The struggle to find fashionable items to wear and supporting something that follows your personal ethics and morals can seem like a challenge. Luckily in this day and age, we are seeing more and more companies following these standards. We are also seeing big companies offer even a portion of products that follow those standards. This is a great time we are living in! In my almost two decades of living this lifestyle, it has evolved so much to where I can purchase clothing and accessories that are organic, fair trade, adorable and not a fortune.
Ethical fashion is the recognition that there are human beings behind the clothes we wear.
When trying to decide what companies you want to support or what items to purchase, follow these guidelines to help you make those decisions. Luckily, many of these companies have the logos for each of these very clearly posted so you can see at a glance that the company or product follows your ethics!
Fair Trade- Fair trade guarantees fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families in developing countries. Education, health care and environmental sustainability all benefit from Fair trade, and workers benefit from improved, humane working conditions. (https://www.fairtradecertified.org/)
B Corp- Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. (https://bcorporation.net/)
Cruelty Free- Meaning the product has not been tested on animals. This may only refer to the finished product, where animal testing could occur with ingredients. Look for the bunny label, read the product. Sometimes it will say “finished product not tested on animals”, meaning the individual ingredients were. (https://www.leapingbunny.org/)
Vegan- Refers to products that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
Sustainable Practices- Company uses less water in products, organic ingredients, recycled and compostable packaging, non toxic dyes and chemicals, gives back/recycles/ repurposes products.
GOTS- Global Organic Textile Standard- This certification is used in clothing, bedding, towels, etc. to certify the use of organic materials and limits the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemicals during the production process of textiles. (https://www.global-standard.org/)
It took me some time to begin wearing more sustainable clothing, but it began to happen and I haven't turned back. Switching your clothing over can seem like an impossible task, but it really isn’t. It will take more time than your makeup, body care products or cleaning supplies. You have a lot more clothing and accessories and it costs more than other switches. You do not need to empty your closet and start over. And actually doing that is quite wasteful! As I need new things, I find the organic, sustainable switch! I have switched all my underwear, bras and jammies over. They are on my body the longest and closest to my skin. I wear active wear about 95% of the time because of my job and about 70% of that is organic. Yes, I still have items in my closest that are not organic and that is okay! I have jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. I now make an effort to purchase new items that follow this criteria. Asking for these clothes, purses or jewelry is a great idea for birthdays and holidays when people want to know what you want!
So here are some of my personal favorite brands/companies out there.
This was the first one that I really got stuff through and I have never turned back. They offer extremely affordable clothing. When I first started shopping with them, they were mostly active and casual wear. They have since added adorable dresses, sweaters and even bedding and towels! All of my underwear and bras are from them and I love them. I also have dresses, leggings, tank tops, sweatshirts, PJ’s, socks, sweaters and more. We have their kid items for our little man and my husband has many clothes from them as well! Their sheets will appear on our Christmas list this year!
They follow all the guidelines above. They are GOTS organic certified, Fair Trade certified and sustainable practice guaranteed. They use 91% less water in production, non toxic dyes and chemicals, only organic cotton, recycled and compostable packaging. They give back and have a clothing donation program. Ahhh, it’s so good!! I love this company through and through! Click on the link below for a 20% discount on your first order! https://mbsy.co/333SFc
I love Athleta for exercise clothing. Since I wear it everyday, I tend to wear it out very quickly. Athleta’s clothes are more expensive, but I only purchase with rewards and gift cards. Their clothes are definitely higher quality. Athelta is a B Corp business, they work with empowering women through P.A.C.E and Fair Trade, materials are made with sustainable fibers, production with water saving techniques and reduced waste in shipping materials and practices.
Athleta has all those practices in place, but in addition to their regular high standards they have several items that are organic and fair trade. They do well to mark these items and you can even type it in the search online. I love their leggings and their sweatshirts. They are so comfortable and really hold up nicely.
I will talk more about Burt’s Bees in the baby and kid section, but I wanted to add it here because I love their jammies. All of their products are 100% GOTS certified organic. They use earth and farmer friendly practices and no synthetic pesticides. As a company they also donate products worldwide and volunteer throughout various communities.
Threads 4 Thought-
I do not own a lot of products from this company, but they have a great selection, it is reasonably priced and fashionable. I have a really cute dress from them. I definitely want to buy more! This company is AMAZING!!! If you go to their website, click on sustainability and you can go to their transparency report. There is so much goodness there that it is too much to write here. They use organic and recyclable materials, their factories are ethical and they partner with the International Rescue Committee to help communities around the world. Their factories saved 500 million gallons of water last year! I really love what this company stands for! Definitely check out the website for the report if that interests you.
College friends who were on a trip abroad fell in love with the markets in Africa and Asia and wanted to start this company to give back to the artisans, their families and support their ancient traditions. They give 10% back to these communities and support 25 countries worldwide.
The purpose of this company is to clean the ocean and coastlines while working to stop the inflow of plastic by changing consumption habits. They have amazing sustainability standards-
Global Recycled Standard
Better Business Bureau
1% for the Planet
I love their bracelets. Many of them support a specific charity or cause. They are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and glass bottles. Their shirts are made from organic cotton. They have several ways of getting involved, including volunteer opportunities, clean ocean club and pound+ to help remove trash from waterways. Cute apparel and accessories and doing amazing things in our oceans!
This popular company, you may have heard of or already own items from them. Their goal is to provide full-time jobs to artisans worldwide and donates millions to charity through their products. They have partnered with more than 175 charity organizations worldwide. Much of their products are made by local artisans in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and India. Their products are beautiful, stylish and sturdy. You can get bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, clutches, pins and hair accessories. You can customize your own bracelets and even do a fundraiser with them! Many of their bracelets support a specific charity or cause.
This company holds a special place in my heart. Much like Pura Vida they partner with artisan businesses in vulnerable areas of the world. They use fair trade, sustainable and empowering practices. They are part of the Fair Trade Federation and a B Corp. But, what I love more than anything is that this business was developed to support the owner's adoption from Rwanda and now they give back 10% of any trunk shows for adoptive families. This was how I was introduced to Noonday as we did an adoption trunk show to help with our adoption costs. Their products are beautiful and unique. They have jewelry, handbags and accessories.
This Seattle based company offers outdoor wear, bags, purses, wallets and accessories that are simple, fun and durable. I bought my Kavu wallet 4 years ago and it is still going strong. I love it as much as when I bought it. Kavu as a company holds many certifications for using sustainable practices which includes- Oeko Tex, GOTS, REACH and Bluesign. They use compostable or biodegradable packaging, degradable plastics, recycled paper, and renewable resources. They also give back to the Center for Whale Research to help the Orca population.
These purses, bags, luggage, lunch boxes are made from recycled plastic bottles. The company is focused on sustainable fashion, with vibrant colors and patterns and stylish trendy products. I got my first Lily Bloom purse as a gift from my husband, because it was an adorable purse with cats on it. Once I read the tags, I was so excited to see how they make their products. I have since got 3 more purses and love them all. I also bought a large work bag as a gift and it was beautiful. I am hard on my purses and give them much use and love. These definitely withstand that use. Lily Bloom doesn’t seem to have a website other than all the places to purchase it, so I do not have much more information on the company other than they have been listed as an eco-friendly, sustainable company.
This is a company that uses handcrafted artisans in Portugal to create beautiful European inspired handbags and wallets while having a positive impact on the environment. They use cork as a renewable resource to create their products. They are 100% cruelty-free, eco-friendly and ethically sourced. The best part is getting really high end handbags, but in an environmentally friendly way! They use cork from the cork oak tree, organic cotton for liners, vegan glues and all-natural vegetable dye. They are more pricer, like that of a luxury brand, with purses in the $200’s, but well worth it if you are into designer bags.
This outdoor brand offers footwear for everyone. It is comfortable and stylish. They offer the typical outdoor wear, such as hiking boots and trail shoes, but also cute footwear like sandals, booties, tennis shoes, and even little wedges! They also offer clothing as well and for men, women and kids! I have a pair of their trail shoes and hiking socks. The shoes offer a lot of support for being active and the socks are meant to keep your feet dry and warm!
They have a beautiful quote on their website that says, Sustainability is not a fixed goal, but a responsibility to continuously pursue a better path. Oh I love that so much!! They use a lot of recycled materials in their products, manufacture to use less water consumption and reduce landfill waste. They also have an entire vegan line as well!
Much like Merrell, Teva is another outdoor shoe company. I have their hiking boots, which are phenomenal. They offer a ton of support, especially around the ankle and gives you a lot of traction for hiking on slippery surfaces. I also have a pair of their sandals. They offer shoes for men, women and kids and a large variety of types, much like Merrell. They have a tab on the website to look for vegan specific shoes. They use recycled plastic in their products, have reduced the amount of water waste, use less packaging and have been recognized by the Textile Exchange Leader Board.
This is a luxury sustainable fashion brand. They are not a 100% vegan company, but uses organic cotton, vegetarian leather, recycled nylon and polyester, fur free fur, and natural fibers from trees. They are part of the Ethical Trading Initiative. They offer shoes, handbags and clothing. These are definitely high end and the price comes with it, but it is a great company and an option for those who love luxury lines.
Converse, Birkenstock, Dr. Martens, Vionic, Adidas and Sanuk are all companies that have vegan lines of shoes as well!
I have highlighted a lot of companies in the fashion industry here that are leaders in the sustainable textile industry. They follow guidelines and standards for environmental and ethical practices. They all have a tab on their website that specifically lays out their sustainability practices and plans. It is so great to see that when you visit their sites. There are also many companies out there now that may not have the same high standards for the company as a whole, but offer sustainable, vegan products. By purchasing those products from a regular company, you are still making a difference and saying, hey this is important to me and that is why I am choosing this product over your other products! For example, I have a coat from The North Face that is made from recycled plastic bottles! I hope this helps you in looking for some more ethical and sustainable options next time you are ready to shop!