Sustainable loungewear has become a staple in my wardrobe over the last year. Despite some resistance when it first sprung onto the fashion scene, comfortable basics that are suitable for working from home, and lounging around the house in, are just too good to deny!
However, as with all clothing, finding good sustainable loungewear is tricky. I want to know that it is made fairly, with sustainable materials and practices, and that the garments will last and last. It’s why I’ve partnered with Onesta, the luxury Welsh loungewear brand, for today’s guide. After speaking with Gabriella Diana, CEO & Founder of Onesta, I’m so happy to share the ways that they are prioritising people and planet across their entire design process, from fabric sourcing through to upcycling leftover fabrics.
Here’s what to look for when you’re searching for sustainable loungewear…
What Makes Up Sustainable Loungewear?
When unpicking Onesta’s ethical approach, I found six key areas that Gabriella and her team focus on to make their loungewear sustainable:
- Ethical employment
- Sustainable materials
- Slow production
- Inclusive sizing and design
- Transparent pricing
- Long-lasting clothes
- Circular practices
These are all great pointers to look for when shopping for loungewear, and sustainable fashion more generally. In fact, I think Onesta goes above and beyond most sustainable fashion brands! Here’s how they’re weaving sustainability across their entire supply chain:
1. Ethical Employment
Onesta is rooted in Wales and Italy, through both production and heritage. In fact, the name Onesta means ‘honest’ in both Welsh and Italian! It signifies the approach that the brand takes at each and every opportunity, and employment is a key focus.
Onesta’s core team is made up of four people: Gabriella, Hazel, Angela, and Heidi. Despite experiencing huge job losses in Wales, and the local area where Onesta is based, this team grew during the pandemic, with Gabriella providing employment that enables each member to work at their highest skillset.
This same approach is applied to Onesta’s manufacturing partners, too. They produce all of their garments in Wales, with some in-house, and others in factories that they regularly visit and have a strong connection with. One of these is a socially-focused employer, working with people who are disabled or disadvantaged.
2. Sustainable Materials
On the Italian side, Onesta sources its natural, luxury fabrics from Italy. They work with selected mills and fabric suppliers, as well as waste management systems that ensure they keep all offcuts.
In order to reduce the impact of international freight, Onesta minimises their carbon footprint by placing very few orders, doing these in bulk, ensuring fabrics fit onto just one palette, to be shipped in one go.
The main sustainable fabrics that Onesta uses are:
- TENCEL lyocell
- GOTS certified organic cotton
- Recycled polyester
- Natural rubber
…All of which I love! Three of the four come from natural sources, and recycled polyester is used where the others don’t quite cut it.
Gabriella also explained to me the conundrum that sustainable materials can pose to small designers – for example, with their clothes labels. Currently Onesta’s labels are made with virgin cotton, made by a Welsh manufacturing partner. If they wished to switch this to organic cotton, it would mean relocating production elsewhere, which could have a larger impact on the environment than working locally. It shows that a conscious approach applied business-wide is so much more sustainable than simply investing in sustainable materials alone.
3. Slow Production
Loungewear is a year-round product, and Onesta embodies this. They produce in small batches, creating designs that are suitable across all seasons. It makes their clothing instantly more wearable too!
Plus, they hope this approach conveys that they respect their customers, with no pressure to “buy now”, and instead to make conscious purchasing decisions.
4. Inclusive Sizing & Design
Inclusive sizing can be another difficult area for small fashion brands. And yet it’s something that’s desperately needed across the fashion industry! Inclusivity, and prioritising people of all sizes, is true empowerment (unlike the stuff fast fashion brands spew out).
Onesta has taken this to heart, and provides clothing in sizes XS through to XXL. They also create designs suitable for both feminine and masculine bodies, recognising the differences in body shapes, to keep things comfy!
5. Transparent Pricing
Alongside their transparent supply chain, Onesta provides transparent pricing, as demonstrated in this infographic.
While a 70% mark-up is the industry average in fashion, Onesta has reduced this to ensure their pricing is both fair for their workers and customers alike.
It’s clear that sustainable clothing is often more expensive than the lines carried by high street brands. However, this extra expense goes into a few key areas, as Onesta demonstrates: higher quality, sustainable materials (27%), paying tax (25%), fair wages (16%), and investing back into the business to cover all other activities – including creating this guide with me!
6. Long-lasting Sustainable Loungewear
I love the style and comfort of Onesta’s loungewear. The grey set I’m wearing in the photos accompanying this guide is their Valerie Sweater and Valerie Joggers, both in the shade Sleet. I’ll be honest, I’ve barely worn anything else since receiving them!
I’m very selective when it comes to adding new items in my wardrobe, so it’s great that this set fits in perfectly with everything I usually wear. Their colour palette is neutral, making everything so easy to wear, and they can be worn together or as separates. I like wearing the set during the daytime, and even sometimes to bed!
Onesta promises that their clothes will last a long time, and it’s clear from the quality of their materials that if cared for, they really will last and last. This set is warm, comfy, and breathable against my skin. It’s finished incredibly well, with cuffs, hems, and natural rubber waist elastic. I can’t express enough how comfortable it is to wear!
7. Circular Practices
Finally, let’s talk about circularity. While a circular fashion economy is a long way off, many brands are already making leaps to achieve this. Onesta does this in a number of ways:
- Saving material waste, for use in their upcoming natural living range that includes makeup wipes and similar products.
- Attaching recycled paper and seed paper swing tags, which are both recyclable and compostable respectively.
- Delivering clothes in home compostable mailers (that can go in your compost bin, rather than requiring industrial composting).
- Providing repair services in-house (you can contact them to request this, and in the future it will be offered as a more formal service)
Plus, Gabriella let me in on another project they’re working on – I can’t disclose much, but they’re working with scientists from a Welsh University to develop something very exciting!
13 Of The Best Sustainable Loungewear Brands In The UK
In my quest to provide a truly inclusive guide, here are a number of the sustainable loungewear brands in 2023 for you to choose from. Onesta is my firm favourite, with some of the highest principles around, but I recommend exploring to see what works best for your style, and what you’ll wear for years to come!
BAM Clothing*: Women’s bamboo loungewear that provides stretch and regulates your temperature.
GRETES: Sleepwear and lounge pieces designed in ethical silk alternative Naia and made in the EU.
Lavender Hill*: Loungewear in super soft materials, with great ethical and sustainable credentials.
MAYA Eco: Kuwait-based brand creating ‘cotton cashmere’ clothing in a variety of styles for men and women.
Ninety Percent*: Premium stay-at-home essentials in a range of relaxed, comfortable styles. Get 20% off with code BESMA20
Onesta: Luxuriously soft loungewear in a range of sizes and styles, ethically made in the UK.
Organic Basics*: Organic cotton sweatshirts and hoodies from my favourite underwear brand.
The Other Label*: Loungewear garments with relaxed shapes and tones, made in the UK.
Pangaia: Streetwear-style hoodies and track pants in rainbow bright colours.
People Tree*: Basics and comfortable clothing from the mother of sustainable fashion.
Sancho’s: Female-founded and black-owned fashion marketplace with their own loungewear capsule collection.
Tentree: Minimal, lightweight loungewear that plants a tree with every item purchased.
Thought Clothing*: Soft, relaxed lounge-pants and base layers made with natural fabrics.
P.S. I hope this guide helped to provide more of an understanding of what to look for when shopping sustainably! If you’d like more, head on over to my sustainable shopping guides →