Fast fashion: We love the small price tag and convenience, but we aren’t big on the waste it creates. As advocates like Greta Thunberg encourage people to be more eco-conscious, responsibly sourced materials and well-paid employees are becoming important considerations in the way people shop. But it can be difficult to dress sustainably in a way that suits both your style and your budget. Here are five affordable, sustainable brands you may be missing out on:
& Other Stories
Mix fashion-forward Urban Outfitters with Reformation’s vintage vibes and you’ve got & Other Stories, an H&M Group brand that is leading the eco-friendly charge. Their items are responsibly manufactured and beautifully simplistic. As an added bonus, customers who recycle empty beauty packaging or pre-loved clothes with the brand receive a 10% off coupon. Getting discounts to help the planet? Yes, please!
A “guilt-free fashion brand,” PACT clothing is made from organic cotton with processes that use less water than other manufacturers do. Their solid-colored basics are simple and effortless and their mission to transform fast fashion into ethical fashion is a message you can feel good about supporting. PACT also offers a recycling program for customers’ old clothing, towels, and linens. They encourage shoppers to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle using the hashtag #easydoesit – we agree!
ABLE focuses on ending the cycle of poverty by paying women fairer wages. Their items are produced in Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, and at their headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and they openly publish the lowest wages that they pay on their website. Their pieces are minimalistic, with a palette of soft, neutral colors that will fit into any wardrobe. If you’re looking for an honest company that’s giving power back to the girls, then you can’t get any better than ABLE.
Every Made Trade piece has to meet one or more standards: Sustainable, fair trade, heritage, USA-made, or vegan. Like ABLE, Made Trade also prides itself on its transparency and fair wages. With lower prices than some of the above brands, Made Trade is a more affordable option; many pieces fall between $50 and $150. A great place to find timeless basics with a twist, Made Trade can help you bulk up your personal collection without any of the guilt.
It’s no secret that thrifting’s popularity has skyrocketed. But if you don’t live near a thrift shop (or have already overshopped yours), then it can be hard to get on board. That’s where thredUP comes in. It’s an online thrift store where users can buy and sell new and gently used clothing from popular brands and designer labels. Upcycling has never been easier – you can even choose to donate $5 to a charity of your choice when you send them your items.
Be an activist in your own right with pieces that give back to the planet just as much as you do!
This was originally printed in Equal Time Magazine’s Fall 2019 print issue. Read it here.