Looking for ethical Fair Trade pajamas but don’t know where to start? While old t-shirts and sweats can be a great sustainable option, there are several sustainable sleepwear brands out there ready to fulfill your sustainable pajama dreams.
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Why do we love sustainable pajamas?
Just like conventional clothing, conventional pajamas bring with them the same taxing environmental impacts.
In fact, the fashion industry remains one of the most polluting industries on the planet. With its fast-moving trends and poor manufacturing practices, it contributes the same amount of emissions as 372 million cars driving for one year. (Common Objective, 2018)
The fashion industry is also very resource-intensive, every year consuming enough water to serve the annual drinking water needs of 110 million people. Similarly, 43 million tonnes of chemicals are used throughout the supply chain to process raw materials and treat finished garments for mold, stain resistance, and flammability.
The labor-intensive nature of the clothing manufacturing process has also created a well-recorded history of unethical practices and tragic events—a major driver behind the slow fashion movement. From unethical working conditions and forced labor to extremely low wages, conventional clothing generally comes at a hefty cost to the estimated 180 million workers involved in the manufacturing process.
Unlike sustainable clothing brands, conventional or fast fashion brands also rely on cheap fossil-fuel-based fabrics such as acrylic, nylon, and polyester; the latter of which is found in 60% of our clothing. (Fashion Revolution) And, while conventional cotton might appear to be a better alternative; offering naturally sourced breathability and durability, it also requires large quantities of water and high amounts of insecticides and pesticides.
With that said, have no fear! Just like my sustainable and ethical fashion guide and my guide for sustainable & environmentally friendly fabrics, this article is filled with resources to help you make the most sustainable choices you can on the hunt for the sustainable ethical pyjamas of your dreams.
What kinds of fabrics are ethical fair trade pyjamas typically made from?
While its conventional counterpart is processed using strong chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and to workers, 100% organic bamboo makes for comfy and durable fabric without toxic fallout.
Bamboo is particularly desirable for pyjamas since it is soft and silky to the touch. It's also a natural moisture-wicker, helping to keep you at a comfortable temperature through the night. (The Sleep Doctor, 2022)
To make sure your organic bamboo pajamas are ethically processed and manufactured, look out for the following third-party certifications: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Fair Trade, Oeko-Tex 100, and Bluesign.
Soft, lightweight, and breathable, organic cotton is a great sustainable alternative to its conventional or synthetic counterparts.
Grown from non-GMO seeds without chemicals, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers; organic cotton production also offers safer working conditions for farmers who also benefit from not getting exposed to the harmful chemicals used in conventional cotton farming systems.
Organic cotton also uses considerably less energy and water than conventional cotton while retaining the quality and durability of the material.
Third-party certifications to look out for include:
USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Bluesign, Better Cotton Standard, Fair Trade, and Oeko-Tex 100.
Obtained from the reconstituted cellulose of beech trees, modal is recognized for its soft, flexible, comfortable, and lightweight qualities in activewear. However, only Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Modal is considered a sustainable fabric because it is made using only trees from sustainably harvested forests (PEFC “Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification” certified). It is also carbon-neutral, reduces the usage of chemicals, and requires less water than cotton.
With its antibacterial, hypoallergenic, breathable, and very absorbent properties, this semi-synthetic fabric is a great sustainable option because of the way it is produced. Bamboo Lyocell is made in a closed-loop system where the chemicals and water required to break down the bamboo pulp are collected and reused.
Bamboo Lyocell is also biodegradable.
Organic hemp is one of our favorite environmentally-friendly fabrics because it is naturally sourced, durable, versatile, and biodegradable. In addition to not causing pollution, it can actually improve soil health by replenishing vital nutrients in the soil it is planted in.
As if that weren’t enough, it is soft, light, highly breathable, sun-protective, and antimicrobial which all come together to put organic hemp at the top of our list for sustainable fabrics.
Certifications to look out for here include:
USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS),
Oeko-Tex 100, and Bluesign.
Fleece is best known for all its lightweight polyester glory and is recognized for its insulating prowess meant to mimic wool. When washed, however, a fleece jacket can shed up to 250,000 synthetic fibers, winding up in our waterways. (The Guardian, 2017)
While it poses similar contamination issues during the laundering process, some fleece is made with recycled plastic bottles, reducing the need for virgin plastics (or virgin petroleum) while also reducing landfill waste. To prevent these fibers from entering our ecosystems, some companies offer filters or laundry bags that capture them during the wash cycle. Check out the Guppyfriend bag, Cora Ball, or this microfiber filter that attaches to your washing machine.
To make sure your fleece pyjamas are made out of recycled polyester lookout for the following certifications and brands:
Global Recycled Standard, Recycled Claim Standard, SCS Recycled Content Certification, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Polartec, and REPREVE.
While some believe that "there is no such thing as humane wool", others argue that it is biodegradable, naturally sourced, and can be produced under humane conditions.
If you choose to purchase some wool PJs be sure to look out for these certifications to help you make the best choice:
Certified Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane® Label, Certified Organic Wool, Climate Beneficial by Fibershed, Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), Soil Association Organic Standards, and ZQ Merino Standard.
What criteria are we on the lookout for when choosing the best sustainable Pyjamas?
When choosing sustainable pyjamas, I follow similar criteria as I would for sustainable clothing brands. As such, the brands selected in this article account for the type of fabrics and materials used, their sourcing, and the brand’s level of corporate responsibility.
Natural or organic fabrics & materials
The pajamas selected are made of natural or organic fibers and materials like organic bamboo, organic cotton, Lenzing’s TENCEL™ Modal, Bamboo Lyocell, organic hemp, or recycled fleece.
Sourcing also plays a key role when it comes to sustainable pajamas. The brands listed are chosen in part because of their ethical sourcing practices and standards, going beyond the sustainable properties of their fabrics — from where and how textiles and other materials are sourced, produced, and manufactured, to labor standards and wages.
Also considered are the certifications their materials carry and their company’s level of transparency.
Corporate responsibility is a good way of knowing how committed companies are to sustainability. Generally, it refers to practices, policies, or initiatives aimed at improving their social, economic, and environmental impact. From sustainability initiatives and carbon offset problems to plastic-free shipping and water conservation initiatives to employee welfare. This considers what more brands do to promote and ensure sustainability throughout their company and within their communities.
Our recommendations for Ethical Sustainable Pyjamas
Now that you are all caught up on what makes ethical, sustainable pyjamas and how the following options were selected, it's time to explore some of the best sustainable pyjamas out there.
Hernest is a Canadian company that prides itself on bringing you the comfiest sleep. Designed to be lived in per their namesake (hernest: as in “her” and “nest” combined), you can find a variety of comfy basics in which to sleep soundly.
Hernest fabrics & materials
Every garment is made using TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres for its absorbent, soft, and naturally hygienic qualities, as well as its ecological ones.
Their TENCEL™ Lyocell fabric is blended with other fibers like cotton, linen, and elastane for weight, integrity, and stretch, all with a minimum Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification.
Hernest ethical sourcing
As for sourcing, Hernest sets out to ensure that all of its fabrics and dyes are sustainably sourced. To that end, all of their fabrics are certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100, ensuring that they are free of harmful chemicals and dyes.
Their garments are sewn by Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified manufacturers in Maia, Portugal. They readily offer a look at their fabric makers, garment makers, and even their hangtag & print producer.
Hernest Corporate responsibility
All of the packaging used at Hernest is either compostable, biodegradable, reusable, or recyclable. They also invest in renewable offset initiatives, make charitable donations to local women’s charities, and support new immigrants with employment opportunities in partnership with relevant organizations.
With each review left on their website they plant a tree, so be sure to check them out and leave them a review once you get your hands on whatever super soft and comfy item(s) you’ve chosen.
SIZES: XS - 4XL
With yet another clever name, Terrera is a Canadian clothing and home goods company that offers a variety of sleepwear options created with comfort and sustainability in mind. You'll find nightdresses and pyjama sets in a variety of colors as well.
Terrera fabrics & materials
Terrera uses organic viscose from organic bamboo fabric in all of its sleepwear. Everything from the thread, buttons, stitching, and dyes carries the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification.
Terrera ethical sourcing
The organic bamboo used in their organic viscose sleepwear is sourced in China from responsibly farmed organic bamboo producers. To ensure health and safety for their workers, all of their overseas partners are regularly audited.
Terrera corporate responsibility
Finished pieces manufactured in China are shipped by sea (rather than air) reducing their carbon emissions. Terrera is also committed to giving back through community initiatives like their Earth Award, which rewards Canadian women who have made outstanding contributions to environmental sustainability.
They also support numerous organizations and charities such as the YWCA, Sanctuary Toronto, Urban Promise, and the Amazon Rainforest Conservancy.
While not exactly pyjamas, KOTN offers loungewear including yummy-looking joggers, shorts, and tops fit for the best slumber has to offer and if you need a pair of sustainable socks for your tootsies, make sure to check them out. No matter what you are looking for it will come in enticing colors like ‘Dawn’, ‘Caramel’ and ‘Moss’. This is not the first time we have featured this super-stylish brand. They carry the cuuuutest hats, really great fitting t-shirts and bras, and much more. Make sure to give those a look before you go!
Kotn fabrics & materials
KOTN makes its products using Egyptian cotton (or Gossypium Barbadense) — a finer, softer, and stronger variety than any other. They also ensure that products made in their factories in Portugal use only cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
A BCI certification means farming methods used account for maintaining and conserving biodiversity, local water consumption, and the use of minimally harmful crop protection methods.
Kotn Ethical sourcing
Using direct trade, a practice best known in the coffee & tea industries, KOTN sources raw ingredients straight from farmers. This helps to provide farmers with better prices and business practices, promotes transparency, and benefits the consumer by cutting out the middleman and allowing for fairer prices.
They also ensure that factory employees are paid fairly and equally, and work under safe working conditions.
Kotn Corporate responsibility
Since its launch, KOTN has funded several social impact projects through its sales. With that, they’ve successfully built and are now operating 7 new schools in rural areas of Egypt; provided financial and other resources to smallholder farmers and impoverished communities; and pursued environmental responsibility and stewardship initiatives, among others.
They are currently embarking on a project to make 100% of their natural fibers certified organic within the next 5 years.
Pact is a US-based company on a mission to build Earth’s Favorite Clothing Company. They offer a variety of certified organic basics including sleepwear. If you are looking for men’s sustainable pyjamas, definitely have a look there. And also be on the lookout for Pact can be described as having a minimalist aesthetic and while that is true, they do it with a whole lot of style and chic! Take a look at their body-loving undies or their adorable baby clothing, this slow fashion brand is where it's at!
Pact’s fabrics & materials
Their sleepwear is made using only organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Some of their items do contain elastane to create the desired fit. If this is a concern, look out for the presence of elastane in the ‘Materials & Care' section of the product description.
Pact’s Ethical sourcing
Pact partners with Fair Trade Certified factories that ensure safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods, and financial support to empower and uplift communities.
Pact’s Corporate responsibility
Using only certified organic cotton, Pact benefits from important water savings since organic cotton requires 91% less water than conventional cotton, holding off on the toxic chemicals as well.
They also offer the option to offset the carbon footprint associated with your shipment and use 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard and cardboard boxes to ship your items. Where they do use plastics in your shipment, they are made of biodegradable plastic.
The company has also started a clothing donation program in partnership with Give Back Box, where you can donate your gently used clothing (of any brand) using a prepaid label.
Encircled is a women’s fashion brand that strives to bring women timeless, sustainable, comfortable, and stylish clothing that lasts. They offer a variety of comfy joggers, leggings, and sweats to meet your cozy bedtime needs, in a wide variety of colors. Plus, all of their garments are Made in Canada. It's one of the reasons why they are a top pick for affordable ethical clothing.
Encircled's fabrics & materials
To get the softest, perfectly fitting, and most durable garments, Encircled relies on a variety of sustainable fabrics and dyes, all Oeko-Tex(R) 100 certified. Recommended fabrics include TENCEL™ Lyocell, Organic Cotton, and Linen.
They offer the option to sort their products by fabric type so be sure to check out that feature to get straight to what you are looking for.
Encircled's Ethical sourcing
With factories located just a twenty-minute drive from their Toronto HQ, Encircled is very transparent about where their garments are made, even specifying where specific items are fabricated.
All of their factories are located in Canada, ensuring they are easily accessible and provide safe work environments and fair wages for workers.
Their factories are not only subject to the high labor standards of the Province of Ontario, but each factory also signs their Ethical Code of Conduct, going above what is required by law.
Encircled's Corporate responsibility
Encircled is a certified B-Corporation, a certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact, with high standards of performance. Check out their B Impact Report for more information.
With every purchase of its Earth-First essentials, tentree plants 10 trees. They are committed to making choices where the planet and its people come first, bringing you the quintessential cold-weather pyjama bottoms. But they also have you covered in the following departments: bras, hats, sweaters, t's, and socks!
tentree's fabrics & materials
Made of a blend of organic cotton and TENCEL™ Lyocell, the tentree Ember PJ Pant is meant to be soft and ready to be lounged in. While their organic cotton is not certified, all of the TENCEL™ materials used are FSC certified.
tentree's Ethical sourcing
Tentree strives to responsibly source all materials and ensure a safe and respectful work environment. The factories they work with are regularly audited to ensure compliance with the tentree Code of Conduct and international labor standards. Factories make sure that workers are paid a living wage, are not overworked, and have access to insurance coverage.
tentree's Corporate responsibility
Per their namesake, tentree plants 10 trees for every garment that is purchased. tentree is also a certified B-Corp, reflecting an above-average commitment to minimizing its environmental impact and promoting the well-being of its employees and its community at large.
Their selection of sleepwear is plentiful and caters to chemical sensitivities, as well as environmental concerns. Rawganique pyjamas are also hypoallergenic, 100% organic, and elastic-free with sustainable options for both men and women.
Rawganique’s fabrics & materials
Rawganique sleepwear is available in organic cotton, organic linen, or organic hemp. Their buttons are made of natural coconut or tag nut, and their dyes are either natural or biodegradable fiber-reactive dyes.
Rawganique’s Ethical sourcing
Rawganique prides itself on remaining chemical-free at every stage of the manufacturing process. None of their plants, fibers, or products are chemically treated, and all of their textiles and garments are sweatshop-free and hand-crafted in the USA, Canada, or Europe. They ensure that their artisans are paid a living wage and work in a safe and healthy family-like environment.
All of their products ship out of warehouses in the USA and Canada.
Rawganique’s Corporate responsibility
Rawganique is made entirely in the USA, Canada, and Europe; relying on a small team of 50 artisans and partners to craft all of their products.
8. Gaia & Dubos
Gaia & Dubos is a Canadian sustainable fashion company that offers elegant options designed to last. From organic cotton tanks and recycled plastic bottle pyjama pants to robes and even the eco-friendly slip (underskirt) you’ve been looking for. What’s more, all of their garments come with a lifetime guarantee.
Gaia & Dubos fabrics & materials
Gaia & Dubos’ selection of pj’s is made of recycled plastic bottles or organic cotton.
Gaia & Dubos Ethical sourcing
All of their products are ethically created and crafted in Quebec, Canada by a team of highly skilled artisans.
Gaia & Dubos Corporate responsibility
Gaia & Dubos strives to have all of its actions respect the planet at every stage of its processes; from raw materials to the delivery of your new favorite pj's to your door.
Harvest & Mill's fabrics & materials
Harvest & Mill uses only USA-grown and spun regenerative cotton fabric. All of their items are available in their signature non-toxic, undyed, and unbleached natural finish; and their commercial dyes are all low-impact and EPA compliant.
Harvest & Mill's Ethical sourcing
All of the cotton used in their garments is produced in the USA. Since they only commission American heritage mills to produce their fabric, they can also trace materials back to the organic farms on which they are grown.
Their garments are sewn in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco; within 20 miles of their studio in Berkeley.
Harvest & Mill's Corporate responsibility
All Harvest & Mill items are delivered wrapped in compostable tissue paper and compostable (or re-usable) kraft paper mailers.
Since their supply chain is entirely in the United States, they adhere to one of the safest and cleanest standards for chemical use and disposal regulations.
They are not only committed to providing non-toxic clothing but also to creating new supply chains in the fashion industry with cleaner and more ethical practices at every stage of the manufacturing process; through their Non-Toxic Initiative.
With that, they support USA organic cotton farmers, American heritage mills, and local sewing economies, reviving these supply chains using ecological and ethical principles. In doing so, they also ensure that all workers are fairly compensated in legally binding and safe work environments.
In the same vein, they are members of Fibershed, a non-profit that works to develop regional fiber systems that benefit soils and protect the health of our biosphere.
Their domestic operations also reduce their carbon footprint and the distances traveled between factories.
Everlane is an American company known for its basics. They strive to bring you quality, and ethically produced garments as transparently as possible; even offering a cost breakdown of their items.
While they are most known for their basics, they also offer a set of dreamy washable silk pyjamas.
Everlane's fabrics & materials
Their pyjamas are made of silk. Yes, actual silk! Did you even think you would find sustainable silk pyjamas?
Everlane's Ethical sourcing
While their silk is not certified or organic, it is produced in a Silver LEED-certified factory in Nanchong, China. Using efficient technologies like LED dome lights that automatically adjust based on the natural light available in the room, or independent-motor sewing machines, the factory benefits from less energy waste and ultimately fewer carbon emissions.
Everlane's Corporate responsibility
In terms of corporate responsibility, Everlane is working on building an ethical supply chain to reduce waste, chemicals, and plastics. Their garments are designed to last, and they’ve publicly committed to eliminating all virgin plastic from their supply chain by 2021, as well as moving all their cotton production to organic by 2023.
Why consider switching to sustainable PJs?
Sustainable pajamas offer you the opportunity to reduce your ecological footprint and shop mindfully even in your sleepwear.
A final word on ethical fair trade Pyjamas
Affordable sustainable sleepwear, men’s sustainable pajamas, or just good-quality fair-trade pyjamas are all within our reach. I hope this list will help you find the best sustainable pajamas to suit your needs.
If you find it difficult to choose from these brands, it helps to be clear about what is most important to you and to prioritize those factors in order to make the best choice.
I do want to point out that it was really hard to find plus-size pajamas, which means there is a lot of work still to be done. Hernest carries the widest selection of sizes and you can also take a look at some of these plus-size brands I love.
And don’t forget! Secondhand is also the most sustainable option when it comes to pj’s so be sure to explore some online thrift stores. If you don’t quite know how to go about thrifting in general, check out my 10 best thrift shopping tips to get you started.
And if you are in need of home goods like bedding or shower curtains, make sure to browse the sustainable brand directory.
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