We all know sustainable clothing brands are here to stay. These days there are so many incredible options to choose from that I wanted to create a post about my favorite affordable sustainable clothing brands for women (even though some of these also offer men’s clothing).
Right when this market shift started, there weren’t many options to choose from. Some didn’t offer enough variety or cute options, and the ones that did where super expensive. Thankfully, these days there are plenty of affordable options to choose from and that’s why I created this blog post.
Ready to discover new affordable sustainable clothing brands to support? Let’s go!
Table of contents
- Ready to discover new affordable sustainable clothing brands to support? Let’s go!
- Why is it important to support sustainable clothing brands?
- My advice about sustainability in general
- What makes a fashion brand eco-friendly?
- My favorite affordable sustainable clothing brands
- Bonus: Affordable Sustainable Shoes
- Final thoughts on affordable sustainable clothing
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Why is it important to support sustainable clothing brands?
The apparel industry is the fourth largest polluter of air and water on Earth. It’s really time to start changing our shopping habits.
While there are very few brands doing things 100% right, we do have to give credit to the ones that are proving that it is in fact possible to make a profit while paying decent wages and providing good working conditions while treating our planet well.
I think if we all knew and could see how fast fashion items are made and how they are affecting our planet for future generations, we would all do better.
Well now, there are no excuses. There are so many affordable sustainable clothing options these days. The only thing that happens, is that we are so conditioned to go on Amazon, or any other store we like and trust as a default and even though we have the best intentions in our hearts, we always end up shopping at the same places.
So, my advice for you today is to put a post-it somewhere visible or make a mental note to remind yourself that next time you need to buy something, you will visit any of these stores I’m about to share with you first. Maybe even write down the ones you like for later (or add this post to your bookmarks).
My advice about sustainability in general
Never forget that the most sustainable option is what you already have in your closet. Yes, you read that right!
This is the most important thing to remember. The best thing we can do for our planet is to shop less. Shop only when you need something, like actually NEED. Not every time you feel like buying something new.
I understand this is a very hard thing to do in the US. Trust me, I know it more than anyone. My job makes it really hard, but I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job in the past couple of years. And you know what else is great? To save money!!! We are about to leave on a trip around the world because we were good at saving money, and not shopping for things we didn’t need was a HUGE part of it.
What makes a fashion brand eco-friendly?
There are several factors that make a brand eco-friendly. Some of the most important are:
- Fabrics they use: Organic cotton, linen, hemp, tercel, recycled fabrics instead of conventional cotton, acrylic and rayon. These last non-sustainable fabrics are in the black list because they use a lot of chemicals and dyes that contaminate our water systems. Not to mention fabrics like acrylic, which are cheap and a known carcinogen in a chemical- and energy-intensive process.
- Water Usage: By using more sustainable fabrics they reduce the amount of water needed. Opting for a material that requires less water to grow is one key way for a fashion brand to be sustainable.
- Waste: From scraps that come from production to unsold items, sustainable clothing brands find ways to donate or recycle these pieces. Unethical companies burn it instead (TERRIBLE!).
- Packaging: Usually these sustainable brands focus on using recycled packaging as well as little-to-no plastic thus less packaging waste. Minimal packaging is a trend among sustainable clothing brands.
- Fair working conditions: This falls more into the ethical side of things, but I think it’s worth mentioning it because it’s so important and goes hand in hand with fair wages.
- Fair wages: Fashion is one of the largest industrial employers of women worldwide, yet only an estimated 2% of fashion workers are paid a livable wage. There is a humanitarian crisis going on in the fast fashion industry and it is important to be well informed about it. Fair wages is a must for a brand to be considered ethical. They should disclose all this info on their websites.
- Non-profit support: Many ethical brands partner with non-profits. They are committed to share a percentage of their profits to make the world a better place.
*All the affordable ethical clothing brands mentioned in this blog post fulfill several of these. This is a great article that expands more into all of these.
My favorite affordable sustainable clothing brands
It was hard to choose which brands to feature in here. I did my best to not only include affordable sustainable clothing brands in general, but to offer you options that have a decent variety.
If you want to learn more about other brands organized by category (trendy pieces, basics, intimates, accessories, luxury etc), make sure to check out this post about Ethical Clothing where I dive a lot deeper into the world of sustainability in the fashion industry and I organized all the brands by category.
Ok, so without further ado, these are my top 8 affordable sustainable clothing brands:
They have so many cute basic pieces, made with organic cotton and they are so cozy, soft and comfortable!! Pact is an affordable sustainable clothing brand that offers basics for men, women and kids using only organic cotton, fair trade factories and zero harmful chemicals. They are trying to convert fast fashion into ethical fashion by offering ways to recycle those pieces into towels and sheets. I love what they stand for!
Girlfriend collective is an affordable ethical clothing brand that focuses on versatile activewear clothing. They specifically make basics, underwear, outerwear and swimwear.
Being eco-friendly is their #1 priority. From their recyclable packaging to making a huge portion of their clothing from recycled plastic water bottles, they surely prove how important our planet is for them. Girlfriend Collective is also mindful about their carbon footprint and having the best conditions for their workers. Best part? They are super transparent about EVERYTHING too. You can learn more here.
A huge plus for them too is that their website is diverse and beautiful and features women of all sizing and backgrounds. How it should be in my opinion. You can browse Girlfriend’s Collective website here.
PS: I feature them on my Ethical Activewear blog post with 8 other amazing brands. Check out the post because I dive deeper into the world of ethical activewear and why it’s important to support the right brands in that specific category.
Definitely a great option for dresses, dressy tops and pants.
Amour Vert is an affordable ethical clothing brand that offers men and women clothing and their designs feel very luxurious. Their name means ‘Green Love’ in French, and they work every day to create a healthier planet for future generations. Their commitment is to making sustainable, versatile, and thoughtfully designed clothing that’s good for both you and the planet.
For every tee you buy, they plant a tree, they produce limited quantities to eliminate excess waste, only use sustainable fabrics (no pesticides) and organic cotton. I truly love Amour Vert.
One of my favorite brands for T-shirts and basics. American Giant is a brand that focuses on durable pieces that you don’t have to replace often. Remember when I mentioned that shopping less was the #1 way of being sustainable? Well, it all starts with having high quality pieces that will last you for a long time.
They offer basic pieces like T-shirts, jeans, bottoms and hoodies for both men and women. It’s all made in the US focusing on helping communities and producing less waste.
ABLE is an affordable sustainable clothing brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. They are deeply devoted to quality – both in the products they make and the quality of life they aim to provide. They invest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive.
It’s a really amazing thing what they are doing. They started with scarves in Ethiopia supporting women coming out of the commercial sex industry who asked them for help finding jobs. They trained them to make scarves and after selling over 4,000 of them in 2 months, they knew they were onto something. People understood that if you’re committed to ending poverty, you must create jobs, and do so for women.
ABLE has grown from hand-woven scarves to a lifestyle brand with leather bags, clothes, shoes, and jewelry.
6- Toad & Co
Toad & Co is an affordable ethical clothing brand that uses sustainable fabrics and eco-materials. They are super transparent about their processes and offer so many cute clothing options for men and women. They also partner with local non-profits at each of their retail locations and Headquarters to make sure they are volunteering their time and giving back to the community that gives them so much.
Their mission is to support their communities, take care of the planet, and empower people to live their fullest lives.
7- Known Supply
Is an affordable ethical clothing brand that celebrates the people who make the clothes we wear. They offer high quality staples at reasonable prices and all of their pieces are signed by the person who made it. They work with underserved populations to provide meaningful work and to show the powerful impact our clothing purchases can have if made thoughtfully.
Other affordable sustainable clothing brands:
- Albion Fit
- Made Trade
- Mata Traders
- Pareto (I just got the most perfect T-shirt dress ($68) for my trip around the world and I love it so so much!!!! Cannot wait to show you all the different ways I will style it.
*Some of these are a little bit more expensive, but check out their sale sections. I swear it’s possible to find amazing deals for anyone who’s on a budget.
PS #1: If you are not on a budget and want to learn about other ethical clothing brands, make sure to check out this post: ‘Why support sustainable brands? Ethical Clothing brands organized by category’. There are so many sustainable clothing brads featured in there and organized per category. It’s worth checking out their sales section because too you can always find something really cute at a reasonable price. Also, sign up to their newsletter and they give anywhere between 10%-20% off your first order.
PS #2: If you are in the UK – Check these out too:
Bonus: Affordable Sustainable Shoes
- Cariumas – My favorite white sneakers and comfiest shoes for traveling while looking stylish.
- All Birds
Final thoughts on affordable sustainable clothing
You know how I mentioned above that I’ve been very good at not shopping too much in the past couple of years? Can I tell you something? It was hard, but in all honesty I have never felt once that I’m missing out on anything.
Like sure I was walking down the street and saw a cute dress I wanted to get for myself (from a sustainable brand too), and I didn’t buy it. And guess what happened…. NOTHING! I forgot about it after 5 minutes. That’s how it is with stuff we don’t actually need.
There was a time in my life when all I wanted was stuff. I had over 100 pairs of shoes. It was bad. And I wasn’t happy. None of it made me happy because I was trying to fill an internal void with things. It didn’t work and I ended up completely broke.
I don’t know who you are and what your situation is, but I sure hope this post makes you think about how you spend your money. If you are being intentional or if you are just trying to fill a void. Please take the time to think about this.
Phew… I wasn’t planning on writing all of that at all. But I’m glad I did. I almost deleted it because it doesn’t have much to do with affordable sustainable clothing, but I guess what I’m trying to say is to think about how you shop and why. Do the work that needs to be done. And remember, don’t shop, unless you absolutely need to.
In the meantime, I’ll be here sharing all the ways you can style all the basic pieces I own and capsule wardrobes so you can shop smarter and maximize everything you have in your closet.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you have a great weekend :)