The 15 Best Brands for Organic and Ethical Basic & Graphic Tees

By Abigail Davidson
June 9, 2021
We’ve never covered something as basic as eco-friendly t-shirts before because it’s one of the only sustainable fashion categories that’s actually been oversaturated since the beginning. Thank you, but no, we do not need another organic basic tee brand. You might even have enough eco-friendly tees in your closet already. Or, you might have success finding some great vintage tees already in circulation on a secondhand apparel website (so you can save a few from a landfill). For all of these reasons, we hesitated when asked to create a guide to eco-friendly and organic t-shirts.
But, we’re here to give you, our reader, what you want. Perhaps it’s because t-shirts are low-hanging fruit for sustainable fashion newbies. Or maybe it’s because more people are dressing down more often now as they work from home. Either way, we’re here to help. So, below are the most trusted brands for eco-friendly and ethically made t-shirts for women, men, non-binary folks, and kids. These are established, sustainable apparel brands that have proven themselves with transparency over the past several years. Each one offers something a little different — whether it’s regenerative cotton, fun graphics, or custom measured shirts — so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
SANTICLER offers timeless organic cotton t-shirts that will fit great into any capsule wardrobe. They are produced in a small factory in Romania, where the SANTICLER team works closely with the factory owners to ensure ethical and high-quality production standards every step of the way. They also strive for a zero-waste process, running small orders based on specific demand to eliminate excess waste and using recycled and biodegradable packaging.
What to Look for in Eco & Ethical Tees:
Natural and/or recycled fibers: Organic and/or recycled fibers like cotton, TENCEL, and recycled polyester are better for the environment than virgin synthetics and even conventional cotton (which is what most traditional tees are made out of).
Timelessness and style:Choose tees that you will genuinely love for a long time, and that will fit well into your overall wardrobe. Go for shirts that you’ll be able to dress up or down as you go from work to the gym.
Environmentally-conscious manufacturing:The processes involved in creating textiles are often pretty harsh on the environment, using lots of water, chemicals, and energy, and leaving behind waste. Look for brands that are using more earth-friendly processes that reduce their impact.
Non-toxic dyes and finishes:Traditional clothing is dyed with chemicals that are not good for the earth, the people making them, or you. Look for natural and/or non-toxic alternatives and certifications.
Fair labor and transparency:Look for brands that prioritize transparency (do they tell you where their apparel is made, with pictures?) and certifications like Fair Trade and SA8000.
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