We all want to be ethical when buying our clothes. It feels great to be helping the environment or supporting local businesses. However, a lot of ethical clothing brands are expensive and not within a college student’s budget. While we would love to buy clothes from the most ethical brands, we also would love to be able to eat. If you want to feel good about what you wear, but can’t afford to do so, consider these seven clothing brands that are both ethical and lower-priced.
1. Bluer Denim
Bluer Denim is a clothing store selling, of course, denim. According to the website, the company began in 2013 and boasts “premium tailored denim that’s 100 percent transparently Made in America.” Bluer Denim is located in Oregon and its jeans are made in both North Carolina and California.
Besides the products being made in the United States, Bluer Denim also promotes sustainability. The company’s Facebook page explains its “Buy One, Give One” program. For every pair of jeans purchased, Bluer Denim offers to buy back a used pair for only $5 and deliver them to people in need. Bluer Denim reports that this program actually costs about 10 percent of revenue, but stress the importance of keeping it going.
Bluer Denim products start at $95.
The founder of Pact states on the website that his goal was to create the “comfiest clothes in the world without destroying the earth.” Pact sells mostly basics in women’s, men’s and kid’s sizes for relatively cheaper prices. The website explains that no toxic dyes or pesticides are used in the materials for the clothing, and Pact also partners with organizations that ensure the health and safety of workers and reduce environmental impact.
While Pact was founded in the United States, apparel is made overseas. The reasoning for this is explained in the website’s FAQ, which describes how 74 percent of organic cotton is from India, so it is “an opportunity to better the global community and make an impact on lives all over.” Pact is also sweatshop-free and child-labor-free.
T-shirts start at $16, while hoodies are $43 and leggings are $30.
Related: Why You Should Care About Where Your Favorite Sweater Came From – An Inside Look into Fashion & Ethics
Everlane is more on the pricey side, but for good reason. The website refers to its movement as “Radical Transparency,” partnering with ethical factories around the world and only using the finest materials. What makes Everlane different from other brands is that the true costs of producing the garments are included on the website.
Everlane shows a breakdown of how much everything costs and compares prices. For example, the true cost to produce the cashmere crew is only $42. That price includes materials, labor, transport, duties and hardware. Besides that, Everlane also shows that other retailers charge around $210 for the product, while their cashmere crew is priced at only $100. Everlane explains that “we believe our customers have a right to know how much their clothes cost to make.”
Prices start at $16 for t-shirts, while cashmere sweaters are $100 and loafers are $165. Denim is also a new addition at $68 a pair.
Accompany’s mission is to create a new style culture, “where every purchase has a purpose.” The company refers to itself as artisan made, fair trade, and globally philanthropic. Accompany finds one-of-a-kind items to sell and also support local craftspeople. They bring the work to small towns and villages so people won’t have to find jobs in low-paying factories. Most products sold are handmade and show the cultural heritage of these communities.
Besides selling ethically-made products, Accompany also works with humanitarian and philanthropic causes. The company offers financial assistance towards the wellbeing of women, such as donations, training programs and low-interest loans.
Accompany also states that these programs help build schools, house and employ women coming from human trafficking, and find jobs for teenagers. Overall, Accompany believes fashion is an industry that’s “perfectly positioned to make a powerhouse impact.”
Prices are a little higher because most of the items are limited edition, but Accompany has a page just for items under $100.
5. Krochet Kids
Krochet Kids is a clothing brand committed to breaking the cycle of poverty. The company employs women in need and provides job opportunities at anti-poverty wages so these women can support their families. What’s the best part about Krochet Kids? Every product sold is hand-signed by the person who made it.
On the website, you can look up the names of the women to learn more about them. You can even send a thank you note! Their profiles explain where they are from and what their story is. They also discuss their dreams for the future and leave a personal message for anyone who buys their products.
Headwear starts at $22 and apparel ranges from $24-$88.
6. EcoVibe Apparel
EcoVibe Apparel focuses mainly on the environmental impact of the fashion industry. One percent of all sales are donated to 1% For The Planet, which helps to protect the environment and get rid of toxins. EcoVibe Apparel is also powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and everything used to ship orders is completely made of recycled material.
While the products are not made exclusively of sustainable fabrics, they do use materials such as modal, bamboo, recycled polyester, tencel and cork. EcoVibe Apparel has two locations in Portland, Ore., but all products are also listed on the website.
Tops start at $25, while sweaters are $68-$79 and jeans are $79.
7. Ash & Rose
If you live in the Boston area, you’re in luck! Ash & Rose is run by a mother-daughter team and has a boutique located in the South End of Boston. The company is inspired by three core values: sustainability, fair labor and empowering women. Ash & Rose works with designers who employ at-risk women in areas where there aren’t many opportunities.
When you’re shopping online, one of the ways you can search through the website is by the way you want to make an impact. Some impact examples are charitable, handmade, natural materials, vegan, and woman made. If you have a specific idea in mind of what to support when shopping, this is the perfect way to do so.
Basic tees are $16 and tops start at $38. Ash & Rose also sells jewelry starting at $18. Ash & Rose is located on 367 Albany St in the SoWa neighborhood of Boston’s South End.
There are so many brands to choose from if you have decided you want to start shopping ethically. So why wait? Check out these clothing brands today!