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Who doesn’t love a classic, white t-shirt to pair with jeans or wear under a suit jacket? And it’s even better when the tee isn’t your run-of-the-mill fast fashion ones either that fall apart after a handful of washes and made with cotton that has been sprayed with toxic chemicals.
Choosing a classic white tee made from organically grown fibres and manufactured under ethical and fair-trade conditions is the only way to shop. Here are some of ethical brands making organic white t-shirts that we recommend:
Based in Copenhagen and distributing worldwide with dedicated online stores in the US, Australia and the UK, sustainable fashion label Organic Basics produces a range of classic essentials for women and men including a variety of white t-shirt styles made from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton which are all ethically manufactured in Europe.
Our pick is the classic Organic Cotton Tee (RRP US$39) which features a crewneck detail and mid-weight, long-form organic cotton. This tee has a slimmer fit and the right amount of stretch for comfort.
Buy in bulk and receive a discount. Shop: organicbasics.com
Sustainable cult label Reformation is admired by fashionistas – eco or not – the world over for its super feminine styles and stunning brand photography to match. The LA-based fashion brand produces all its collections in local factories and most of its collections feature eco-friendly fabrics including recycled, organic cotton, hemp and remnant fabrics.
With a vast eco-friendly t-shirt range to choose from, our choice of organic white tee is Reformation’s Perfect Vintage Tee (US$46) which has a relaxed fit and can be worn well with high waisted jeans, and well, just about anything really.
Known as one of the most affordable sustainable brands on the market, US-based Pact produces GOTS organic cotton tees for men, women and children which are produced in Fair-Trade certified factories in India.
There are a range of styles to choose from and our faves include the women’s Stretch Fit Tee (US$20) a slim fit, lightweight white tee with a scoop neckline with extended length making it perfect for layering and the looser-fitting ribbed Softspun Crew Neck Tee (US$30) which comes in women and men’s sizes.
Buy in bulk and receive a discount. Shop: wearpact.com
4. Vege Threads
If you’re in Australia, Vege Threads is a sustainable label that locally manufactures wardrobe essentials using GOTS-certified organic cotton from India. We’re loving its Organic Classic Tee (A$69), a classic signature style with a crewneck tee, rib neckline and relaxed sleeve and is avialable in white and other colours. Made in Australia in an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited Facility, this tee features soft 100% organic cotton jersey for ultimate comfort.
5. People Tree
If you’re based in and around the UK, you can’t go past People Tree, the world’s first Fair-trade certified fashion brand. Known for its feminine designs, the brand also produces a core wardrobe staples made of premium organic cotton basics including women’s tees.
Our pick of the lot is the Gaia Tee in White, a short sleeve tee with a round neck and a flattering style that allows room for movement and is long enough for layering. This tee is made from 95% GOTS certified organic cotton with 5% elastane for comfort.
6. Citizen Wolf
For the perfect-fitting tee custom made to your exact proportions, look no further than Australian t-shirt company Citizen Wolf. Using its Magic Fit® technology which uses biometrics to create unique custom-fit tees, the brand ethically produces (carbon negatively too!) its tees in Sydney and offers a range of premium fabrics including organic cotton (which costs a little more, but worth it).
Our picks include The Short Crew (A$79 for organic cotton) a basic crew tee and The Short Scoop tee (A$79) that features a deep scoop neckline and tapered waist (see image below).
7. Amour Vert
Made in the USA, Amour Vert produces a broad collection of women’s wardrobe staples and office wear from sustainable fabrics including organic cotton, linen, hemp and recycled materials.
With every purchase of an Amour Vert t-shirt, they also plant a tree in North America and so far, have planted 200,000 trees with their environmental partner American Forests.
There are so many affordable organic t-shirt styles to choose from, but we’ve decided on the Amour Vert Odilia White Tee (US $28) which has a basic crewneck tee, pleated detailing at the sleeves (making it ideal for wearing to work) and made from 100% organic cotton jersey for comfort and movement.
For a broad range of sustainable basics for men and women, Alternative Apparel is the store for you. While not all the garments are made from eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton and recycled fibre, all are produced in factories that operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Association standards.
For women’s white tees, we’re loving the Organic Cotton V-Neck Tee (US $38) which is lightweight, airy and super soft as it’s made from 100% GOTS-certified cotton and is also OEKO-TEX® certified fabric (verified grown with no toxic chemicals).
If you’re looking for a sustainable white tee in a fabric other than organic cotton, organic bamboo may be a material to consider. Australian-owned Chinese-made eco label Boody produces a range of organic bamboo basics for the entire family that is Oeko-Tex 100-certified which means that no harsh and harmful chemicals were found in its processing. The company also holds a WRAP certification which audits factories independently to verify worker health and safety and that labour standards are upheld. While bamboo – even if organically grown – isn’t the most eco-friendly fabric (read this post) if it’s part of a wardrobe mix that also includes organic hemp, linen and cotton, you should feel too guilty.
Our picks for women’s white tees are the Women’s Crew Neck T-Shirt (A$39.95) which is tailored for your body and ideal for teaming with jeans or wearing to the gym, and the Women’s V-Neck style (A$39.95) for a timeless, clean-cut wardrobe staple.
Buy in bulk to receive a discount. Shop: boody.com.au
World surfing champion Kelly Slater’s co-founded this sustainable label and it’s womenswear has been making waves since it launched last year. All garments features sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, linen and recycled fabrics and produced in Fair-trade certified factories that uphold high labour standards.
Our pick of the lot is Outerknown’s Sunny Scoop Neck Tee (US$102) made from 97% organic cotton jersey and features a loose-fit and scoop neck ideal for throwing over swimmers, lazing around at the beach or whenever you’re feeling the super casual vibe.
Disclosure: Prices and details are correct at time of publishing. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. You can also check out online tools and apps that provide product reviews and brand ratings here. Click here to read more about our policies. Cover image via Reformation.