Sustainable active wear review – Part 1

Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Saviour crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 scallop leggings in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active brand review, Australian brands, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Chloe crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 Scollop leggins in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active wear review, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Chloe crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 Scollop leggins in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active wear review, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Chloe crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 Scollop leggins in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active wear review, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Saviour crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 scallop leggings in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active brand review, Australian brands, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Saviour crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 scallop leggings in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active brand review, Australian brands, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl sitting in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Chloe crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 Scollop leggins in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active wear review, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe
Girl standing in front of white curtains wearing DK Active Saviour crop and Dharma Bums 7/8 scallop leggings in black, sustainable active wear review, DK Active brand review, Australian brands, sustainable clothing, minimalist active wear, active wear capsule wardrobe

My active wear wardrobe was in desperate need of an over haul so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out some sustainable active wear brands I’ve have had my eye on and share my thoughts here –  incase you also were looking for a few new pieces. While this was initially going to be one blog post, it’s ended up being longer than expected so I’ve broken it down into three parts. In this post I’ll cover my old active wear wardrobe, the pieces I bought, a matrix of what I’ll review and a review of DK Active. In part 2 I’ll review Boody* and Dharma Bums and in part 3 I’ll review Adidas.

*Note re Boody: I have been very kindly been given a t-shirt, bodysuit and PJ set from Boody as gifts/pr products and have been given an affiliate code, BRIDIE LEAH, to get 15% off – just in case you were interested in trying this brand. However, it’s a brand I really love and have bought additional pieces from out of my own personal money, including underwear and the active wear the subject of this review. Any opinions of this review will be my own.

I hope this little series is a useful resource for you.

My old active wear wardrobe

I’ve spoken on here about noticing and filling ‘gaps’ in your wardrobe; pieces which you might be missing that help to fulfil a particular practical or styling need. One glaring ‘wardrobe gap’ was my active wear – something which I hadn’t updated since 2017. Despite these being items I wear regularly (and probably should have been updated sooner) I only exercise at home or outdoors so, over the last few years, I’ve prioritised functionality over style and have simply made do with what I owned. However, in the end this part of my wardrobe had been whittled down to about three pairs of exercise tights, a few t-shirts, and a long sleeve running top and so definitely needed a bit of a make over – especially in the sports bra department. However, in a world which sometimes tells you that you “need” XYZ, it just goes to show that sometimes you can make do with what you have.

What I bought to create a new capsule active wear wardrobe

I don’t usually do shopping “hauls” (except thrift shop hauls) as I think they can result in purchasing more items than are ultimately not worn and aren’t always the best way forward for the environment. I personally have found that I purchase more intentionally if I buy a one or two  items from time to time, and often, I just don’t have the budget for “hauls” of the clothes I like. That said, this post is probably as close to a “haul” as you’re going to get on this blog. I purchased quite a few items because my active wear really did need a make over, I had some birthday money to use and I wanted to try several different sustainable brands. Purchasing these items also helped me create a mini capsule active wear wardrobe which I can mix with my exisiting sport tights.

On that note, because my sports tights are still in good condition I only bought one pair of tights and focused mainly on tops and sports bras. I stuck to a neutral colour palette of white and black that I can mix and match it easily and hopefully these are all pieces which will get regular use and last me years.

I bought:

Although I’m perfectly happy running in an old t-shirt and tights wearing new active wear definitely gave me a boost of confidence and I feel amazing in the pieces I’ve bought. 

A matrix I'll use to review

In this review I’ll share my thoughts on design, size, cost, quality, comfort, sustainability and ethics, and a summary of who I think this brand would be good for.

DK Active Wear
Design

When it came to replacing items in my active wear wardrobe, sports bras rated highest on my list of items to buy. I absolutely loved the pattern on the Saviour crop which has a white base overplayed with grey and black polka dots. I thought it was a nice way to add interest to my minimalist active wear capsule while still being easy to mix with other pieces. It has a flattering scoop neck and racer back design. I don’t have a large bust but it is padded and feels very comfortable and supportive and the fabric feels thick and good quality.

I also really loved the design and silhouette of the Chloe crop. I loved the V neck, cross back detailing and the longline fit, an extra panel of fabric below the bust, which offers more coverage than your usual sports crop making it something I could wear on its own as opposed to just under a top. It’s not a padded bra but I still felt like it gave me a lot of support while running and, subject to my comments on size below, felt comfortable. Like the Saviour top the fabric felt thick and good quality.

Fit

I bought a size XS in both brands (which is my usual size). The Saviour crop fits me well and seem to be true to size. Initially, I thought the Chloe crop was too, as sports bras are supposed to be a firm fit and it felt comfortable when I first put it on. However, after a few wears I think I probably should have sized up because after wearing it for a few hours it feels constricting and the straps dig in slightly – both problems which I suspect, although can’t confirm, would be fixed if I went for a size small instead. This is a mistake on my part and I should have assessed it better for fit when I first received it (one of the tricky things about online shopping where you can’t try two different sizes side by side but such is the life of lock down). However, if you’re on the fence size wise, I’d suggest maybe considering a size up.

Cost

The Saviour crop cost me $69.95 and the Chloe crop cost me $59.95. For a conscious brand, good quality items and something I’ll wear a lot this seemed very reasonable and a mid price range compared to a few other brands I compared it against (for example, Girlfriend, Boody, Lorna Jane, Lululemon etc). I was happy to pay this amount. 

Sustainability and brand ethics

In terms of sustainability initiatives DK Active is rated overall as “good” on the brand rating app, Good On You, that I love to use to guide my purchases. They are also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified – a certification which tests fabrics, threads, buttons and accessories to ensure they are free from toxic substances. This brand is “Australian Made” meaning that the “last substantial transformation” occurred in Australia, and for use of this logo they must meet the requirements in Australian Made Campaign’s code of practice

According to Good On You, DK Active visit and trace the majority of their supply chain and although they don’t have a code of conduct on their website – this doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one, or a set of practices in place and their website states that it meets “Australian standards for ethical clothing manufacturing”.

DK Active appear to have considered their fabrics thoughtfully and use organic bamboo, organic cotton, Italian lycra, elixir suppler lycra and regenerated nylon (made from recycled fishing nets and fabric scraps).

The Saviour Crop is made from Italian lycra and the Chloe Crop is made from elixir suppler lycra (something I only realised when reviewing them for this blog post and a good reminder for me to check the fabric composition next time I purchase an item). While it appears that DK Active have taken care in sourcing this Lycra, it is a fabric that doesn’t break down easily and next time I buy from them I’ll try to prioritise clothes from their recycled nylon range as I feel this is better for the environment. However, sustainability is hard guys – no brand is perfect and neither am I and I’m a big believer in supporting brands who are actively making a difference – which DK Active is absolutely doing. Overall I think they have some wonderful sustainability initiatives that I can get behind. Furthermore they are PETA approved vegan, if that’s a factor which is important for you and I like their emphasis on inclusivity.

Summary

Overall I was really happy with my purchases from DK Active and would definitely buy their products again. There’s a lot to love about this brand and I think it would be great if you are looking for:

    • Design: cute designs in a range of colours and patterns, comfortable and good quality fabric. 
    • Cost: active wear in the mid price range. 
    • Sustainability and ethics: Made in Australia clothing, a brand which stocks sustainable and organic fabrics (but check the fabric composition for each product), a brand which has a range of great sustainability initiatives  (including biodegradable packaging and a head quarters that runs on solar power), promotes inclusivity, are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified and vegan. 

In terms of fit, I’ve only tried two of DK Active’s sports bras so it’s difficult to know how consistent their sizing runs and one of the reviews on the website for the Chloe top says that it “runs true to size” so I may have just got unlucky – we are all so unique. I wouldn’t want to make a call on fit without trying more of their products. It would be even more amazing to see DK Active eventually expand their range of recycled nylon active wear and add a code of conduct to their website for extra transparency.  

Outfit 1: Saviour crop, Dharma Bums Leggings (similar here)

Outfit 2: Chloe crop, Dharma Bums Leggings (similar here)

Sources: 

Photos: me 

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