Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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Are you a true fashionista and regularly treating yourself to a new addition for your wardrobe? The ordinary clothing industry, unfortunately, has a negative impact on the environment, and standard brands don’t always have their garments manufactured in an ethically responsible manner. But the good news is that sustainability has become progressively more important for many brands over the last few decades, and certain brands see it as their mission to make only environmentally and socially sustainable clothes. Sustainable fashion saves natural resources, doesn’t harm animals and supports fair and safe working conditions. In Japan, there are several local brands that care about sustainability. While sustainably produced clothing may be more expensive than what you can buy from the fast-fashion giants, these are clothes that you will love and wear for much longer. So how about checking out these 10 sustainable Japanese clothing brands for your next (shopping) trip?
1. CASA FLINE
CASA FLINE is a sustainable Japanese label that is made 100% locally using Japanese materials and craftsmanship. All their clothing is recyclable, and earth-friendly as well as people-friendly manufacturing is of utter importance to this brand. It’s an original collection with a heartfelt message, and their products are made with a philosophy based on the founder’s beliefs as well as environmental consideration. CASA FLINE has a flagship store in Omotesando, and there are numerous online and physical resellers as well.
MUJI is a Japanese chain store selling furniture, stationery, home decoration, bedding and more, all with a simple yet elegant design for a good price. Classic Japanese aesthetic is evident in all their products, and many foreign tourists visit a MUJI store as part of their Japan itinerary (the flagship store is located in Ginza). MUJI also has a clothing collection with a similarly simple design that’s made with organic cotton. The cotton they use for their clothing is not only sustainably produced, the clothes are also very breathable and comfortable to wear. Many locals make a regular visit to MUJI to update their wardrobe with basic pieces and underwear.
The concept of Japanese sustainable clothing brand Oblekt is to take care of nature while making their customers feel attractive. Sustainability and eco-friendliness are seamlessly combined in their fashion, and they are hoping to be a part of the movement towards a more sustainable future. They also focus on creating designs that are classic and timeless so that the clothes can be worn for many years yet still be fashionable. The fabrics used by Oblekt come from renewable resources without compromising on the comfort of the material.
4. People Tree
Founded in Tokyo in 1991 by a female British entrepreneur, People Tree became a fair trade fashion pioneer loved by people all over the world. Every product is made with strict ethical and ecological standards, and supporting their local partners in developing countries in becoming economically independent is one of the brand’s primary goals. The manufacturing process is kept organic, leaving out harmful chemicals, avoiding pollution and creating biodegradable textiles. Clothes are produced with a combination of innovative, environmentally friendly techniques and traditional artisan skills. Of course, the fashion is timeless and ranges from dresses and pants to shirts, sweaters and underwear.
The mission of organic Japanese fashion brand Tennen is to create relaxed clothing made with biodegradable materials without producing unnecessary waste, and all their clothes are made of natural fibers. After they have been worn and loved for many years, all parts of the garments, including buttons and labels, are 100% biodegradable and can easily be transformed to soil so they can return to the eternal natural circle.
Japanese fashion brand Nagie strives to burden the earth as little as possible with their products while maximizing functionality and comfort. Their clothes can be used for all kinds of occasions, allowing you to have a smaller wardrobe. All garments are manufactured with recycled materials, and all products are made-to-order to avoid unnecessary waste. Nagie’s assortment is quite limited, but all items have a classic design with low-key colors and are easy to match with other brands.
7. Enter the E
The mission of Enter the E is to produce clothes with a 0% destruction rate and 100% digestion rate. In other words, anything produced by Enter the E can and should be worn for a long period of time and be biodegradable in order to minimize impact on the environment. Many ordinary fashion brands aim to produce clothing that is no longer in fashion the following year so that customers will have to keep buying new clothes. Enter the E wants the opposite, also called slow fashion. They share the background story of each garment with their customers and after you decide to order something, you’ll have to wait until the manufacturer has the resources and time to create your item. This way, there is no waste of unsold stock and the customer will treasure their newly acquired clothes for a much longer time.
Ashuhari makes clothes that blend into everyday life in a natural and unpretentious way that especially resonates with adult women. Their concept is to use mainly sustainable materials and incorporate a slow and ethical way of thinking. Ashuhari is based in Tokyo and manufactures their products in Japan, aiming to create clothes that can improve the quality of life and are not thrown away within a few years. If you like a modest design that is inconspicuous and falls loosely and comfortably around your body, a style that is favored in Japan, you will love this sustainable brand.
9. Sisam FAIR TRADE
After encountering issues of human rights and poverty as a student and traveling through Asia and Africa as a backpacker, the founder of Sisam FAIR TRADE had a strong desire to connect and live in a better way with those who are in a weaker socioeconomical position. The company was founded in 1999 as a small fair trade store in the suburbs of Kyoto. Since its establishment, the company has been developing original products, focusing on the quality and design of the clothing and the space in which they are presented. They have consistently been committed to fair trade as a business, and as a shop they are committed to building the society of the future. Besides timeless fashion for men, women and kids, Sisam FAIR TRADE also sells accessories, interior goods and a selection of foods and drinks.
EQUALAND is the new kid on the block in sustainable fashion. Founded in 2020, they value classic Japanese materials and craftsmanship. EQUALAND believes that the manufacturing process has a beautiful story to tell, and that natural materials bring out a gentleness in clothing. Sustainable fashion by EQUALAND is genderless and intimate, and it’s light and comfortable to wear both at home and when venturing outside. It’s everyday wear for conscious young adults who’d still like a playful look. Besides their online store, they also have a shop in Shibuya, Tokyo’s fashion paradise.
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots!
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides!
▶Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.
▶Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.