I recently wrote a post on how to create a minimalist wardrobe, and I said that I would like to write a post about my favorite ethical clothing brands so that I can help you shop more consciously. So I found seven great affordable ethical clothing brands that I want to share with you.
It can be really hard to find fashionable, ethical clothing brands that aren’t an absolute fortune. I want to be a conscious consumer and shop from brands whose values align with my own, but I really don’t want to sacrifice style in the process. If you also want to shop ethically but Patagonia is not quite your cup of tea, these brands are for you. I’ve only included brands that I believe are genuinely fashionable and that I would wear myself (or already wear).
When I say “affordable,” I don’t mean “cheap.” When you shop fast fashion, you get used to ridiculously low prices. But often those low prices have a cost of their own (ahem, exploitation of factory workers and destruction of the environment).
Most of these brands get a little pricier, but that’s the investment you make when you shop ethically. If you’re trying to build a minimalist wardrobe with long-lasting pieces that you will wear all the time, quality is important. However, as I am certainly shopping on a budget and know you might be as well, I haven’t included brands that get excessively and unnecessarily pricey.
The next time I add new pieces to my wardrobe, I will definitely shop at these stores.
I absolutely love Everlane. Yes, some of their clothing can get pretty pricey. But you cannot beat their style and their code of ethics. They purposefully create classic pieces that are fashionable but also aren’t likely to go out of style in a few months. If I could shop exclusively at any store, I would probably choose Everlane.
Why they’re ethical: They are radically transparent and strive to find the best factories around the world to ensure that workers receive fair wages and experience good working conditions. You can go on their website and look up and read more about every single factory. Pretty impressive, right?
Kotn is a really great place to get basics like t-shirts and sweaters. Their style is simple but very fashionable, and most of their pieces are pretty affordable. They create simple and classic pieces that are also modern and current.
Why they’re ethical: They work directly with cotton farming families in Egypt to keep the industry alive, and they’re fighting to stop child labor. They are transparent about production and care about factory workers. They are also working to provide Egyptian children with an education. This brand is looking pretty darn good right now, isn’t it? Even for an ethical brand, they go above and beyond.
I recently discovered Reformation and definitely plan on saving up for a pair of their jeans. Reformation is one of those rare brands that are super fashion forward but also super ethical. While most of their clothing isn’t really my style (they’re a little too trendy for my liking), you can find some real gems at Reformation (particularly when it comes to denim).
Why they’re ethical: Reformation is super sustainable and eco-friendly. They even go so far as to make recycled packaging. Their website has a whole section on sustainability, and it’s pretty impressive. Not only that, but they are also super transparent about their factories and fight for fair wages and good working conditions for their workers.
You might have heard about this sneaker brand purely because Meghan Markle has been seen wearing the trainers. But I’ve been wanting a pair of these beauties for a while. VEJA is a French brand, which I love, as you really can’t beat French girl style. VEJA sneakers aren’t exactly cheap because they are ethically made after all, but they’re not particularly pricy either. They’re a great, practical investment for a minimalist wardrobe.
Why they’re ethical: They’re super transparent and emphasize sustainability and fair working conditions. They have a whole page on their website that tells the story of the ethics behind the brand. They go above and beyond when it comes to accountability.
I only just discovered this brand, and I wish I would have found out about them sooner. They have really cool and edgy 90s-esque items, like mom jeans and baggy t-shirts and sweaters. While some of their items aren’t exactly practical (what even is the purpose of a bodysuit?), you can find some really good stuff if you look properly. The overall aesthetic really reminds me of American Apparel.
Why they’re ethical: They value sustainability and strive to pay their factory workers fair wages. They use recycled materials and employ other environmentally friendly methods, along with supporting domestic farmers.
I literally just discovered this brand, and I definitely plan on shopping at Frank and Oak. They have really fashionable, classic basics. Yes, they can get a little pricier. But their pieces are an investment, as they lean slightly more towards classic than trendy. They started out as a menswear brand, and I feel like the women’s clothing has a classy, slightly tomboyish style.
Why they’re ethical: At Frank and Oak, the ethical focus is predominantly on the environment. It’s pretty impressive how they’re fighting to create sustainable clothing. This year, they’ve committed to making 50% of their products with minimal impact processes.
Matt and Nat is a great place to buy ethically made shoes. I bought a pair of their vegan leather sneakers, and I have worn them more than any other pair of shoes I own. They’re really good quality, and I would definitely buy another pair. Matt and Nat have a style that is classic and timeless but also fashion forward. They also have handbags and purses (which are quite classic and pricey).
Why they’re ethical: Matt and Nat are passionate about animal rights and therefore ensure that all of their products are vegan. But don’t worry, they care about people too. Matt and Nat are also focused on sustainability and ethical practices for factory workers.
If you’ve also found it difficult to find affordable ethical fashion brands that are actually fashionable, I hope these brands are your cup of tea. Shopping ethically may take a little more effort and intentionality, but it’s worth it. Why buy cheap fast fashion pieces that could fall apart in a year when you could invest in well-made pieces that benefit people and the environment?
When you’re intentional about every piece of clothing you purchase and only buy things you know you will wear and love for years to come, investing in ethically and environmentally responsible brands is worth every penny.