Ethical clothing is sweeping the nation and there is an ever-growing demand for more sustainable ways to produce fabric. With a rise in ‘fast fashion’ over the last few years, the mounting production of cheap clothing has meant that important values have been lost and not only does the environment suffer, but so too do the workers.
Sundried are proud to support ethical, sustainable activewear production with our range of apparel made from coffee. You’ve probably heard of fabric made from recycled water bottles, but coffee is the latest development in responsible sourcing.
First developed by a Taiwanese company in 2008, the use of coffee grounds to make clothes has been on the rise ever since. The fabric produced has a number of benefits, especially for activewear and gym clothing. It is fast-drying, sweat-wicking, and de-odorising, all benefits which are hugely important for performance clothing. Not only that, it does not require the high-temperature treatment that other materials require which reduces CO2 emissions leading to a greener planet.
How do recycled coffee grounds become clothing?
The fabric is made from the waste product that is created when making coffee. The used coffee grounds usually just end up in a landfill, so this recycling process is truly ethical and responsible. The coffee grounds are processed in a low-temperature, high-pressured environment to make them into yarn which is then woven into naturally high-tech fabric.
The clothing that is produced from used coffee grounds has fantastic benefits, including odour control, sweat-wicking, and it dries over 200 times faster than cotton. It is also naturally anti-bacterial.
Responsibly-sourced materials are the future and ethical brands like Sundried are leading the way to a brighter time ahead for our planet. Did you know that most polyester blends are made from the chemical reaction that occurs between coal and petroleum? Hardly what you'd want to be wearing to the gym when you think about it! The manufacture of fitness clothing from recycled materials has a significantly lower CO2 emission and therefore is kinder to the environment.
1. Not washing activewear as soon as possible after a sweaty workout
The temptation to lounge around in your comfortable activewear long after your workout is over can be too much sometimes. You might get comfortable on the sofa or head out with friends without getting changed first, but this is a big mistake. If you want to keep your gym clothes fresh and protect their quality, you need to wash your activewear as soon as possible after a sweaty workout.
This will remove the bacteria and oils that permeate the fibres during a workout and prevent a lingering smell from developing. Not only this, it will protect your sensitive skin and prevent sweat rash and body acne from forming. High-tech sports fabrics are now super sweat-wicking which can make it feel like it's okay to stay in your activewear because it dries quickly and you soon forget how sweaty you were, but it's still best to shower and change as soon as you can due to the bacteria that will be left behind.
2. Using too much laundry detergent
It seems logical that the more laundry detergent you use, the cleaner your clothes will come out. However, this is another big mistake you could be making with your activewear. Too much laundry detergent leaves excess residue and can trap in smells, meaning your sweaty and stinky workout clothes will still be sweaty and stinky after their wash!
One telltale sign that you're using too much detergent is if there are still suds left in the machine after it's finished. Additionally, too many harsh chemicals can damage the fine fabrics of sports clothing, so less is definitely more in this case.
3. Putting sportswear in the tumble dryer
This is definitely a big no-no! Your sportswear is made from highly technical fabrics which provide sweat-wicking and multi-way stretch, so you want to make sure all these features are well looked after. Putting sportswear in the tumble dryer can make it lose its shape as well as reducing the quality of the garments.
Materials like Spandex and Lycra will be left brittle and broken by your tumble dryer due to the heat, not to mention the risk of it all shrinking! Sundried always recommends that you 'wash cool, sun dry' your activewear as this will not only increase its life expectancy, but it is kinder to the environment too. This is especially true of premium sports clothing like Lycra cycling gear, which you should really wash separately and in a mesh wash bag or pillow case to protect it properly.
4. Buying gym clothing from non-specialist retailers
These days, more and more fashion retailers are delving into the world of activewear and athleisure and offering it at a very low price. In the UK, retailers like Primark are famed for their bargain basement prices while online fashion retailers like Pretty Little Thing and ASOS now have their own ranges of women's sportswear and activewear.
However, while the unbelievably competitive prices may seem too good to be true, sadly, it's because they are. Non-specialist fashion retailers tend to put appearance over performance because their demographic don't tend to be serious athletes. While this may be fine for most, it does mean your sportswear won't perform as well as it would if you bought it from a specialist retailer like Nike or Sundried who have spent years developing and perfecting their sportswear. These specialist sportswear retailers use premium materials which feature advanced technology to enhance your sporting performance and keep you as comfortable as possible while improving the longevity of the activewear's quality.
When it comes to something like fitness wear, it's always worth paying that little bit extra so that you can benefit from the luxury materials, specialist technology, and advanced garment quality.
5. Not buying according to activity
If you are an avid Yogi, a pair of running leggings might not be best for you. Good quality activewear and sportswear will be meticulously designed with a specific sport or activity in mind so you want to make sure you're making the most of your activewear. A runner will have different demands to a cyclist and a CrossFitter. Running leggings tend to have reflective detailing for safety in low light as well as an adjustable waist so they don't fall down and breathable mesh panels in areas of high movement. For yoga, you'll be wanting softer, more seamless leggings which can bend and stretch as much as you!
Make sure you take into account exactly what you'll be wearing your activewear for so that you can make an informed decision when buying. Even better, seek out brands which specialise in specific sports, like how Sundried are specialists in triathlon. This way, you'll know that the brand leaders and designers know the sport inside out and therefore are knowledgeable about what the wearer will be wanting, needing, and expecting from the garments.
From Zumba to running, cycling to swimming and everything inbetween. We require a lot from our women's activewear so it’s important to pick a style which suits you. Sundried's handy guide to womens activewear will give you all the dos and don'ts, and will help you learn what to look out for when buying new pieces of women's activewear too.
Womens Gym Top
Fitted Gym Tops
Fitted gym tops are beneficial for those who want to show off a well earned physique. These tops are usually crafted with stretch materials which hug your shape and flatter your frame. Opting for a fitted gym top helps to ensure that your session is restriction free, as loose garments can catch on equipment or trap wind when running outdoors. A well-fitted top will also allow you to monitor your form, particularly watching for an arched or hunched back which is a common cause of injury. Sundried’s Tour Noir tank features 4-way stretch materials which create a streamlined silhouette and unique cut outs to the back engineered to provide the ultimate ventilation and freedom of movement.
Drape Gym Tops
A drape gym top is great for those looking to cover up that little bit more. Loose materials skim the body and flatter all body types. Drape tops such as the Sundried Grivola Tee are also perfect for fitting into your normal day wear and can easily be taken from casual to active. With its super stylish fit, this type of top is perfect for wearing to a yoga class or for a gym workout. A loose gym top is perfect layered over a more tight fitting top or just a stylish sports bra.
Compression Gym Tops
Compression wear is designed to be worn like a second skin and is great for becoming streamlined in sports such as cycling. It is also typically lightweight in design which is what makes it so popular for sportswear. Compression technology has also been shown to increase blood flow and help prevent aches, however this is often questioned and more supporting research is needed. For more information on the benefits of compression wear, have a read of our in-depth article.
Women’s Crop Gym Tops
Those wanting to flash their washboard abs tend to opt for crop tops. In warmer summer months, a crop top can make a stylish statement whilst keeping you cool. We suggest wearing our Breithorn bra solo when exercising in warmer weather, like our ambassador Sophie.
Finding the right gym bottoms is vital for your performance when training. Read our advice on gym tights styles here.
The Sundried Ruinette tights are multi-functional, providing support for a multitude of sports with extra waist support and a reflective trim for running in low light.
There are lots of different elements to activewear, and to complete your exercise outfits you'll want a stylish sports bra. There are lots of different types of sports bra, so it's important to pick the right one.
Sports Bra Crop Top
If you don't need too much support, for example if you are doing low impact exercise like walking or yoga, you can wear a sports bra crop top. These are incredibly stylish and fashionable and can make for really cute gym clothes. The Sundried Breithorn 2.0 Sports Bra is designed in a crop top style so it can be worn on its own or under a casual jacket to take your activewear from gym to casual wear effortlessly. Sophie here is wearing hers under a denim jacket for chic style at a casual lunch with friends. When it comes to street style, there's nothing better.
High Support Sports Bra
If something more supportive is what you're looking for, take a look at the Sundried Busazza Sports Bra. It is made with seamless materials so it fits like a second skin and will give you that locked-in feel you want when doing higher impact activities like a circuit class or CrossFit. It is made with premium fabrics which are super soft to the touch and will feel amazing on your skin.
Womens Gym Clothes Online
Buying womens sportswear online can be a minefield, but if you know what to look for, you'll end up with cute gym clothes and exercise outfits that are the envy of all your friends. Have a read of our guide on What To Look For When Buying Sportswear so that you have everything you need to know in one place.
The main difference between buying ladies gym wear online and in a store is that you can't try it on. That's why Sundried have a comprehensive womens activewear size guide with tips on how to measure yourself properly and international conversions so that you know exactly which size you'll need. It's also a good idea to check that the online store you're buying from offers free shipping and free returns so that if it is the wrong size, you can swap it for a different size hassle-free.
There are lots of benefits to buying womens sports clothing online, the main one being convenience. You can browse the collections at your own pace and compare different styles of workout attire. Plus, when it gets delivered, it's like Christmas and all the presents are for you!
Sundried believe in keeping our customers educated about the life-cycle of our clothing, so you can make your purchases responsibly.
What Is Ethical Activewear?
The fashion and sportswear industries see a lot of what we call 'fast fashion'. This is where large quantities of clothing are produced at a rapid rate and sold very cheaply. When this happens, the people making the clothing are often not treated or paid fairly and the way the clothing is made is not environmentally friendly.
Our ethical activewear can be traced right back to where it was made and at Sundried, we guarantee that all of our employees are treated fairly, from the supply chain to the Sundried HQ office.
Not only this, every purchase made at Sundried gives a donation to charity Water For Kids. You can read more about that here.
The Sundried ethos starts at the very beginning with our materials. We select the finest quality technical fabrics which are produced in Portugal and Italy. All our material choices are made with the mitigation of harmful substances, pollution and other environmental hazards associated with raw material extraction in mind.
Our latest collection is made from 100% recycled materials, including plastic bottles and coffee grounds. These raw materials are sustainable and by recycling them into clothing, we are helping to reduce the global plastic pollution problem.
We believe you cannot be a health and fitness brand without promoting health throughout your company, from production to purpose. The fashion industry is the 2nd largest pollutant, widely known for terrible and dangerous working conditions and tragic disasters such as the collapse of The Rena Plaza factory which stole the lives of 1134 victims.
Sundried’s factories are based in Portugal and Italy and our staff are paid fairly and respected. We take pride in our partnership with European production which allows us to bring our products to you with a low carbon footprint. Larger production runs allow for lower per unit costs, but we know that producing cheaply means someone further down the line will pay the cost.
We ensure our factory conditions are safe, clean and have everything our staff need.
Our production will remain in Portugal or within the European Union for all further production as the European proximity allows us to control the working conditions of employees and make sure that European quality standards are maintained during the entire process. All our staff are paid fair wages, within EU guidelines.
Sundried Low Emissions
Sundried produce our activewear in partnership with The Low Carbon Innovation fund, to ensure we have as little environmental impact as possible.
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund has strict policies and regulations which we must adhere to.
We minimise our carbon footprint throughout the full lifecycle of Sundried apparel through:
- Local production in the UK and Europe (vs. the rest of the industry which is mainly produced in the Far East).
- Using materials that use little carbon in their manufacture, little energy in their maintenance and are recyclable.
- Carbon offsetting where a zero/low carbon choice isn’t currently viable
- Advising our products are “washed cool and sun dried” to minimise our footprint after purchase.
Our vision is to enable people to feel good inside and out before and after exercise through premium, exciting and ethical technical activewear which is stylish, smart and made with consciousness.
The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago.
Our planet can’t keep up with our obsession with 'fast fashion'. This is the trend of always having to keep up with the latest fashion and not daring to be seen in last season's outfits. With fast fashion speeding up trends and constantly pushing us into the next season, your clothing is most likely to be wardrobe waste before it’s even reached its first birthday.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) conducted research on the clothing industry in the UK and found that we waste £30 billion in the UK each year in unused clothes.
New research from WRAP has found that:
- The annual footprints of a household’s new and existing clothing are equivalent to the weight of over 100 pairs of jeans, the water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs, and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles.
- The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – but around 30% of clothing in the average wardrobe has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because it no longer fits.
- Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints
- Two-thirds of UK consumers buy or receive pre-owned (or second-hand) clothes, and there is a willingness to wear more, especially if a better range were available; and an estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.
- The carbon emissions generated by the clothing of the average household is equivalent to driving an average modern car 6,000 miles.
- Overall, clothing contributes around: 5% of the global carbon footprint of UK goods and services; and 6-8% of the global water footprint of UK products and household use.
- Global footprint Global footprint Household footprint of UK consumption per household equivalent to of clothing Carbon 38 million tonnes 1.5 tonnes of CO2e Driving a car CO2e emissions each year 6,000 miles Water 6,300 million m3 More than 200,000 Filling over 1,000 of water litres each year bathtubs to capacity Waste 1.8 million 70 kg each year Weight of over 100 tonnes of material pairs of jeans
Global footprint of UK consumption of clothing
Global Footprint per household
Household footprint equivalent to:
38 million tonnes CO2e
1.5 tonnes CO2e emissions each year
Driving a car 6,000 miles
63 million m3 of water
More than 200,000 litres each year
Filling over 1,000 bathtubs to capacity
1.8 million tonnes of material
70kg each year
Weight of over 1000 pairs of jeans
So what can we do to fix this vicious cycle?
Turning fast fashion into fair fashion
The research from WRAP indicates that a credible set of modest changes across the clothing life-cycle could reduce each of the carbon, water and waste footprints by as much as 10-20%. More ambitious changes could help reduce the cost of resources used to clothe the UK population by one-third, with greater savings still in the carbon and water footprints.
What makes ethical fashion sustainable?
In production: Reducing the carbon footprint of the production process by just 5% through cutting waste in production, dyeing and finishing could reduce our carbon footprint by 4%, our water usage by 8% and waste by 3%.
In quality: Creating quality garments which have an extended life expectancy could reduce carbon emissions by 7%, water by 10% and overall waste by 9%.
In the aftercare: Changing the way we launder our clothes, by washing on a cool heat and avoiding tumble drying could reduce our carbon footprint by 6%.
Once we’re finished with our clothes: Reusing and recycling by an extra 5% could reduce our carbon footprint by 3% and a 1% reduction in waste.
What makes Sundried ethical?
Sundried are audited by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund to ensure our products come to market with as ethical production as possible. This involves carefully selecting the materials we use, the factories we work with and the way we transport our goods.
All of our products use blends of premium fabrics to extend the life expectancy of our clothing.
Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months of active use would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each and cut resource costs by around 20% (£5 billion); this is the single most significant intervention according to WRAPS research.
Through our aftercare:
Laundry creates around one-quarter of the carbon footprint of clothing or 3 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of clothing as a result of energy use. Throughout all our products, marketing, and aftercare labels we encourage you to ‘wash cool’ ensuring that our products are cleaned at low temperatures meaning we can minimise our footprint, furthered by our recommendation to ‘sun dry’, eliminating the extra waste from a tumble dryer.
Sundried offer a recycling programme for all our old garments.
Around half of clothing is reused at present and over two-thirds of this goes overseas. Increasing the reuse rate in the UK and for export would reduce the total waste each year. There is significant willingness to buy or receive pre-owned clothes – more than two-thirds of adults have done so in the past year. Some 30% of clothing has not been worn for the last year and four in five people own at least some clothes that have not been worn because they no longer fit or need altering. This indicates there may be a substantial volume of good quality clothing suitable for reuse.