Often sustainable, ethical brands are turned down in favour of the more affordable options such as SHEIN and Boohoo… and guess what, I understand this completely! If someone was shown a simple, white cotton t-shirt for £4, and an organic cotton t-shirt for £40, most people would gravitate towards the cheaper option.
Although what people don’t understand is that cheap clothing never used to exist. Even 30 years ago, clothing and other materials were sold at a higher price because they were made to last for an extended period of time, not just for a year or a holiday. People bought clothing, treasured it, and kept pieces for ages. This is why vintage Levis are still sold to this day; the denim is more durable and much higher quality. I have some of my grandmother’s coats that she wore when she was my age. If I bought clothing from fast-fashion retailers, I don’t know if I or my grandchildren could do that.
Once you step back and understand why there is a cost separation, we should be able to treat workers, materials, and our earth with more respect, solely with the clothes we buy.
Conscious fashion is often more expensive because brands are paying suitable wages for their workers. Farming and producing eco-friendly natural materials cost more money too.
While sustainable fashion tries to be accessible to all, we still have a long way to go. However, with the industry gaining recognition and growing with each day, more affordable brands have entered, like Veja, Hundred club, Sisterhood and a favourite of mine, MahibyMeshi
Designed in France and made in Brazil, Veja makes trainers with raw materials sourced from organic farming and eco-friendly elements such as natural rubber. Their materials reduce their climate impact and limit their productions, such as hazardous chemicals and water consumption. According to the industrial water usage,
‘It takes about 2,257 gallons of water to make one pair of shoes.’
The co-founders say, “Every year, we perform a social audit to make sure our factories respect our values and meet our criteria, and to identify the areas where we could still improve and do better.” Worn by Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, Emily Ratajkowski and Katie Holmes, Veja maps their production and publish their fair-trade documents, organic labelling certificates, and results of chemical tests carried out on the sneakers.
Shop for Veja here https://www.veja-store.com
This brand produces exclusive pieces, 100 of each item, that is hand-printed in the UK. Making elite pieces helps to reduce wastage. The brand claims that they ‘believe in slow fashion and not looking like everyone else!’
Shop for Hundred Club here https://www.wearehundredclub.com/shop/jadesweater
Using fabrics such as organic recycled cotton, linen, and viscose, Reformation creates effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. The brand based in Los Angeles, declare that they put sustainability at the core of everything they do. Reformation invests in green building infrastructure to minimise their waste, water, and energy footprints.
The brand works jointly with their factories and facilities, sharing where they are all based and exactly how they treat their workers on their website. Reformation shares all of its values, reports, classifications, and goals online. In simple words, they have nothing to hide.
Shop for Reformation here https://www.thereformation.com
Inspired by feminity, Sisterhood makes beautiful pieces of clothing for an effortless look.
Everything is made from 100% recycled materials and can all be recycled once finished with. However, improvements can be made as the brand uses materials such as Polyester. Due to this, Sisterhood states that they will continue to add more sustainable fabrics into their ranges until they are creating varieties that offer only 100% durable fabrics.
Shop for Sisterhood here https://www.join-the-sisterhood.com
Sold on Etsy, Mahi is a chic clothing brand based in London that values sustainability. The materials used are 100% organic and recycled. Inspired by line drawings, the pieces are hand-embroidered, elegant and unique.
Shop for MahibyMeshi here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MAHIbyMESHI
Of course, the most eco-friendly option is only to purchase clothes when we need to. Otherwise, the best way is to wear hand-me-downs, create our clothing from scratch or to ‘make do and mend’ with organic materials. However, shopping well can be done too. As well as sustainable, ethical shops, you can purchase reclaimed clothing from brands such as Topshop and ASOS, or you can visit your local charity shop (there are also many online.)
Good On You
To help us shop smart, I recommend the app ‘Good On You’, which are a world-leading source of trusted brand ratings, articles, and guides on ethical and sustainable fashion. Simply search up a brand of your choice brand (clothing and accessories), and they will tell you how ethical and sustainable they truly are…
View the website here https://goodonyou.eco
The key isn’t to throw away pieces that aren’t eco-positive that you already own but to take steps towards a healthier planet so that the clothes we purchase in the future don’t have an ugly past.