Shopping for ethical clothing and accessory brands takes on a new level of effort; well, more so for the everyday storefront shopper like me. I rarely spend hours doing online shopping as I enjoy getting out and shopping at stores. Gets me off the couch, around people, and my eyes off a computer screen! BUT as I switch to buying more ethical and/or eco-friendly clothing I am having to do more online shopping. I would love to write an article on ethical brands sold at local stores, but that will have to wait….lots of research will need to ensue. For now, I am listing some ethical brands found online that I really love. Brands that I find fit my price range (to a degree…) and have cute items!
Be prepared when switching to fair trade brands as they are not on the cheap side. Some of you, like me, may be use to paying $1-$2 for underwear from Ross stores, but the ethical brand I like sells underwear on sale for $9/pair! However, my Victoria Secret readers may be use to that price because they opt for more comfort over cost 🙂
Ethical brands will be more expensive because you are paying for the true cost of materials and labor. No more Wal-Mart brands that pump out cotton shirts and sell them for $1 a piece. Ethical brands are made with love, care, and proper wages. Other fair trade brands support small communities in impoverished areas. When you think about who you are helping or investing in, buying fair trade and eco-friendly makes a whole lot more sense. Stop supporting big corporations! Also, with the heavier price tag, you may start to think twice about how much you actually need. Buy better, not more.
What they sell: Women’s clothing – shirts, pants, dresses, shorts, pullovers; women’s activewear – leggings, sports bras, tops, shorts; women’s sleepwear – tops, bottoms, underwear, nighties, jumpsuits, robes, pajama sets; Men’s sleepwear – bottoms and boxer shorts
Price range: $25 – $200
Alas began in 2011 after two women realized they shared a passion of bright colors and protecting the environment. They quickly built up a reputation around the world for their high-quality and sustainably produced sleepwear. All clothing items are made in India beginning with the fabric being constructed with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton or recycled PET polyester and ending with fair labor, sweatshop-free factories.
What they sell: Baby – onesies, clothes, baby sets, hats & bibs; Girls – dresses, tops, skivvies, skirts, shorts, pants, leggings, coats, sleepwear, hats, hair & accessories, bags; Boys – shirts, shorts, pants, coats, hats, pajamas; Women – dresses, tops, skirts, leggings, coats & jackets, sleepwear, accessories; Men – casual shirts, t-shirts, pants, shorts
Price range: $8 – $200
Eternal Creation Fair Trade was founded in 1999 by Australian designer Frances Carrington and acquired by The Visible Clothing Company in 2015. All the clothes are made in their fair trade certified factory in Dharamshala, India with fair wages and a healthy working environment. Eternal Creation is a registered member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, and The Visible Clothing Company is a certified member of the Fair Trade Forum India (affiliated with the World Fair Trade Organization).
What they sell: Men, Women’s, and kid’s clothing, bags, belts, hats + gloves, scarves, jewelry, Gift ideas, Kitchen + Home goods, journals + stationary
Price range: $12 – $190 (clothing and accessories cost only)
Fair Trade Winds is a family run business that aims to treat all artisans and farmers as part of their family. Every purchase is made with the confidence that a significant percentage of the purchase goes directly to the makers and creators. Proper wages and compensation for their work is key. Fair Trade Winds is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
What they sell: handbags, purses, clutches, wallets, and luggage tags
Price range: $12 – $150
Joyn was started by two newlyweds who spent two years working in an orphanage in Uganda and quickly began their journey to change the lives of those living in poverty. Joyn began when the couple moved to Rajpur, India and hoping to bring opportunity to impoverished areas and give people a chance at pulling themselves out of poverty. All Joyn employees are guaranteed steady jobs, education, vocational training, medical, and a daily meal plan.
What they sell: Shoes! Sandals, boots, shoes, and clutches
Price range: $36 – $250
Laidback london was started by a native to the coastal town of Mombassa who moved to London in 1997 and wanted to bring a part of the laid-back lifestyle to London. Products are handmade using traditional techniques and working with the imperfections to craft naturally unique products. laidback london has grown to create jobs within local communities in developing countries and provide them with a sustainable income. Their leather is sourced from a local, family owned tannery and hand dyed and sundried before being cut.
What they sell: Women’s dresses, tops, skirts, jewelry, and accessories
Price range: $5 – $90
Mata Traders began from the loving hearts of three best friends who fell in love with the people, culture, and textiles of India. Mata Traders is a fair trade brand working to end global poverty and inspire an ethical change in the fashion industry. All goods are made from artisans in India and Nepal, which provides a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Please check out their blog to catch up on stories about the artisans and to keep up on new items! Mata Traders is a Gold Green America Certified Business and a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
What they sell: Women’s bras and underwear, activewear, and swimwear
Price range: $12 – $110
Naja is dedicated to creating a brand that seeks to empower women instead of objectifying them. Furthermore, the garment factory primarily employs single mothers or female heads of households that are paid above market wages and provided healthcare benefits. All garments are made eco-consciously. Naja also leads the program Underwear for Hope, which employs women in the slums of Colombia to make lingerie bags that are offered with each Naja purchase. This allows the women to become their own “micro-entrepreneurs” while working from home. Two percent of Naja’s profits are donated to local charities focused on continuing education for women. Fun fact: Naja’s co-founder is Gina Rodriguez, Golden Globe winner and female lead of the hit series Jane the Virgin!
Nature Shop (UK)
What they sell: Men’s and Women’s clothing – underwear, tops, sweaters, jackets, pants & shorts, socks; Men and Women’s footwear – sandals, shoes & boots, slippers; Kids & Baby – tops & sweaters, pants, rain gear, socks, footwear; Accessories – beanies, gloves, backpacks, neckwarmer, balaclava (head scarf). (Great for all sorts of active and outdoor clothing items!)
Price range: $13 – $160 (based on sale prices – highest original $220)
Nature Shop is an online retail shop that sells “inspired by nature” brands of clothing and footwear that are also environmentally friendly. Their focus is on selling products that are environmentally and socially responsible, and hope the consumer becomes more conscious of where their products come from and the effect of their production. Nature Shop is entirely owned and operated in the UK and work to support the UK economy through supporting local businesses, employing local people, giving back to the community through their “Carbon Footprint Reduction” Scheme and “Giving to Local Charities” initiatives, and much more.
What they sell: Men’s – chukka boots, boots, oxford shoes, sneakers, highlander, mcnairy; Women’s – boots, moccasins, wedges, flats, sneakers; Baby – moccasins, batik mocs, toys; gear – backpacks, weekend bags, beach bags, wallets, accessories; waterproofing wax
Price range: $15 – $295
Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa through empowerment, transparency, and providing quality products. Starting as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa back in 2009, they have gain enough momentum to open their own factory in 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Oliberté is a certified B Corporation, a Fair Trade USA partner, and committed to 1% For The Planet (one percent of proceeds go to non-profits dedicated to sustainability and the environment).
What they sell: Women’s clothing and accessories – dresses, tops, & skirts, robes & kimonos, scarves, shawls, gloves, purses, handbags, and wallets, hats, hair accessories; jewelry – bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings; home items – decor, kitchen, bath, dining, outdoor, lamps, candles, toys & games; musical instruments
Price range: $7 – $390
One World Fair Trade was established in 2002 and specialize in authentic handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art, sculpture, textiles, clothing, and women’s accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and the United States. Every sale improves the livelihood of disadvantaged artisans and helps pay for their food, education, healthcare, and housing. They are working to not only push for a world with fair wages free of forced or child labor and discrimination of any form, but to also empower small farmers and artisans to grow their business sustainably. One World Fair Trade is a Green America Certified Business and a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
What they sell: Men, Women, and Baby organic cotton basics (underwear, socks, tanks, shirts, tights, hoodies, sweat pants)
Price range: $12 – $55
PACT is all around committed to organic cotton due to the benefits for the planet and workers alike. All apparel is sweatshop free, ethically produced, and committed to helping the environment. Organic cotton requires no toxic chemicals to grow, uses 71% less water, and 62% less energy than conventional cotton. PACT is Fair Trade USA certified.
What they sell: Women’s dresses, tops, bottoms, outerwear, scarves & sarongs, bags; greeting cards
Price range: $3 – $82
Passion Lilie is a fair trade and eco-friendly apparel brand focusing on providing positive job opportunities that empower artisans across the world and lead to sustainable societies. Passion Lilie is committed to providing fair wages and working with organizations that provide safe and healthy working conditions with excellent benefits that include low to no-cost job training, time off for education, loans and financial advising, and opportunities for healthcare. Designed in New Orleans and made in India. Passion Lilie is a Green America Certified Business and a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Ethical Fashion Forum Fellowship 500.
What they sell: Women’s clothing – tops & tees, pants & skirts, dresses & jumpsuits, outerwear, loungewear; scarves & belts; jewelry; totes + handbags, backpacks, clutches, wallets, computer + tablet sleeves; home goods – table top, pillows, curtains, candles, paper products, soaps
Price range: $8 – $278
Raven + Lily works to alleviate poverty among women by employing women at a safe job with fair trade wages, sustainable income, healthcare, and education. Over 1,500 marginalized women are employed throughout Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, Kenya, the USA, Guatemala, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Haiti. Raven + Lily is a certified B Corporation.
Sancho’s Dress (UK)
What they sell: Women’s knitwear, dresses, tops, skirts & trousers, socks, jewelry, bags, scarves; Men shirts and trousers; and gifts
Price range: $6 – $102
Sancho’s Dress was founded in 2014 by two travelers who saw first hand the effects of fast fashion in developing countries, causing low wages, mass dumping, social disruption, and environmental destruction. Thus, they seek to help these issues by only selling ethical brands made of sustainable materials, which gives business and jobs to the developing countries. Sancho’s Dress is also starting their own brand, Scarves for Sustainability, to provide more options for conscious consumers.
What they sell: All Eco-friendly! Women, men, and kid’s clothes, underwear, activewear, scarves, sunglasses, linen
Price range: $11 – $150
Shift to Nature is based in Australia and seeks designers who produce kind and ethical clothing in natural textiles such as hemp, certified organic cotton, sustainable bamboo, sustainable merino wool, kind silk, and lenzing tencel (eucalyptus). All items sold are organic and ethical fabrics, accompanied by certifications that Shift to Nature proudly presents on their site with easy to understand explanations.
What they sell: jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings
Price range: $10 – $338
Soko was founded in Nairobi, Kenya by three women and has expanded to an US headquarters in San Francisco in 2015. They are working to pioneer ethical fast fashion by working with artisan entrepreneurs to build their businesses, improve production capacity, and sustainably increase income. Soko’s jewelry supply chain increases income 5X for marginalized artisans in the developing world by providing a larger audience for their work through virtual technology provided by Soko. This allows artisans to gain exposure, increase their product quality through access to international quality standards, connect with global consumer demand, and accept payments from international customers.
What they sell: Women’s footwear, Leather bags (wallets to travel bags), jewelry, and scarves
Price range: $12 – $500 (Subtract 3 bags and highest price is $250)
Sseko Designs is a fashion based brand in Uganda and began as a means to generate income for talented young women to continue on to a university. Additionally, Sseko creates an environment of dignity, honor, and dedication for women living in all situations, and has given opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty.
What they sell: jewelry – necklaces, earring, bracelets
Price range: $20 – $116
The Starfish Project, with over 100 employed women, provides opportunities for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. They provide a social enterprise where the women not only create jewelry, but also become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers. The Starfish Project also provides Holistic Care Programs where each woman receives vocational training, healthcare, shelter, counseling, and, if needed, child education grants.
Thought (formerly Braintree Clothing)
What they sell: Women’s dresses, tunics, tops, knitwear, leggings, trousers, jackets & coats, skirts, wraps & cardigans, loungewear, nightwear, socks, accessories; Men’s jackets, shirts, sweats & hoods, tops, trousers, t-shirts, socks, underwear
Price range: $8 – $180
Thought (formerly Braintree) began in Australia back in 1995 as a way to market natural, cool clothing for men. Moving to the UK in 2002, they began expanding into pop-up shops, a large women’s line, and eventually a website. Their Thoughtful Clothing strictly focuses on providing ethically made clothing, down to the fabric, and minimizing their environmental footprint. Additionally, fabrics are made from naturally grown bamboo, cotton, wool, and hemp with new additions on tencel and modal.
What they sell: Women’s clothing – activewear, dresses, tops, bottoms, scarves, and hats; men’s clothing – tops, bottoms, outerwear
Price range: $12 – $98
Threads 4 Thought began as a fresh out of college couple’s “crazy” idea that the fashion industry needed to be more sustainable. In time, they developed a brand that is produced responsibly and supports sustainable initiatives such as the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots program. Garments are made from socially responsible manufacturing in China, Kenya, and India that use recycled water and low impact reactive dyes. Threads 4 Thought is a certified B Corporation.
What they sell: Women’s shoes – booties, loafers, ballet flats, smokings flats; t-shirts, and a coffee tumbler
Price range: $20 – $178
The Root Collective presents designs from artisans in countries around the world and provide a quality item made with fair pay and kind labor practices. The Root Collective is working on changing the conditions of impoverished communities who work in poor work conditions. They believe a job can change lives and empower communities, and everyone should be treated fairly and with kindness. The Root Collective is a certified B Corporation.
What they sell: Bags – totes, clutches, overnight packs, shoulder bags, messenger bags; jewelry – necklaces, earrings, bracelets; shoes, home goods – pillows, kitchenware, decorative bowls, holiday decorations, table runners/mats; paper goods, Men – belts, wallets, bowtie, ties, leather bracelets; kids – baby, plush toys, bracelets, blanket; accessories – bows, ties, wallets, belts, passport wallet, scarves
Price range: $5 – $280
To the Market partners with existing cooperatives to help sustain and grow their business through three different methods: promoting artisanal goods via multiple distribution channels, offering a platform for artisans to share their stories, and improving production management. They work to economically empower vulnerable women. To the Market presents handmade goods from beautiful artisans who have overcome the unfortunate stress of abuse, conflict, and disease.
What they sell: Bags – backpacks, laptop bag, messenger bag, purse, satchel, travel bag, tote, wallet
Price range: $24 – $150
What Daisy Did currently operates in India and the UK with a combined work force of over 100 artisans. What Daisy Did creates products using natural and waste materials that are hard-wearing and made to last. They work to combat poverty and homelessness through their employment recruitment process and partnering with the Hope Centre in the UK. What Daisy Did is a member of The British Association of Fair Trade Shops & Suppliers and are partnered with The Woodland Trust to offset their carbon footprint.