Fast fashion is easy for consumers because it’s just that: fast and inexpensive. Lasting for only a season or so, it’s easy for us to end up with clothes that tatter and rip after a few wears. And when it comes to ethical fashion, we know the price tags for quality pieces can be daunting.
That’s why we’re sharing brands that make ethical shopping an affordable experience. Let’s direct our conscious spending towards apparel that makes us feel and look good, without breaking the bank.
For even more affordable options, check out our guide to vintage and secondhand clothing shops online. And if you’re making the shift to a completely ethical wardrobe, add a few responsibly made shoes and eco-friendly bags, too!
$ | Typically under $25
$$ | Typically $25–$50
$$$ | Typically $50–$80
$$$$ | Typically $80 or more
Ethics | Ethical production, fair wages, gives back, recyclable packaging
Product Range | Adult apparel, children & baby clothing, accessories
Price Range | $$$–$$$$ (also offers sales)
Boden is one of our most-loved sustainable British brands. The company, which was founded more than 25 years ago, is renowned for its clothing collection, which is equally ethical and expansive. Customers local and abroad can shop for the whole family, as the brand offers expedited worldwide shipping options for its adult, children, and baby apparel. The clothes even ship in recycled (and recyclable) packaging. For sustainable and affordable apparel that will last, say ‘hiya’ to your new favorite clothing collection.
Ethics | Certified B Corp, organic materials, safe & fair labor standards, gives back
Product Range | Adult cotton basics & loungewear, home goods
Price Range | $$–$$$
Known for clothes made from soft and remarkably breathable Egyptian cotton, Kotn makes some of our favorite wardrobe staples in a fair and safe environment. Working directly with farmers, the brand pays fair prices for cotton and assists suppliers in making the switch to organic. With affordable basics (we love the classic white tees and ribbed bottoms), Kotn is crafted with quality and comfort in mind. So long, ratty t-shirts.
Ethics | Organic & GOTS certified fabrics, fair trade, eco-friendly production
Product Range | Adult & children’s apparel, bed & bath
Price Range | $-$$
If you’re on the hunt for super-soft basics that are long-lasting, look no further than Pact; the brand sells organic clothing for everyone in the family, toddlers and babies included. Not only are the garments GOTS certified organic and fair trade, but they’re also universally flattering and comfortable for year-round wear. Given the affordable price point and high-quality standard, a purchase from Pact is sure to be a win.
Ethics | Organic bamboo, fair wages & safe working conditions, gives back
Product Range | Adult’s loungewear, activewear, underwear, babywear
Price Range | $–$$$
Whether it’s a bodysuit or a pair of briefs, all of Boody’s pieces are made from organically grown bamboo. The plants are grown in China in accordance with the international organic standard, meaning each stalk is 100 percent natural growth and free of any chemical pesticides. So you can expect hypoallergenic and highly breathable fabrics that are soft to the touch and on your skin. Boody regularly gives back by donating to Goodbye Malaria and the Relate Organization.
5. Happy Earth
Ethics | Certified B Corp, organic materials, ethically made, carbon-free, gives back
Product Range | Adult apparel, accessories, activewear, headwear
Price Range | $-$$
Happy Earth is built around protecting the planet. As a certified B Corp and 1% for the Planet member, the brand is held to the highest sustainable and ethical standards. It sources organic materials, uses recycled & recyclable packaging, and empowers its customers to give back with every purchase. With each ethically made adventure-ready tee, hoodie, blanket, legging, or accessory, you can plant trees, combat the climate crisis, or remove trash from nature. Each program has humanitarian and environmental benefits, from reducing poverty to providing additional food and income through forest gardens. When you shop at Happy Earth, you’re putting people and planet first “because when it comes to the planet, we actually give a damn.”
Ethics | Certified B Corp, ethically made, organic materials, eco-friendly, gives back
Product Range | Adult & children’s apparel, hats, bags, & accessories
Price Range | $$–$$$
tentree is rooted in the belief that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the world we live in. This earth-first apparel brand celebrates its commitment to our planet with ethically crafted and sustainably designed products, all while planting 10 trees for each item purchased. With a motto of “Buy one, plant ten,” tentree believes that you don’t have to be a hardcore environmentalist to make a difference. The brand has now planted over 54 million trees around the world, and is well on the way to its goal of planting one billion trees by 2030.
Ethics | Fair labor practices & wages, Bluesign® & OEKO-TEX certified materials & factories, eco-friendly packaging
Product Range | Adult apparel, jewelry, bags, accessories, home goods, capsule options
Price Range | $$–$$$
Quince believes everyone should be able to afford the best, so the brand has set out to make luxurious pieces at extra accessible price-points. The team responsibly sources sustainable materials like organic cotton and linen, Mulberry silk, and cashmere to create sleek and stylish designs that last. Quince transparently shares about the factories it works with, including more about wages and working conditions. The Capsules section is our favorite when we need inspiration—or just to make the shopping experience easier!
Ethics | Certified B Corp, made by artisan women, fair labor practices & wages
Product Range | Women’s apparel, denim, shoes, bags, jewelry
Price Range | $$–$$$$
ABLE believes that to end generational poverty, you must create economic opportunities so that people, specifically women, can provide for themselves. The certified B Corp’s beautiful bags and wardrobe staples are made all over the world by fairly paid women who have overcome extraordinary circumstances. And all makers receive fair living wages along the way.
9. Thought Clothing
Ethics | Sustainable & organic fibers, eco-friendly production, gives back
Product Range | Adult apparel & loungewear, socks, accessories
Price Range | ££–££££
Thought makes eco-friendly clothing from organic ingredients, including cotton, bamboo, and hemp. Boasting a wardrobe of unique colors and gorgeous styles, the UK brand offers affordable pieces that are perfect for work, a night out, or even lounging (don’t miss out on the cozy socks and comfy nightwear). Don’t worry if you’re not a UK resident; Thought ships worldwide!
10. Ref Jeans
Ethics | Organic cotton & Tencel, eco-friendly practices, ethically made, carbon-neutral company
Product Range | Women’s apparel
Price Range | $$$–$$$$
Ref Jeans is tackling denim waste. Launched by Reformation in 2017, the apparel collection uses the fashion brand’s same eco-material standards, as well as its sustainable and ethical practices. Ref Jeans is making affordable denim available to everyone—and it’s doing so with only a third of the water used by comparable denim companies. Starting at $98 and with dozens of styles, this is the place to find sustainable and fashion-forward jeans for your capsule wardrobe.
11. Girlfriend Collective
Ethics | Recycled materials, inclusive sizing, ethical working conditions, fair wages, gives back
Product Range | Adult’s activewear & apparel
Price Range | $$–$$$$
We love Girlfriend Collective for its line of inclusive, sustainable, and affordable activewear. With sizes ranging from XXS through 6XL, the brand offers bras, shorts, leggings, and tees made out of recycled materials—like old water bottles and fishing nets. This brand makes its clothes in Vietnamese factories, where workers are provided with safe conditions, fair wages, and standard working hours. Girlfriend Collective also launched the ReGirlfriend initiative to recycle old pieces which they’ll transform into new ones and you’ll receive site credit as a thank you. Sounds like a win-win to us.
Bonus: Rent the Runway
Ethics | Eco-friendly alternative, reusable garment bag, responsible dry cleaning, gives back
Product Range | Adult & children’s apparel
Price Range | $-$$$$
Want an eco-friendly alternative to buying new? Try Rent the Runway. This fashion retail giant earned its unicorn status (now valued over $1 billion) in early 2019, and for a good reason. With Rent The Runway, you can find that date night dress, gala jumpsuit, or even an everyday dress through its massive directory of brands and styles. Garments are delivered straight to you in a reusable bag and responsibly dry-cleaned once you’ve returned them. As we are more mindful than ever about investing in clothing we frequently wear, this cyclical rental option is perfect for those special occasion garments.
This article was originally posted on The Good Trade.