There are a wide range of innovative sustainable fabrics available today — but organic cotton is a natural, affordable, tried and true eco-friendly fabric. Certified organic cotton clothing makes it possible to have a natural and sustainable wardrobe that will last for years to come. Below, we’ll break down what organic cotton is, what to look for, and a few of our favorite organic cotton clothing brands.
What Is Organic Cotton Clothing?
Organic cotton clothing is any clothing that’s made from (often certified) organic cotton. Why does organic cotton clothing matter? Well cotton is a widely-used fiber making up 80% of natural fiber production and over 24% of total fiber production as of 2020.
To meet the criteria for organic, organic cotton has to be grown so that there is low environmental impact and without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organic cotton must also be grown from non-GMO seeds.
The most common organic cotton certification you’ll see is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Choosing GOTS-certified organic cotton clothing means that at least 95% of the fiber is certified organic and that the fiber meets specific ecological and social criteria.
Any chemicals used throughout the production process, including dyes, have to be approved for GOTS-certified organic cotton. This can help prevent the usage of harmful chemicals that could contaminate surrounding waterways or be harmful to our health.
Is Organic Cotton Soft?
Cotton has been used to make clothes for centuries. It’s beloved because it’s durable, breathable, and soft. Organic cotton is soft as is, but the more you wear it, the softer it becomes.
Will Organic Cotton Shrink?
100% organic cotton can shrink slightly after the first wash when exposed to heat. To avoid noticeable shrinkage, avoid washing your organic cotton clothing in hot water or using a dryer for at least the first few washes.
Is Organic Cotton Clothing Sustainable?
Just like with organic foods, not all organic cotton is grown equally with the same level of sustainability or social responsibility. Cotton is grown throughout the world, using various production methods. As such, water usage, water pollution, and emissions will vary dramatically for both conventional and organic cotton.
The fashion industry is largely unregulated with numerous brands resorting to greenwashing, especially as sustainable fashion becomes more popular with consumers. It’s important to support brands that use certified organic cotton for their clothing and are transparent about the details of their production process throughout their supply chain.
Organic Cotton Vs. Hemp: Which Is Better?
Both organic cotton and organic hemp are wonderful natural fibers for clothing. One is not necessarily better than the other, but they both have pros and cons.
Both cotton and hemp, whether organic or conventional, require supply chain transparency to ensure sustainable production. Conventional production for both crops has been linked to exploitative labor practices — including slave labor — as well as negative environmental impacts.
Organic hemp production requires little water and no pesticides and grows quickly. Hemp fabric is naturally antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and known for its strength. However, hemp is more expensive than cotton.
Organic cotton fabric is more breathable, softer, and more affordable but it doesn’t stretch as well as hemp. It also takes longer to grow.
Both organic cotton and organic hemp are fantastic options — it just depends on what you’re looking for.
The Best Organic Cotton Clothing Brands
While there are numerous organic cotton clothing brands, we especially love the sustainable brands below. We’ve made sure to include brands that offer a range of sizes and suit various budgets, with numerous styles available.
Each brand below uses certified organic cotton, but many of these brands go above and beyond that. We’ve noted what makes them stand out, below.
This article features affiliates and partners. As always, we only feature brands that meet high standards for sustainability that we love — and that we think you’ll love too!
Sustainable Highlights: Ethical Manufacturing, Plants Trees, Certified B-Corp, Resale Program
Size Range: XS-XL
tentree produces a large range of everyday apparel for all genders and kids. Their organic cotton clothing includes basics like tees, sweaters, hoodies, joggers, and more. This brand also plants 10 trees for every purchase — thus the name ten + tree! The B-Corp also offers carbon offset subscriptions and a resale program.
Sustainable Highlights: GOTS-Certified Organic, Carbon Neutral; Gives Back
Size Range: XS-XXL
PACT creates affordable organic clothing and underwear made in Fair Trade-certified factories. They have super comfy organic cotton basics, activewear, dresses, socks, sleepwear, and more for women, men, and kids. Pact even has a line of maternity wear as well as bedding and home goods. They also make it easy to donate or recycle your used items with their give-back program.
3. No Nasties
Sustainable Highlights: GOTS & FLO Certified Factory, Local Production
Size Range: XS-XXL
No Nasties is a wonderful choice for 100% organic cotton clothing, with timeless staples for men and women. Their cotton is sourced responsibly and their garments are produced in a Fair Trade-certified factory. The India-based brand has a completely local supply chain too.
Sustainable Highlights: Local Production, Natural Dyes
Size Range: XS-XL
One of the most impressive organic cotton clothing brands out there, Harvest & Mill grows, mills, and sews all of their carbon-neutral clothing locally in the US. They partner with some of the leading sustainable farmers using regenerative practices to produce 100% organic cotton clothing. Harvest & Mill is the perfect place to find organic cotton loungewear for all genders.
Sustainable Highlights: Locally Made, Non-Toxic Materials, Textile Recycling Program
Size Range: XS-XL (some pieces up to 3XL)
MATE The Label is committed to using organic, natural, and non-toxic materials throughout their collections. They use certified organic cotton for their small collection of cotton t-shirts and tank tops, available for all genders, as well as loungewear, activewear, and basics made from organic cotton blends. MATE’s supply chain is localized within a 17-mile radius of their headquarters.
6. Christy Dawn
Size Range: XS-3XL
Once known for sourcing deadstock fabric for their dreamy dresses, Christy Dawn has expanded into regenerative organic cotton as part of their efforts to go beyond “sustainable”. With their Farm-To-Closet initiative, the California-based slow fashion label has partnered with Oshadi Collective to steward dozens of acres of farmland in Erode, India, and create more reciprocal relationships with Mother Earth.
7. Amour Vert
Sustainable Highlights: Local Production, Resale Program
Size Range: XS-XL
Amour Vert has a stunning collection of organic cotton clothing. You can choose from organic cotton sweaters, blouses, dresses, rompers, and basics. You can also browse their other collections made from a variety of eco fabrics or browse their resale marketplace.
Sustainable Highlights: Vegan, Responsible Production
Size Range: 8-16 UK
Komodo has been creating eco-friendly clothing for over 30 years and it shows. They use a variety of vegan sustainable materials to ethically produce classic and funky designs for all genders. Komodo uses GOTS-certified organic cotton for their collection of basics and loungewear, including organic cotton pajamas.
Sustainable Highlights: Extended Sizing; Circularity Projects, Certified B Corp
Size Range: XXS – 3XL
Sustainable designer Eileen Fisher creates timeless, minimalistic clothing from earth-friendly fabrics, including organic cotton. Their regenerative organic cotton collection includes t-shirts, loungewear, and pants for women. Eileen Fisher is striving to create a circular production model with their resell or recycle program.
Sustainable Highlights: Regenerative Organic Certified Cotton, Resale & Repair Programs
Earth-minded outdoors brand Patagonia has been using organic cotton before it was cool. Here you’ll find wardrobe essentials like organic cotton t-shirts, hats, pants, and overalls. Patagonia uses a variety of lower impact materials and works with many Fair Trade-certified factories.
11. Nudie Jeans
Sustainable Highlights: Conserves Water, Resale & Repair Program
Size Range: 24-38
While you used to be able to safely assume that your denim was made of 100% cotton, the rise of stretch denim has also meant the introduction of synthetic fabrics. Swedish label Nudie Jeans provides a trusted alternative, thanks to their high-quality 100% organic cotton jeans and denim apparel. They primarily use organic cotton, as well as recycled cotton for their products and implement various water-saving methods to reduce water waste during manufacturing.
12. Organic Basics
Sustainable Highlights: Certified B-Corp, Extended Sizing, Transparent Prouduction
Size Range: XS-XXL
Organic Basics is an eco-friendly brand that makes underwear, loungewear, and sustainable basics. They only use GOTS-certified organic cotton, as well as recycled materials, and produce their clothing in ethical, fair-wage factories. Organic Basics also publishes their total CO2 emissions and will track their progress on reducing these emissions.
13. Beaumont Organic
Sustainable Highlight: Transparency Supply Chain, Repair & Resale Programs
Size Range: XS-L
Sustainable fashion brand Beaumont Organic designs various quality wardrobe staples using eco fabrics. Their organic cotton clothing is GOTS-certified, as well as Fair Trade. If you’re located in the UK, they offer free repairs to ensure your clothes last a lifetime as well as gift vouchers for your pre-loved pieces.
14. For Days
Sustainable Highlights: Zero Waste Production, Recyclable
Size Range: XS-XXL
Circular-minded fashion label For Days creates fully recyclable apparel— including organic cotton basics and loungewear. Here you’ll find organic cotton basics, underwear, and activewear. With their Take Back Bag program, you’ll get a $20 store credit for sending back any used clothing (from anywhere). They’ll upcycle anything you send to ensure nothing ends up in the landfills.
15. Mata Traders
Sustainable Highlights: Fair Trade, Artisan Made, Extended Sizing
Size Range: XS-3XL
Mata Traders is a Fair Trade, women-owned fashion brand that works with artisan cooperatives in India and Nepal to provide fair wage employment to women artisans. This ethical slow fashion brand produces a small collection of vibrant yet timeless women’s organic cotton clothing. If you’re a fan of prints or on the lookout for dresses, this is a wonderful brand to support.
Sustainable Highlights: Fair Wage Production, Extended Sizing
Size Range: S-XXL
Armed Angels is a German fair fashion brand that produces clothing made from a variety of responsible fabrics, including Fair Trade organic cotton and recycled cotton. At ARMEDANGELS you’ll find a wide range of wardrobe staples, but you may especially love their sustainable denim. Their “detoxdenim” is free from harmful chemicals and toxic dyes, made from organic and recycled cotton, as well as hemp.
Sustainable Highlights: Upcycle Program, Fair Trade Collection
Size Range: 6-18 UK
Thought uses organic, natural, and recycled fabrics, including organic cotton to create quality wardrobe staples. You can shop by fabric or browse their Fairtrade collection to easily find pieces that align with your values, such as beautiful organic cotton skirts, dresses, and shirts. About 40% of Thought’s 2022 production was organic cotton.