Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Cuyana #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Cuyana
Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Kin the Label #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Kin the Label
Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by tentree #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by tentree

Sustainable and Fair Trade Hats: 6 Brands Brimming With Style


Hats off to you and your sustainable fashion journey! 

Hats made from virgin plastic-based synthetic fabrics and unethically-sourced wool have us feeling like the Mad Hatter: “A dream is not reality, but who’s to say which is which?”

But who’s to say something can’t be both?

Our dreams of (stylishly) messy hat hair that’s better for people and the planet are becoming a reality with several brands creating seriously sustainable and fair trade hats.

It should come as no surprise that we head right to Patagonia and their selection of the fair trade sun hats for any adventure. Cuyana makes their hats based on a “fewer, better” mentality by utilizing recycled materials to make hats that’ll last a lifetime. 

Going beyond fair trade hats, United by Blue is cleaning up the spaces in which we wear hats (i.e. the great outdoors) through tons of environmental and inclusivity-minded actions.

Before you pick one, put on your thinking cap and head to the bottom to read our cHAT about how we decided on these brands. 

*This post contains affilate links

QUICK LINKS FOR FAIR TRADE AND SUSTAINABLE HATS


1. ACCOMPANY

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Artesano #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Artesano
About Accompany

Accompany is on a humanity-focused mission to change our world for the better.

Instead of quick fixes and temporary solutions, they’re working to create permanent change in some of the systems and cycles that keep people in poverty. 

They’re doing this in three ways:

  • Trading mass-produced goods for those that are handmade and artisanal
  • Using fair trade practices (some certified, some using their own criteria)
  • Supporting humanitarian and philanthropic causes

The ethical marketplace scours the globe to find partners who align with at least one of these, which means they have some of the best fair trade mens hats (and women’s hats!) around. 

They don’t have a zillion different varieties but we think that’s a boon rather than a bane.

Let’s face it, we have one head to accommodate one hat and no one likes decision paralysis.

You’ll love the classy look for their fair trade Panama hats for summer and fair trade winter hats for when the mercury drops. 

Accompany’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Wool felt and alpaca wool are the go-to materials for Accompany in all their hats.

Although one hat style blends alpaca wool with a little bit of acrylic. It’s still very easy to get one made with 100% natural fibers, though. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Certified B Corporation Accompany is accompanied by two artisan groups who provide fair trade wool hats and a straw hats range: Artesano and Shupaca.

Artesano is a collective of Ecuadorian artisans who use only eco-friendly materials, empowering their community with education and skills initiatives. 

Shupaca uses one of the world’s finest materials (alpaca) to advance social and economic wellbeing in a community just outside Quito, Ecuador.

All of their products respect traditional techniques and are handmade on wooden looms. All artisans are fairly and directly compensated for their work. 

Community & charitable giving:

Some of the brand’s artisan partners are performing philanthropic work of their own.

Accompany works on a larger scale to support these efforts by providing donations, training programs, low-interest loans, and infrastructure construction for marginalized communities around the globe. 

Available: Accompany

2. PATAGONIA

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Patagonia #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Patagonia
About Patagonia

Does Patagonia even need an introduction?!?

Environmental and ethical considerations have been at the forefront of this well-known sustainable outdoor clothing brand since they began many years ago.  

And after almost 50 years of improvements (both in stock and sustainability), they’re better than ever.

From eco friendly backpacks and gloves to leggings and winter coats, they’ve got it all.

We’ll tip our hats to one thing we haven’t covered before in Patagonia’s extensive range: hats!

As with all their garments, their hat range is extensive and includes sustainable sun hats, fair trade trucker hats, beanies, and a range of other adventure-ready hats for men, women, and kiddos.

Patagonia’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

If mastering eco friendly materials is the mountain, then Patagonia is well on its way to the summit (like oh-so-many people have done in their apparel).

While we especially love their 100% organic fair trade cotton hats, we also don’t mind seeing their other materials like recycled nylon (from fishing nets), hemp, and recycled polyester.

Most hats have a virgin polyester mesh back, and some have a fluorinated DWR to make them waterproof. Their DWR does contain PFCs but they’re working on finding an alternative.

In the meantime, we’d suggest avoiding these.

Especially since most of the hats are bluesign® certified, i.e. they’re produced without chemicals that harm the environment, workers, and wearers.

Only the safest of materials for their fair trade baby hats!

Supply chain & labor practices:

At the bottom of every product listing, you’ll see the impact it has on the planet.

These “Footprint Chronicles” include how it’s made and where it’s made, revealing most hats are produced in a fair trade factory in Shanghai. 

Patagonia is also a Fair Labor Association founding member, and this accreditation provides an extra layer of transparency. Many of Patagonia’s manufacturing partners are fair trade certified.

Regardless, all adhere to a Code of Conduct based on ILO core labor standards. 

Green business practices:

For happy pockets and planet, Patagonia’s Worn Wear line accepts, sells, and transforms used Patagonia clothes and gear! 

Of course, if you don’t want to get rid of your jacket because it ripped, you can also send it back for free repair… FOR LIFE!

That’s just the beginning of their considerate environmental initiatives. More than three-fourths of their line is made with recycled materials, along with 100% of their cotton being grown organically. 

Inclusivity:

Patagonia has taken recent steps towards addressing some of its diversity and inclusion shortcomings.

They also rank high in terms of diversity, with an executive team that’s 50% female. 

Community & charitable giving:

As a true eco conscious brand, Patagonia inspires us all to get involved.

Their Patagonia Action Works helps to connect anyone and everyone with grassroots groups in their local communities. 

Our planet is # 1 for Patagonia, which is why they started (and of course still participate in) 1% for the Planet. 

Available: Patagonia

3. TENTREE

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by tentree #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by tentree
About tentree

tentree: the name says it all.

This tree-planting organic clothing brand is using the power of earth-friendly materials and carbon-negative practices to make “earth-first apparel”.

What exactly is in this range of “earth-first apparel”? 

Nearly anything imaginable to keep our bodies comfy and cozy, and our planet happy. We’re talking activewear, bags, wallets, pants, leggings, shorts, hoodies, accessories, and more. 

They’re keeping the sun out of our eyes with eco friendly sun hats, sustainable trucker hats, and a range of other affordable ethical hats for men and women. 

tentree’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Some of our favorite sustainable fabrics also happen to be those used by tentree.

Hemp, recycled polyester, organic cotton, recycled wool, and TENCEL lyocell sit atop that conscious head of yours.  

Note though that tentree uses a little spandex/elastane to get that perfect fit on your noggin.  

Supply chain & labor practices:

In each product description, you’ll see where the eco friendly hats are crafted. Most are made in Vietnam and some in China. 

All of tentree’s manufacturing partners adhere to high standards and a Code of Conduct based on ILO standards.

Many are also backed up with additional certifications like those by WRAP, BSCI, SA8000, Fair Trade, and Fair Wear Foundation. 

tentree itself is (unsurprisingly) is a Certified B Corporation.

Green business practices:

Because they use some of the planet’s best materials, you can see the impact each product has on our planet (water, waste, and CO2)—which is much less than it would be with conventional materials. 

Community & charitable giving:

tentree should change their name because it’s more like “fiftymilliontree.” Alright, we suppose ten is still okay because they plant 10 trees for every order. 

As of early 2021, they’re at 53,569,174 trees—well on their way to a billion by 2030.

Available: tentree

4. CUYANA

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Cuyana #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Cuyana
About Cuyana

We’ve got more Quechuan language to translate: Cuyana means “love” and this brand loves people and the planet. 

Their love for us is driven by a “fewer, better” mentality, meaning they responsibly design their clothing, jewelry, eco friendly handbags and purses, and other accessories to maximize their life and extend wearability. 

The same also applies to their hats, which include both ethical and sustainable straw hats for summer and eco friendly winter hats. 

Cuyana’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Stay elevated and cool in a Wool Baseball Cap made out of sustainable GRS-certified regenerative wool blended with recycled plastic.

Alternatively, stay warm with regenerated materials in their Italian GRS-certified recycled cashmere beanie. 

The rest of their Boleros and eco friendly Panama hats are made from sustainably harvested toquilla straw. These Ecuadorian palm fronds are harvested without harming the main tree.  

Supply chain & labor practices:

The straw hats are woven by women using UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity techniques. 

The recycled cashmere beanies are produced in Italy, in a family-owned mill in Bologna. Nearby, the wool hats are made in a family-owned factory in Florence. 

All manufacturing partners agree to a Code of Conduct and are regularly visited and audited. 

Green business practices:

Their products are made to last and that’s not just a marketing gimmick. They’re actually backed up by a two-year warranty and can be sent back to Cuyana for repair. 

They’ve partnered with online thrift store, thredUP, where you can purchase overstock or returned goods.

In many cases, the materials are locally sourced where they’re manufactured (hats off to local supply chains!).

By 2022, they’ll be using 100% sustainably made materials. 

Community & charitable giving:

When you send back your used clothes to thredUP you’re not only helping the planet, but you also get a Cuyana credit—plus a 15% bonus!

 Then, when you make a purchase using your Cuyana credit, a portion of the sale gets donated to H.E.A.R.T (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma).

Available: Cuyana

5. UNITED BY BLUE

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by United By Blue #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by United By Blue
About United by Blue

As their name suggests, United by Blue brings us together over our shared love for the blue planet—our incredible oceans. 

The Certified B Corp is tackling ocean pollution with a unique range of products from sustainable luggage to eco friendly candles

Everything is made with earth-friendly materials, ethical manufacturing practices, and in a way that reduces the amount of pollution in our oceans. 

They actually make some of the best ethical sustainable hats for athletic use.

Choose between sustainable trucker hats, bucket hats, and baseball hats.  

For the best sustainable winter hats for women, pair your fair trade scarf and gloves with one of their sustainable knit hats, beanies, or 5-panel hats (complete with ear flaps!)

United by Blue’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

100% organic cotton is one of the best choices for a hat—and is found in a few hats in their range. They also use recycled polyester, Merino wool, and Bison Shield insulation.  

This last one is one of their innovative signature fabrics sourced as a “throw-away” of the meat industry and turned into wool-like yarn or insulation stuffing.

Some hats feature Responsible Flannel, which is a blend between organic cotton and recycled polyester colored with organic dyes.

As a corozo (cherry) on top, the flannel has natural biodegradable corozo nut buttons. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

United by Blue unites manufacturers in 7 factories spread across the USA, Vietnam, China, and Turkey. They each have, at minimum, one relevant supply chain certification (like fair trade, GOTS, or OCS). 

No wonder United By Blue was named ‘Best for the World Honoree’ by B-Corp for three years in a row.

Green business practices:

If you’re in need of some optimistic news, check out UBB’s Impact Report.

One of the biggest highlights is the fact that they remove a pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased. 

Despite last year being a weird one for obvious reasons, they still managed to rid oceans in the Philippines of more than 30,000 pounds of trash. This year, they hope that number will be closer to 250,000 pounds. 

To curb plastic on their end, they have working plans to phase out things like poly bags, bubble wrap, fabric roll packaging, plastic hang tags, office plastic, and plastic tape.

Inclusivity:

Committed to promoting outdoor spaces for all, UBB donated to the NAACP, Colour the Trails, Black Girls Trekkin’, and Urban Roots last year. 

They also became a part of the Mission Brand Alliance, which helps to create a more equitable economy that values impact over profits. 

For some inclusion of all types of bank accounts, UBB has a Blue Crew that rewards people for doing things like writing a review, joining a cleanup, or signing up for the newsletter. 

Discounts for doing good?  Where do we sign up?! 

Community & charitable giving:

In addition to helping our global community by cleaning oceans, UBB also delivers groceries to high-risk communities and donates huge amounts of deadstock fabric to make face masks.

Available: United by Blue

6. KIN THE LABEL

Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by Kin The Label #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle
Image by Kin The Label
About Kin the Label

Kin the Label wanted to fill a gap in the world of conscious women’s accessories.

They realized that timeless, modern, and sophisticated hats were missing from the market, so they started making their own—in their garage, no less! 

Their mantra is one we also try to live by: Invest in Quality. 

Owned and operated by two women, Sara Brady and Ashley Cornill are committed to making high-quality pieces at affordable prices.

This goes for their eco friendly straw hats, wool hats, and packable hats for women. Some even provide up to UPF 50 sun protection.

Don’t know where to begin?

Check out their Hats 101 guide for help with sizing, cleaning, and reshaping. 

Kin the Label’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Their straw hats are made from tightly-woven toquilla straw, paper straw, Japanese straw, palm tree straw, seagrass straw, or raffia straw. The wool hats are made with wool felt. 

Accent materials adorn some hats including vegetable leather, silk ribbon, stone-washed linen, and/or a metal accent.

We’ll inquire to find out more about how these materials are sourced. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

The eco friendly hats for ladies are handmade using quality materials and century-old techniques. Each hat makes its way through 40 steps, 80 hands, and 10 hours of true craftsmanship. 

All factory and vendor partners are well-vetted. 

Their sustainable USA made hats (which is to say most of them) are produced in a 100+ year-old factory located on the East Coast, while the Panama hats are handwoven in Cuenca, Ecuador before being shipped to the American factory for finishing. 

Green business practices:

In order to reduce their carbon footprint, silk, straw, and wool are processed as close to their sources as possible.

Available: Kin the Label (USA only)

HOW WE FOUND THE BEST SUSTAINABLE AND FAIR TRADE HATS

Hats are the tippy top of sustainable and ethical fashion…literally! 

Between the use of cheap plastic-based materials and unethically sourced animal fibers, we’re thrilled to find that some brands are doing ethical sustainable hats in a better way.   

Materials:

Two main materials are commonly found in sustainable and ethical hats, at least as per the brands on this list: toquilla straw and ethical wool

For the former, we look for sustainably harvested straw, which is easy since straw can be removed without harming the plant itself. 

For the latter, we look for cruelty-free hand-shearing practices and free-range sheep, or, even better, recycled wool. 

When it comes to sustainable baseball caps and other styles designed for more active use, we stick to some of our usual sustainable fabrics suspects: organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and TENCEL lyocell

We looked for hats adorned with more eco friendly materials, too, like organic cotton, hemp, recycled silk (or to lesser extent peace silk), and ethically-sourced foraged game feathers. 

Supply chain and labor practices:

You may want to be hidden from the sun, but we don’t like brands hiding any of their practices from the light of day. We look for those who fully disclose their supply chain details.

No greenwashing here.

In addition to strict codes of conduct based on international labor standards, we get excited to see partnerships with artisan collectives and family-owned factories/milliners that support traditional craftsmanship and the workers who use it (i.e. fair compensation, educational opportunities, health benefits, etc.).     

Green business practices:

Handmade techniques that have been around for hundreds of years don’t just make for higher quality hats, but are generally better for the Earth. 

Wooden looms that require no energy are the clear winner over mass-producing machines.

Durability is the real standout green initiative from these fair trade hats brands. While hats have become associated with the low-quality “freebie” trend in brand promotion, we looked for brands that create quality, long-lasting hats. 

Better still if they’re backed with a warranty and options to recycle or repair. 

Community & charitable giving:

We tip our hats to many of these brands doing ten-gallons of good in the world. 

This can mean extra support for artisan communities, environmental activism, environmental donations, a portion of sales donated to social justice organizations, delivering groceries, donating deadstock—all good reasons to remember to grab your hat before you go. 


FINAL THOUGHTS ON ECO FRIENDLY HATS

Style, sustainability, and skin protection…

How’s that for a hat trick?

You can top off an outfit from a sustainable clothing brand with an eco friendly hat that does a whole lot of good. 

While these brands are all shade-giving superstars, we still recommend you only buy a new hat when you need one. Or check out an online thrift store to give a secondhand hat a second life.

But regardless of which route you choose, be sure to take care of your new (or new-to-you) fair trade hat properly so that it can take care of you.

Now that your head is in the right space, feel free to pass along this article to anyone else who can use some sustainable sun protection! 


Style, sustainability, AND skin protection?! How’s that for a hat trick? Here's our list of the best sustainable and fair trade hats that do a whole lot of good... Image by tentree #sustainablehats #fairtradehats #sustainablejungle

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