Editor’s Picks: Sweat It Out In 5 Of The Coolest Sustainable Activewear Labels

By Sammy Preston
11th Jul 2020

A model wearing a peach-coloured activewear set from sustainable label, Girlfriend.

As far as sustainable fashion goes, activewear seems to be the category most regularly pushing boundaries in the quest for earth-friendly fashion.

From high tech fabrics made from recycled plastic, to ethical production and emission off-sets—all without forgoing style, comfort and performance—I like to think these challenger brands are paving a way forward for sport and fashion.

And if like me, 2020 has been the year your activewear became your loungewear, workwear, weekend look and your workout get-up, you’ll be stoked to know there’s a solid collection of activewear labels with strong eco-credentials producing cool gear that’ll have you hitting the pavement or Pilates with confidence and a clear conscience. Fun fact: Most of these brands are Aussie too.

Here are five of my favourite sustainable activewear labels.


Shop: The Iconic

“It’s so important that Nimble—as a business—takes steps to reduce our collective impact on the world,” Nimble founders Katia Santilli and Vera Yan told me recently about their decision to be sustainable first.

“Reducing unnecessary waste is something we are so passionate about and we are committed to finding ways we can continue to be more sustainable across all facets of our business, including working with our signature recycled fibres in our garments and the minimisation of plastic and waste within our packaging and postage.”

Launched in 2015, this Bondi-born brand has two custom engineered fabrics (MoveLite and COMPRESSLITE) that are made from post-consumer used plastics—and over the past five years, Nimble has recycled almost 100,000 plastic bottles. I love their latest sustainable print "Green Grid" (I've been wearing my set everywhere). Shop Nimble here

Girlfriend Collective

Shop: Net-A-Porter

As well as being a go-to brand for pop-bright and gelato-hued tights and crops, I love Girlfriend for being so fiercely and unashamedly inclusive. While Girlfriend is dedicated to slow fashion and ethical and environmentally friendly manufacturing, their on-point, luxurious sets come in a huge range of sizes to fit any body size and shape—and they flaunt it just like they should. 

As for those eco-credentials, Girlfriend discovered that as far as activewear is concerned, high end fit and feel is not a matter of cost, it’s a matter of time. Fabrics are made from a combination of recycled nylon, cupro, ECONYL (a fabric made from recycled fishing nets and other waste) or RPET (recycled polyester). Shop Girlfriend Collective here

Conscious Nation By P.E Nation

Shop: P.E Nation

Homegrown activewear juggernauts P.E Nation dropped their first sustainable set, made of ECONYL recycled techno-fabric, in August last year. Since then "Conscious Nation", which is more of a commitment and a journey than a one-off collection, has trickled through most of the P.E brand (take a look at the size of their sustainable edit now). You can read all about the Conscious Nation journey here, and I also love that P.E has partnered with i=Change, so $1 from your purchase can go to a charity of your choosing. It's impressive for a label who didn't start out with sustainability in mind to make such a major eco shift in under 12 months—but maybe not so surprising for the force that is P.E Nation. Get shopping here

Horizon Athletic

Shop: The Iconic

This Sydney-based label is the brainchild of former athlete Marlena Gabriel. The label places special emphasis on ocean protection, and absolutely everything in their activewear and swimwear ranges is made using extra-strong ECONYL yarn that's made to stand the test of time. As well as its environmentally-friendly fabrics, Horizon's 80s-style hues, colour blocking and unique silhouettes make it a total stand-out style-wise. Shop it right here


Shop: Net-A-Porter

Last but definitely not least, Nagnata is probably one of my favourite Australian labels. The name Nagnata is a Sanskrit word for "nakedness"—the idea that through yoga we might return to a more natural and authentic state of being. Nagnata's ethos is firmly centred on "movements not seasons" and "changing the rampant consumerism of fast fashion". All of the label's technical knit pieces are made with organic cotton, and they are actively engaged in a number of fair trade artisan projects. Read more here

Need some sustainable kicks to complete your look? Here are our favourite sustainable sneakers.  

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

Image credit: Girlfriend Collective, Nimble, Girlfriend Collective, P.E Nation, Horizon Athletic, Nagnata

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