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The other day I stumbled across this sustainable brand (which I’ll share in this post) with a genius mission that had me wanting to round up my favorite sustainable brands. Though I don’t shop exclusively for sustainable clothing items, I do make a conscious effort to shop less, buy better, purchase second-hand, and be more thoughtful with my purchases.
I’ll be the first to admit, that yes, there is a little bit of sticker shock when shopping sustainably, especially if you’re used to the under $20 price tags from Walmart (because I was).
And though you are potentially limited in how much you can buy and how often you shop because the price tags are higher, you’re usually rewarded with better quality clothing that is ethically made, supports the environment, and won’t go out of style.
You may be wondering, “What is sustainable fashion?” Though sustainable fashion means something a little different to everyone, this movement is driven to protect and preserve the environment, as well as ensure ethical practices are in place for factory workers.
And if you feel like you’re hearing more and more about sustainability lately, it’s because you are. A shift is starting to happen in the fashion world. Consumers are opening their eyes to the financial and environmental dangers of buying a new outfit every week and are getting tired of the excessive consumerism showcased in influencers’ Target, Amazon, and Shein hauls on TikTok and Instagram.
As a result, people are turning to thrifting, minimalism, and capsule wardrobes. A recent study by Business Wire states that 85% of people indicate they are shifting toward being more sustainable and that more than a third of the population will pay for more sustainable and premium quality.
Clothing retailers are catching on and even fast fashion retailers like H&M are working on their own sustainability initiatives and “Conscious Choice” clothing lines.
While many influencers, retailers, and businesses are looking to shift their mission and content, lucky for you, if you’re already a reader of this site, then you know that these are topics I’ve been covering for the past 5 years! So if you’ve been following these practices already, then you’re good to go.
But for those who are just starting to think about sustainability and want some chic options or maybe you already do shop slow and want to be introduced to some new brands, I’m going to share my favorites with you.
1. Amour Vert
“Amour Vert” is French for “green love”, which pretty much sums up their sustainability practices and mission. They are very eco-conscious and don’t want to produce a bunch of trendy clothes that will eventually end up in the landfill.
Something that I find to be interesting is that they partner directly with mills to develop their own fabrics instead of purchasing pre-made fabric in bulk, all in an effort to ensure high quality. At Amour Vert, you’ll find locally made clothing produced in an ethical way.
I own this delightful Cecelia Reverie Knit Tee (pictured below) and the very soft Striped Rita Organic Cotton Dress. What can I say? I love stripes. I’m also eyeing this really flattering-looking knit dress.
Kotn started off with a mission to make the perfect t-shirt and from there, they’ve expanded into simple and timeless pieces. Similar to Amour Vert, Kotn works directly with cotton farmers in Egypt to source their materials.
What I love is that not only is Kotn getting their cotton raw and straight from the source, but they’ve continued to partner with locals in Egypt, which in turn is growing and bettering the community throughout the Nile Delta.
At first glance, Kotn’s clothes don’t look classy as much as they do simple, and even somewhat androgynous, but it’s a good option for no-frill basics that in turn make classy outfits.
I have the Fitted Turtleneck, which is a cult favorite and best-seller for years, and the Essential Sweatshirt, which is a nice piece to have for casual days. I’m eyeing the Relaxed Pleated Trouser next!
Eileen Fisher is a clothing brand that’s very eco and socially conscious friendly, with a commitment to using organic fibers and prioritizing fair labor practices. They are involved in lots of philanthropy and ethical initiatives, including using recycled fabrics and responsibly dyed silks.
Of course, all of this comes at a price. Eileen Fisher is one of the most expensive options in this post, but with casual and elegant designs, they are perfect for the classy, mature woman.
I have yet to add some of her pieces to my wardrobe, but I’m constantly eyeing items!
Summersalt’s rating from the Good on You Directory is “it’s a start” and though they admit that they’re not “there” yet, they’re continuing to work on a more sustainable model.
The majority of their garments are made out of eco-friendly or recycled garments and as for their suits, they’re crafted from things such as old fishing nets that were pulled from the ocean.
Though there’s always room for improvement, their swimsuits are impossibly chic and always get raving reviews. Because I already have plenty of swimsuits, it takes all the self-control I have to not keep purchasing, but there are several currently in my cart!
You don’t hear much about Quince, but maybe it’s best we keep it that way. Okay, okay, they deserve all the business, but they are a hidden gem trifecta of good quality, affordable prices, and chic pieces.
Whereas some brands would sell a leather jacket for $500, at Quince you can get a 100% leather jacket for $150 that boasts an impressive 4.9 rating.
They partner with factories that have fair labor laws and use sustainably produced materials when possible, but it’s worth mentioning that The Good on You Directory rates them as “not good enough”. So there is room for improvement.
Known for their handbags, Cuyana is all about fewer, yet better. They cultivate close relationships with mills and suppliers to create heritage craftsmanship. They are all about luxurious and timeless pieces that are ethically made and you can be sure that a Cuyana piece will last you decades.
Another thing to love about Cuyana is that it is women built and led. If you love to support women in business, then keep this clothing brand on your radar.
I was gifted my first (and only) Cuyana piece and I must admit, it’s pricey, but I love my oversized leather tote bag. It’s my go-to piece when traveling. It’s easy to keep clean and though it’s traveled with me to places like Los Angeles and Paris, it still looks new!
This J.Crew bought brand has a lot of debate swirling around it as to whether or not Madewell is actually a sustainable brand and “made well”. Though The Good On You directory gives Madewell a rating of “not good enough”, they are still a brand I like.
Though Madewell is taking small steps to full sustainability and has more work to do, they have found a way to prioritize recycling clothes and social responsibility while keeping the prices semi-affordable.
Though I’ve gotten the odd piece from them that didn’t seem “made well”, I have many favorite wardrobe staples from this brand. It’s important for people starting their journey into sustainable fashion to know they can’t necessarily get all 3 things: low price, well-made, and 100% sustainable.
A $25 sustainable cashmere sweater just does not exist (or they’re lying). And though there are lots of options at different price points in this post, the more sustainable you want to shop the more expensive it is going to be.
That being said, Madewell is a good in-between! I rave about a lot of their items, but especially their jeans, specifically from The Perfect Vintage Straight line.
For classic fashion lovers and francophiles, you’re probably already familiar with Sezane. Based in Paris (and quickly expanding), this brand focuses on timeless high-quality pieces that you can wear forever. You can be sure that you’ll get well-made high-quality pieces that are chic with a French flair.
Even better, Sezane has a B Corp Certification, meaning they meet the high requirements of excellent social and eco-friendly practices. I have the Noan Marinière and the Trudy Jumper (a little itchy but beautiful).
According to a sustainability rating, Boden still has a long way to go, but they prioritize ethical standards, recycling clothes, and sourcing fabrics responsibly. They make it a priority to visit their working factories in person, so even if the eco-friendly side of their business needs more work, you can feel good knowing that things are being made ethically.
Faithfull the Brand was founded in Indonesia and has mastered warm weather chic. They work closely with Bali artisans and the local community to hand-create the clothes in a socially responsible way. Recently, they became B Corp Certified for their social and environmental business practices.
With their vacation-inspired clothes, this brand is for “sun seekers” and “romantic dreamers”. This brand is for you if you’re looking for linen dresses and holiday-ready swimsuits for your next vacation or to refresh your summer wardrobe. Or maybe you live in a southern state and rarely break out heavy layers and need some staple summer items to wear on repeat.
I haven’t purchased from this brand yet, but they’re one of my favorites (aesthetically) because the clothes are so summer chic. They make me want to buy their clothes and then book a holiday to the South of France, so I’d say their marketing goal has been accomplished!
11. Christy Dawn
If you have a “feminine-meets-Mother-Earth” style, then Christy Dawn is worth checking out. This boho brand wants to honor Mother Earth not just by creating clothing that doesn’t harm the world, but they want to do things to actively help regenerate it too.
They have started many initiatives to deepen their relationships with their suppliers and they make ethical practices a priority. They work with the best dressmakers to create garments that will last, but of course, this comes at a price, and Christy Dawn is on the more expensive side of sustainable brands, with some dresses costing up to $400.
Aday is on a mission to create a better future for the planet and its customers, by picking suppliers that are committed to eco-friendly practices, choosing recycled and long-lasting fabrics, and of course, creating clothes that are versatile and benefit the consumer.
Their focus is on versatile, comfortable, and useful clothing. Because after all, the first step to sustainability is creating clothes that will be worn again and again, not worn once and tossed aside.
Everlane is committed to transparency, quality, and an ethical approach. After all, their tagline is, “Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical Transparency.”
According to Good On You, Everlane’s rating is “It’s a Start” and though they use eco-friendly materials, this directory states that Everlane needs to be more transparent with their wages for workers.
Though it’s worth mentioning that Everlane has a higher sustainability rating than Madewell and is a little cheaper, making this one of my favorite places to shop. I have a more in-depth Everlane review here, but I have several favorite wardrobe pieces here, including The Oversized Alpaca Crew, The Way High Drape Pant, The Way High Jean, and many, many more.
My discovery of Vetta is what prompted me to write this sustainable clothing brands post! I love a company that displays ingenuity (as well as ethical practices) and their versatile clothing pieces that can be transformed into different ways are what every woman needs in her wardrobe.
With invisible zippers, detachable ties, and other clever details, you can wear one piece in a myriad of ways. Plus, they focus on capsule wardrobes so you maximize your whole wardrobe with a few key pieces.
They explain it well on their website, “We create mini capsule wardrobes made up of five versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a month’s worth of outfits. You can buy the entire capsule or shop for individual pieces to start building your dream wardrobe. Our versatile designs can be worn multiple ways, and everything mixes + matches.”
I have several pieces that I love and below you can see how I styled The Convertible Blazer in 3 different ways: as a jacket, as a vest, and as a dress.
This list of 14 sustainable clothing brands certainly doesn’t cover them all, but it’s more than enough options to get you started on your sustainability journey or to help you refresh your wardrobe. Let’s do a quick recap of all the ones in this post!
- Most Sustainable: Christy Dawn (receives a “Great” rating from the Good On You Directory)
- Most Expensive: Christy Dawn, Eileen Fisher
- Most Affordable: Quince
- Least Sustainable: Quince, Boden, Madewell, & Summersalt (tied with a “Not Good Enough” rating)
- My Favorites for Price + Quality: Madewell, Everlane, Vetta, & Quince
- My Favorites for Style: Faithfull the Brand, Sézane, Summersalt Swimsuits
I understand that not everyone has chic sustainable clothing brands in their budget. Thankfully, there are still ways to have high-quality clothes that don’t break the bank. Find that out in these next posts: