They say, when it rains, it pours. And in the UK, finding stylish sustainable coats that actually protect you from the elements can be hard. Couple that with my penchant for sustainable, long-lasting fashion, and it can seem impossible. Well, that’s all about to change with my guide to sustainable outerwear and rainwear!
While you’ve probably seen me in jeans and tees most of the time in my IG Stories #OOTD posts, in truth you’ll usually find me hot-footing it around London in a big coat. I can’t stand being cold, wet, or windswept. It’s why I have a trusty few coats that I practically live in! And as you can see from my pics, I’m pretty thrilled here in the latest addition to my sustainable coats collection: this kimono jacket, kindly gifted by Sara and Hannah, the masterminds behind On Good Authority.
So, let me take you on a journey through my wardrobe, as well as what it takes to make a good, sustainable coat, and finally, where to find those…
3 Signs of High Quality, Sustainable Outerwear
Have you ever worn a coat out in the rain, to find yourself drenched within a matter of minutes? Yeah, me too. Even the most sturdy looking hiking gear has let me down in the past!
Well, after speaking with Sara Lewis, Co-CEO and Creative Director of On Good Authority, it turns out there’s a knack for finding high quality coats and raincoats in particular. At On Good Authority, they focus on three key elements:
- Full weather protection
- Strong styling
- Sustainable materials
With Sara’s guidance, I got to grips with all three elements, and now understand why each are important. Check these key signs for good quality, high performing rainwear:
1. Full Weather Protection
If you’re looking for a good coat to wear in all weather conditions, go for one with waterproof protection. On Good Authority makes sure their coats are fully seam-sealed to guarantee waterproof protection, meaning your clothes are completely protected from the rain.
In addition to this, look for water repellency – just make sure it’s the non-toxic kind. On Good Authority uses PFC-free water repellent coatings, and their lamination is Oeko-Tex® certified (tested for harmful substances). This is a big step away from traditional waterproof techniques, which often use harmful chemicals and can affect water systems or aquatic life.
Alongside all this, if you want a coat that you can wear no matter the weather, look for breathability. On Good Authority’s kimono raincoat has waterproof and breathability ratings of 10,000 HH and 10,000 GM respectively, meaning you can pick up the pace without breaking a sweat (or if you’re like me, cycle around without feeling like you’re in a plastic bag!)
2. Strong Styling
Ok, so we’ve looked at the technical specifications. What about styling? Sara and Hannah pride themselves on their line’s contemporary styling, which makes their coats wearable no matter the weather or the occasion!
Alongside their waterproofing, water-repellent nature, and breathable fabric, their structured shell kimono jacket comes in an oversized contemporary fit, with a deep black base and striking geometric white detailing.
It also has secure concealed zipper pockets (a must!) and an adjustable hood that fits even with my hair up. Plus the logo print on the nape of the neck is a gorgeous touch.
3. Sustainable Materials
Finally, it’s important to go for sustainable materials and ethical manufacture when investing in sustainable coats. We can’t really afford to ignore sustainability when it comes to fashion, even when we’re looking for high-performance pieces!
On Good Authority swears by recycled waste plastics and fabrics that significantly require less energy to create. Compared to the industry standard of virgin polyester, they’re doing a great job to prioritise longevity and conservation, by using recycled nylon regenerated by Greenlon.
In my guide to sustainable materials, you’ll note how very few of them are waterproof or suitable for outerwear. The exception is recycled nylon, and O.G.A. have gone one further by sourcing a sustainable fabric manufacturer to get their re-generated nylon from.
Greenlon® Re-yarns achieve:
- Energy savings of 8.5%
- Waste water savings of 84%
- Gas generation savings of 77%
…when compared to virgin nylon. It’s great to see sustainable fabrics that are also a lot less resource-intensive being used! In fact, OGA have sourced a new fabric for their next set of coats made from 100% recycled rPET (plastic bottles) too!
And when it comes to ethical manufacture, Sara and Hannah work closely with a garment factory in China, ensuring good working conditions and fair pay with third party auditing to corroborate this.
What’s In My Wardrobe? Sustainable Coats Edition
Now that we know what to look for in a good coat, I wanted to share with you what’s in my wardrobe!
Vintage Wallis Wool & Cashmere Coat from eBay. My most-worn coat has to be my second-hand Wallis coat, which drapes me from my shoulders to the floor. I got this for just £20 on eBay, and had it taken up a few inches so that it didn’t swamp my petite frame! If this coat can protect me from the hash minus temperatures of Stockholm, winter in the UK stands no chance!
Second-Hand Cropped Biker Jacket from The Kooples. This is another eBay purchase – down from £300 to just £50! – and it’s my favourite jacket to throw on when I’m in jeans and sneakers. It looks just like a leather jacket, but the inner lining is a soft, warm fabric that feels like a hug!
Waterproof Kimono Raincoat from On Good Authority. I’m delighted to say I’m also a proud owner of On Good Authority’s waterproof kimono, which has been a life-saver for getting round London in this grey, wet weather. I can wear it when cycling, walking, hopping on the bus, or jumping on the tube. The coat is light and works well over a sweater, or a t-shirt, whatever the temperature.
13 Of The Best Sustainable Coats Brands in UK
Looking to add a sustainably-made coat or jacket into your wardrobe? Here are the brands I recommend shopping with (updated for 2022):
Cawley*: Wool coats in classic silhouettes and muted tones, made in London.
Dauntless: PETA-approved vegan leather jackets, made in a range of styles and colours.
Deadwood*: Re-made vintage leather jackets with linings made from recycled plastic-bottles.
eBay: Second-hand coats and jackets on the world’s biggest auction site.
Ecoalf: Jackets made from recycled fibres designed for both men, women, and children.
Mother of Pearl*: Luxury denim and wool jackets, made sustainably throughout the supply chain.
The North Face: Look out for TNF’s puffer jackets made with recovered down and recycled materials.
On Good Authority: High performance and high design raincoats, made ethically and sustainably.
Oxfam*: Second-hand coats and jackets that benefit charity.
Pangaia FLWRDWN: Puffer jackets with filling made from bio-polymer and wild flowers.
Ponch: Sustainably-made pack-a-macs in bold prints with artist collabs.
Rave Review: Luxurious coats made from deadstock wool and upcycled cotton.
Tretorn: Parkas made from recycled ocean net, in support of Sea Life Trust.
Which coat from Wallis do you own? There are SO MANY on second hand websites too. It’s so confusing – I want to protect myself from the rain and the cold. My first winter here!