Ethical Fashion Doesn't Have To Be Expensive & Exclusive
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 just a few wears. And when it comes to ethical fashion, we know the price tags for better, more quality pieces can be daunting.
That’s why we’re sharing brands that make shopping ethically an affordable experience. Let’s stock up on apparel that makes us feel good and look good, without breaking the bank.
For the purpose of this article, we are using the following pricing scale:
$ = Up to $25
$$ = $25–$50
$$$ = $50–$80
$$$$ = Over $80
Ethics | Ethically made
Product Range | Men's and women’s apparel, shoes, and accessories
Price Range | $$–$$$
For those of you who turn basics into boldness, Everlane is right up your alley. Their ethically-made and affordable basics come with a twist, whether it’s a little flair in an A-line dress or box-cut tees in stunning colors. Easy to dress up or dress down, they sell both men and women’s apparel along with women’s shoes—their Day Heels are known to be some of the comfiest pumps around, and well worth the investment.
Ethics | Organic, GOTS Certified, fair trade, eco-friendly
Product Range | Men's, women's, and children’s apparel
Price Range | $-$$
If you’re on the hunt for super soft basics that are long-lasting, look no further than PACT. Their range of basics includes everything from leggings to underwear, tees to hoodies. And they offer fair pieces for everyone in the family, toddler and baby included. Not only are their basics organic and Fair Trade, but they’re also universally flattering and comfortable all year round. Given their affordable prices and high quality, a purchase from PACT is sure to be a steal.
Ethics | Upcycling
Product Range | Women's and children’s apparel and accessories
Price Range | $–$$
thredUP is a dream: if you’re looking to purge your closet of old clothes and grab some new styles at a fraction of the cost, here is your new go-to. Acting as an online thrift store (but much more curated), they sell everything from dresses to outerwear to handbags at a nearly 90% markdown. They also carry all sorts of ethical fashion brands, so you can get the real thing with knockoff prices.
Ethics | Female artisan-made in Peru, fair labor practices, B Corp
Product Range | Women’s apparel, denim, shoes, bags, jewelry
Price Range | $$
ABLE believes that to end generational poverty, you must create economic opportunities for people, especially women, to provide for themselves. Their beautiful bags and wardrobe staples like denim and basics are made all over the world by fairly-paid women who have overcome extraordinary circumstances. If you don't pick the right size or color the first time, ABLE also offers free unlimited US shipping back and forth until you find the perfect fit on your apparel, denim, or shoes.
5. Alternative Apparel
Ethics | Sustainable and eco-friendly materials, non-toxic and low-impact dyes, fair labor
Product Range | Men's and women’s apparel, bags, accessories
Price Range | $$
Alternative Apparel is a one-stop shop for the bargain hunter. Whether you’re searching for loungewear, gift sets for friends and family, or accessories like scarves and socks, they’ve got you covered. They use recycled materials and processes whenever possible, along with ensuring workers receive fair pay and safe working conditions. You can find us on the weekends hanging out in their off-the-shoulder sweaters and ultra-comfy sweats.
6. Thought Clothing
Ethics | Organic, eco-friendly, sustainable
Product Range | Men's and women's apparel, socks, accessories
Price Range | ££–££££
Thought is for our friends over in the UK, but ships worldwide too! Their eco-friendly and organic clothing are made from cotton, bamboo, and hemp. Full of unique colors and gorgeous styles, you’ll find affordable pieces perfect for work, a night out, or simply hanging out with friends. More than just basics, they offer apparel ranging from nightwear to dresses to knitwear. Everyone will think these are designer threads, but it’s okay—we can keep this secret between us.
7. People Tree
Ethics | Fair trade, Certified Organic
Product Range | Tops and bottoms, dresses, skirts, accessories, gifts
Price Range | $$$–$$$$
It would be remiss of us to not include Fair Trade pioneers, People Tree. Based out of the UK, they create beautiful clothing that women can wear all year round using fair trade practices and eco-friendly and organic fabrics. And more often than not, their sales make even their most expensive pieces come out on the affordable side. We speak from experience: Items we’ve bought years ago from People Tree still look as stunning today as we did when we first grabbed ‘em.
Ethics | B Corp, organic, safe and fair labor standards, gives back
Product Range | Men's and women’s cotton basics
Price Range | $$–$$$
Known for their soft, fine, and remarkably breathable Egyptian cotton, Kotn is dedicated to making our favorite wardrobe staples in a fair and safe environment. Kotn works directly with farmers to pay a guaranteed price for their cotton and is also helping their suppliers make the switch to organic within the next five years. Their affordable basics, like classic white tees or nostalgic 90s sweatshirts, are comfortable enough for everyday wear and are crafted with quality in mind so you don’t have to replace them as often.
9. Outdoor Voices
Ethics | Uses recycled materials, ethical production
Product Range | Women’s & men’s activewear
Price Range | $$–$$$
Outdoor Voices was founded on the principle of creating high-quality activewear that encourages wearers to get out and do things. They’re always on the lookout for better, more sustainable technical fabrics for getting sweaty in, like their recycled polyester and their sustainably-produced Merino wool. From their men’s and women’s activewear separates to their affordable outfit kits, if you’re looking for durable and sustainable athletic essentials, you’ve come to the right place.
10. Krochet Kids Intl.
Ethics | Artisan-made clothing
Product Range | Apparel & accessories
Price Range | $S
Krochet Kids Intl. is one of our all-time favorites for their affordable, on-trend clothing, and for the incredible impact they have on the communities where their artisans live and work. The non-profit social impact brand empowers their artisans in Uganda and Peru not only through fair wages, but also through education and mentoring programs. Krochet Kids has developed an extensive monitoring and evaluation system that measures a series of empowerment indicators every month, ensuring that every person in their program is impacted for good.