5 Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands You Should Know About

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We all know that purchasing from sustainable clothing brands is better for the planet. Brands that wear their ethics on their sleeve and do everything they can to limit their environmental and human impact are helping to ensure a habitable planet for future generations. We know this, so why do we continue to favor fast fashion?

The truth is, ethical clothing brands have a reputation for being expensive and off-trend – I’ve also heard ‘frumpy’ and ‘dowdy’ too. I’m here to tell you that it is no longer the case, even if this was once true! There is a growing abundance of affordable, ethical clothing brands, creating stylish pieces for the everyday shopper. 

So, get ready to ‘favorite’ these websites – I may have found your new go-to clothing brands.

Kotn 

Ethical basics

Credits: Kotn

With its collection of sustainable basics, Kotn believes in buying less and enjoying longer. Their white t-shirts are their flagship piece because that’s where it all started, when founder Rami Helali went back to his maternal grandfather’s Egyptian village to learn about the cotton that grows nearby.

Kotn now supports communities by working closely with cotton farmers in Egypt and Portugal, providing better-than fair pay and championing the fact that safe working conditions should not be seen as a luxury in garment factories. 

Every item on the Kotn online store is a classic piece. From tank tops to turtle neck sweaters, these are the items that, once purchased, will stay in your wardrobe until there are holes galore. 

Kotn’s price points are competitive with some mainstream fashion brands you’d find at the mall, so making the switch is a no-brainer. If you’re going to spend $30 on a t-shirt, why not buy one that’s going to last forever and ensures that the people who made it are cared for.

TenTree

Climate-neutral wear for the whole family

Credits: TenTree

TenTree does what it says on the tin – it plants ten trees for every item sold. By 2030, they aim to have planted one billion trees. The 50 million trees that TenTree has successfully planted so far have removed millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and relieved entire communities from the grips of poverty. That’s a pretty big deal.

They’re one of the few ethical clothing brands that I’ve found that offer a range for men, women, and kids – which means you could kit out the whole family with just one order. TenTree describes their range as ‘basics,’ but I was impressed to see some more trend-conscious pieces too, such as corduroy trousers and a slinky-looking cami dress which could easily be dressed up or down.

They’re huge ambassadors of everyone finding small ways to make their daily habits more planet-friendly. Take a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store. Switch your fast fashion purchases to sustainable alternatives, like TenTree. The little things that we do each day can make a big difference.

Girlfriend Collective

Athleisure chic

Credits: Girlfriend Collective

This trendy, inclusive, planet-friendly brand seems almost too good to be true, but I promise I’m not messing with you; this really is an affordable, ethical clothing brand. Girlfriend Collective specializes in selling athleisure wear, but some sleepwear and cozy loungewear are also thrown into the mix.

The brand looks young and fun, with all the colors and bright, popping imagery you’d expect from a brand appealing to the Millenial and Gen Z market. The difference, of course, to all those other mainstream brands is Girlfriend Collective’s sustainability factor. They turn old plastic bottles, fishnets, and other trash into high-quality clothing, and at the time of writing, they’ve recycled almost ten and a half million water bottles. 

Perhaps the best bit is their upcycle program, which creates a full loop for one of their product lines. When consumers are done with their pair of the brand’s Compression Leggings, they simply package them up and send them back to Girlfriend Collective, who will upcycle them into brand new pieces. It’s a full cycle, which prevents the leggings being sent to landfills. Plus, as an incentive, the customer gets $15 store credit for every pair of pre-loved leggings they send back. Oh, and they get to feel great because they’ve done something positive for the planet.

People Tree

Fair Trade timeless pieces 

Credits: People Tree

This may be a brand you’ve already heard of, as People Tree have managed to get a foot into the mainstream market and this is their third decade of existence. They describe themselves as ‘pioneers of sustainable Fair Trade fashion.’

Their Fair Trade certification means that People Tree protect the people who make their clothes by addressing the injustices that are caused by fast fashion brands. From cotton farmers to factory workers, nobody is underpaid for their work, and nobody is taken advantage of. Fair Trade businesses make a difference to communities of the still-developing world and allow workers to have more control over their lives.

People Tree’s price point is definitely on the upper end of what I’d say is ‘affordable,’ but they do have some epic sales, which feature some of their most popular pieces. More importantly, when you consider that this is a brand that takes care of its production line, an extra $20 for a t-shirt is a small price to pay.

Boody

Underwear for the planet-aware

Credits: Boody

Specialising in underwear and sleepwear, Boody creates chic, comfortable clothing from bamboo. By minimizing fabric wastage and recycling all liquid used in making clothing, Boody has a zero-waste manufacturing process. 

The brand also has a health focus, which isn’t something that I’d seen highlighted by any other brands on this list. The bamboo viscose that makes up Boody clothing is perfect for sensitive skin and is highly breathable – making it hard for bacteria to multiply. What’s more, the fabric is UPF50+ rated so that no sneaky UV rays will be reaching your skin.

So, other than great peace of mind, what else is in it for the consumer? Well, if you thought your bamboo panties were soft when you first got them, you’re in for a treat. Bamboo viscose actually gets softer every time it’s washed, making Boody clothing the gift that keeps on giving!

Laura Allen

Laura Allen is a freelance content writer and copywriter with a strong marketing background. She specializes in writing for lifestyle brands, and when she's not busy typing, you'll find her over on Instagram, sharing tips for freelancers and small business owners.