Sustainable Travel Wear For The Conscious Traveller

Take your Airport look to a higher level with Eva Ramirez’s favourite conscious travel wear.

As a child, my mother made a great deal out of airport fashion. My older sister and I would travel to Spain to visit family in our Sunday best – our shiniest pair of mary janes paired with a smart dress, matching peacoat and bows in our hair. These days, travel has become less of an occasion in itself and more of a means to an end. I’ve become far more practical with my attire, besides, I have to pack and carry my own luggage now! Whatever the mode of transport, you don’t want to feel confined in your clothing – that’s what the middle seats on the plane are for. Comfort is key, but if it’s a short-haul trip you’re embarking on then time is of the essence, so you’ll need an outfit that’s good enough to wear as soon as you arrive at your destination. This also means wrinkle-prone fabrics are out of the question (sorry linen).

It’s always a bit of a roulette with temperatures too – warm in the airport, freezing on the plane, hot as soon as you disembark…So you’ll want an easily transitional outfit made up of sheddable layers that will work autonomously throughout the trip too. Certain items can make a casual outfit still look considered – a statement handbag, a good pair of sunglasses, and then there are the essentials, such as an eye mask to ensure you get some much-needed rest while in transit.

Here is a round-up of travel wear must-haves from my favourite sustainable brands:

Romilly Wilde, Wilde Dreams Eye Mask and Drawstring Bag, £49

Sleeping on an airplane is hard enough, but using an eye mask can make it that little bit easier. This is because when your brain senses darkness it produces melatonin, which is the sleep chemical. You won’t want a mask that’s too tight, bulky or will leave lines on your face, so this jazzy, lightweight one from Romilly Wilde is perfect. It’s made from 100% silk and comes in a drawstring bag which makes for a handy wash bag to keep delicates separate within your suitcase – it’s all about the multipurpose items when travelling. Romilly Wilde’s ethos is ‘conscious luxury’ and their skincare, candles and perfumes are all 100% natural. To take extra care of your skin, apply the Night-Duty Face Cream before nodding off and wake up to moisturised skin that doesn’t feel parched from the inflight air con. Dreamy!

RiLEY, Zip Track Pant, £120

There’s nothing worse than restrictive, uncomfortable jeans on a long-haul flight, or a summery dress which seemed like a good idea at the time, but now has you feeling freezing thanks to the gale-force airconditioning at the airport. The ideal travel outfit is warm, relatively loose-fitted but still flattering, has a little bit of stretch and won’t look creased when you’ve been sat down for hours on end. Enter RiLEY Studio, the innovative, transparent and sustainable clothing brand which wasn’t necessarily created for travelling, but may as well have been. Their sleek and simple capsule collection is genderless, seasonless and made using natural, biodegradable fabrics or those created from waste materials (such as plastic bottles and fishing nets). These track pants are smarter than your average thanks to the tapered cut and zip ankle detail, but are just as lounge-worthy, and are crafted from entirely recycled fibres. Some of the pieces in the RiLEY collection are even infinitely recyclable! 

Aessai, Andes Wrap Jacket, £265

There’s nothing worse than wearing a big overcoat en route to a warmer destination only to discard it for the entire time you’re away. This is where layering comes in handy – individual items that work separately as well as together. This gorgeous featherweight wrap looks just as good over a thin-knit turtleneck in the city as it does thrown over your shoulders as a beach cover-up. Aessai is a London-based brand specialising in luxurious, fairtrade pieces which are ethically handcrafted in Uruguay. This knitted piece may be lightweight but it’s also deceivingly warm.

Paradise Row, The Silkweaver, £325

Necessary for keeping your valuables (passport, boarding pass, phone, wallet) within easy reach while also remaining stylish, a small handbag is ideal when travelling. Paradise Row is an emerging East London-based brand creating fair trade accessories from vegetable-tanned leather which is dyed using tannic acids naturally found in barks, branches leaves and fruits. The Silkweaver design is a beautiful statement accessory that’s practical too. It has a detachable cross-body strap so you can use it as an evening clutch while on holiday and the secure fastening ensures nothing will fall out when going through airport security scanners. It also comes with a passport holder! 

Allbirds, Women’s Wool Runners, £95

Allbirds is the sustainable trainer brand that TIME magazine declared “the world’s most comfortable shoe”. These soft, flexible, lightweight and eco-friendly trainers are made from wool and renewable eucalyptus tree fibres. Branching away from the cheap, synthetic materials which the footwear industry often favours, Allbirds is fully committed to championing natural materials and has just developed a world first foam out of sugar cane which challenges rubber-soled alternatives. The Wool Runners come in a range of colour combinations but this muted, neutral tone will pair well with a dress and bare legs while on holiday and if you’re planning on getting active, you’re also covered.

Wires Sunglasses, Stopovers, $99

Catching a red-eye? Hopping off the plane straight into afternoon sunshine? Having a pair of sunglasses to hand means you’re prepared and it also avoids the risk of them getting crushed in your luggage. Wires Glasses is a London-based sustainable eyewear brand co-founded by Yair Neuman and supermodel and activist Lily Cole. The unisex frames are made from stainless steel, with 3D printed lens rims made from a plant-based biodegradable material and the lenses are made of polycarbonate. The designs are chic and minimal but interchangeable too, as the lens rims can be swapped around based on individual needs and style.

Comrad, Companion Compression Socks 3-Pack, $48

They may not be the sexiest of accessories, but compression socks are ideal for avid travellers and those going long-haul. While keeping your feet warm, they help stimulate blood circulation which can reduce the risk of blood clots and swelling. They work by putting pressure on your veins, arteries, muscles and tissues which helps your blood to travel back to your heart when you’re sitting still for long periods of times. For that reason, you should make sure that the design you go for hugs your feet, ankles and legs tightly, in order to ensure that they’re as effective as possible. These Comrad Socks are made from Bluesign approved materials and 80% of all water used to dye their yarn is recycled using reverse osmosis. The packaging your order will arrive in is completely recyclable too.

Palm, Bella Top and Bottom, from £62.10

It’s always worth packing a swimsuit in your hand-luggage if you know you’ll be needing one at your destination. That way, if you make it to the arrival airport but your luggage doesn’t, you won’t have to buy a new pair of swimmers or wait for your suitcase to arrive days later (trust me, it happens!). Palm design, luxury swimsuits inspired by their respect for the natural environment. With an affinity for longevity and reducing the environmental impact of throwaway fashion, their swimsuits have fantastic shape retention and are made to last. They opt for eco-friendly and sustainable materials such as ECONYL® made using post-consumer waste such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpets and industrial plastics which are retrieved from landfills and oceans. 

Looking to travel more ethically? Find Eva’s favourite eco-friendly suitcases here.

And if you’re inspired to dress more ethically, we have the perfect guide for you. 

Visit our full catalogue of recommended brands.