HC UPR Recommends: 10 Ethical & Sustainable Brands To Shop ASAP

With the ever-present rise of environmental activism, working rights awareness and national growing concern over global warming, it’s seriously time for us to make a reality check and reflect on the ways in which we, as cohabitants of the Earth, can have a say on the future of the environment and overall social wellbeing. A small yet effective way to adopt an eco-friendly, minimalistic, low impact and labore fair stance from home is as simple as deciding to purchase organic and ethically sourced fashion garments. Besides being worthwhile investments, these products are notorious for their durability and good quality. By going sustainable, on the other hand, you are also supporting fair pay of laborer wages worldwide (a feat that fast fashion is currently lagging on). Sounds awesome, right? The best thing about sustainable fashion is that the majority of its leading brands have their products available via online stores!

  1. 1. ASOS

    My Outfit Rec: Vintage Inspired Cardigan in Bright Dogtooth ($30.82), and it's matching skirt ($31.06)!

    Besides promoting inclusivity, diversity and self-expression, this apparel brand works hard at ensuring the safety and fair wages of everyone involved in their supply chain environment. As proof of their unwavering ethical standards, the ASOS management team decided to create a worldwide Ethical Trade Strategy in 2017.

  2. 2. Everlane

    My Outfit Rec: V-neck Sweater ($88)

    This brand thrives on promoting a new, ethical, and innovative approach towards sustainability self-dubbed as Radical Transparency. As part of this initiative, Everlane prides itself on building strong personal relationships with the factory owners responsible for producing their garments. Everlane’s mission also includes the creation and sale of high-quality and long lasting products. Last but not least, this brand provides the true costs behind each and every one of their products-a cool feature that allows shoppers to better understand the main aspects of the garment production process.

  3. 3. Christy Dawn

    My Outfit Rec: The Bergen Dress ($348)

    Whoever knew a brand could flourish by using the residual fabrics leftover from prominent fashion houses? Meet none other than Christy Dawn: a clothing line that does just that by recycling so-called deadstock and repurposing it in order to produce the soft, delicate and angelic garments that distinguish the brand. Another huge sustainable plus is Christy Dawn’s focus on ethical production and fair wages and health benefits for every single sewist that plays a part in creating this brand’s products.

  4. 4. ABLE

    4. ABLE

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B4Fh71pHDup/

    My Outfit Rec: The Merly Jacket ($148)

    Sustainability has a lot to do with the planet- but we can’t forget how  relevant the human ethics are when we start the conversation on sustainability. Meet ABLE: a sustainable brand that focuses on fair trade and female employment. This project started after the founding mothers of ABLE traveled to Ethiopia, wherein they met women who were underpaid and mistreated in the commercial sex industry; and who, in hopes of obtaining a better lifestyle, begged ABLE’s founders  to let them work by crafting scarves.

    This moment of compassion defined the ethos of the brand and defined an initiative that would shortly after comprise a trendy business with a ninety-five percent female staff. Because ABLE is so engaged in creating a safe, empowering and fairly-waged environment for women, this company publishes their wages, has international manufacturing partners (these include Brazil, Mexico and Brazil), and pays their employees with good treatment and compensation for their work. Although ABLE recognizes there is certainly much work to do in order to achieve a global gender equality standard in terms of employment, they are one-hundred percent committed to achieve it throughout their efforts and social initiatives.

  5. 5. STELLA MCCARTNEY

    My Outfit Rec: Camo Cotton Sweatshirt ($69) and Camo Track Pants ($60) 

    This super chic brand transmits, above all else, a message of justice and dignity regarding the environment and human rights in general. Because these are such relevant modern-day issues, Stella McCartney actively practices the concepts of social and environmental sustainability throughout every stage in the production supply chain. The brand’s biggest breakthrough in its sustainability timeline is, by far, the implementation of the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L): a technological tool developed by Kering dedicated to measuring various forms of global contamination, including water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

  6. 6. Madewell

    My Outfit Rec: Nylon Vancouver Parka ($298)

    This affordable brand is all about sustainability and giving back to the community! Alongside its sister store, J.Crew, Madewell supports a variety of nonprofit organizations, such as Garments For Good and J. Crew Cares. Environment-wise, Madewell is one hundred percent committed to minimizing material and product waste, funding initiatives dedicated to developing environmentally responsible approaches towards the supply chain production process, energy efficiency, and maximization of natural resources. Also, kudos to Madewell for their cute sustainable swimwear!

  7. 7. Alternative

    My Outfit Rec: Adrian Printed Eco-Fleece Zip Hoodie ($23)

    On the lookout for sustainable, comfy looks? Worry no more, because Alternative has got you covered with all the sweaters, hoodies, scarves, tees, and sweatpants your heart could possibly desire. Now, this brand is ethical for a good number of reasons! First, this company acknowledges the waste that goes into the product packaging process, which is why they employ the use of oxo-biodegradable mailer bags and a vendor recycling program.

    Something truly great about this brand is that the majority of their factories are WRAP-certified, which essentially means they adhere to the Fair Labor Association guidelines and workplace code of conduct. Environmentally, this brand prides itself on manufacturing its products with organic and recycled materials, low impact dyes, and water-conserving washing methods. To top it all off, this company has joined the Fashion Revolution: a global movement that calls for a safer, cleaner, and more transparent fashion industry.

  8. 8. Karen Kane

    My Outfit Rec: V Neck Chenille Sweater ($89)

    For all of you out there wondering about size inclusivity and sustainable fashion, I’m here to tell you to look no further than into Karen Kane’s woke AF website. This family-owned business started shortly after its founder’s wedding; and, up-to-date, it is known for its high-quality and durable garments combined with a body-positive uptake on sustainability. Additionally, over seventy percent of its management is composed of women, and three-quarters of all of its employees come from underrepresented minorities.

  9. 9. ThredUp

    My Outfit Rec: Pick what you like! Items never last long and there's a wide variety of items.

    ThredUp screams sustainability by earning its name as the world’s largest online secondhand store. On the other hand, its sole mission is based on a budget-friendly approach towards shopping-living proof that sustainable does not necessarily mean expensive. This minimalist mindset is further supported by ThredUp’s delivery of high quality and durable products. Complete with some serious quality control measures and seasonal trend analysis, ThredUp provides a fashionable and accessible alternative to fast fashion.

  10. 10. People Tree

    My Outfit Rec: V&A Cosmic Print Shirt Dress ($195)

    This label prides itself on its unwavering mission to develop a sustainable and optimistic partnership with the producers in charge of creating all People Tree apparel. Known for their use of eco-friendly textiles such as organic cotton and Tencel Lyocell, People Tree fashion collections feature traditional and artisanal skills including hand embroidery, block-printing, knitting, and hand weaving.

    They became the first brand ever to be awarded the Fair Trade Organisation product label up-to-date has been, by far, one of the brand’s most astounding achievements. The reason behind this notable success is the fact that this award guarantees their aptitude at covering fair wages, providing good working conditions and practicing gender equality within the supply chain environment.

If shopping from these sustainable brands is not readily available to you for whatever reason, here’s a list of a couple things you can do to go sustainable without necessarily spending money. 

  • Support local businesses and artisans

  • Get thrifty! Buy second hand

  • Organize a closet swap with your friends

  • Instead of throwing old or ill-fitting clothes in the trash, donate to your local thrift shop or your favorite charity

  • Revamp old clothing items or accessories

  • Shop for what you truly need; invest in high-quality, durable garments

  • Educate friends and family on the importance of sustainability (better yet, spread the word and share these tips!)