peer pressure is a powerful thing…
Seasalt Cornwall puffer, £150 (seasaltcornwall.com)
This British brand, often underrated for its sustainability credentials, just keeps getting better season after season. This puffer is made from 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton and is a really nice option if a hood isn’t really your thing. Please note that this coat is not waterproof.
ECOALF ‘Amu’ recycled polyester puffer, £279.90 (ecoalf.com)
I stumbled across Ecoalf when I updated this post last year, and I am happy to say you can now buy it direct from the brand’s own website. I love that you get a really detailed product description with all of the recycled fabrics involved, as well as a sustainability report for each product. Impressive! With a massive range of colours and lengths to choose from it’s a brilliant place to find a hardworking puffer to suit you.
pricey puffer (if money was no object)
Pangaia long puffer jacket, £741 (thepangaia.com)
OK, I know it’s RLLY expensive (even more pricey than last year) but I wanted to let you know about this because the technology is amazing! This coat is made from FLWRDWN™, a clever creation of the cult sustainable leisurewear brand Pangaia. Amazingly, these coat are made from wild flowers and are completely biodegradable. And since wild flowers are needed to make them, their production also contributes to habitat restoration. This year, the brand has introduced some additional styles which although still pricey, aren’t quite as expensive as this one! This comes in five colours, including lilac and apple green.