As a result of continued inquiries, we have a running series of posts outlining some ethically-manufactured “alternatives” to fast fashion and other sweat-shop made clothes (because high fashion brands are not always blame-less either). (Find previous lists here).
While in general, ethically made garments and accessories tend to cost a bit more than their fast fashion alternatives, there are increasingly more brands that are aiming to achieve accessible price points - and we are dedicated to doing endless research to include more and more brands on these lists that are truly affordable (because guess what, $150 for a top is expensive!).
It is also worth noting that sustainability is not just about buying! It also includes holding on to the clothes you already have (regardless of their price points) and taking care of them in order to get the most wears/use out of them. Remember, sustainability is about taking small steps to improve your wardrobe and is not meant to happen overnight. This is a marathon.
Having said that, if you are in the market for some ethically-manufactured garments, the brands listed below engage in original design, local production (many of the brands manufacture locally), responsible selection of raw materials (think: the use of Viscose, which comes from man-made fibers made from renewable plant material, and requires approximately half of the energy than a cotton garment to produce). They focus on creating sustainable garments and accessories with a lower environmental impact, including by minimizing waste by repurposing it to make additional garments, reducing carbon emissions and/or shipping using recycled paper products.
Still yet, many of them engage in careful oversight by working with factories that abide by national labor standards, and in many cases, visit their factories on a regular basis and speaking to factory owners even more frequently.
Check out the list below and remember, shopping responsibly does not mean wearing high fashion; that is just a myth, my friends!
NOE GARMENTS | $
Once just our go-to for all things undergarments, NOE has relatively recently branched out to dresses, tops, bottoms, and swimwear. And not to be missed: custom kimonos. Based in Southern California, the brand’s founders, sisters Bonnie Rae Boyes and Shelah Jean Abubo rely on luxe fabrications, European sewing techniques, premium Japanese elastics, custom designed hardware and a very close eye to every detail to set their wares apart from other similarly situated brands. Made entirely in the U.S. by way of “only ethically aware production and work practices,” this is a brand you simply cannot afford to miss.
THE SEPT | $
THE SEPT is a Munich-based label aiming to create a collection of modern everyday essentials with a focus on refined clean design. Founded in 2014, THE SEPT “is the embodiment of simplicity and minimalism,” says founder Christina Barho, who based the line on the perfect tee. (Sound familiar? That’s how the Olsens’ label, The Row, got its start).
Also note: This quarter The Sept will be donating 10% of its proceeds to local organization, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, which organizes and serves individuals, institutions and coalitions to build power, transform public opinion, and change policies to achieve full human, civil and labor rights.
LACAUSA | $
Founded in 2013 by designer Rebecca Grenell, Lacausa is redefining basics, blending romantic silhouettes with a contemporary bohemian twist. Influenced by boundless landscapes, Lacausa aims to offer its customers “effortless California chic without sacrificing the hand that feeds her.” Fabrics are sourced and sewn with trusted partners and in their Los Angeles factory with the highest standards in mind. This one is absolutely worth checking out!
TRICOTAGE | $$
Tricotage was founded in the Spring of 2010 by the two Danish designers Karin Bjørneboe and Ida Anesdatter Schmidt, based on their desire to create beautiful and simple everyday clothes in sustainable materials. Tricotage is primarily known for their casual wear, produced in organic cotton with the signature print “the dot,” as well as beautiful durable wool knitwear.
SEEK COLLECTIVE | $$
Founded by Calvin Klein alum Carol Miltimore, Seek Collective is a Brooklyn-based collection based on individuality and a distinct ease of being – a renewed form of modern luxury created by expert artisans. It embodies a relaxed luxury and sophistication in silhouette and fit with an emphasis on the highest quality materials.
Uniting design, elegance, craftsmanship, art, and culture, Seek Collective is dedicated to working with artisan communities in hand block printing, hand loom weaving and natural dying processes. Each piece is hand crafted with attention to construction and detail, making every item one of a kind.
ANTONELLO | $$$
Check out Antonello! This label is about as anti-fast-fashion as it gets. Each handbag is designed in London and handmade in Sardinia, Italy in limited numbers at ethically-managed, female-run factories. All materials are locally-sourced, sustainable and/or recycled, and the bags – particularly the MONTE SANTU IVORY/TURQUOISE style – are beautiful.
VOZ | $$$$
VOZ is a collection of luxury artisanal ready-to-wear apparel inspired by the beauty of ancient cultures and ceremonial crafts that was founded by Creative Director Jasmine Aarons in 2012. VOZ honors and empowers artisans creatively, economically, and culturally by providing education, sustainable fair-trade employment and a platform designed to preserve and support traditional art forms. VOZ offers refined elegance with a modern, global perspective.
$ = majority of pieces under $150
$$ = majority of pieces between $150-$400
$$$ = majority of pieces between $400-$750
$$$$ = majority of pieces over $750