12 Affordable Ethical Clothing Companies [2020]

Today I will go through my favorite affordable ethical clothing brands,

While jumping into a zero-waste lifestyle, you probably have learned how to avoid packaging, purchase reusable products, and generally be more conscious of the environmental impacts of your daily decisions.

However, have you ever thought about how the clothing you choose to wear plays into this?

Affordable Ethical Clothing

Listen to this:

The most commonly used material to make clothing today is polyester.

It takes 70 million barrels of oil yearly to produce and takes 200 years to decompose. Yikes!

Material choice plays a huge role in how a garment affects the environment, however, there is a myriad of problematic elements to the fashion industry. Certain materials are resource and labor-intensive. They also are not biodegradable and take hundreds of years to break down.

Not only are we eating up resources quickly to produce the clothing, but then the industry deems certain looks “out of style” within a few weeks. This ideology makes people get rid of clothing at an alarming rate.

Swallow this:

Americans tend to throw out around 81 pounds of clothing per year.

clothing waste

While some clothing gets reused or recycled, a huge portion of it finds it’s way into the landfill.

It’s quite a silly environmental catastrophe to have when it is so easily avoidable.

Some solutions are to shop secondhand and invest in quality pieces. For example, stop following trends and become more conscious of the fashion brands you choose to support.

Many affordable clothing companies outsource their production to lesser developed countries. They do this because the labor is cheap and there are fewer industry standards to be held accountable for.

A large majority of people that manufacture the clothing we wear are not paid fair wages and are forced to work in poor, unsafe conditions.

Listen to this:

90% of clothing production workers interviewed in Bangladesh cannot afford enough food for themselves and their families, forcing them to regularly skip meals or go into debt.

sustainable brands

We can be smarter about the clothing companies we choose to purchase from.

Today I will be sharing my top 12 affordable ethical clothing brands.

Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands

That is to say, what does it take to qualify to be an ethical clothing brand?

To me, a large part of it is environmental awareness.

I support brands that are trying to minimize their footprint and use materials that are safer for us and the environment.

Ethical production is a huge part of it, as well. I only support clothing brands that are transparent about the standards and practices of their manufacturing facilities.

no fast fashion

It is imperative that these clothing brands are paying their workers the wages that they deserve to make a good life for themselves and their families.

Lastly, price is important to me. I think that in order to be inclusive, clothing brands need to find a way to make affordable ethical clothes for everybody. These clothing brands may be slightly more money than your typical fast fashion retailer, but the quality makes it worth it because the garments will last so much longer.

Okay, here we go. This is my top 12 list of affordable ethical clothing brands:

1. Everlane

Everlane is a warrior when it comes to what they call “radical transparency.”

This means that they put a lot of time and energy into finding the best factories to partner with to produce their clothing.

Affordable Ethical Clothing

Get this:

They often visit these facilities and score them to make sure that they are up to standard on fair wages, reasonable hours, and environmental expectations. On every single garment listed on Everlane’s website, they tell you the exact factory the piece was produced in.

There’s more:

Everlane is also radically transparent about cost, which makes them one of my top affordable ethical clothing brands. They break down the material, labor, and transport costs of each item and then compare their price to the typical retail markup of other companies.

I love these wide-leg cropped pants that they make. Like most of their products, they are simple and classic.

sustainable brands
Everlane Wide Leg Pants (68$)

Everlane does not follow the trends of the fast fashion world. They make pieces that are timeless, made to last, and will never go out of style.

2. People Tree

People Tree is a leader in sustainable and fair trade fashion.

They promote organic farming, avoid polluting substances, practice water recycling in production, promote environmentally responsible initiatives, and much more.

Get this:

The organic cotton that People Tree uses is Global Organic Textile Standard Certified.

This type of cotton has met strict environmental and social standards. They also do not use any harmful, polluting dyes.

People Tree is also Fair Trade certified which means that all of the farmers, manufacturers, and workers that help bring a piece of clothing to life are given sustainable wages and safe working conditions.

You can help:

When you support a Fair Trade certified company, you are supporting the sustainable development of villages in developing countries.

You are helping people feed their families and feel empowered.

This 100% organic cotton People Tree jumper is heavenly. It’s comfy, cozy, and only $55!

zero waste brands
People Tree Organic Cotton Jumper (55$)

This piece is made in the Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills in India, which is People Tree’s main manufacturer of Fair Trade, certified organic cotton garments. Finally, cute, affordable, and guilt-free clothes!

3. Prana

If you love fitness, yoga, and sustainability, you need to check out Prana.

They make amazing environmentally conscious clothing items that fit perfectly into your lifestyle. This is another Fair-Trade certified, organic cotton using brand, but wait, there’s more:

ethical brands

Prana is really smart about seeing where there is waste in other industries and figuring out how to use that in their supply chain. For instance, instead of using virgin wool, they use recycled wool that is reclaimed from textile waste. This reduces overall energy consumption by cutting down on the resources needed for fiber processing.

Similarly, they use “responsible down” in their winter pieces. They use the feathers from animals that are used by the food industry. These facilities are also RDS certified which means the animals are free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, fear, and distress.

I am obsessed with this organic cotton headband that is only $10! It comes in a wide variety of fun colors and is perfect for any on-the-go person.

It keeps your hair out of your face and the sweat from running into your eyes. I love this product and I love Prana!

ethical brands
Prana Organic Headband (10$)

4. HARA the Label

If you are having a hard time finding cute, sustainability-focused undergarments, look no further than HARA the Label.

Their mission is to bring change and awareness to the fashion industry through the ethical and sustainable production of their pieces.

One sustainable aspect of HARA’s production is that they use bamboo fabric.

Bamboo grows quickly and requires no irrigation systems or harmful pesticides. It provides 30% more oxygen than trees and can be harvested over and over again, making it one of the most sustainable raw materials.

There’s more:

Once the bamboo is processed into fabric, they only uses natural dyes to give it color. These dyes are plant-based and safe for both your skin and the planet!

HARA the Label also tries to have the entirety of their supply chain in one location to reduce the emissions caused by transportation.

sustainable fabrics
Hara The Label Pumpkin Cut Bra (37$)

All of HARA the Label’s bras and undies are super cute, but my favorite would have to be the leo high cut bra. This rectangle cut bamboo fabric bra is so comfortable that you will forget you have it on. All of the amazing colors are made with natural dyes and it is only $37!

5. Reformation

The reason why Reformation makes my list of the top affordable ethical clothing brands is because of how transparent they are on their sustainability efforts. Every single year, they post an updated report on the amount of resources saved and used in comparison to the previous year.

It gets better:

Reformation has invested in green building infrastructure so their manufacturing facilities are as efficient as possible.

They also believing in offsetting their footprint. This means that they track the resources they use then invest in programs that help replenish them. Whether that means replanting rainforests or restoring water, Reformation is making a difference.

Affordable Ethical Clothing
Reformation Crystal Bodysuit (48$)

If you love classic, high-fashion sustainable clothing, you will love their inventory.

I love this everyday bodysuit that is only $48. Oh, and get this, it is made from TENCEL, a fabric that comes from Eucalyptus trees. It only takes half an acre to produce one ton of material and is not resource or labor intensive!

6. Kotn

Kotn is focused on making wonderful clothing from ethically-sourced Egyptian cotton. Since Egyptian cotton is such great quality, many fast fashion brands switched over to cheaper alternatives which devastated local farms and businesses.

sustainable brands

Kotn is striving to reinvigorate this industry and empower the people of the area.

Kotn does direct trade with farms which provides farmers with better business practices and gives customers a fair price. In addition, they work closely with factories to ensure that their employees are being paid fairly and have safe, clean working conditions.

ethical brands
Kotn Fitted Henley (28$)

I love this fitted henley that is only $28. It’s so great for everyday use. It can be worn alone or be layered. The best part is that it is made from 100% Egyptian cotton which people also refer to as “white gold.”

7. Poetry

Remember before how I mentioned how the fast fashion industry quickly deems trends outdated?

Well Poetry is trying to combat that. At the heart of their mission, Poetry is aiming to create long term pieces that can be worn in multiple seasons.

ethical fabrics

Here’s the scoop:

With subtle shades and tactile fabrics, Poetry uses natural materials to create their garments.

They work closely with various cotton and alpaca farms to ensure an ethically-produced, high-quality product.

I personally love all of the linen pieces that Poetry carries because they are light and airy. This striped 100% linen top is so adorable and it is only $69! I love how subtle the pattern and color is. This is a piece that would look and feel great on anyone.

ethical fabrics
Poetry Striped Linen Top (69$)

8. Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn’s slogan is “honoring mother earth” and they do not miss the mark! If you love sustainable, feminine clothes you will love this brand.

They believe in doing things the right way.

Affordable Ethical Clothing

Here’s how:

Christy Dawn only uses deadstock fabrics.

This means instead of creating new fabric to make garments out of, they source waste from other clothing manufacturers.

This prevents all that waste from going to landfill and gives it a second life.

In addition, they produce all of their clothing in Los Angeles. They pay their seamstresses well and provide health benefits. If that’s not sustainable, ethical fashion, I’m not sure what is!

Affordable Ethical Clothing
Christy Dawn The Delphine Dress (167$)

I am in love with the Delphine dress. At $167, this dress may be for a special occasion, but the quality is amazing. It will last you for years. I love the bright flowery pattern and the flow cut on the dress. Wow!

9. Mate the Label

Mate the Label is a Los Angeles based clothing company that is reimagining vintage graphics and essential pieces for everyone’s wardrobe.

ethical clothing

Here’s the deal:

With sustainability and ethics placed in the foreground, Mate creates garments in small batches. Also, all the factories that produce the clothing are within a 5 mile radius of the design headquarters.

They use organic, clean materials in their products, as well.

All of Mate the Label’s clothes are simple, comfortable and great for everyday use. I especially love the Alex Crew t-shirt which is made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

sustainable clothing
Mate The Label Alex Crew T-shirt (68$)

Such a great brand!

10. Outerknown

Although it is important to put your customer first, it is also imperative to put the planet first, which is exactly what Outerknown is doing.

They believe that there are two parts of sustainability: people and the environment.

Outerknown uses raw materials that are not making a negative impact on the planet.

There’s more:

They are a global company, but only work with companies and suppliers that abide by the guidelines of the Fair Labor Association.

In doing so, they have started to think beyond clothing.

They aspire to create deep changes in labor and environmental practices all over the world through transparency, collaboration, and shared values.

I love the simplicity of the Neptune tank.

ethical clothing
Outerknown Neptune Tank (48$)

Made from a blend of hemp and TENCEL, this tank is environmentally friendly and comfortable. At only $48, you are really getting a bang for your buck on this tank that can be worn throughout the year.

11. Organic Basics

It’s all in the name when it comes to Organic Basics. The company produces basics such as underwear and t-shirts for the environmentally conscious.

Organic Basics are a carbon balanced company which means they offset their carbon.

They use profits in order to invest in carbon reducing projects such as solar or wind energy.

Affordable Clothing

There’s more:

They only work with trusted, certified factory partners. These are places that share in the same sustainable vision and practice fair labor. This means employees are paid, respected, and are given safe working conditions.

I love the SilverTech Active Leggings and always wear them when I go to yoga. For each article of clothing, this company shows a resource comparison to other fast fashion brands. For instance, by buying these leggings instead of a cheaper, less sustainable alternative, you are helping save 58 gallons of water. See?

Affordable Clothing
Organic Basics Active Leggings (94$)

You can make a difference by choosing which brands to buy from!

12. Pact

Pact is a great one stop shop for affordable ethical clothing.

They only use 100% organic cotton because it is better for the environment and only work with ethical factories. When you are wearing clothing that is ethical, sustainable, and comfortable, you are bound to feel confident.

organic clothing

Pact also promises their customers to not be “gross.” This simply means that they do not use any dyes or pesticides that are bad for humans and the planet. Their approach is clean and nice.  They would rather have a safe and healthy customer than cut corners to make a cheaper product.

I can’t even put into words how soft their hoodies are. Seriously, it’s like slipping a cloud onto your body and it’s only $45! Made from organic cotton which helps save water, you’ll feel great while wearing this hoodie!

zero waste clothing
Pact Classic Zip Hoodie (45$)

I hope that you now understand what it means to be an ethical clothing brand.

Choosing sustainable materials, partnering with fair trade certified factories, and rethinking the way we use resources are all integral to a great fashion brand. 

sustainable ethical brands

By choosing to support brands that care about offsetting their footprint and making a difference, we are showing companies what we want to see out of the fashion industry. There need to be standards for people to be held accountable for.

Wearing clean, ethical, sustainable clothes do not need to drain your bank account. I hope that you will take a look at some of the brands I recommended today and consider some affordable options.

Remember, we can make a difference!

My favorite online vintage & second hand stores

I love finding hidden gems in second hand stores. Nothing like finding a vintage one-of-one from a small thrifty boutique.  What makes it even better is when I know I’ll get it for a great price. 

Most people in the world wear second hand clothes so why not look for some ‘hidden gems’ for yourself right? 

Believe it or not, there are wins across the board for wearing thrifty clothes

I have saved tons of money visiting websites of my favorite thrift shops.

vintage second hand stores

There’s plenty of high-quality clothes and of sustainable material.  The prices for second hand clothes are much more reasonable. 

Shockingly, there has been 10 million tons of clothes that have ended up in landfills in the previous year.  The average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothes every year alone. 

It’s very beneficial to shop for secondhand clothes because you are saving the environment while saving in your bank account at the same time. 

Resale shopping saves so many unique, good quality clothes from being wasted. 

Most clothes casually thrown away aren’t even recycled in any way.  That explains why the vast amount of clothes the population wears temporarily ends up at landfills.  

It’s more to resale shopping than just saving the environment for discounted prices on clothes. 

You’ll be sure to find high-quality vintage items from even the smallest of second hand stores. 

vintage second hand stores

You’ll be proud to support small businesses that have one-of-a-kind pieces you’ll fall in love with.  Regular clothing stores never have those exclusive, vintage pieces that you happen to find in the small secondhand businesses we support. 

Let’s continue to do that as we’re contributing to eliminating waste in our environments and supporting those businesses that stand behind that same cause.

Here are my favorite vintage and online second hand stores:

1. ThreadUp

vintage second hand stores

On ThredUp’s website, thredup.com, you can search through a wide range of designer styles for a fraction of the price.  They have great sales and many different search options

You can make money by sending any clothes you no longer use for resale.  They can give store credit, a prepaid gift card, or send money via PayPal. 

According to their website, they only accept less than half of the clothes they receive based on ensuring high-quality resale items.  How’s that for guaranteed quality without spending a pretty penny?

2. Etsy

Searching vintage items on etsy.com is very convenient too.  Many different sellers have individual items for a variety of brands. 

You can even find vintage designer brands for lower prices than some competitors.  There’s no limit to what you can find on Etsy

vintage second hand stores

Find a few sellers who are more your style and likely have secondhand items you’re interested in.  Save them in your favorites on Esty and now you can access their inventory much easier.

I found this amazing seller on Etsy by the profile name of ‘rawsonchicago’. 

They have an average five-star rating with lots of great reviews. The fabrics have great quality, and everyone loves the fast shipping

The clothing is worth every single penny.  You’ll find great one-of-ones from rawsonchicago on Etsy

vintage second hand stores

Visit etsy.com/shop/RAWSONCHICAGO and see why other resale shoppers like myself rave about this seller.

3. Ebay

ebay.com has been around for years and it is very similar to Etsy. 

There are tons of search options from searching by the brand, type of clothing, size, color, and more

To get a look at what’s secondhand, simply apply the ‘pre-owned’ filter in your search options. 

I recommend finding some go-to sellers when shopping on eBay and save them to your favorites too, just like Etsy.  Narrow your search so it’s much easier to browse through. 

4. Adored Vintage

Is an online boutique where I can find many different vintage items.  The coolest part is how you can search their vintage items by era.  

vintage second hand stores

Adored Vintage has styles going back as far as the 1910’s!  Talk about an overflow of one-of-one pieces. They provide product descriptions explaining each piece’s physical condition along with the photos of course. 

vintage second hand stores

I could appreciate that since Adored Vintage is an online boutique and it’s not the same as an in-person shopping experience.  It’s a plus when any online second hand store does this. 

But when viewing each product, there are sustainable care directions provide as well.  What a way to preserve amazing clothes with a lot of history. 

Imagine the way we can make an impact on the environment if we preserve clothing and they continue to last for decades.  

Check out adoredvintage.com, a cool business I found on Instagram

5. Boheme

To my ladies who love Bohemian style clothes, Boheme is great place to grab your secondhand threads

vintage second hand stores

They sell more than just clothes for women and children, but also household items and accessories

Boheme has vintage one-of-ones and the clothing has great quality

vintage second hand stores

If an item is a little more worn, Boheme notifies you in the product description when viewing the item.  And yes, the price will be even cheaper. 

vintage second hand stores

Check out bohemegoods.com to catch all your Bohemian vibes.

6. Na Nin’s second hand store

Secondhand items are great to buy at Na Nin’s online store. 

vintage second hand stores

They provide product descriptions of flaws of the pre-owned items they sell but encourage to contact them via email if any other questions and concerns arise. 

vintage second hand stores

For Na Nin to be an online store, they establish great trust with their customers.  The products are preserved well and made of quality fabrics.  If you’re a silk lover, they have plenty of those items in their secondhand collection

vintage second hand stores

Go to shopnanin.com and see what this small business I found on Instagram has to offer.

7. Ochre

Is another small shop on Instagram I absolutely love. 

Ochre is a small resale store that has some quality vintage items for very cheap prices.  They don’t have a large collection, but you may find an item worth looking at. 

vintage second hand stores

Ochre sells other items too like books and mugs which are also vintage

vintage second hand stores

Supporting small businesses that prevent wasting clothes makes me a proud resale shopper. 

See Ochre’s unique pieces at ochreshop.com.

8. Depop App

Want to do some thrift shopping on an online store that has somewhat of an Instagram feel?

No problem.  Download the Depop app and see for yourself.  If you go to depop.com, you can have the app download link sent straight to your smartphone. 

You set up your shopping profile based on your interests and clothing sizes.  From there scroll down the timeline of products and get a product’s description in the post when you click on it. 

It’s a different experience shopping with Depop but it’s a great way find those sellers with unique, pre-owned clothes.  Depending on the seller, you can even get free shipping on your discounted items. 

How cool is that?

9. Poshmark

Poshmark has the social media feel also.  You can shop poshmark.com as you normally would do in another online store.

But when on your personal homepage when logged in, you’ll see a timeline of people posting about items for resale.  The search options are great, and the network of sellers is huge.  Find the perfect designer item too as there are so many brands to search through.

Secondhand shopping can be beneficial in several ways. 

Wasting clothes is an unnecessary environmental threat.  There are some cool styles out there just waiting to be brought back to life. 

I’ve given you a rundown of my favorite online second hand stores and you should give them a look if you’re not familiar with them. 

Great second hand stores have those ‘hidden gems’ that we can’t let end up in a landfill wasting away

vintage second hand stores

Let’s continue to enjoy our eco-friendly hobby and collect those high-quality, vintage one-of-ones.

Sustainable fabrics are great to look for. 

Search for fabrics made of organic cotton, industrial hemp, organic wool, soy cashmere or silk, and other fabrics that contribute to helping the environment.

Organic cotton has no toxic chemicals or synthetic material in it.  Over a quarter of the world’s pesticides are used in conventional cotton alone (Spector). 

Clothing made of hemp is very sustainable.  As you may know, hemp is a renewable natural resource.  That’s money well spent in a thrift shop for lasting fabrics.

Other fabrics like organic wool, Tencel, and soy cashmere or silk are good to look for on the clothing racks also. 

Organic wool does not contain toxic chemicals and is a highly renewable fabric.

Tencel is a fully biodegradable fabric.  It might be a little harder to find a Tencel piece in the secondhand shops.  However, check it out if you come across any Tencel pieces. 

Soy cashmere and silk can be a good choice because soy fabrics are made from soybeans or even genetically engineered. The fabric being genetically engineered helps decrease the use of natural resources. 

Keep all these eco-friendly fabrics in mind when shopping for new threads.

What’s your favorite online secondhand and vintage shops?