I?ve always been an environmentalist, and I always make sure to recycle, plant trees, attend talks/create awareness on climate change, and even study environmental science in college. Without a doubt landfills are full of clothes, and factories that mass produce fast fashion have a large carbon footprint, as well as use materials that are cheap and deplete the earth. I?ve been making a change to only buy clothes that either have been upcycled, made from recycled materials, or deadstock, as well as brands that focus on reducing water waste, their carbon footprint, and provide fair wages to workers. But whenever I look through articles for fashion brands that are still in style and affordable for the average poor college student, they are always waaaaay out of my budget, or not in style. I follow trends: animal prints, florals, nudes, polka dots, jumpsuits, camis, etc. and that?s what I want to wear. My style is very 90s, Parisian-chic, feminine but also edgy.
BUT one important note: if you need to buy clothes (i.e your wardrobe doesn?t have a polka dot staple), you should definitely look into these brands. Don?t buy clothes just for the sake of buying ? because no matter what, every article of clothing will take up some value of a carbon footprint, even if they are sustainably made (it could be from transportation, etc). Buy clothes that you are sure you will wear for years to come, and buy in moderation.
Reformation is one of my favorite brands for style and sustainability, but they are more expensive. I only own two tees from them. That?s because sustainable brands are more expensive because they use low-impact organic crops to produce them. They are typically grown without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and these have strict federal guidelines, and are not common. So once I find a brand that is sustainable AND affordable, I have to rave about it.
Here are the top 5 sustainable brands that I love:
2 piece animal print from Nobody?s Child. Skirt is $36.
Nobody?s Child is a UK based fashion brand that re-purposes leftover fabric from past seasons (that would often end up in landfills, this is also known as deadstock) to upcycle it into new clothes. They donate any unused fabric to fashion colleges. They do all manufacturing in the UK, and pay fair wages. I LOVE this brand, I cannot tell you how much this is probably my favorite fashion brand of all time. The pieces they make are stylish and timeless, and can be worn over and over again for years. They follow trends, and even organize their clothing based on trends such as floral, animal print and festive.
Everything regular priced is affordable, with nothing over 35 pounds typically. I?m American, this roughly equals $42. They offer worldwide shipping (to the U.S its about $10, unless you buy over 100 pounds worth of stuff), and shipping is free within the U.K.
But the real gold here is the SALE section. Everything in the sale section is so chic, and under $20!! Most items are about $5-$15, and there are so many items in the sale section!
Not to mention, their customer service is superb, and they ship out literally in one day or less! Once, I accidentally wrote the wrong shipping address, and I emailed them right away and they fixed it within three hours. This eco friendly brand makes me not feel so guilty on staying fashion forward. My favorite!! Follow them on Instagram @nobodyschild or go shop on nobodyschild.com.
Top (left, $48) and Dress (right, $75) from Sisterhood?s newest summer collection.
Every item of clothing, and even paper and packaging is make from 100% recycled materials, and can even be recycled once you?re done with it. They also pay fair wages to their workers. They are also one of my top favorites, and they have a very Parisian style of clothing (lots of florals and simplistic!). They mostly have super cute tops and dresses, (not as much bottoms), but they are slightly pricier than Nobody?s Child. They don?t really have a sale section either, but none the less they are affordable too! They?re also a UK brand so there is about a $5 shipping fee to the U.S, but sometimes if you use a code you will have free shipping worldwide! For August 2019, use the code TRAVEL for free worldwide shipping!
Their tops range from 40?50 pounds ($48?58), and their dresses range from $48-$80. Nothing is over $80, but if you take a look at the quality and style of each item, you will wear them for years to come, so its a great bargain to buy from them. Make sure to buy what you love right away, because for most styles they almost never restock (since they only have a limited amount of the exact recycled fabric), and they almost never make a previous item again. Love their style! Subscribe and get 10% off your first order! Follow them on Instagram @sisterhoodthe or shop at https://www.join-the-sisterhood.com/
Men?s joggers from PACT for $55.
This brand has less trends, but the clothing is so comfortable and is great for basics. Pact is fairly popular, and this U.S brand pays fair wages to its workers in India, and they have all of their clothing made from 100% organic cotton, meaning they don?t use any toxic dyes or pesticides. Organic cotton is extremely good for the environment, and Pact even says how many gallons of water was saved into making each item.
They have the softest clothes, and I buy all my activewear, and underwear from them. Let me tell you, they are SO comfortable, and they help your sweaty areas breathe since its organic cotton. They stretch perfectly, and They produce new styles often, so there is always something to look for. I have a robe from them that I love, and a t-shirt dress too. They don?t have has much patterned items though. But we all need basics!
The paper that is packaged is made from recycled paper, and they even have the option of letting you donate your used clothes to a charity overseas into the paper packaging and just dropping it in the mailbox! What a great way to donate used clothes for humanity, and save the planet by reusing!
Their regular prices range from $20-$55, and typically not many items are over $50. Another great thing about Pact is that is is catered towards women, men and children, while Nobody?s Child and Sisterhood are catered towards women. Pact has an awesome sale section, and undies are way cheaper there, I get mine for $3-$7 on the sale section! The sales are usually not over $30. They also have organic cotton bed sheets! Shipping is usually $5, but from time to time they have months where they give free shipping to U.S customers, so look out for those!
Their customer service is also exceptional. One time, I forgot to put in my apt # on my shipping address for a robe, and I contacted them and they sent me another one free! (I ended up getting two!) Their clothing makes great holiday gifts, and I buy my dad and brother clothes from Pact, since their clothing is especially good for winter. A lot of the tees and dresses however, are super light and can be worn for summer! Follow them on IG @wearpact or shop on wearpact.com!
Urban Renewal (By Urban Outfitters)
Remnants Plaid Trouser Pant by Urban Renewal, $69.
Urban Outfitters is KNOWN for their style. It?s amazing how they also created Urban Renewal, an offshoot of Urban Outfitters, by upcycling old vintage clothing and patching different types of patterns and fabric together. I love vintage, and this takes a modern and eco-friendly method towards clothing. Each item is one of a kind, and no two items are the same. They are all made in the U.S! There are new releases each week.
Prices are a bit pricier than Pact, Nobody?s Child and Sisterhood, with prices ranging from $30?$150. Most items are $45-$70 and they don?t have a sale section. They have jackets and belts too. What?s most interesting is that what you order will not be exactly the picture that is shown, but will vary slightly. They have the edgiest clothing, if you?re into the grunge style. They?ve also got great 90s type slip dresses and utility pants.
Shop here: https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/vintage-womens-clothing
Conscious Outlet by Ararose
Floral romper for $18 on Ararose Clothing?s Conscious Outlet
Ararose Clothing is another female empowered UK clothing site that puts a lot of impact on empowering workers for fair living conditions and wages. They emphasize slow fashion. They created a Conscious Outlet, which features items that either have a discreet production flaw or have been worn in photoshoots, rather then throwing them out. They don?t have many items on their Conscious Outlet (about 14 items) but they have very cute, feminine styles. Even their clothing hang tags are made from 100% recycled paper and their mail bags are recycled and 100% biodegradable.
Best part is, their Conscious Outlet is discounted from the regular price, so nothing is over $20. Also, their shipping is FREE WORLDWIDE! It can?t get better than this! Follow them on IG @_ararose or shop on ararose.clothing.
Whimsy + Row:
They use deadstock and eco-friendly fabric that don?t overuse emissions to produce, and all their clothing is made in Los Angeles. Their style is more simple, and prices range from $30 (on their sale section) to $178. They have cute jumpsuits, but are over $100, and most of their popular items are about $100. They get an honorable mention because they are too expensive for me, and a little too simplistic for my taste, but still have a close feel to Reformation.
They hand select vintage, deadstock and sustainable materials from Southern California. They also have an Upcycled and Vintage collection made from recycled materials. Their prices range from $30-$80. A lot of their pieces are in style, but these are similar staples that I already have, so I have not bought anything from them. Some of their items which I really enjoy are sold out. Nonetheless, check them out!
Other brands that mention they are sustainable and affordable are ASOS recycled and H&M Conscious. I am not too familiar with their process of sustainability and whether or not they provide fair wages to workers, but I do know that in general ASOS and H&M regular clothing do not follow sustainability. However, I do applaud that they are trying to be more eco-friendly! Check them out as well if you?re looking for more brands. If you know of any other sustainable, fashionable brands not mentioned here, drop it in the comments! I would love to check them out.