A lot of people are under the impression that only the upper class can afford eco-friendly fashion. A decade or so ago this may have been the case, but so many conscious brands have emerged in recent years that ‘conscious consumption’ is now available to the masses.
So what exactly do I mean by affordable?
When I say affordable, I’m not talking prices that match those found at Forever 21. The point of developing an eco-friendly attitude towards fashion is to embrace a “less is better” mindset. Think items that are high quality and everlasting, not ultra-trendy and disposable. So for the purposes of this post, I looked for basic tops in the $15-50 range, fashion tops for under $100, and dresses for under $150. If you are truly interested in becoming a more conscious consumer, then these prices should afford you a few new items each season.
And if you still feel that these prices won’t work with your budget, that’s the beauty of thrift stores. Thrifting will always be the most green option when it comes to shopping, and I believe that a combination of ethically-sourced fashion apparel and thrifted items is the best way to go.
Without further ado, here is my list of the best sources for affordable fashion:
Made with their totally innovative color diffusion innovation, Cosmos Studio shirts save 98% of water, 70% of chemicals and 50% of energy used to make a more traditional garment. Check out this post to learn more about Cosmos Studio.
VETTA makes it really easy to create a capsule wardrobe. Each collection is made up of five pieces, which can be combined to create an entire month’s worth of outfits. They’re all ethically made in a family run factory in NYC and LA out of either deadstock or Tencel fabric.
Prices: $50 – $150
Mayamiko carries everyday basics that are perfect for the office or your capsule wardrobe as well as fun, playful prints and designs to party in. Everything is ethically made in Malawi by their team of tailors, pattern cutters, and seamstresses in a solar-powered facility. They use locally sourced materials like certified organic cotton and strive for zero waste production.
Prices: $20 – $130
Klow curates products from brands committed to the health of the earth and garment workers, as well as the people wearing their wearing their clothing—you. Each brand is carefully selected based on a set of sustainability and transparency standards in addition to quality and aesthetic.
Prices: $5.50 to $200
IKKIVI is an India-based sustainable fashion boutique curated from the most beautiful slow fashion designers who are creating timeless, high quality silhouettes. Some of IKKIVI’s pieces are a bit more expensive, but that’s because they are actually upscale fashion pieces, but meant first and foremost for the Indian market, so you’re getting great value for handmade artisan luxury fashion made with natural fibers like pure silk and cotton.
Prices: $15 to $300
Kings of Indigo is dedicated to creating the highest quality denim in the most eco-friendly way. They use recycled and naturally-dyed denim in addition to other sustainable materials. They are deeply committed to transparency and are certified by a whole host of third-party sustainability certifications.
Prices: $57 – $220
I’m obsessed with Alternative Apparel’s basic cotton tees and own them in several different colors. They also have a collection of activewear including leggings, sports bras, tanks, and shorts.
Prices: $16 – $168
I love this brand’s patterned leggings which are sure to inspire you to get on your yoga mat, and their collection of casual dresses are perfect for a beachy getaway.
Prices: $18 – $98
This socially responsible company offers highly-versatile pieces including basic tops, pants, shorts, and outerwear. Nearly everything is under $100. They are completely transparent about where their clothing is manufactured and how they devise their pricing model.
Prices: $12 – $235
Bluer Denim’s high-quality, tailored denim jeans run for $95-145 and are made entirely in America using Georgia-grown cotton, and buttons and zippers forged in Kentucky.
When it comes to sustainable apparel that makes a statement, Amour Vert is one of my top picks. Amour Vert is fashion-forward eco apparel without the designer prices.
Prices: $35 – $95
Though in general Reformation has a little bit higher price tags than some other brands listed on here, you can definitely find some budget-friendly pieces. Reformation is fashion-forward, with a luxury feel, and definitely worth the occasional splurge.
Prices: $12 – $388
This UK-based fair-trade and eco-friendly fashion company offers fashion forward dresses for under $100, tops for under $50, and hand-made jewelry in the $15-50 range.
Prices: $10.50 – $179
This brand takes deadstock and vintage clothing and makes it into super affordable, one-of-a-kind fashion. Find sexy tops, dresses, fringe leather jackets, and sweaters from $38 to $150.
Prices: $28 – $168
Maison de Mode curates from sustainable and ethical luxury (yet affordable) designers. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, home goods, accessories, and shoes.
Prices: $50 – $600
This small brand makes the highest quality, classic clothing and sells it directly to consumers, so that there’s no markup. Find Italian merino wool sweaters and silk blouses for under $100.
Prices: $20 – $178
I might get flack for this, but I firmly believe that H&M is investing with intention to figure out how to make mass market clothing sustainable. Organic cotton is throughout H&M’s store, but the Conscious Collection is made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled polyester and Tencel.
Prices: $6.99 – $60
Nobody’s Child owns their own factories in the UK, Europe and Asia, and their knitting plant, dye house, print facility and distribution centre are all based in the UK. They work hard not to create waste in terms of fabric and cost, so their ethically-made garments are shockingly cheap!
Prices: $10.50 – $60
Urban Outfitters’ line of vintage and re-worked apparel includes denim cut-offs, tees, dresses, and other trendy pieces for budget prices.
Prices: $8 – $275
ASOS offers a curation of vintage, reclaimed fashion apparel, jewelry made from sustainable materials, and anti-cruelty handbags.
Prices: $5 – $372
Levi’s has been committed to ethics and sustainability from the beginning, from their Worker Well-being program to their Waste<Less and Water<Less processes. While they have high-end Levi’s Made and Crafted items, you can easily find a pair of affordable everyday jeans to love.
Prices: Jeans for $12.79 (sale price) – $278
Buy secondhand first! thredUP is the largest online secondhand fashion boutique where you can buy and sell high-quality pre-owned clothing.
Ella Stein creates affordable diamond jewelry that’s made to order to prevent waste. Each piece is made using the small diamonds that are cut from larger ones and would otherwise be thrown away. Read more about Ella Stein here.
Prices: $99 – $299
Soko is a fair trade company that uses natural and recycled materials and provides guilt-free, on-trend jewelry that is shockingly affordable for the quality. Everything is made by artisans who, before being connected through Soko, didn’t have access to global markets.
Prices: $30 – $94
A collection of edgy rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings run for $120 and under and are handmade in New York City.
$42 – $120
WAMA Underwear for men and women is made from sustainable, GOTS Certified hemp and organic cotton. There are a lot of great things about hemp: it’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, odor-fighting, and super soft and breathable. And trust me: these undies are super comfortable! The WAMA team works transparently with certified factories in China and oversee production there in order to ensure ethical manufacturing is taking place.