Ethical fashion or sustainable fashion is much more than just a trend or a buzzword. It is a fashion movement that demands accountability for our fashion choices. The prevalent ideology of ‘more for less’ has had negative impacts on the environment. In response, ethical fashion is concerned with issues of fair trade, a humane working environment, environmental impact, and sustainability. These are issues that are neglected in the fast fashion industry.
Sustainable clothing brands consider the financial costs of ethical practices to determine their price points. Of course, there are high-priced ethical clothes, but there are a lot of others that are not as pricey. What’s more, these brands prevent a cost passed on to people and the planet. Below we list some of our favorite ethical fashion brands that produce high-quality ethical clothing that retails within the ‘affordable’ price range.
If you are not already on the ethical clothing train, you’ll find two main reasons to join. Read more in our deeper dive over at: how to shop ethically for clothes or find out more about sustainable fashion and why it matters.
The fast fashion industry has exposed garment workers to exploitation, abuse, and danger. Many workers in low-cost countries like China, Cambodia, and Bangladesh barely earn enough to live on. It forces them to work under inhumane conditions.
Documentaries like The True Cost show us just how much unrewarded toil and sweat go into the ridiculously cheap clothes we buy at fast fashion stores. Even affordable sustainable clothing brands ensure that they pay fairly garment workers and do not violate their human rights.
Waste, pollution, and unsustainable use of resources are the major environmental challenges that fast fashion has brought upon us.
Sustainable brands make eco-friendly clothing from sustainable materials with the environment in mind. From the production of raw materials to the manufacturing and usage stage, ethical clothes are environmentally sustainable.
A list of some of our favorite affordable, ethical & sustainable clothing brands
The information we have provided covers the following major points:
For: women and men
Product range: T-shirts and underwear for men and women
Ethical practices and values: GOTS, ICEA, Fair Trade certification, transparent supply chain, toxic-free, health care and retirement benefits for workers
Clothing size range: S-XL
Store location and shipping: based in Australia and offers worldwide shipping
The Road is spreading the message that ethics in fashion is no longer a luxury. The brand says it costs them $13.64 to make one t-shirt, and that's the floor price on ethics.
They believe no one should buy a shirt at that price or less. Because when you do, it means that someone along the chain of supply did not get paid fairly for their labor. And most often, that person is the garment worker or the farmer. The brand bases its price point on the belief that everyone should be able to buy high-quality ethical clothing at an affordable price.
The brand uses sustainably sourced 100% organic cotton and GOTS-approved inks and dyes. They source and produce their clothing transparently, and ensure that they only work with fair trade certified farmers. To produce certified eco-friendly clothing, they work with manufacturers who use a zero-discharge system to prevent wastewater run-off. What's more, The Road runs housing, retirement, and health care programs for their Indian garment workers.
This eco-friendly clothing brand promises to deliver your order to your doorstep anywhere in the world. Delivery within Australia may take up to 7 business days, while international shipping may take slightly longer.
For: men and women
Product range: underwear, socks
Ethical practice and values: transparency, locally sourced, GOTS-certified cotton
Clothing size range: XS-L
Store location and shipping: Valencia, Spain, ships bulk orders worldwide
Comfort is the key quality of The Nude Label brand, offering consumers a second-skin feeling. Their main line in soft underwear is 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane.
The brand scores additional eco-friendly points for using locally sourced fiber and production. Working with a family-run factory in their local community, the brand supports the local economy. It also means they have firsthand knowledge of how factory workers are paid and treated. They encourage customers to ask questions about the brand’s production ethics and promise to answer swiftly and honestly.
As part of the brand’s code of ethics, suppliers must not discriminate against any worker based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political ideology, or nationality. As a measure against child labor, Nude Label and its suppliers do not employ persons under the age required for compulsory education completion. Their code also covers issues of forced labor, workers’ freedom of association, health, and safety, etc.
The brand says it commits to producing zero waste, reducing its carbon footprint, and creating durable and sustainable products. It also pledges to use recycled or recyclable materials in its sustainable fashion production as often as possible.
The nude label will not ship personal orders to Russia, Iran, Sudan, Cuba, Syria, Guinea, Libya, and Lebanon.
For: men, women, and babies
Product range: underwear, t-shirts, activewear, socks, pajamas
Ethical practice and values: bamboo fiber, Ecocert approved, Oeko-Tex certified, PETA Vegan approved, WRAP certified, eco-friendly packaging
Clothing size range: XS-XL
Store location and shipping: Australia,
Boody’s philosophy is minimalistic versatility. The brand offers comfortable & classic clothing basics to consumers. Boody’s price range for women's underwear is between $19-$11.
Their fiber of choice is bamboo. They use bamboo fiber for its sustainability, low water consumption, and hypoallergenic quality. The fiber production process is a closed-loop system that produces zero waste. The packaging is made with recycled material and printed with vegetable-based ink. Championing its environmental impact, the sustainable fashion brand claims it has saved over 400 million liters of water since 2016.
Boody also sells a South African handmade bracelet and donates all the profits to the Goodbye Malaria and the Relate Organization.
For: men and women
Product range: clothing, handbags, shoes, accessories, homeware
Ethical practice and values: fair trade, vegan, carbon offset shipping, support artisans, member of 1% For the Planet, recycled materials
Clothing size range: XS-3XL
Store location and shipping: USA-based and ships internationally
This sustainable clothing brand features an integrated collection of artisan-made clothing and American designs. They have a large collection of basics, athleisure, dresses, bathrobes, and so on.
The price tag on the men’s tee is $45. They produce their clothing using sustainable fabrics that are recycled, ethically sourced, or designed to have almost zero environmental impact. The brand considers locally harvested materials, recycled or reclaimed plastic or fabrics, natural materials and fibers, and dyes as sustainable materials. Their swimwear line is made from eco-friendly fabrics like Repreve and Econcyl.
This sustainable fashion brand works with artisans and manufacturers in a system that complies with fair labor practices. The workers get a fair price for their labor and work in a conducive environment. They also encourage their manufacturers to source materials locally.
Made Trade offers its consumers the option to purchase carbon offsets for delivery and returns. The brand supports Fibershed, a non-profit dedicated to researching and promoting regenerative farming practices. 1% of made trade’s profits go to Fibershed.
For: men, women, and children
Product range: denim jeans, jackets, underwear
Ethical practice and values: recycled materials, eco-friendly production
Clothing size range: over 70 sizes available
Store location and shipping: new york, USA. International shipping is not available
This ethical brand caters to the whole family offering premium quality at a fast-fashion price. Their price point is based on their vertical production system, which cuts out third parties and non-vital markups. They place a high value on the perfect fit and, therefore, design for 75 sizes and body types. They even have a maternity line for eco-conscious expectant mothers. Warp+Weft complies with International Social and Environmental & Quality Standards.
This affordable sustainable clothing brand makes its jeans from scratch from locally sourced materials. 20% of their clothing is made from recycled denim, plastic, and cotton. Warp+Weft says they use 1400 fewer gallons of water per jean compared to your regular denim. That means they only need about 10 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans.
They also conserve water by treating and recycling their wastewater. Warp+Weft jeans do not undergo bleaching, rather they are processed using Dry Ozone technology.
The brand is open about all the details of its production process and uses an energy-efficient system that includes solar panels. As part of its accomplishments, the company claims to have saved over 500 million gallons of water.
The family-owned sustainable fashion brand states clearly its commitment to maintaining positive working conditions and paying fair wages.
Product range: swimwear
Ethical practice and values: locally manufactured, recycled materials, ethically sourced, supports a non-profit
Clothing size range: S-XL
Store location and shipping: based in the USA and ships worldwide
Eco-friendly swoon-worthy swimwear just adds to the good feeling of relaxation at your favorite beach or pool, doesn't it?
Kristy Kleist, the owner of swoon swimwear, sews 90% of her products herself. Her handmade bikinis come with the added advantage of being reversible. That feels like getting two bikinis when you buy one. The brand’s small range of designs is youthful and comfortable.
Swoon products usually have one side made with recycled fabric. One of Swoon’s latest designs is completely made with silky soft Repreve fabrics. Repreve fabrics are made from recycled polyester and are 100% recyclable as well.
The Milwaukee-based swimwear brand is proud to be homemade and support its local economy. The brand works with works with suppliers that steer clear of child labor and worker exploitation. Swoon Swimwear supports ‘Simply From The Heart’, a non-profit that offers bedside beauty services to raise the esteem of hospitalized individuals. The non-profit focuses on patients with terminal or life-threatening diseases, making them feel beautiful regardless.
Targeted at: women
Product range: clothing, earrings
Ethical practice and values: a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Green America certified, supports women's empowerment
Clothing size range: 1X-2X
Store location and shipping: based in the USA, ships only to Canada
Inspired by the beauty of Indian block printing, hand embroidery, and screen printing, Mata Traders began importing dresses and jewelry made by local artisans.
This ethical fashion brand collaborates with several fair trade organizations in Nepal and India to source its products. Mata Traders clothing is made by local artisans in India and Nepal. seamstresses create complete garments in their small workshops rather than being a part of a factory production line.
They make some of their clothes with handwoven fabrics like ‘ikat’ and ‘khadi.’ Mata Traders' clothes are made with organic cotton, although some designs have about 5% spandex in them. Their designs are modern, with some elements of Indian artisan culture.
The brand works with artisan cooperatives to provide professional, literacy, and computer literacy training for local women. Mata traders also provide women the opportunity to earn directly from the fashion brand. And by providing work for women, the brand ensures that their children don't have to take on the responsibility of providing for the family. It is the brand’s way of combating child labor. The workers earn above local minimum wages and work flexible hours. You can check them out on their website:
For: men, women, and youths
Product range: basics, loungewear, and accessories
Ethical practice and values: recycled materials, fair trade factories, eco-friendly packaging, member of fashion revolution
Clothing size range: XS-3XL
Store location and shipping: based in Atlanta and ships only to US environs.
This sustainable clothing brand offers designs suitable for all ages. Alternative apparel uses eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp-blend, and recycled cotton to produce its classic and affordable lines.
They also recycle plastic water bottles to create their alternative eco-fabrics, a rather impressive 1.8 million bottles yearly. That’s a lot of plastic waste put to good use. They use low-impact dyes and water-conserving production methods. The brand’s choice of packaging is an oxo-biodegradable mailer bag.
They work with suppliers that have WRAP certification and comply with fair labor association guidelines. The brand ensures that the workers who produce for them work in a safe environment and earn a living wage.
Product range: clothing and accessories
Ethical practice and values: fair trade certified, eco-friendly, responsible sourcing, GOTS certified organic cotton, supports artisans
Clothing size range: UK 6-18
Store location and shipping: UK-based and ships only to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US.
The People Tree brand has been producing sustainable clothing since 1991, when it was founded by award-winning social entrepreneur Safia Minney. The women’s clothing brand has designs that are contemporary, playful, and versatile. They have a range of stylish t-shirts, dresses, denim, and yoga wear. The brand bases its price point on affordability while respecting the people who make the clothing and caring for the planet. The price point for their t-shirts is $55-$86.
The brand manufactures using a completely ethical production process. They feature organic cotton clothing, TENCEL lyocell, and ethically sourced wool. They are certified by GOTS, soil association, and PETA vegan approved.
People Tree was the first fashion company to receive the World Fair Trade Organisation product label for its adherence to ethical principles. People Tree’s denim is produced with 87.2% less water than regular jeans. All the clothes are dyed with low-impact dyes that have no azo chemicals.
The brand works with artisans to produce handmade clothing with low environmental impact, creating jobs in rural areas and toxic-free clothes. The brand is dedicated to paying fair wages, supply chain transparency, providing good working conditions, and promoting gender equality.
For: women and babies
Product range: clothing accessories and homeware
Ethical practice and values: GOTS-certified organic fabrics, eco-friendly packaging, traceable supply chain, recycled materials, zero waste
Clothing size range: XS-L
Store location and shipping: based in the UK, offers worldwide shipping
This sustainable clothing brand launched in 2008 and has been creating contemporary, eco-conscious clothing for modern women. Their clothing collection features loose dresses, dress shirts, baby rompers, baby knickers, and napkins.
Beaumont Organic uses GOTS-certified organic materials, including cotton, linen, Tencel, lyocell, and non-mulesed wool in its products. The brand operates a traceable clothing supply chain and only sources wool compliant with ethical farming rules from in the EU. The brand uses recycled yarns as much as it can.
The packaging is made with recycled eco-friendly materials, consumers are encouraged to recycle the box. Beaumont Organic manages the textile waste in its factories by putting end-of-roll fabrics, which are usually thrown away, to use. They create a limited number of unique styles with end-of-roll fabrics, further demonstrating their sustainable practices.
Another one of our featured ethical brands, Beaumont Organics, promises that it only works with factories that pay fair wages and provide good working conditions for its workers. They do their best to maintain daily communication with their suppliers and manufacturers.
Beaumont organic also ensures that the production schedule is fair to the workers. The brand donates 1% of its earnings through the Beaumont Organic Foundation to provide good education, healthcare, and hygiene for the Taveuni people of Fiji.
Local orders are supplied within 4 working days, while international shipping takes about 10-14 days.
Product range: clothing and accessories
Ethical practice and values: fair trade, women empowerment, WFTO certified
Clothing size range: 8uk-16uk
Store location and shipping: UK-based, international delivery is available.
Bibico is a sustainable women’s clothing brand that offers timeless, easy-to-wear clothing. It has been in business since 2008. The fuss-free designs are created by the brand's founder, Nieves Ruiz Ramos, known to her customers as ‘Snow.’ Bibico makes dresses, skirts, pants, jumpers, gloves, and hats. The brand uses organic and fair trade fibers like hemp, cotton, and wool in its clothing.
Presently, the brand works with two women’s cooperatives in their major supply area, India, to empower women. They provide training, education, and work opportunities for women. They also ensure that the workers are paid a fair price for their labor and have a safe place to work in.
Bibico encourages customers to reach out to the brand if they have any questions regarding their products and processes. Orders within the UK take no longer than 3 working days, while delivery to other parts of Europe, the USA, and Canada can take up to 7 working days. For other parts of the world, shipping takes about 10 working days.
Fast fashion trends have proved to be unsustainable, but you can make a difference when you buy ethically made clothes. Ethical practices are not cheap, so ethically made clothes may sometimes be pricey. However, this list will help you find some affordable sustainable clothing brands so that you can be ethically dressed without breaking the bank.
If you want to buy ethical clothes even cheaper, you can always check your favourite online thrift store to prevent new items from requiring manufacture in the first place.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.