Despite the prolific problems of fast fashion, there are many sustainable clothing brands that are changing the game. You can easily find just about any ethical garment for every eco-cassion.
In fact, it’s so easy you can do it in your sleep… literally!
Which brings us to the topic of today’s article: fair trade and ethical pajamas. While some of you may prefer to sleep in your sustainable skivvies and others in some luxe lingerie, sometimes you just need a good old fashioned pair of lounge PJs (especially handy for embracing isolation in comfort).
This is a list of the best fair trade pajama brands (with a little bit of loungewear sprinkled in, too).
While we’re fans of each brand on this list, our favorites are: for their simple yet stylish and affordable organic fair trade pajamas, Pact; if you’re looking for luxury go straight to Kotn, they use Egyptian Cotton known as Giza and apparently it’s the “white gold”; and finally, for a huge selection and ultra transparency, you can’t go wrong with Everlane.
If you aren’t familiar with our sustainable fashion criteria, be sure to read our “How we Choose These Brands” section at the bottom of the article.
So let’s get to counting sheep (and by that, of course, we mean all these wonderful ethical pajama brands!).
Fair Trade Ethical Pajama Brands Based in the USA / Canada
Let’s all make a pact to support sustainable pajama brands. What better place to start shopping than with Boulder, Colorado’s Pact?
Regular readers will surely recognize these guys from a few of our other articles (e.g. ethical underwear, activewear, and T shirts). Simple and minimalist to the stitch, Pact sells a sleep tee, sleep set, and pocket robe for men, women, and children.
Pact’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: All these sustainable cotton pajamas are made from Fair Trade 100% organic cotton. Super soft and biodegradable to boot!
- Supply chain & labor practices: Pact sources 74% of their organic cotton from India, where they also manufacture their range in Fair Trade factories that are strictly against sweatshop conditions or child labor.
They write: “It makes a lot of economical and environmental sense for our clothing to be made where our organic cotton is harvested […] We view this as an opportunity to better the global community and make an impact on lives all over.”
- Green business practices: Water saved through organic farming methods aside (95%, in case you were wondering), Pact employs water and energy-saving techniques at the production level and uses precise cutting techniques to reduce excess fabric trimmings.
- Inclusivity: S-XL sizes available. Pact aims to encourage it’s patrons to #JustWearYou and what garment embodies (literally) that more than PJs?
- Community & charitable giving: Pact’s Give Back. Wear Forward program takes returned and gently used clothing and donates them to several U.K. non-profits who distributes them to underprivileged groups in need.
Canadian B-Corp Kotn started in 2014, and since then they’ve set a new benchmark in sustainable cotton clothing. You’ll find their luxury Egyptian Cotton in all kinds of things, like flannel shirts, T shirts, chinos, and sweaters for both women and men.
Their sleep and loungewear categories are filled with things like joggers, crop sweatshirts, turtlenecks, robes, and long johns (for the perfect ethical winter pajama party). Who says cotton is a warm weather fabric?
Kotn’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: Most cotton fabric today (as in 90%) is made of short fiber cotton, while Pima and Egyptian cotton (Gossypium Barbadense) are long fiber crops. Meaning they’re more durable (so you’re getting really good quality fair trade pajamas here) and softer due to their higher thread count.
Kotn not only use premium cotton, but they actually source the finest and rarest of all Egyptian Cotton: Giza “white gold” cotton. And they use this for every piece of clothing they make. It’s not all organic, but here’s why:
“Many farms lack the knowledge, resources, or motivation to become 100% certified organic. Our belief is that the future of Egyptian cotton rests on its ability to mobilize and lead the way in agriculture and sustainability. For this reason, we’ve embarked on a project to ensure 100% of our cotton is certified organic within the next five years.
However, instead of simply neglecting the farms that don’t already have these practices in place, we’ll be working with each farm to set up these systems, so they too can participate in a more sustainable future.”
- Supply chain & labor practices: As a direct trade company, Kotn purchases set-price cotton directly from family-run farms. This ensures farmers are more protected from market fluctuations (which operates just like oil!). It’s “like farm-to-table, but for your clothes.”
They also provide farming subsidies, equal opportunity employment at their factories, and regular third-party audits. Beyond that, they respect their employees: “We work with partners who believe in a commitment to their employees; not to be regarded as robots or cogs in a wheel, but as craftspeople with boundless potential.”
- Green business practices: Giza cotton is special because it only grows in the Nile Delta region of Egypt (which means the whole supply chain is limited to about 100km). Another characteristic of Giza cotton is that it must be handpicked to avoid damaging the long, fine fibers. Which also means it’s a more durable end fabric, with fewer machines in the supply chain (reducing emissions), and the creation of more jobs.
- Inclusivity: Kotn has great size inclusivity (some of the best among PJ brands actually). Their clothing is available XS-XXL – a good option for fair trade plus size pajamas.
- Community & charitable giving: Kotn partners with a local Egyptian non-profit working to stop the cycle of child labor by providing education for children (especially girls with fewer opportunities) from their cotton farming communities.
Everlane is another sustainable clothing brand coming to us from the San Francisco Bay area. This icon of ethical fashion, founded in 2010 by Jesse Farmer and Michael Preysman, is a gold mine as far as pure selection goes, both in terms of women’s and menswear.
Their sleepwear is split between loungewear and underwear on their website, depending on your preference. If you’re looking for extra comfortable fair trade pajamas though, definitely check the loungewear side for snuggly sweaters, T shirt dresses, boxy tees and raglans, and lounge jumpsuits.
Everlane’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Material: Everlane uses a lot of different fabrics for their sleep and loungewear, mostly recycled cashmere, organic cotton, recycled cotton, and silk. Some styles are less sustainable than others, so try to avoid those with nylon and other virgin synthetics.
- Supply chain & labor practices: Everlane is a model of “Radical Transparency.” And considering how elusive most fashion supply chains are, they’re not being hyperbolic, especially considering every single product specifies exactly where that garment is manufactured (with a click-through link to an in-depth factory profile) and the true cost of its production.
You can also see all factories on this interactive factory map. Each one clearly states their code of conduct and is audited yearly.
- Green business practices: Everlane may not be perfect across all their fabric choices yet, but their recently launched ReNew line is the first step in the journey to replace all virgin synthetics with recycled ones. They hope to eliminate virgin plastic from production by 2021.
- Inclusivity: Everlane have a range of sizes for men (XS-XXL) and women (XXS- XL). They use models of all shapes and importantly ages – possibly the only brand we’ve seen this from.
Founded in 1991, Coyuchi is a California organic bedwear brand that makes sheets, towels, robes, and other affordable sustainable sleepwear basics for men and women.
While their chemises, rompers, shorts, and nightgowns may look coy, the name Coyuchi is actually a play on the word “coyote” and a reference to their garments earthy-hues like a coyote’s coat. Combine that with some ocean-inspired blues and you have environmentally friendly pajamas to calm the conscious.
Coyuchi’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: The coolest thing about Coyuchi is that they use completely natural fibers so everything they make is fully compostable. Their sleepwear specifically is 100% GOTS organic cotton that is minimally processed and MADE SAFE certified.
- Supply chain & labor practices: Coyuchi has lots of ethical certifications, the most notable of which are their Textile Exchange membership and Fair Trade premium certification (on both supply and manufacturing ends).
This means they abide by regular fair trade standards as well as provide additional funding to a worker-managed Community Development Fund.They source all cotton through India’s ethically renown Chetna Organic Farming Cooperative, where clothing is woven in Turkey or India, and manufactured at a factory in Portugal.
- Green business practices: Coyuchi is going green in many respects. Like choosing partners who employ water recycling methods (their Portuguese factory recycled 98% of all water used), selling “climate beneficial products” grown through regenerative agriculture techniques, and using FSC certified recycled cardboard and organic cotton bags for packaging.
To ensure all Coyuchi products are responsibly disposed of, they offer two unique circularity services:
1) 2nd Home™ recycling service which has so far diverted over 15 thousand pounds of textile waste from landfills. Returned items are sent to The Renewal Workshop for either used resale after repair and CO2 washing, recycling into new textiles, or composting.
2) Coyuchi for Life subscription service for their bedding and towels, ensuring you always have fresh and soft linens and that your old ones are properly recycled. Kind of gives a new meaning to sleep cycle!
- Inclusivity: Coyuchi offer M, L, and XL for men, and XS, S, and M for women. They use a wide range of models.
- Community & charitable giving: Coyuchi’s 1% for the Planet beneficiary is Fibershed, though they also further support regenerative agriculture by partnering with the White Buffalo Land. Through both, they work to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and improve biodiversity around the world.
5. HARVEST AND MILL
About Harvest & Mill
What started in 2012 as a custom sewn clothing shop, Harvest & Mill has grown into something much bigger. This small-but-mighty brand is re-invigorating the American industry by being “Grown and sewn in the USA”, seed to stitch.
Every one of their minimalist loungewear pieces purchased (which includes tees, raglans, baggy pants, and socks) is a vote against the harmful mainstream cotton farming industry as they use regenerative organic agriculture to negate carbon, not just reduce it. Now that’s a brand we can stand (err… sleep?) behind.
Harvest & Mill’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: Harvest & Mill’s fair trade cotton pajamas are made of (you guessed it) 100% organic cotton, grown right in the USA.
As per their Toxin-Free Initiative, most of their garments are unbleached and undyed, or dyed naturally. For instance, their California Clay Tee Artist series are dyed using natural red clay. Their newest articles are made of organic heirloom cotton, which is naturally brown (no dyes necessary!)
The only exceptions are their black garments, which are dyed with EPA compliant low impact fiber reactive dyes.
- Supply chain & labor practices: With farmers and dye artists in Indiana and California, and independent sewing studios all within 20 miles of their Berkeley base, Harvest & Mill has an entirely USA-based domestic supply chain. All cotton is directly commissioned through American heritage mills without the use of wholesalers or brokers.
Being based in America ensures fair wages and strict safety standards, as well as supporting the local economy by creating “satisfying jobs that encourage human productive creativity in safe spaces.”
- Green business practices: Their regenerative farming techniques are managed in partnership with the non-profit organisation Fibershed, which promotes soil health and protects biodiversity.
Their carbon footprint is kept to a minimum thanks to a fully domestic supply chain, lack of chemical usage, and compostable packaging. Rather than plastic or poly bags, for instance, they use tissue paper and kraft paper mailers.
- Inclusivity: You’ll find sizes for everyone, from XS-XL.
6. AMOUR VERT
About Amour Vert
Amour Vert is the modern man and woman’s go-to sustainable fashion source, for a healthy selection of everything from slouchy sweaters to sleek evening gowns. Even their loungewear is simple yet chic, including shorts, joggers (which somehow they manage to make fashionable and flattering), and ultra cozy basic tops.
How apt that their name is French for “green love” because these will surely make you say “ooh la loungewear”!
Amour Vert’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Material: Amour Vert prioritizes non-toxic dyes and biodegradable fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, OEKO-Tex silk, ethical wool, and carbon beauties organic beechwood Modal (meaning you’ll get that buttery smooth feel of sustainable silk pajamas while still staying vegan). Be sure to read the fabric description of each item since there’s so many different options.
As a quick example, if you’re in the market for some ethical fleece pajama bottoms, their fleece joggers are made of a sustainable blend of modal, organic cotton, and a touch of Spandex.
- Supply chain & labor practices: AV gives new meaning to US ethical pajama brands. Despite their size and product range, 97% of garments are made in the USA. In one of just six centrally located San Francisco factories, in fact. For further details and stats have a look here.
- Inclusivity: Between XS-XL sizing and a fully representative cohort of models so everyone can visualize themselves snuggling in with Amour Vert’s ethical sleepwear.
- Community & charitable giving: If you prefer sleeping in a basic oversized T-shirt, you can shop here knowing you’re doing extra good thanks to the Tees = Trees program. For every t-shirt purchased, they plant a tree through American forests. Since 2015, 300,000 trees have been planted.
Ethical fashion giant Reformation makes women’s sustainable pajamas and loungewear. You could slumber party it up in their matching Mini Pajama Set (pictured) or sequester yourself away with a good book and cuppa in one of their slouchy sweatshirts. With so many sustainable options, the biggest problem will be exercising some minimalist consumer restraint.
Reformation’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Material: Reformation uses a wide range of fabrics, but a lot of their sleepwear line is 100% Tencel Lyocell. Other versatile loungewear is made of organic cotton, recycled cotton, modal, and sometimes elastane. Always read the full fabric contents to avoid any styles with virgin synthetics, where possible.
56% of their dyeing partners are either Bluesign® or OEKO-TEX 100 certified, and all are tested against a host of restricted substances.
- Supply chain & labor practices: Reformation owns 33 factories in Los Angeles, where 65% of production occurs. This allows them full traceability and shows they have nothing to hide, they give in-person tours too.
They have a handful of regularly audited, Global Social Compliance Programme’s (GSCP) Code of Conduct compliant factories in China, Morocco, and Turkey.
- Green business practices: Here’s where Reformation is really putting in the work. Their footprint reducing initiatives are endless. To name a few, they: use wind power suppliers, feature product impact counters, publish a yearly sustainability report, operate in Green Business certified office buildings, use only e-commerce marketing (which saves 30% energy), ship in bio-based packaging, and stock offices with eco-friendly office supplies (like recycled tire pens).
They’ve also been unofficially carbon neutral since 2015 (though they’re getting the fancy seal of approval” through Climate Neutral this year) by purchasing offsets for just about everything imaginable (even the energy your home computer takes to browse their site) through Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation Project and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). They sell Native Energy climate credits at checkout and incentivize customers that switch to wind energy.
Lastly, Reformation signed onto the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment in late 2019, with the goal of recirculating 500,000 garments by 2025. At the time of writing, they’re well over halfway there!
- Inclusivity: Reformation’s standard sizes include an XS-XL range. While not available for their sleepwear sets, their loungewear offers a few additional petite and plus-sized options.
- Community & charitable giving: Reformation’s give back partners rotate on a regular basis, but past examples include ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
They also donate time, by paying their staff to volunteer a full day each month. And they plant a tree through LA’s TreePeople for each staff members’ birthday.
8. THREADS 4 THOUGHT
About Threads 4 Thought
Threads 4 Thought may be based in the fast-paced world of NYC, but they’re all about slow fashion and want to encourage you to #WearThoughtfully… even to bed!
This brand specializes in basics and activewear, but their sleepwear is somewhere between pjs and loungewear (ploungewar?) – a multi-tasker whether you’re working from home, binging the latest environmental doco on Netflix, or catching some Zs. Check out their sweatsuits, matching joggers and sweatshirts, and baggy culottes.
T4T’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Material: All their fair trade loungewear is made from four fabrics: organic cotton, recycled polyester, Lenzing Modal (the most sustainable maker of Modal), and rayon, which they use in only small blends. Still, opt for fully compostable garments if you can.
- Supply chain & labor practices: T4T is certified by both Fair Trade and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), so there’s not just one but TWO leading auditing agents double checking the ethical side of their operations.
- Green business practices: Remember the second R of the 5Rs of zero waste? Reuse! And T4T has that one on lock, reusing 80% of the water and 95% of materials and fabric trimmings at their main factory.
- Inclusivity: T4T aims to be budget and lifestyle inclusive by offering interest-free payment installments. XS-XL sizes.
- Community & charitable giving: By partnering with the International Rescue Committee, T4T donates a portion of all profits to disaster-stricken communities and refugees.
Under the parentage of Columbia sportswear, prAna has become one of the most fashion-forward and sustainably-minded outdoor apparel brands. Their bestselling activewear is super popular for its comfort and functionally, especially among surfers, rock climbers, and yogis.
Everything they make is tested in the great outdoors, even their fair trade loungewear. You can go backpacking, sleep in your tent, and climb up a wall the next day, all in the same leggings and fuzzy fleece sweater. These warm ethical pajamas will keep you cozy and toasty, inside or out.
prAna’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: prAna uses lots of fabrics, not all of which are 100% sustainable. Most loungewear, fortunately, is fairly sustainable, with fabrics like organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp, TENCEL Modal, and sustainably harvested merino wool.
- Supply chain & labor practices: Though they have made our list of fair trade PJs, not all of prAna’s garments bear the Fair Trade certification. You can use their handy website filter function to find those that are or to find those made in low labor abuse risk countries. Those without aren’t necessarily unethical, as prAna’s Textile Exchange membership establishes a basic level of social responsibility across all suppliers and factories.
While they do have a huge global supply chain, prAna is committed to full traceability and transparency throughout.
- Green business practices: prAna partners with bluesign®, which audits all factories and fabric mills to ensure finished garments contain the bare minimum of toxic substances. Less chemical processing is of course good for the environment (both at manufacturing and end of life disposal stages) but also good for the employees making your clothes.
- Inclusivity: While prAna is chiefly an outdoor brand, they’ve done a good job of breaking free from the outdoor brand marketing status quo. Their loungewear sizes are available from XS-XL.
- Community & charitable giving: prAna gives back primarily through Outdoor Outreach, which pairs underprivileged urban youth with outdoor experiences. prAna also gives their ambassadors and athletes a lot of freedom (and funding) to organize their own outreach programs and events.
For planet-friendly yet playful slumber-party inspired PJs, check out Evewear. Talia Eve’s designs are fun, flirty, and fall somewhere in between sleepwear and lingerie. You’ll find all kinds of tops, bottoms, sets, jumpsuits, and nightgowns in pretty pastels and bright shades.
Evewear’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: These eco friendly pajamas are made entirely out of recycled deadstock fabric. And not just any old deadstock, but 100% cotton deadstock! While they can’t be sure their cotton is organic because of that, this practice diverts tons of waste from landfills and yields fully compostable PJs.
PS: They haven’t used any synthetic deadstock since their very first collection (which is sold out and unavailable now).
- Supply chain & labor practices: Evewear sources all deadstock and manufactures in Los Angeles because they “believe in supporting our local artisan economy through competitive wages and domestic production”
- Green business practices: In the spirit of “doing more with less”, they produce in small batches and use as many existing materials as possible.
- Inclusivity: Founder Talia ultimately wanted to “create a clothing brand that every girl could identify with […] The Free Spirit, Tomboy, Girl Next Door, Icon, and Romantic live inside each one of us”. Which is why every one of these Evewear lines run an inclusive XS-XL.
Fair Trade Pyjama Brands Based in the UK / Europe
11. ORGANIC BASICS
About Organic Basics
As great as straight-up pajamas are, sometimes it’s nice to sleep in something a little more versatile. That way, when you sleep through your alarm, you can skip the step of taking them off before getting ready for Monday morning’s meeting. That’s why Organic Basics’ essential tees and tanks that can double as jammies are totally our jam.
Joy was actually gifted one of their wonderfully soft silver tech T-shirts, which she loves for its comfort and multi-day stink-free wearability. Wish I got one!
Organic Basics’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: The best of OB’s organic fair trade pajama tops are those made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. A close second are their Silver Tech, which adds a pinch of sustainably-sourced OEKO-Tex 100 silver (rated safe by both the EPA and REACH) to the organic cotton providing antimicrobial and heat-regulating properties.
OB also uses recycled nylon and TENCEL in some of their tops.
- Supply chain & labour practices: Don’t let the name fool you, OB is anything but #basic about their supply chain transparency (which is entirely based in Europe). They publish just about everything we as consumers need to know, like factory locations and in-depth employee stats (including vacation days, hours worked, etc.).
They’re also BSCI-compliant, hold a Sedex membership, and regularly visit their factories for sit down de-briefs with each employee to discuss their happiness and job satisfaction.
- Green business practices: In an effort to say, “Goodbye carbon!”, OB now offers free global shipping that is certified carbon neutral thanks to Chooose offsets purchased to fund the UN verified Koru Wind Farm in Canakkale, Turkey.
They even round their carbon calculations up: “For every order placed from now on we offset one hundred kilos of CO2 – which is actually a lot more than we need to – but that’s fine by us”.
For more, see their latest 2019 Impact Report, as well a gander at the individual product impact counters.
- Inclusivity: XS-XL sizes and a wide range of models means OB might as well stand for “overall bodies”.
- Community & charitable giving: Via the Organic Basics Fund, they give back by calling for project submissions from environmental grassroots activists or organizations. The best two applicants receive a grant to bring their vision to life. See past winners here.
12. PEOPLE TREE
About People Tree
London’s People Tree is another of our fashion faves. They’re one of the original sustainable and ethical fashion brands (since 1991). They even became the first fashion brand to receive the World Fair Trade Organisation’s Fair Trade certification. From warm-weather eco friendly dresses and t shirts to chilly sweaters, they’ve got everything a woman needs.
While their Fair Trade pajamas for women aren’t numerous, they’ve got something to suit your sleep cycle: warm, cold, modest, playful, whatever! We especially love the fun child inspired prints…because if we can’t release our inner child when dreaming, when can we?!
People Tree’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Material: People Tree uses a host of fabrics, but their PJ keeps it sustainably simple. They’re 100% Fair Trade certified organic cotton that has been dyed with GOTS-certified eco-safe and azo-free dyes.
- Supply chain & labor practices: For sourcing, all PT fabrics are Fairtrade International (FLO) and Soil Association certified. For manufacturing, over 90% of their supply chain (mostly located in Nepal and Bangladesh) is Fair Trade certified. You can read more about their labor practices in their 2019 Social Review
- Green business practices: People Tree manufactures using closed-loop systems and hand crafting techniques to minimize emissions and resource waste. While they do need machines here and there, they think of them as a last resort.
- Inclusivity: People Tree sizes run from 8-16 UK (or 2-14 US), which is fairly broad. We do love their inclusivity in brand image and garment modeling
- Community & charitable giving: The People Tree Foundation’s main initiative is to promote ethical fashion by raising awareness and providing education on Fair Trade manufacturing.
They also donate to various grassroots organizations, namely Bombolulu, which provides opportunities for Kenyans with physical disabilities.
Another one of our best fair trade pajamas comes from Britain’s family run company – Noctu. It was launched in 2009 to make sleepwear for the whole family. Their line of men’s, women’s, and kids’ summer sustainable pajamas are loose, slouchy, and oh so airy. Shop minimalist nightgowns (short or long), jumpsuits, and joggers.
And have you ever seen cuter kids fair trade pajamas?!
In the chillier months, they can also outfit you with lambswool hot water bottles and sustainable duvet covers.
Noctu’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: These ethical vegan pajamas are made of 100% GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton process with GOTS certified heavy metal free low impact dyes. A good option for those of us with chemical allergies and sensitive skin.
- Supply chain & labor practices: Noctu sources their cotton from ethical fair trade compliant farms that enforce workers rights through unions, provide fair wages and good working conditions, and do not tolerate child labor. All manufacturing is locally based in England but they do ship globally.
- Inclusivity: While Noctu uses inclusive models, their sizes are limited to small, medium, and large.
- Community & charitable giving: For every purchase made, Noctu donates the monetary equivalent of saving 10 square metres of endangered wildlife through the World Land Trust (WLT).
Fair Trade Pyjama Brands Based in Australia / Asia Pacific
While Boody now have a global customer base and a North American office in San Diego, they’re still a family-owned business that prioritizes planet over profit.
In their words, “Comfort is nothing without peace of mind”.
This bamboo loving brand makes everyday essentials like seam and pinch-free underwear, activewear, cut and sewn loungewear, and PETA approved ethical vegan sleepwear for men, women, and even babies!
Seriously, their infant onesies are eco-adorable.
Boody’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: What’s better than basking in bed? Basking in bed in breathable bamboo, of course. Boody uses organic bamboo rayon (mixed with a tiny bit of spandex), created through a closed loop process in which all liquid and non-toxic solvents are captured, removed, and reused.
They back up all claims to non-toxicity with certifications by OEKO-Tex, EcoCert, ISO 14001, and ISO 9001. Boody also performs independent SGS quality testing on all products to ensure they’re up to standard regarding seam strength, pill resistance, and an absence of azo dyes, heavy metals, and formaldehyde. Any baby products are additionally tested for lead, phthalates, and 46 other chemical irritants.
- Supply chain & labour practices: Boody aims to “maximiz[e] positive outputs and minimiz[e] negative ones through the entire supply chain”. This starts with having full traceability of their suppliers and sourcing bamboo from FSC certified forests.
Manufacturing entities adhere to WRAP labor standards and provide equal opportunity employment.
- Green business practices: Aside from SGS testing their products, they SGS test their packaging for toxic elements. All Boody bags and boxes are made with recycled paper and printed in vegetable inks.
- Inclusivity: “Boody fits who you are, naturally”, in more ways than one. They use a range of models and offer XS-XL sizes for women and S-XL for men.
Their products are also affordable, and made even more so through their interest-free 4 payment plan.
- Community & charitable giving: Boody is a member of 1% for the Planet program, but they give back by doing more than just giving money. They also donate time and products to various organizations.
So what if your fam are the only people to see you in your PJs? Show off a little eco attitude in ettitude’s ultra soft bamboo sleepwear that’s “smooth as silk, as sustainable as hemp, and as breathable as linen, at the price of cotton”.
At 300 thread count (which is the equivalent of 1000 cotton thread count), these are the closest thing to ethical silk pajamas while still being PETA-approved vegan.
From camis to extra loungy button down sleep shirts, ettitude had tops, bottoms, and robes available for men and women. Bonus: they make bamboo bedding to match, so you can complete the sustainable sleep set (especially if you have an ethical mattress and bed frame, too).
ettitude’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: ettitude specializes in 100% organic bamboo pajamas. Now we know bamboo material is rife with greenwashing, and thankfully Ettitude knows that not all bamboo fabrics are created equal. That’s why they use their own patented Bamboo Lyocell fabric technology called CleanBamboo™.
CleanBamboo™is created through a non-toxic, closed-loop system that saves 98% of the water used. They don’t use toxic chemicals to dissolve the bamboo, so they also bear an OEKO-Tex certification.
Some designs are infused with bamboo charcoal, which may remove up to 99.9% of bacteria. Not to mention it’s also hypoallergenic and thermo-regulating properties too.
Finish off your snooze ensemble with their rPET eye masks made from recycled water bottles.
- Supply chain & labor practices: ettitude sources all bamboo from FSC-certified sustainable forests and manufacturers in ethically certified factories, meaning they uphold fair trade equivalent workplace standards. Though, they don’t specify where these factories are located. We’ll be reaching out to get a little more info on the labor side of things.
- Green business practices: To make sure nothing goes to waste, ettitude takes any scrap fabric and turns it into drawstring bags for their sheets.
They also use rPET packaging that’s designed to be resealed and reused, as well as offset all website emissions.
- Inclusivity: Ettitude’s sizes are only available in S, M, and L.
- Community & charitable giving: As per their 1% for the Planet membership, ettitude gives back 1% of sales to various environmental nonprofits. Since Australia’s severe bushfires in 2020, they’ve chosen WIRES and WWF Australia. They’ve also been donating new bedding to communities affected and pre-loved or returned bedding to animal shelters.
A New Zealand based brand founded in 2006, Kowtow has quite the selection of clothing, including swimwear, denim, and more. Their sustainable sleepwear includes just six “canning tidal stripe” styles but given their intended mix-and-match nature, it’s ample choice.
According to founder Gosia Piatek, “The limitations of our ethos keeps us innovative. We don’t compromise on design, and embrace restrictions. This gives our garments a strong minimal identity, and we believe the simplicity of our clothing is the first step toward circularity.”
Kowtow’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: Kowtow uses tons of sustainable fabrics, neatly labeled with various eco badges. Their organic fair trade pajamas, however, are made with 100% cotton textured voile, certified organic by the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). They use only GOTS dyes free from bleach, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and aromatic solvents. Even the buttons (if present) are made of recycled hemp!
- Supply chain & labor practices: Starting with Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) cotton sourced from India, Kowtow continues the trend of third party audits.
All factories are SA8000 certified and they state that all employees receive not just fair wages, but a social security fund, pension fund, health insurance, paid leave (both holiday and sick), subsidized lunches, and free transportation. They also fully support gender equality in the workplace.
- Green business practices: Kowtow encourages you to repair, not replace by offering to mend minor issues and inexpensive Japanese Sashiko patching for larger tips. If it’s time to fully retire, they have a take-back program in exchange for a $10 voucher because they “strongly believe we are responsible for what we produce and that it doesn’t end up as waste”.
All packaging is recyclable, FSC certified, and printed with soy-based, petroleum-free inks. This includes everything from product tags to shipping boxes.
- Inclusivity: With XXS-XL Kowtow are one of the more inclusive fair trade and ethical pajama brands.
17. THE SUMMER HOUSE
About The Summer House
India’s The Summer House focuses on old fashioned ethical pajamas. From long nightshirts to wrap around long sleeve tops, these nighties are classy, modest, and prairie house chic. And let’s face it, Laura Ingles Wilder would have totally been an environmentalist if she were around today!
They also make swimwear, dresses, and even some homeware.
The Summer House’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
- Materials: The business of truly ethical cotton pajamas means organic or bust. Thankfully, The Summer House uses 100% block printed GOTS organic cotton. All dyes are natural and azo-free, but they’d “rather not use them at all” which is why many of their garments are totally undyed.
- Supply chain & labor practices: The Summer House operates 100% in India. This includes sourcing their undyed fabric from weavers in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, and block printing through cooperatives in Karnataka and Gujarat.
Final production takes place in their own “well lit, happy studio” where they earn fair wages and receive skills training for career advancement. They also write, “At no point is financial gain given precedence over physical and mental health”.
- Green business practices: By practicing hand weaving and hand block printing techniques, they not only save on a bunch of carbon emissions but also help preserve these artisan Indian techniques.
- Inclusivity: The Summer House PJs come in sizes XS to L. While that’s not a huge range, remember these styles are loose and flowing so each size will fit more bodies than most. The billowy fits would actually make them comfortable sustainable maternity pajamas.
WHY ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE PAJAMAS?
At first glance, pajamas may not strike one as a source of environmental and ethical harm, but as with every aspect of fashion, even simple sleepwear can hide a boogeyman under the bed.
Perhaps the biggest problem with pjs is how ubiquitous they are. Seriously, how many pairs do you own? How many do you wear? How many gaudy sets has Grandma gifted you over the years that you never wore?
Seriously, who sees you in your pajamas?! We thought so. So how many do we really need?
Because they’re a quick consumable, they also tend to be cheap and low quality. Which equals sweatshop-like overly machinated factories.
Then there’s the fabric. Most commonly, pajamas are made of cotton, which unless it’s grown organically, is one of the most water intensive (and water wasting) crops. Those white cotton robes might seem clean, but they’re dirtier than most petroleum-derived fibers thanks to all the pesticides and fertilizers needed.
Other common pajama fabrics are fleece (made mostly using unsustainable materials), rayon (which requires tons of chemical processing) and silk (whose farming is tied to all kinds of ethical conundrums – watch this video for the skinny on silk)
All in all, that puts us in quite the paJAMa.
HOW WE CHOSE THESE BEST ETHICAL PAJAMAS
Sustainable fashion is a moving feast. What’s sustainable today won’t be (hopefully) tomorrow. That is, the cleaner the industry becomes the higher the bar will go…so, we’re constantly learning new things to keep up with progress.
So, in effort to help you sort through the volume of information out there, we’ve published a comprehensive guide to sustainable and ethical fashion. And using that guide, we created a set of criteria by which we measure brands. These include:
- Materials: Arguably the MOST important one. Even though this a guide to fair trade sleepwear, the materials determine so much of a pair of PJ’s impact, both environmentally AND socially, which is why we’re diving deeper into this just below.
- Supply chain & labor practices: This deals with a brand’s social responsibility across the whole manufacturing process. We take into account every stage if we can, from raw material sourcing to fabric processing to final sewing or knitting. Ideally, brands can trace all their raw materials back to the original source and are transparent about all their factories.
We understand not every brand is 100% perfect, but it’s the honesty and willingness to improve that matters most.
Having third party audits and certifications back up any ethical claims they do make is also huge, as that’s the biggest defense we have against greenwashing. Some main ones include:
- Fair trade: Obviously, considering the name of this list, this is a big one. It verified that either raw materials or finished garments were made fairly in the sense that the laborers receive fair pay, proper training, reasonable work hours, and safe work environments. It also guarantees them protection against discrimination, harassment, abuse, and child/forced labor.
- B-Corp: This is widely considered the gold standard certification because it requires a yearly audit across ALL supply chain entities and provides a succinct numerical score based on 80 “impact areas”. These results are all publicly available on the B-Corp website.
- OEKO-Tex 100: Ensures that no harmful chemicals (such as colorants, heavy metals, formaldehyde, azo-dyes, bleach, sodium dioxide) are used in manufacturing. For European brands, REACH is the equivalent certification.
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): For natural/cellulose fibers grown and processed “seed to shelf” without the use of chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, machine harvesting, bleaches, or chemical plasticizers.
- Global Recycle Standard (GRS): For recycled fabrics, either synthetic or natural. To obtain this cert, a certain percentage of the fiber contents must be verifiably recycled. That way, we don’t have brands broadly claiming their garments are partially recycled when only 1% recycled material is actually recycled.
- More reputable certifications: Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Fair Wear Foundation, Business for Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), Social Accountability International (SA8000)
- Green business practices: This is our catch-all category for other ways a brand works to reduce their impact. This can be literally anything, but some of the most common green initiatives we find include garment recycling programs, reusing textile waste, carbon offsetting, renewable energy powered factories, closed-loop fiber processing, hand manufacturing techniques, and non-plastic/compostable packaging.
- Inclusivity: Fashion unfortunately isn’t very body-positive on the whole. How often do you see stick-thin white super models wearings things in a way that we regular folks will just never do? Too often. For us, it’s important that brands show off their products on real people that everyone can identify with, as well as offer a range of sizes that will fit everyone. Fashion for all!
- Community & charitable giving: Extra points to brands that give back, whether it be time, money, or support to various causes by simply raising awareness.
Fabrics for Environmentally Friendly Pajamas
Here’s a frightening fact for you: 60% of a garment’s impact comes solely from fabric choice.
And the best sustainable pajamas are those made with sustainable fabrics: natural, organically grown fibers or closed-loop processed celulostic ones. Here are some common ones:
- Organic Cotton: Most sustainable sleepwear ends up being organic cotton, because it’s an all-around amazing fiber! It’s breathable, lightweight, soft, and requires 88% less water, and 62% less energy than traditional cotton to grow and produce. Those of you looking for fair trade flannel pajamas, those are going to be cotton.
- Fleece: Ethical fleece pajamas are tricky because fleece is typically made from virgin polyester. In a nutshell though, if you can find some made of fully recycled polyester (or a blend of recycled fibers and natural fibers) that would be the exception. We discuss this at length here if you want to know more about it.
- Lyocell: A cellulosic fibers (aka a semi-synthetic fiber) made from the pulp of (usually) eucalyptus that’s been dissolved and spun into fibers via a closed-loop process. Read more about what lyocell is in our other article here.
- Modal: Modal is similar to lyocell, except that it’s made from the pulp of beech trees. As a fabric, it’s super silky, so it’s a cruelty-free alternative for those looking for fair trade silk pajamas. You can read more about modal in our deep fibre dive here.
- Ethical Wool: Use of wool is a deal breaker if sourced from suppliers that don’t treat their animals ethically. When wool is used, we look for industry standards and certifications (e.g. Response Wool Standard) that independently verify the ethical treatment of wool-producing animals.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a tricky one, because transforming bamboo into rayon or viscose can often involve a host of really harmful chemicals, and it’s often hard to tell exactly how a brand processes (or plasticizes) their bamboo. In our experience, if a brand doesn’t specify, avoid it.
Look for bamboo Lyocell or Modal, specifically the Tencel brand if you can. This ensures that the bamboo is processed in a closed-loop way that reuses the water and any chemicals. You can also look for those that specify they use non-toxic solvents and have OEKO-Tex 100 approval to verify the claim.
Is your head spinning yet? Don’t worry, we’re here so you can rest easy knowing that we did the work for you and that we also contact every brand to confirm or update any policies.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ETHICAL, FAIR TRADE PAJAMAS
As exciting as this list is, remember: If you already have perfectly good PJs, don’t feel like you need to replace them just because they aren’t sustainable. The most sustainable garments are those you already own.
Next to that, we always recommend buying used though, in this case, we’d understand if you thought it was a little too personal – we would too! Still, you might be able to score some that are new new-with-tags.
If you know of any amazingly sustainable sleepwear companies that didn’t make our list, drop their name in the comments. One can never have too many choices when it comes to PJs!
So good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the fast fashion bugs bite!