5 sustainable fashion brands in Charlotte, plus tips for eco-friendly shopping

5 sustainable fashion brands in Charlotte, plus tips for eco-friendly shopping

Johnny Fly shop in NoDa. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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Charlotte’s fashion scene is getting “greener.” From sustainable boutiques to delivery services there are ways to dress well, shop local, and help the planet all at the same time.

Why it matters: The fashion industry is responsible for a lot of pollution. According to the United Nations, it produces 20% of the world’s wastewater and 10% of the world’s carbon emissions.

  • Sustainable brands have a much lighter footprint and many prioritize safe working conditions for employees and fair wages.

Yes, but: While fast fashion is can be harder on the environment, it’s generally more affordable than sustainable options. That means many “green” brands are out of reach to folks (like me) who aim for lower price points.

  • Of note: Some fast fashion brands like H&M are working to improve their environmental impact by creating sustainable clothing lines and pledging to use more recycled materials.

Be smart: One of the best ways to help the planet through your fashion choices is to shop at second hand stores. From Goodwill all the way up to the EDIT Sale, giving new life to items that’ve already been produced is always sustainable and usually budget-friendly.


Here’s our list (in no particular order) of Charlotte’s suitable fashion shops. If you know of a shop offering sustainable items that’s not listed, send us a note at charlotte@axios.com.

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Recover Brands

The sustainable clothing brand was founded by a NC State grad and his biking buddy back in 2010. Their clothing is made from 100% recycled materials. Recover sells clothes for men, women and kids, and offers wholesale options.

What they’re saying: “From the yarn to the finished product, everything is made within a 250 mile radius of Charlotte,” Ben Prater, Recover Brands sales manager tells me. “From a carbon footprint standpoint we’re able to keep things pretty lean.”

Price range: Most items range from $25 to $45.

Location: 1518 Bryant St.

Recover Brands, sustainable fashion, Charlotte fahsion, fast fashion, eco-freindly, green fashion

Courtesy of Recover Brands


Ruthie

The brand by Katie Levans, local influencer and Charlotte Agenda co-founder, gives new life to vintage clothing and jewelry. The brand focuses on items from the ’80s, ’90s or earlier. Orders even come in eco-friendly packaging.

Ruthie works with artists to customize the vintage pieces — think brightly colored patches and slogans.

Next restock: Follow Ruthie on Instagram for restock announcements.

sustainable fashion, Charlotte, fast fashion, shop green, Emma Way in Ruthie by Katie Levans

Courtesy of Ruthie

sustainable fashion, Charlotte, fast fashion, shop green, Emma Way in Ruthie by Katie Levans

Axios Charlotte’s Emma Way wearing a Ruthie sweatshirt.


Johnny Fly Co.

Johnny Freeman, a former racecar driver, founded the sustainable sunglasses company in 2012. Their wooden frames are made from recyclable materials. The company also sells chemical-free leather bags and prescription glasses.

What he’s saying: “A lot of times you have to give up something to be sustainable,” Freeman tells me. “We really wanted to build something that was both good for the environment but you weren’t loosing anything. You weren’t giving anything up to do the right thing.”

Price range: Most glasses range from $135 to $185. Most leather bags start around $100 and go up to $360, based on size.

Location: 519 E. 36th St. Charlotte (NoDa), 19911 N Cove Rd Suite B, Cornelius, NC (Lake Norman)

johnny fly


Ponybox

The clothing rental and delivery service is similar to Rent the Runway, but even easier especially if you live in Charlotte.

How it works: Ponybox ships out items from its online store and offers same day delivery for customers living in Charlotte. The rental period is one week, unless you fall in love with your items and decide to buy them. If you live in Charlotte, returns can be picked up directly from your doorstep.

Price range: All items are $15 or under to rent. Purchase prices range from around $45 to $100.

Ponybox, sustainable fashion, Charlotte fahsion, fast fashion, eco-freindly, green fashion

Courtesy of Hellen Moffitt


Eileen Fisher

The international sustainable fashion brand has a Charlotte location in SouthPark. The brand prioritizes human rights for workers; supporting women and girls; and using organic, recycled and sustainable fibers.

The brand sells a wide variety of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Price range: Most clothing items start around $100 and go up around $400.

Location: 6822-G Phillips Place Court.


More resources:

  • Pamut: A Raleigh-based sustainable brand with inclusive sizing and items that are made by hand using natural fibers and eco-friendly facilities.
  • Thr3efold: A platform that helps business owners launch sustainable, ethical fashion brands, and is headed by Charlotte native Jessica Kelly.

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