The Best Ethically and Sustainably Made White T-Shirts
Everyone needs a classic, white t-shirt. They're chic but nonchalant, and can be worn with everything from sweatpants, jeans to dressy skirts. But make it better, choose one that is ethically and sustainably made.
Oh, we hear you. Expensive and synonymous with the affluent tribe – therein lies the conundrum with sustainable fashion. Why would you pay $50 for an ethically-produced, organic cotton t-shirt, when you could get one that looks exactly the same for $15?
Consider the facts: Organic cotton is produced without toxic pesticides, fertilisers or GMOs, all of which are proven to harm the ecosystems and the people involved. And because its natural, resilient fibres haven’t been treated with harsh chemicals, it feels softer and will last longer.
Sustainable practices also cost more for good reason. It takes into account where and how garments are made, saving natural resources and considering the environmental impacts, and supports fair and safe working conditions. Effort is made to ensure that workers aren't toiling away in poor working conditions or trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite white tees that aren't just versatile and flattering, but are from brands that meet strict standards for organic farming and made by humans treated as humans.
All products featured on Dulu are independently selected by our editors.
Riley Studio ‘Project Earth’ Limited Edition T-Shirt, £60
This London-based label takes a full lifecycle approach: it looks at everything from the fibres made from fabric waste, to zippers, traceability and ethics during the production process, to repairs and waste at the end of the cycle. Each piece from Riley Studio comes with a lifetime guarantee and when it reaches the end of its lifespan, the brand takes it back for recycling on behalf of the customer.
Like the rest of its collection, its ‘Project Earth’ limited tee is gender-neutral and has a classic cut that suits everyone. It's made from a super soft mix of organic and recycled cotton, and we love that the subtle details aren’t just there for the sake of it – the garment provenance and fabric composition breakdown printed on the back highlights its transparency principles.
Pangaia Seaweed Fibre Crop T-Shirt, USD$75
There’s more to Pangaia than being a celebrity favourite. Behind the brand are a global collective of scientists, engineers, artists, designers and thinkers, committed to saving the environment by creating garments with zero waste through upcycling and recycled materials.
The t-shirts, for instance, are made from saltwater seaweed fibre and GOTS certified organic cotton and treated with natural peppermint oil to reduce the frequency of washing and therefore water pollution. If you're on the hunt for a crop tee, Pangaia's version has the perfect length and fit. It reveals just the right amount of belly, and the genderless sizing means it's cut a little looser and has a soft, relaxed fit.
Everlane The Organic Cotton Boxy Raglan Tee, SGD$26
The popular, San Francisco-based start-up is known for its commitment to ethics and transparency. Whilst not everything is made from organic materials, it chooses factories based on how workers are treated and how eco-friendly they are. The brand has also pledged to move all its cotton to certified organic by 2023.
Everlane has a number of t-shirt styles for both men and women, but our favourite is the organic cotton Boxy Raglan. It’s oversized, and has a slight crop, which gives it a bit of an updated feel and great if you’ve got a shorter torso.
Source Collections Organic Cotton Crew Neck With Pocket, SGD$40
At Source Collections, transparency is key. The Singapore-based brand makes it a point to reveal the true cost behind all their products – from materials to labour to transportation. Its range of tanks and tees are made from 100% certified organic cotton from India and Tencel, and manufactured in a factory in Dongguan, China, which has been audited to ensure safe working conditions, fair working hours and wages.
Its organic cotton crew neck falls under the men’s category, but the slim fit makes it easy for women to pull off too. It's soft and streamlined, not too clingy and is the perfect length to tuck into jeans.
The Danish brand was launched with a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, after the founders declared the fashion industry to be a “dirty bastard” and proceeded to create quality, consciously-created staples made in factories that also care about their impact.
It obviously excels at basics, but if you’re constantly on the go (or live in a tropical country like Singapore), its SilverTech tee is a winner. Sustainably-sourced real silver is weaved into organic cotton to stop the growth of odour-causing bacteria and keep you feeling fresh all day. It's soft and comfortable, with a hint of stretch and despite its cool antimicrobial properties, looks and feels like a typical cotton t-shirt.