8 Sustainable Fair Trade Hats For Any Occasion
I love a good hat! I've been told I have a good face for them — I guess that's a good thing. With summer coming (I'm counting every second, I thought it would be fitting to share a list of sustainable and fair trade hats that will have you brimming (not grinning) from ear to ear!
Who wants to wear a hat made from plastic? Not me. I love a good bad hair day hat, but I certainly don't want it to come at the expense of the planet.
All of the brands featured here are taking slow fashion to a whole new level, offering consumers ethical chapeaus that even the mad hatter would love. Too many cliches, I know. 😂
So, it's time to put away that winter toque, because summer hat season is here, darling.
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What to consider when shopping for Sustainable Fair Trade Hats
Never underestimate the power of a great hat, and if you're into sustainable fashion you can start at the top.
Most hats are made from crappy, cheap plastic materials like polyester and animal fibers that typically come from animals who are not treated very well.
When looking for materials, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. If the hat is made from straw, make sure the straw is harvested in a sustainable manner. For baseball hats or other hats made from fabric, stick to natural materials like organic cotton, bamboo, jute, hemp, or even recycled materials which can come from discarded plastic bottles or salvaged ocean plastic.
All of these natural materials/fabrics will likely come with third-party certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Recycled Standards (GRS).
Some hats, especially winter ones, are made from wool. There are a ton of potential problems with this; in many cases, the sheep are kept in deplorable conditions and the sheering process can be very painful when not done ethically. It's called “mulesing” and it's pretty horrid. This is where certification and transparency on the part of the brand are really important. I'll chat more about these issues throughout the post.
8 BEST Sustainable Fair Trade Hats
These brands offer something for everyone, no matter what type of hat you are on the hunt for!
Tentree is one of my favorite affordable ethical brands that also has the cutest lineup of baseball caps to choose from. On the website, you can actually filter the hats based on the following material: Cork Trims, Recycled Polyester, Tencel, Organic Cotton, or hemp.
For every item sold, they plant 10 trees. All of the materials used in their clothing, athleisure wear, hats, etc. are organic and carbon-negative.
Their trucker caps are essential eco friendly hats for the summer that comes in tons of shades and styles. The mesh backing is from recycled polyester.
Other materials used in their hats come from organic cotton and hemp. They design all of them in Canada and they are manufactured in Vietnam under strict ethical standards.
Tentree is a certified B-Corporation, which means they have the highest regard for the people who make their items, their communities, and the environment.
If you are looking for ethical and sustainable straw hats, look no further than Ninakuru. All of their stunning hats are made using toquilla straw that is ethically and sustainably harvested in Ecuador.
Their wool hats are made using 100% hand-sheared and cruelty-free Argentinian wool. Both the sustainable straw and sustainable wool hats use vegetable-tanned leather, recycled silk, hemp, organic cotton, and feathers that are actually foraged.
If you are a vegan, they do carry a small collection of sustainable vegan hats.
Their eco-friendly sun hats for women will make the perfect beach accessory. This family-owned millinery is located in South America and prides itself on Artisanal ways to mold each hat. They work with women's fair trade cooperatives that make sure all the weavers have good working conditions, health benefits, and educational support for their communities.
Kindom's sustainable fair trade hats are made with natural, recycled, fair-trade, Tencel, hemp, and organic cotton materials that are manufactured in ethical factories. All of these fair trade hats can are size and gender-inclusive.
The bucket hats are handmade exclusively by the Yakan tribe of the Southern Philippines and help to keep their ancestral traditions alive. Yakan women are celebrated for their weaving skills and use of vibrant colors and patterns in all their designs.
With fast fashion, the knowledge of ancient weaving has dwindled, resulting in a loss of Indigenous cultural knowledge. By supporting Kindom, we are keeping these treasured customs alive.
When your hat arrives at your door, it will come in a compostable bag with natural cotton labels and an unbleached hangtag made with jute and twine — no plastic!
Kindom has aligned all of its company's values to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
4. United By Blue
United By Blue is all about saving our oceans. All of their apparel, including their sustainable fair trade hats, are made using planet-friendly materials like organic cotton, merino wool, and recycled polyester.
If you are the outdoorsy type and love hiking and camping, they have sustainable hats for athletic use, bucket hats, baseball hats, and the ever-trendy trucker hat. They also have a really innovative fabric they call "Bison Shield," which uses bison fibre, normally considered waste, to make insulation and "yarn" for their wool hats. No Bison are harmed.
Their (R)evolution™ collection gives plastic water bottles a second life by transforming them into durable packs and pet accessories that will last forever! This is true "greenovation." They work with a company that collects recycled plastic and turns it into yarn, which keeps plastic out of the oceans and landfills. The best part is that you don't have to wash these items so there is no need to worry about microfibers.
United By Blue is an impressive company. They set out to prove that a for-profit company could break up with single-use plastic, and they have done it. To date, they have eliminated 8 nasty plastics from their supply chain, including things like tags and mailers.
All of their products are made ethically around the world in factories that are highlighted on their website. You can learn what items are made where what kind of materials are used, and which third-party certifications are in place (like GOTS, Fair Wear, and OCS Standard).
They are a B Certified Corporation and are proving that fashion can be a force for good. They are the real deal!
This year they've donated to Colour the Trails, NAACP, and Black Girls Trekking to promote the importance of outdoor spaces for all!
prAna has the best fair trade men's hats (and tees) made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. This is the perfect gift idea for the man in your life.
Their Fair Trade Certified™ products are made in ethical factories where safety measures are in place to protect employees. prAna was actually one of the first brands to partner with Fair Trade USA, and since then, they have converted 11 of their factories to Fair Trade Certified™.
They have the cutest fair trade hats for women made from responsibly sourced paper, hemp, and recycled polyester. They also make some of the best sustainable winter hats for women.
prAna works with an organization called The Renewal Workshop, which takes discarded apparel and textiles and turns them into renewed products, upcycled materials, or recycled feedstock.
When it comes to ethical manufacturing, sourcing, and workers' rights. prAna checks all the boxes. This is what they have to say:
“We are committed to maintaining workplace standards and safe working conditions within our supply chain that are aligned with our code of conduct. We know collaborative efforts will produce better results, therefore we are committed to working with the FLA and Civil Society Organizations, to achieve this goal. With this commitment in mind, we prioritize sourcing with like-minded factory partners that are willing to meet our standards."
Vuori makes eco friendly sun hats for women and men who love to train in the outdoors. The visor is perfect if you are looking for coverage but don't want to cover your whole head. This is totally my kind of hat. My head gets so hot!
Vuori made a commitment to use 80% sustainable materials by 2020. Right now, 50% of their products are made with high-quality sustainable materials called REPREVE "polyester made from recycled plastic bottles, ECONYL nylon made from recycled nylon fishing nets and other nylon waste, and Certified organic cotton, grown in clean, healthy soil."
They are certified by Bluesign, Oeko-Tex, Unifi & U Trust Recycle Verification, and California's Prop 65.
On top of that, they are eliminating 80% of the plastic they use from their shipping and supply chain and have partnered with The Renewal Workshop to repurpose products and textiles at the end of their life.
Ethical manufacturing and fair labor are at the heart of this Californian company. They have a strict code of conduct which includes no discrimination, no child labor, and no forced labor. All of the manufacturing partners must have written environmental policies and standards in place.
7. Taylor Stitch
Taylor Stitch makes classical, ethical men's clothing that I am definitely going to be getting my husband in. Each piece is beautifully made including the sustainable hats for guys.
The fedora is made from 100% merino wool, which is ethically sourced in the USA, with a salvaged leather hatband. Taylor Stitch makes everything from shirts, to jackets, jeans, and more. You will find recycled and regenerative fabrics woven throughout their collections, all of which help to reduce water usage, get rid of harmful pesticides that harm workers, and create a closed-loop cradle-to-cradle supply chain.
They have complete transparency about their factories, which all adhere to the highest sustainability practices. From sourcing to sewing, they check all the good boxes.
They also have a really cool business model called The Workshop. "We design new products. You crowd-fund them and save 20%. Our planet takes on less waste. We deliver them when they’re seasonally appropriate. Everybody wins."
8. Luxury Garage Sale
You can find so many hats, caps, and beanies, you name it when choosing to shop at a thrift shop. I've got 37 thrift stores I absolutely LOVE!
Shopping at a thrift shop is a no-brainer way to reduce our addiction to fast fashion. By giving old items a new life, we are keeping clothing out of landfills and are able to buy and enjoy designer clothing without feeling so bad.
Luxury Garage Sale has so many great options for pre-owned designer hats.
Why invest in sustainable fair trade hats?
Why not is the better question? Voting with your pocketbook sends brands a message, and as consumers, we have the power to facilitate change by putting our money where our mouth is. If you are going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.
We know that the fashion industry has detrimental effects on water quality thanks to chemicals used to dye certain items. Plus, the impact of synthetic fibers on the planet is another stain on the fashion industry. When we think about going green and what that really means, we can quickly see that we need to care about people and the planet. And while you are at it, consider sustainable sneakers too!
When sharing ethical and sustainable fashion brands, I always take all of the following into account:
- Corporate Responsibility
- Ethical sourcing
- Natural or organic fabrics & materials
- Environmentally-conscious packaging (plastic alternatives)
- Corporate responsibility
- Who can access and use this product?
- Equity and cost
- Animal rights
Did I leave anyone out? Drop a note in the comments!
If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – sharing is caring 🙂 ! And if you need anything else to cover your head, make sure to browse the brand directory.
Barry van Gerbigsays:
It would help when focusing on “ethical” companies, if you can separate those that use terms like “no child/forced labor,” “no discrimination,” “strict environmental policies,” etc. It’s more about what they’re NOT saying, as in IF these companies can promise they are “fair trade,” and pay workers a “living wage,” …or are actually “Fair Trade Certified,” by one of the US, or Global groups that do that. There is some US-industry-owned (apparel & footwear) group that professes to & uses the designation of it’s own group for marketing, but there are @ 20 employees, globally, to police w/no actual policing power, especially over sub-contractors & Second Tier items like threads, zippers, buttons, etc. I think too many companies are making either nebulous statements about “ethics,” or they are saying everything possible, as long as it avoids the guarantee of fair wages. For example, … some factories factor in management & owner salaries in “declaring” the average wages they pay. I think as insiders we owe it to working families across the globe to make clear distinctions about conditions/treatment vs. actual “living wages/fair pay.” Even more so IF “affiliate links” are involved, and you stand a chance of making a commission off sales.
I say all this because my wife & I own a fair trade only ship in Langley, WA & have for 6yrs. We’ve been told all types of stories about how workers are paid. Some are not being truthful, or at best, evasive … “Oh, we’ve worked with them for 15yrs!”
Thank you for your message. All of the brands that I feature on this is website are vetted by me. I either know the founder and if I don’t I always reach out to talk to them directly. I also focus on brands that have third-party certifications in place. I actually typically do break up these terms, you can see how this post is structured: https://theecohub.com/sustainable-eco-friendly-bedding/
If there is a brand on this list that you feel is greenwashing, let me know. I am very diligent with the brands I showcase on my website. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and am well aware of the BS that is out there. I will adjust this post to reflect the breakdown. Sustainably is very nuanced and there really is no perfect system. I wish there was. As far as the affiliates go. I put a great deal of work into each and every post. Hours of research, emailing brands back and forth and hours to write the post itself. Isn’t it only fair that I am compensated for my work?
Thanks again for reaching out?