Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Brands
On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza tragedy killed over 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh and wounded over 2,200 more. The incident left consumers all over the world questioning who makes the clothes we wear every day and in what kind of conditions? Documentaries like The True Cost shine a light on how the fast fashion industry depletes the earth’s resources and leverages slave labor to pass on a “cheap” cost to the end consumer.
Who makes the clothing we wear and in what conditions?
As consumers, we have become increasingly conscious about our purchases, channeling the power of our vocalized objections to make a positive difference for the people involved in the making of our clothes and goods.
Now over five years after the Rana Plaza tragedy, dozens of slow fashion brands have emerged dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices. The 35 companies we have listed below are some of our favorite ethical alternatives to fast fashion companies. Each one has made it a central part of their mission to approach fashion in an ethical and transparent way that considers both people and the planet.
If you’re making the shift to a completely ethical wardrobe check out our guides to responsibly-made shoes and fair trade jewelry. If you are located in the UK, here are fair trade fashion brands in the UK. Are you looking for secondhand and vintage instead? Check out our guide to affordable places to shop secondhand clothing!
Everlane is all about transparency. They spend months finding the best factories around the world—the very same ones that produce our favorite designer labels—and then they build strong personal relationships with factory owners to ensure their factory’s integrity and to maintain ethical production practices at every step of the process. They believe customers have the right to know what their products cost to make and where they were made. They reveal their true costs and share the factory and production stories behind each piece of clothing. Their minimal, modern aesthetic makes them a personal favorite!
Patagonia was one of the earliest defenders of environmental ethics in the activewear fashion industry, and one of the first adopters of using recycled materials and switching to organic cotton. Patagonia is expanding its commitment to labor ethics as well by working with Fair Trade Certified factories in India, Sri Lanka, and Los Angeles. We admire Patagonia for the positive personal impact their fair trade factories have around the world.
For the sustainable fashionista, Reformation offers on-trend pieces that will still be stylish well after the season is over. This Los Angeles-based brand creates products only from sustainable and upcycled materials in a fair wage environment. Reformation’s dedication to sustainable production is extensively explained on their website in their signature bold and unabashed style, plus each item comes with a description of its environmental footprint.
PACT is pretty obsessed with making clothes that make the world a better place. The certified B Corp goes to great lengths to make sure their entire supply chain, from the growing and harvesting of the organic cotton to the final sewing and all the processes in between, are as clean and responsible as possible. Their super soft tees, dresses and underwear are 100% cotton. Their non-GMO cotton is great for you and the farmers growing it.
5. Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher is an industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion. They believe social and environmental injustices are a reason to do business completely differently, and carefully oversee their supply chain to ensure fair working wages. By 2020, their vision is to have 100% organic cotton and linen fibers, responsible dyes, carbon positive operations and a no-waste facility.