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The Most Eco-Friendly, Cold-Weather Hats, Gloves and Scarves

by gwcmag


Image Credit: SLATE + SALT
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Winter accessories, like the rest of our clothes, are often made out of plastic. But they shouldn’t be! ‘Tis the season of cozy (and real) wool, plus innovative sustainable materials that will keep you warm in the deepest snow.

So before winter creeps on you and you find yourself shivering in the slushy snow, thinking why you didn’t buy more cozy layers, here’s what to consider before the anticipated shopping spree.

From hats made of natural, biodegradable materials to fair trade scarves and ethically made gloves, there are plenty of brands that prioritize transparency and sustainability, as well as style and durability in their production. We wouldn’t want you to compromise your conscious shopping efforts over convenience during times of need.

What to look for in ethical and sustainable winter accessories

Natural fibers: Do a quick search for winter accessories, and you’ll quickly find many made out of environmentally damaging materials, such as polyester and nylon. Search for pieces made from cashmere, alpaca, or wool, which are cozy and soft and a long-lasting investment. Of course, a nice piece made out of knit organic cotton is always another great choice.

Recycled materials: If you decide to go the synthetic fiber route, favor brands that make use of recycled materials. There are tons of brands utilizing recycled polyester for their beautifully made accessories.

Ethical labor: Favor brands that are transparent about where their product is made and those that pay fair wages and ensure a safe workplace. A great place to start is to find if the brand is Fair Trade certified.

Sustainable packaging: Forgo plastic and search for items that come wrapped in paper-based packaging. There are multiple options of brands using recyclable packaging made from recycled content.

With that in mind, here are some of our favorite ethical and sustainable winter accessories that will get you through the bitter winter.

Eco-Friendly Winter Hats

A leader in sustainability for the past four decades, Patagonia carries a variety of winter hats that are made out of recycled materials, including wool, nylon and polyester fleece.

 

Organic Basics creates beanies made with 100% recycled merino. All its products are made transparently in certified factory partners worldwide, where workers have safe working conditions and are paid a living wage and benefits. ​Organic Basics also ha​s​ an impact index, which measures the amount of waste, chemicals, energy, emissions, and water utilized in ​its ​production process.

 

Founded by an avid traveler, SLATE + SALT gives a worldwide customer base to artisans in rural villages. It works closely with small social enterprises to facilitate dignified working opportunities in areas of extreme poverty ​and ​curates a collection of modern, one-of-a-kind pieces that preserve traditional techniques. You can shop from its wide selection of Fairtrade​ beanies made out of alpaca.

 

​Launched in 2012, Frank and Oak didn’t start out as a sustainable company, but it has gradually been implementing more eco-conscious practices and materials into its processes over the last several years. Now, at least 50% of the materials used are lower impact (so make sure to double-check materials before you buy!). Its beanies are made using Yak and merino wool. Frank and Oak is also a certified B Corp and uses recycled and recyclable packaging.

 

Outerknown was started by 11-time World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater and acclaimed designer John Moore. As a brand, Outerknown is committed to transparency, working with manufacturers who abide by the Fair Labor Association’s standards and keeping a list of those suppliers right on its website. Outerknown uses eco-conscious materials like ECONYL (recycled nylon), organic cotton, and hemp, and it also gives back a portion of its profits to the Ocean Conservancy. Its beanies are made out of cashmere or a blend of Merino wool and organic cotton.

 

prAna mostly carries activewear, but also has a great variety of hats and headbands made out of recycled polyester and hemp. Ittraceability has been meticulously documented, and everything is certified Fair Trade too. prAna is committed to ensuring all paper-based packaging is made from 100% recycled content, with preference given to post-consumer waste content by 2025.

 

The Swedish brand Filippa K aims to have 100% of its styles be fully traceable and certified and reduce carbon impact annually. Filippa K operates under a circular framework that includes reducing, repairing, reusing, and recycling whenever possible. If you live in Europe, you can lease a Filippa K garment for four days for 20% of the price or return your old Filippa K garment to a store for recycling. Filippa K’s beanies are made out of materials like Italian cashmere and wool.

Gorgeous Gloves

SLATE + SALT designs fingerless gloves using alpaca. They are made on a hand knitting machine by a weaving collective in Peru​.​

 

Patagonia also sells​ gloves in many different colors and styles, including mittens that convert to fingerless gloves​. Its designs are ​made out of ​recycled polyester​ and recycled nylon. 

 

Frostpfoetchen sells a collection of unique or custom, handmade pieces. Its​ ​eco-friendly fingerless mittens are made out ​of ​organic merino wool.

 

​Certified B Corp​ Frank and Oak also sells ​gloves made out of recycled polyester.

 

Related: Check out our guides for sustainable sweaters, socks & slippers, and winter coats.

Sustainable Scarves

MINNA creates ethically made, socially responsible goods using traditional craft techniques. Its scarves are made from cotton and wool, which are colored with natural dyes or toxin-free synthetic dyes. MINNA partners with master weavers and artisan collectives in Mexico, Guatemala, and Uruguay, ensuring craft preservation and job creation in those areas.

 

You can also find matching scarves for your Organic Basics beanies made out of the same recycled wool.

 

The Swedish brand Filippa K also sells a wide selection of sustainable scarves made of cashmere and wool. They come in neutral and dark colors for easy wardrobe combinations.

 

Thought sources natural, sustainable yarns that use less water, fewer pesticides, and create less CO2. Its scarves are made from bamboo snoods, hemp​, organic cotton and recycled​ ​polyester. The brand carefully sources its fabrics, uses only slow shipping for the lowest carbon footprint, and adheres to a strict ethical code of conduct for employees. Thought turns its scrap fabrics into headbands and leftover yarns into socks. 98% of its packaging is recyclable.

 

Known for its sustainable outdoor apparel, certified B Corp United ​b​y Blue creates easy-to-style scarves made out of organic cotton, wool and recycled polyester.​ United By Blue is transparent about its manufacturing. Customers can easily access its list of worldwide manufacturers.

If you want to start a new winter hobby, there are a lot of great brands that have beginner to advanced kits and patterns for creating cozy hats, sweaters, mittens, and scarves with your own two hands. Check out this post for the best sustainable yarn brands.

Shop Secondhand

Shopping secondhand is one of the most sustainable and affordable ways to shop. And these days, you have an endless selection of different items, sizes, and price points, quality validated by online platforms. Try thredUP, Vestiaire Collective, or The RealReal. For more, check out this post.

 



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