If you’re wondering how to sustainably buy a new coat this winter, the answer is, in most cases, very simple. Don’t buy a new coat. This is because the fashion industry has serious issues when it comes to waste—from the 2,000 gallons of water required to make a pair of jeans, to the 85% of textiles produced annually heading to landfill within the year, it is in fact, one of the greatest contributors to the climate crisis.
As Greta Thunberg recently pointed out, “you cannot mass produce fashion or consume “sustainably” as the world is shaped today”, and the best solutions are usually to upcycle, buy secondhand clothes, or find other ways to extend the life of clothing which already exists. That said, there are times when we do need to buy new. Maybe our old jackets are beyond repair, we can’t find suitable secondhand items, or this winter is forecasted to be especially cold.
Fortunately, there are fashion companies across the world that are meaningfully responding to the climate crisis, with design focused on the needs of the zero-waste movement, and with closed-loop principles in mind. Today, sustainable forms of fashion do exist, and they can be vital drivers of change.
From familiar brands such as Patagonia, to new players like Askov Finlayson, we’ll explore 10 of the best zero-waste winter jackets and the companies who make them.
Patagonia – Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket
No list of sustainable clothing is complete without reference to Patagonia. Their Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket is a durable and versatile jacket, which is equally suited to working and socializing in cold conditions. Made from Patagonia’s patented 12.9oz Iron Forge Hemp, and complete with rib knit cuffs, it will keep out the cold, and stand up to the toughest conditions. The hemp is organically grown and Fair Trade Certified sewn, making this heavy-duty jacket lightweight on the environment.
Patagonia offers plenty of advice on how to fix or upcycle old clothes, so that you can extend the life of your jacket even further. They also accept trade-ins, so that you can offset the price of new Patagonia purchases by returning their products to be upcycled.
R Coat – Unisex Medium Green and Blue Parka
The Green and Blue Parka from R Coat is a prime example of how to combine zero-waste principles with excellent design. This fun, multi-colored hooded parka is both waterproof and warm. Equipped with adjustable cuffs, a breathable back and several pockets, it’s perfect for keeping out the wind and rain, whilst staying comfortable within.
With a shell made from 5 broken umbrellas, and lined with deadstock fabrics, the Green and Blue Parka exhibits R-Coat’s core beliefs. R-Coat have made it clear that circularity is their primary value, and that the design is inspired by the zero-waste cycles found in nature. To that end, they aim to avoid using any materials which require the extraction of new resources from the ground.
Ecoalf – Livorno Jacket
The Livorno is a masterful example of zero-waste jacket production, introduced by the award-winning company Ecoalf. This stylish three-quarter length jacket is equipped with plenty of pockets, a two-way zip, and a hood, perfectly combining function and style. It features a lining made entirely from recycled polyester, and its main fabric is a blend of 59% recycled polyester, and 41% Sorona; a renewable, recyclable plant-based fabric.
Not only is the jacket impressive on its own terms, but Ecoalf have received a number of awards commending the company’s work in the zero-waste movement, and the broader climate space. Their products have also been Bluesign verified, which guarantees the quality of working conditions throughout the production cycle of their clothing.
Rewilder – Zero Waste Rain Jacket
The luxurious Zero Waste Rain Jacket by Rewilder is the product of their trash-centered design process. Starting with high-performance materials due to be scrapped, and searching for effective ways to give them new life, Rewilder have produced one of the most durable rain jackets on the market.
The waterproof shell is made from the single-use covers used to transport cars across the ocean, offering excellent resistance against water, salt and UV. The trim and lining are made from salvaged seatbelts, and are subsequently incredibly tough. Even the thread they use is sourced from factory waste.
Featuring a silver-colored, oversized, insulated shell, an adjustable hood, a drawstring bottom and extra deep pockets, the Rewilder Zero Waste Rain Jacket is the sort of jacket that you can hide yourself in, and stay happily hidden until the sun comes back out.
Naz – Belmont Coat
The Belmont Coat by Naz is an incredibly stylish zero-waste piece this winter. Finishing just below the knee, and featuring both inside knit cuffs and a warm inner lining, the Belmont Coat is ideal for staying cozy when you’re out after work.
Naz only uses materials which are deadstock, ecologically produced, or made from local recycled products—all of which are produced by partners in a waterless and non-toxic process. The Belmont Coat exhibits each of these material types, made from 44% recycled wool, 35% recycled polyester, 16% recycled alpaca wool and 5% other recycled fibers. The lining is made entirely from deadstock polyester, and the buttons are made from recycled paper.
Worn Wear – ReCrafted Down Jacket
The ReCrafted Down Jacket range offers both fantastic protection in the winter and a beautiful example of zero-waste fashion. ReCrafted Down Jackets are well insulated to keep out the cold, include handwarmer pockets and are lined with a durable, water-repellent finish, making them ideal for cold walks.
These jackets are made from reclaimed Patagonia items. This not only guarantees the quality of each product, as well as their zero-waste credentials, but it also means that each jacket is truly unique.
Outerknown – Women’s Chromatic Puffer Jacket
This superwarm quilted puffer jacket is perfect for dealing with some serious cold. Coming in several tones, featuring a zipper, snap closure and 800 fill-power down, the Chromatic Puffer Jacket by Outerknown is a must-have for those who want to stay active throughout the winter.
The Chromatic Puffer Jacket’s shell is made from 100% recycled plastic, all of which is sourced from post-consumer waste, and as their goose down has been certified by the Responsible Down Standard, you can rest assured that the jacket’s extreme warmth comes from an ethical source.
Finisterre – Nebulas Insulated Jacket
As warm as it is lightweight, the Nebulas Insulated Jacket is a versatile piece which will serve you as well on a wind-blown cliff as it will walking to a bar. Featuring concealed elasticated cuffs, handwarmer pockets and a windproof shell, the Nebulas Insulated Jacket is guaranteed to keep you sheltered from the iciest blasts.
It also boasts an impressive range of zero-waste characteristics, including a shell, lining and insulation which are all 100% recycled and certified by the Global Recycling Standard.
Eileen Fisher – Recycled Nylon Hooded Coat
Eileen Fisher is a certified B Corp for whom circularity is a central value. Many of the brands products are made from recycled materials, and their Renew Programme takes back old Eileen Fisher garments, either to be cleaned and resold, or upcycled into entirely new and unique pieces.
The Eileen Fisher Recycled Nylon Hooded Coat is a prime example of brand ethics in action, and is designed to keep you warm through the winter. This chic, box-fit coat is designed to keep out the wind without restricting mobility, and features a 100% recycled nylon shell, hood, overlapping front and snap closure.
Askov Finlayson – Winter Parka
The Winter Parka by Askov Finlayson is the central garment in the brands’ mission to Keep the North Cold. Available for both men and women, it features 100% recycled featherless insulation, which is rated for comfort down to -20°F. Boasting a 100% recycled water-resistant shell, a 100% recycled Bluesign verified lining, plus a scuba fit hood and elasticated cuffs, the Winter Parka locks the winter out and you in.
In combination with their recycled materials, Askov Finlayson is a climate positive brand. Not only is the brands’ apparel made mostly from recycled materials, but they offset social carbon costs by 110%, incorporating the environmental costs from zipper production to employee travel.
Whilst fashion and sustainability tend to clash, each of these brands and the jackets they sell offer excellent examples of how businesses can go zero waste. For more guidance on zero waste products, and information on how to go zero waste at home, checkout the Zero Waste Blog.