Ethically & Sustainably Made: A Review of My Girlfriend Collective Leggings

Ethically & Sustainably Made: A Review of My Girlfriend Collective Leggings

photos of me in this post are by Holly McMurter photography at Retreat Zen.


I remember the first time someone told me about Lululemon leggings. I was 17 years old and I was promised that my already cute butt would look even cuter if only I had a pair of these leggings. So I did what any girl who's promised a cuter butt would do, and I went to Lululemon to see if this was true or not.

Long story short, Lulu's were not for me and my already cute butt (I really didn't see what all the fuss was about?) and I was surprisingly happy about that. I wasn't prepared to spend $100 on a pair of leggings (and I've never liked buying something that everyone else already has) so I washed my hands of it and never returned.

10 years later, I'm lying in bed scrolling on Instagram (remind me to get out more often) when I see a sponsored post by Girlfriend Collective. I'm immediately captivated by an olive-skinned woman with her leg up the wall looking oh so real and oh so beautiful in a creamy apricot coloured sports bra & legging set. The combination of not-so-typical model and dreamy work-out set led me to click the bait and learn more about the company. Much to my surprise, they were just the brand I needed to jumpstart my Responsible Shopping commitment. I bought a pair immediately after reading their company mission and a slew of positive reviews.

Let's get into it what I learned, shall we?


What is Girlfriend Collective?

Girlfriend Collective is a Seattle-based startup making waves online with their new line of ethically-made, sustainable leggings.

  • They believe the best fashion is not about trends - it's about quality. YES!

  • By focusing on humane manufacturing, meticulous design, and sustainable materials, they want to create a community of people who care about every step of the process.

  • 14 pairs of hands and eyes making each pair of their leggings.

  • Their factory is owned and operated by a Danish family who’s been in the textile business since 1931.

  • An SA8000 certification guarantees a lot of really important stuff, including no forced or child labor, safe working conditions, and the right to unionize.

  • They start pay at 125% of the local minimum wage, provide both free catered lunch (and dinner for those who work the evening shifts) instead of just a lunchroom, and guided exercise breaks, because no one likes to stare at a desk all day.

  • While healthcare is often deducted from wages, they decided to provide free health check ups every 6 months at the factory for every employee, as well as health insurance.

  • The company's sizing ranges from XXS to XXXL — and you’ll see a representation of a variety of different body types across their website and Instagram.

Why is everyone talking about their leggings?

Each legging is made from 25 recycled water bottles, and the company prioritizes ethical and sustainable production, which they're transparent about.

  • The leggings are true to size, made from a flattering and helpful compression material that never pills, is moisture-wicking, quick-drying and holds you in all the right places.

  • The well-placed seams elongate and slim your legs.

  • The material will break in like your favourite pair of jeans the more you wear them.

  • The secret to their incredibly flattering, Spanx-like fit is in the details: The core fabric used for them offers the highest compression for muscle recovery after medium-to-high-impact workouts, and enough softness to be comfortable.

  • The company offers their leggings (available in high-rise, high-rise capri, high-rise 3/4 length, mid-rise, and mid-rise 3/4) in 11 great colours: Black, Sand Dollar, Apricot, Toasted Apricot, Red Ochre, Ivory, Powder Blue, Midnight (navy), Pebble (light blue), Indigo, and Smoke.) If you're worried about fit, use their Fit Guide here.

  • Prices start as low as $58, which is a steal in terms of industry standards and quality.

  • They produce sports bras to match and recently came out with run and bike shorts.

What do I think after wearing them?

  • I bought the Black Girlfriend High-rise Legging in size small and I'm 5'7 / 130lbs.

  • When I wear them, I can't stop touching my legs/ass and I never want to take them off !!! I have worn them to boxing, to lounge in, to sleep in, and to shop in. They kept their shape every time and didn't MOVE or trap in heat when I was working out.

  • I made the "mistake" of wearing them to bed. They were so damn comfortable I didn't want to get dressed in the morning! I move so much in my sleep I would have thought they would roll or leave marks on my skin... BUT NOPE.

  • They’re still dark black (even after many washes).

  • The aforementioned seams follow the natural line of your body and slim as well as elongate legs, and the material and fit is still somewhat architectural, like a comfortable and slightly looser pair of Spanx.

  • The no-pill material is slightly chicer than a normal athletic legging, so something about them feels "dressier" than most leggings, which makes them easier to throw on for brunch or hanging out with friends.

  • They couldn't be more flattering if they tried. Damn I look good in these leggings.

BONUS: I was a little hesitant about spending $100 on a pair of leggings, but that feeling quickly diminished when I opened the mail. I slid open the cardboard box to find an adorable dusty pink bag that was just a gold zipper away from my ethical new leggings. If you're going to charge for your leggings, the quality and the care needs to be there. Lululemon charges *more* for the same product—yet their production isn't nearly as ethical and they don't provide a garment bag to help you further care for your garment.

I don't know about you, but extra-special packaging and care just makes me fall in love with a product and brand so much more. It shows that they care about the customers and the relationships they make, rather than profit.