A couple of years ago I watched a documentary, The True Cost on Netflix, and it was truly eye opening. The film focuses on the clothing industry; it showcases the production of clothing and its impact on those who make them and our environment. I highly recommend it, it’s a film that should be seen by all consumers. You’ll find a brief synopsis of the film in my post here along with three other documentaries you should check out.
After watching this film I knew I needed to make a change in my own life. I’ve done a lot of searching since I watched the film and it’s been a bit of a struggle finding ethical clothing brands that are stylish. Thankfully I’ve noticed, or perhaps I’ve become more aware, over this time there seem to be more and more brands that are popping up that produce items that are ethically made. I’ve rounded up six ethical clothing brands that are stylish that you must check out!
Overtime I’d love to build out a resource that remains a fixture on my site with ethical brands across all sorts of categories such as clothing, home goods, beauty products and more. Stayed tuned for that at some point, but for now I’m sharing a few brands I know others will love!
Everlane among this list probably has the largest brand recognition. They create stylish elevated basics at a great price point. In the past I felt other ethical brands had a very high price point that was hard to afford for someone like me who was fresh out of college at the time. Everlane’s price point is even better than some large popular retailers. They regularly audit their factories to evaluate factors such as fair wages, reasonable hours and environment. On their website, they list all of their factories and provide information about each.
Not only do I love this brand for their commitment to producing ethically made clothing, but they also contribute to initiatives to fight climate change. They’ve committed to no new plastic in their supply chain by 2021. They recently produced a line of outwear made from plastics, how cool! I could go on.. but I’ll stop myself. Read more here about their environmental initiatives.
If you’re a fan of Revolve or Zara, you’ll love Reformation! They have classic and trendy pieces. Some of their trendy pieces are at a bit of a higher price point, but not only are their clothes ethically made, they also have high environmental standards. During their seasonal sales you’ll score great pieces at a nice price point.
They manufacture their clothing in Los Angeles and offer tours on the first Friday of every month, love that! They have been carbon neutral since 2015.. yes you read that right! The entire environmental footprint of each garment is disclosed on its tag using what the brand has coined the Ref Scale; this includes CO2 emitted, gallons of water used, and pounds of waste produced.
They have a ton of cool initiatives and partnerships on their website. One that I found very unique was the opportunity to purchase “Climate Credits“; they partner with NativeEnergy where your purchase will support verified carbon offset projects that actively reduce CO2 emissions. You can read about all of their sustainable practices here, it will blow you away and warm your heart to see all of their initiatives.
^ My shirt is from American Apparel!
American Apparel makes very cute cute basics at great price points. Their clothing is manufactured ethically and their employees receive health care with fully equipped medical clinics at each of their manufacturing facilities. They also filter and treat the water they used during manufacturing. On their site you’ll see they feature a diverse range of models.
Alternative Apparel has GAP vibes. Not only do they have ethical labor practices but they’re yet another brand (yay!) that focuses on being environmentally sustainable. Their mailer bags are biodegradable and a majority of their facilities are WRAP-certified, while all of them adhere to Fair Labor Association guidelines.
You’re probably wondering what WRAP-certified is… I had the same question. They have a certification program focused on the apparel, footwear and sewn products sectors. Their certifications are based off of twelve principles that look at human resources management, health and safety, environmental practices and legal compliance. They “monitor and certify compliance with these standards, to ensure that sewn products are being produced under lawful, humane and ethical conditions,” according to their website.
Back to Alternative Apparel..! Not only are their clothes ethically made, but they’re also made with sustainable materials and processes. Read more about their environmentally conscious practices here under the “Environmental” section.
DSTLD, pronounced “distilled”, has edgy-cool basics. They remind me a bit of Rag & Bone, but at a much more affordable price point! Ethically-made and better priced, double win! Their clothing is 100% sweatshop free. According to their website many of their fabrics are eco-friendly and fully sustainable. They use natural dyes “when possible”. So overall they are for the most-part sustainable. They have a great variety of trendy and classic jeans at great price-points!
Pact carries a wide range of clothing from casual wear, activewear, under garments, sleepwear, kids clothing and bedding. They have classic shapes and styles. Their factories are fair-trade certified and they source only 100% organic cotton. I like that they have a variety of products they carry that yet again are at a nice price point that are comparable to any other place you may shop!
The first step to living a more conscious life is education. I encourage you to watch The True Cost or educate yourself in another capacity regarding the clothing industry and how a majority of the stores you shop at produce their clothes. In considering the cost of fabric and materials, production and labor costs, shipment, advertising and store costs, have you ever wondered why you’re able to score clothing from certain stores at such low price points? Clothing that is dirt cheap oftentimes is that way at the cost of ethical human treatment. Price point isn’t always an indicator of how the people who produced the clothing we’re treated.
Becoming aware of where you shop and making conscious decisions seems overwhelming. I felt overwhelmed after watching The True Cost, but taking things step-by-step is helpful. Slowly making changes in your own life is more easily achievable! I hope this list of stores is a good starting point.
Are there ethical clothing stores not listed above that you like to shop at? Any tips for becoming a more conscious consumer?