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12 Affordable Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands

12 Affordable Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands

Sustainable Fashion

Last Updated on September 11, 2020

I think that everyone wants to support ethical fashion brands. I’m pretty sure if you ask anyone, “Hey do you condone slave labor to make cheap clothes?” The answer is going to no.

When it comes to actually purchasing clothing it can be difficult because:

a. you might not know of any ethical fashion brands.
b. you can’t easily go to a store to try the items on
c. it can be expensive!

12 Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainable #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion #fashion

Affordable Ethical Clothing

Ethical fashion is expensive for many reasons, but a lot of it comes down to perception.

Fast Fashion has driven the cost of clothing down so far that what is actually a reasonable price – and one that was normal up until the 80s – seems extreme or high.

If you’re interested in learning more about fast fashion and why it’s a problem for both people and the planet be sure to check out my guide: What’s the Problem with Fast Fashion?

But, no matter how many times you hear ‘fast fashion is ruining the planet’, it still hurts to part with $100-$200 for a dress when you could buy four for the same price at the mall. Trust me… I understand.

Thankfully, shopping secondhand is AMAZING for the planet and one of the most budget friendly options out there.

I try to shop both secondhand and from sustainable brands.

This blog post specifically focuses on sustainable clothing makers because I want to support ethical retailers who are doing things right! I want to make sure that brands who are doing good things for the Earth have thriving businesses.

If you’re looking for info on shopping secondhand be sure to check out my blog posts 10 Online Thrift Shops for All Your Clothing Needs and 6 Tips for MASTERING Secondhand Shopping.

Besides shopping secondhand and supporting sustainable designers, I’ve also improved my fashion footprint by practicing some of my favorite minimalism habits like:

  1. Waiting 30 days before making a purchase
  2. Asking myself these five questions BEFORE I buy
  3. Making sure it fits with my core style and colors (more on this to come)
  4. Making sure the measurements are appropriate for my body shape.
12 Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainable #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion #fashion

affordable sustainable and ethical fashion brands:

But, enough about fashion footprints. Let’s get to the good stuff… why you’re here – you’re hear to learn about a handful of sustainable and ethical fashion brands that are actually affordable!

I can’t stand it when I read sustainable fashion round-ups and the only thing under $100 is a white t-shirt so I wanted to round up a few brands that have cute pieces you can snag for under $100.

But, if 12 sustainable brands isn’t enough, then check out my ultimate guide to ethical fashion brands where I’ve round up 50 Sustainable Clothing Brands.

Of course, all of these brands offer more expensive items and you can also score a bunch of even better deals off the sales rack. I hope you enjoy this post and several of the links are affiliate links for more information check out my disclosure policy!

1. tamga designs:

I love these bright colored pieces! Tamga is a member of 1% for the planet and sustainability is at the core of their message.

At TAMGA we believe sustainability in the fashion industry is one of the greatest challenges of our time. If this sounds a bit far-fetched, think about how much clothing you’ve owned in your life.

“Now imagine more than 7 billion people with the same amount. Every piece of clothing has an impact, from chemical usage, to water, emissions, energy, and wages for garment workers.

”Sustainability in the fashion industry means finding ways to reduce this impact from design, through wear, to the end of a garment’s life. Ultimately, we’ll only be sustainable if we can create and re-create fashion through renewable materials, recyclable garments and wages that enable workers to thrive.”

My picks! Bella Poncho $69 & Lotus Cami $85

2. armed angels:

Armed Angels is based in Europe and their transparence is pretty amazing. You can read more about their supply chain here.

“Organic is not just a trend for us it’s our belief and taking responsibility and protecting our environment is not an option but a must.

“Therefore, we only use sustainable materials such as organic cotton, organic linen, organic wool, recycled polyester, Lenzing Modal® and Tencel®.

To show that these are not just empty words, we have been GOTS certified since 2011.

“It takes a lot of sweat and time to produce clothes as many people are involved in this long process.

It is our responsibility to make sure that every single one of them works under fair conditions.

“No matter if they are a cotton farmer in India, a sewer in Turkey or a designer in Germany.

We are far from perfect. We just want to do the right thing.

“Step by step, every day. Organisations like Fairtrade or Fair Wear Foundation help us to implement our high standards.”
My picks! Solenaa Dispersed Flowers Skirt $78 & Ylvaa Organic Cotton Sweater

3. people tree:

People Tree as a lot of fun pieces! I love their bright colors, patterns and prints. You’ll be able to find a lot of fun tops and a few dresses and jumpsuits under $100.

“People Tree actively supports farmers, producers and artisans through 14 producer groups, in 6 countries.

“We are a part of the WFTO community and a representative of Fair Trade, this means far more than paying a fair price.

“We provide technical assistance for producers, so they can improve their skills, strengthen their businesses and have a positive social impact.

“It is a partnership between producers and traders, which aims at sustainable development for excluded and economically disadvantaged people in developing countries.” 

My picks! Peter Jensen Pineapple Tee $71 & Renata Paisley Top $77

4. everlane:

Everlane is known for their basics you’re not going to find a ton of fun prints, but they have a lot of beautifully colored pieces that will seamlessly transition into any capsule wardrobe.

“At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt.

“That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials.

“And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make.

“It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency.”

My picks! The Japanese GoWeave Wrap Tank Dress $100 & Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt $98

5. amour vert:

There’s no shock here, but I LOVE Amour Vert. I’ve been a big fan for along time.

They’re made close to me right here in SF and their sustainable fabrics are so luxurious.

If you’re looking for cute prints and work appropriate clothes then look no further.

Most of their pieces are over $100, but they do have nice colored tees that are interesting and perfect for the office.

We are sustainable fashion. We create beautiful clothing with versatility in mind. We pioneer entirely new fabrics that don’t pollute. Our local supply chain and distribution channels have the lowest possible environmental impact.”

My picks! Melis Key Hole Tank $48 & Inna Twist Neck Top $78

6. reformation:

This cool girl brand has been in the spotlight a lot. They have a sexy effortless feeling to their clothes.

In my opinion, they’re a little too revealing for work clothes (if you work in an office), but they are perfect for going out and weekending.

“We put sustainability at the center of everything we do.

It is an evolving goal and definition, and we don’t have all the answers.

But we want to focus on efforts that have the biggest impact. It influences four main areas: Product; People; Planet; Progress”

My picks! Rou Dress $98 & Alexis Top $78

7. pact:

Pact has sustainable, organic and fair trade basics, underwear and socks for both men, women, kids, and babies.

They recently expanded their line to include colorful dresses and tops that are perfect for the weekend that are incredibly low-priced!

Their clothing is manufactured in India where 74% of their organic cotton is harvested.

Organic cotton which uses up to 95% less water than conventional cotton, and all of their clothing is sweatshop and child-labor-free.

My picks! Tulip Wrap Dress $50 & Market Maxi Dress

8. yala:

Yala is all about simple, comfortable pieces. Most of their pieces are pretty basic and look SUPER comfy.

They look like they could easily transition from work wear to weekending to lounging at home. They also have a nice pajama selection.

“Our commitment to responsibility lives in the materials we choose, the ethical partners we work with, our employee benefits, community involvement and so much more.

All of this is to satisfy our responsibility to you. Take comfort in how our clothes feel, look and are made.”

One of the dresses I chose is $108… I know it’s over a hundred but it’s my FAV.

My picks! Cecilia $108 & Geneva Skirt $86


9. tentree:

Tentree is one of my favorite sustainable brands. I love their clothes for lounging and outdoor activities.

If you’re looking for quirky, natured based graphic tees, this is the place for you!

For every piece of clothing ten trees is planted. You can read more about their sustainability initiatives in this post about my five favorite hiking essentials.

“At tentree, our goal is to become the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet.

We don’t want to just reduce the negative impact of the apparel industry, we want to use it as a vehicle for change.

“Our purpose is to revitalize our environment and inspire a generation to believe that they can do the same. Our goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2030.”

My picks! TenTree Camp Trees $79 & Positive Impact Tee $37

10. thought:

Thought has some beautiful pieces with beautiful colors, patterns, and classic silhouettes.

These pieces would be great to wear to work and parties!

“Creating Thoughtful Clothing alone isn’t enough. We value doing the right thing and want to feel good about everything we touch.

“That means we work ethically. From the fabrics we use, to how we design and make and deliver our garments.

We think about every impact our business has. And it’s with the greater aim of minimizing our environmental footprint.

We’re also proud supporters of slow fashion, which is why we design clothing intended to last.

We hope the contemporary, easy-to-wear pieces will become your favourites.”

My picks! Blomst Bamboo Dress $76 & Cassia Printed Jersey Tunic $44

11. made trade:

Made Trade is unique in that they offer a variety of different pieces from different artisans and makers all over the world.

Their goal and mission is to make shopping easy by doing all of the hard homework for you! They figure out the answers to questions like, “Where was it made? How was it made? Was the maker paid a living wage? Were the materials sourced responsibly?”

You can read more about their process here.

If an article of clothing (or home goods!), can answer all of the questions positively, then it makes it into the shop so you can feel good about the pieces that you’re buying. And, many of their pieces come in under a hundred dollars!

Shop their website under $100

12. outerknown:

Outerknown is Kelly Slater’s clothing line, and they’re super sustainable! Check out their sustainability initiatives. They just released a women’s line last year, and I have been absolutely loving it.

They’re committed to transparency, ethical manufacturing, and sustainable sourcing of materials. They’ve got organic cotton for days, and organic cotton uses 90% less water than conventional.

Plus, they have men and women’s clothing so it’s nice to snag some pieces for Justin too.

My picks! The Folk Top $98 & Oasis Top $78

I hope you’ve discovered a few new ethical brands, let me know if you have any favorites in the comment section down below?

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  1. Thanks Kathryn for this article. Those brands are discoveries to me 🙂
    Do you know if they are available in Europe ? (I live in France)

    And I cross my fingers for your book to be part of the bestseller list ! I’ve pre ordered my copy.

    Isabelle.

    1. Hey Isabelle,
      I bought some Tentree items recently and no problem to receive my order in Belgium.
      Bien à toi 😉

  2. Hi Kathryn! My favorite place for clothing is Fair Indigo. Their pieces are fair trade and there are a ton of 100% organic cotton options for shirts, dresses, leggings, pants, skirts, etc. that are all under $100. A couple of times a year, they have 15%-30% off sales, too! I would say almost my entire wardrobe is from them! They also have recently posted some blog articles about why they no longer partner with Amazon, why they stopped using cardboard tags, and info. about their bags now being biodegradable. I LOVE their company!!

  3. I Love Thought Clothing!!!! I want all of their pieces as they are perfectly my style and they’re ethically made! ?
    I actually just wrote a blog post similar to this a couple weeks ago and I just love how you have so many new brands on here I havn’t heard of yet! Great job! I love reading about different ethical brands 🙂

  4. Uhhhh…I have several. LOL. Pact, Toad & Co, Green 3, Soul Flower, Alternative Clothing. But thank you for introducing me to these other ones. A couple of I’ve already heard of, but I can add the others to my list.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! I try to buy vintage/used, as much as possible, but sometimes you need a good new basic.

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  7. How is something made of silk ethical? Not in my book. Silkworms are killed to make silk.

    But most of the insects used by the silk industry don’t live past this stage, because they are boiled or gassed alive inside their cocoons, which causes the cocoons to begin unravelling so that workers can obtain the silk threads. Some 6,600 silkworms are killed to make just 1 kilogram of silk.

  8. I’d like to know if these companies are using plastic packaging or not. Plastic is a huge waste product.

    1. Hello Jen,

      Checkout moborr.com or their instagram page brand_moborr. They have their sustainable maternity line coming up.

      They offer free shipping (sometimes) to international customers.

      Hope you find this post useful
      Good luck.

  9. So many great brands! I’m glad you mentioned PeopleTree, Thought, and Amour Vert. They are some of my favorite companies and they offer fantastic prints and colorful designs.

    Definitely heading over to Made Trade and Ten Tree. Thanks for the great suggestions!

  10. Thanks for putting together this list! I love Amour Vert too!! Last year, a friend introduced me to the app "Good On You", which rates brands according to their environmental, social, and animal welfare impact. While Amourt Vert has a very good grade, Everlane scores very low, which makes me conclude that they engage in a lot of greenwashing. So Everlane is off my shopping list now, until they do better. I now use this app as a compass before I shop from any store, and I highly recommend it!