Ethical & Eco-friendly Surf + Skate Brands For The Casual Fashion Lover

Olivia Burton

Ok, I admit…I am a 26-year-old adult, but I’ve always dressed like a 12-year-old skater.

I’ve found surf and skate apparel always more appealing, with better designs, more comfortable clothing and messaging I connect with.

I’ve recently however, become disillusioned by these classic apparel labels. There have been reports of Rip Curl’s unethical trade, Billabong’s sexist messaging and a lack of transparency across the board.

ethical surf brands

Even going on to the website for my favourite shoe brand VANS, I can’t find any details about sustainability or trade. Whilst many other brands have recently been called out in Australia for a lack of supply chain transparency and environmental efforts, the main surf, skate and ski brands seem to be avoiding focus.

Oxfam’s manager of labour rights advocacy Joy Kyriasou told “Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl have never published the names and locations of their factories in a list.

Thankfully, there are many other ethical and environmentally conscious youth brands out there that are providing better alternatives. Take note: Vans, Element, Billabong, Quicksilver & the rest. I want you to do better and you can.


This brand needs no introduction. Patagonia is an outdoor brand that does more than most. Patagonia was born from a love for the outdoors and adventure by Yvon Chouinard, yet has evolved into an environmental and socially conscious organisation. They are a shining example of what outdoor apparel brands should be doing.

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”Patagonia’s mission statement.

Why are they good?

  • Certified B Corp
  • Fairtrade lines
  • Ethical sourced material
  • 1% of sales go to the planet, find out more here
  • Transparent
  • Recycled material

Worn Wear – sell second hand items

noah x mr porter


An American label (with an online store) based on skate, surf and music cultures, whilst creating good quality and ethical clothing.

Create the best possible products that inspire our staff, partners and customers to seek adventure and actively engage in the world around them. Promote goodness. Challenge conventional wisdom.” Noah website.

Why is it good?

  • Positive messaging (check out the “HUMAN RIGHTS” tee)
  • Recycled fabric
  • % Profits to social / eco initiatives (Sea Shepherd, Hurricane Relief)
  • Minimal paper packaging
  • Transparency on materials

nudie jeans ethical

Nudie Jeans

The Swedish denim brand started 6 years ago by Maria Erixon, yet it has expanded into an eco-lifestyle apparel brand. The designs are high-end, high quality produced by a socially and environmentally responsible company.

Why are they good? 

  • Organic cotton
  • Transparent production
  • Free repair service
  • Recycle worn out products
  • Resell second hand products

outerknown ethical


If there is anything more genuine, it’s a surf brand actually founded by an 11times World Champion surfer. Outerknown has recently released all of its factories and supply chain information so that it’s customers know where and what they are buying. The website has a whole tab dedicated to ‘sustainability’, covering people and environment.

Why are they good? 

  • Transparent, supply chain & factories published online
  • Uses ECONYL (recycled fishing nets)
  • % Profits go to ocean conservation
  • Fairtrade certified products

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.