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Girlfriend Collective is a US brand that makes minimal, luxurious activewear out of recycled materials, in a factory with outstanding labour welfare standards. In 2020 alone, the brand recycled more than four million plastic water bottles and prevented more than three million pounds of CO2 emissions.
Girlfriend Collective puts sustainable materials at the heart of everything it does. Utilising recycled post-consumer bottles from Taiwan in both leggings and bras, the brand has helped to lower its overall impact. Each of the recycled materials and fabrics are certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, a world-leader in testing fabrics to avoid the use of any harmful substances. The primary fabric used is made from 79% recycled polyester, and 21% spandex (25 recycled post-consumer bottles per leggings, 11 per bra). Moreover, the brand is also striving to help address ocean plastic pollution, with its LITE leggings featuring ECONYL®, a fibre created using recycled fishing nets and other waste products that would end up in the sea and landfills. The LITE fabric is 83% recycled nylon, 17% spandex.
Girlfriend’s labour welfare standards are excellent. Its factory is owned and operated by a Danish family which has been in the textile business since the 1930s, and adheres to the highest standards in the industry, putting people first, rather than profits. The factory in Vietnam is SA8000 certified, which guarantees safe working conditions for its employees. The factory operates a clear code of conduct, which includes all of the ILO Fundamental Freedoms, and every employee is treated with respect, paid a fair and living wage, and gets additional perks, such as a free catered lunch and guided exercise breaks.
All Girlfriend Collective’s fabrics are dyed with eco-friendly dyes while the wastewater is cleaned to the highest standards before being released. There is an on-site wastewater treatment plant. We have seen no evidence that the brand is taking steps to reduce energy use or switch to sustainable energy sources.