If you’re looking to make your wardrobe more sustainable and support some ethical fashion brands, you may find that many sustainable clothing brands can charge significantly more than what you may be used to from fast fashion brands.
While it is true that it takes more money to create quality ethical fashion pieces compared to cheap fast fashion garments, there are also some significantly more affordable sustainable clothing companies to choose from. In this article, we’ve compiled 7 of our personal favourites!
But before we get into those, just a quick word about sustainable clothing and prices…
Calculate the cost per wear
Here’s the truth – ethical fashion is always going to cost more than fast fashion. That’s because workers through the whole supply chain are actually paid a living wage and sustainable clothing companies design their collections to last, which means they can’t use the cheapest, flimsiest materials available like fast fashion does.
However, despite the number on the price tag being higher for eco-friendly clothes, they are actually cheaper in the long run.
That’s because sustainable clothing will last you longer – potentially for decades – and is designed to also look timeless and be worn with love for all this time. Fast fashion, on the other hand, earns its money by forcing you to buy more and more stuff. That £15 blouse from a fast fashion store suddenly becomes much more expensive than a £50 one from an ethical fashion brand if you do the maths. The average fast fashion garment is worn 7 times before being thrown away – that is £2.14 per wear. However, you’ll likely wear the £50 piece for over 100 times over the next few years – resulting in a cost per wear lower than £0.50.
Remember that how expensive a garment is depends on much more than the number on the price tag.
1. People Tree
As one of the most well-known sustainable fashion brands, People Tree offers a high variety of eco-friendly clothes for women at an affordable price point. The company is on a mission to improve the standards of working conditions in developing countries and provide workers with jobs that are actually worth having. This only proves that ethical fashion has the power to change fashion supply chains worldwide.
From more minimalist eco-friendly clothes to more colourful sustainable clothing, the brand has a lot of different styles to offer. They use only natural materials or ones made on a closed-loop production process, such as GOTS certified cotton or lyocell. They also implement a variety of circular techniques such as rainwater collection or water recycling in their factories.
Kotn offers sustainable basics for both men and women in simple as well as imaginative cuts. As their name suggests, most of their garments are made from organic cotton – although some of their knitwear does use wool, so watch out if you’re avoiding animal products.
Their garments are ideal if you’re experimenting with a minimalist wardrobe, as they are flattering and universal.
3. Lucy & Yak
If minimalism is not quite what floats your boat, check out Lucy & Yak! They are a fun and colourful brand for all those looking for a sustainable wardrobe full of personality. However, they also have some more basic pieces such as black dungarees available.
Many of their items are unisex and their whole website is very gender-inclusive, avoiding the labels of ‘menswear’ and ‘womenswear’ and rather letting you mix and match whatever styles work for you! We love to see it.
Good quality sustainable shoes that aren’t made from animal leather or PVC can get expensive – but Will’s Vegan Shoes offers an affordable option made with cereal crop leather. Aside from a large range of footwear (from boots to trainers), they also offer some clothing including jackets and jumpers as well as accessories such as bags or belts.
This brand’s whole supply chain is free of single-use plastic as well as carbon-neutral, including shipping. Their range has plenty of men’s and women’s designs, as well as a more limited kids’ section.
It can be difficult to make activewear sustainable on a budget, because of all the performance and fit requirements. Tala is a great option for anyone looking to get fit sustainably and without spending a ton of money. Recently, they’ve also added some gorgeous loungewear and pyjamas to their collection!
Many of their garments are made from recycled pre-consumer waste and occasionally new sustainable materials such as lyocell or bamboo. In addition, the brand is also very body-positive!
This brand’s name emphasises what we should all learn more about – the origin of the clothes we buy. Their brand is built upon transparency in the supply chains and fashion that helps make the world a more sustainable place.
Aside from their own collection, this sustainable clothing brand also sells garments from other brands which meet their environmental standards. That’s what makes it a great sustainable and affordable one-stop-shop for all men’s and women’s clothing.
COSSAC is an ethical fashion brand ideal for those who enjoy bolder pieces, showing that sustainability doesn’t always have to be minimalist. They put a timeless twist on trends, so that they can be enjoyed for years to come, which makes them a great brand for fashion enthusiasts who want to reduce their impact on the planet.
Their pieces are designed to be re-worn all over again and combined with other pieces in more minimal wardrobes. Their collections are limited, to prevent waste, and their garments are crafted from sustainable materials including Tencel, ecovero viscose, organic cotton, as well as repurposed deadstock fabric that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
As you see, sustainable fashion is not an expensive matter – and it doesn’t have to involve a large upfront investment either if you choose to buy from these more affordable ethical brands. However, it is important to remember that the most sustainable wardrobe is the one you already own!