I’m not someone who likes to shop. In fact, I tend to avoid shopping, even when I could really use some new socks or a pair of jeans without rips and holes in them (and I’m not talking the fashionable kind of holes and rips). With that in mind, I was initially hesitant when I came across Girlfriend Collective.

The problem with buying new

Being an environmental activist brings with it a certain complex about buying new… things. Whether it be clothes, dishes, or even books, which I value greatly. So many goods get consumed by us and then consumed by our closets and forgotten about. It seems such a tragedy to not only fail to repurpose goods, but to never even purpose them.

There are not a lot of regulations on companies in the United States as far as how responsibly they are required to source their materials, how much packaging they use in shipping, how they present their values and product story to the world, etc. That is why it is that much more impressive when I read about a company whose founder and employees go out of their way to be transparent, responsible, and respectful. 

For these reasons I was able to order products from a company called Girlfriend Collective without feeling guilty – and I didn’t ignore the ad or cancel my order immediately after placing it like I have in the past with other companies. 

It’s my opinion that we should all wear “I Voted” stickers every day we shop because every time we spend a dollar we are voting either for or against various brands. These brands and companies we choose to support are the candidates we are backing in the race of capitalism. Not to get all political; this is just my thought process when deciding where to shop. It’s important.

My values align with those shown by Girlfriend Collective; here are some cool things to note about this company.

Girlfriend Collective repurposes

This company’s products are made from recycled materials such as water bottles and fish nets. According to Girlfriend Collective’s website, 25 recycled post-consumer water bottles go into each pair of Compressive leggings. They give a second life to materials which were already used once, and they have found a way to do this that diverts problematic materials from landfills as well as oceans and other environments where animals can be harmed.

In addition to recycled plastic bottles, Girlfriend Collective uses:

It also appears that Girlfriend will take back and recycle used products through the ReGirlfriend program!

Interested in sustainable clothing? Check out our eco-friendly apparel in the Emeraldology Shop!

Girlfriend Collective goes above and beyond

Although there are little to no formal regulations for being able to claim that your products are “made from recycled materials,” Girlfriend Collective appears to take certification and truth seriously; their materials are certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.

This meaningful certification make it easier for me to trust this brand. They are also very transparent, laying out their entire supply for each of their materials online.

They also address the fact that synthetic fibers — even recycled ones — can shed back into the water stream in the wash. Instead of tip-toeing around the issue, they offer a solution. Girlfriend Collective sells a $45 Microfiber Filter for your washing machine. You might need to call a mechanically-inclined friend to install it, but for $45 it’s well worth a shot!

Girlfriend Collective’s ethics

My cousin majored in fashion merchandizing in college and was able to tour some facilities in various countries where a great deal of clothing manufacturing takes place. She told me some pretty upsetting facts about what she witnessed, and because of that I appreciate that Girlfriend Collective’s factory in Hanoi, Vietnam is SA8000 certified, an extensive certification which guarantees “fair wages, safe and healthy conditions, and zero forced or child labor.” 

The bottom line

All that said, I still care at least a little about the way products I buy look. While the sizes seemed to run a little small (use this sizing guide for help), the design of the leggings appeal to me and they make good running bottoms. Ethical, made with the environment in mind, and fashionable. Although it’s my first experience with this company, I’m overall pretty impressed.

Expect to pay between $68 and $88 for leggings, $38 for bras, $28 for shirts, and $48 for shorts. As far as leggings go, Girlfriend Collective is clearly less expensive and more sustainable than Lululemon and Athleta. If you like the sound of Girlfriend Collective, check out Boody Eco Wear, too!

Feature photo: Screenshot from Girlfriend Collective’s Instagram.