In the few years, the pool of brands upholding ethical standards, and sustainability has rapidly grown, allowing the everyday consumer to fill their closets with more conscious options. As consumers, we’ve become increasingly conscious about our purchases, to make a positive difference for the people involved in the making of our clothes and goods and for our planet.
If you’re making the shift to a completely ethical wardrobe, here are some great ethical alternatives to the everyday brands we used to shop:
Basics / Essentials
KOTN has a unique “farm to closet” approach, working directly and fairly with cotton farmers in Egypt and is hands-on through the whole manufacturing process.
Although they have fewer styles, Organic Basics is another great options for tees and basics!
For the Banana Republic Lover – Ethical Alternative // BRASS Clothing
Jay Adams and Katie Demo launched Brass in September 2014 with a small run of 5 dress styles, and now provides a full collection of everyday basics to, ‘build a better closet,’ as their slogan says.
Warp + Weft – They have a vertically integrated approach starting with processing and spinning the cotton, and various practices to reduce their environmental impact (although I wish they had more info about wages and any ethical standards available). I especially like that they focus on designing for different body types though with styles that go up to a size 24.
MUD Jeans – Even though they are based in the Netherlands, I have to give MUD Jeans a mention because they are my personal favourite. I love their circular approach, transparency, and they have great styles and fit!
ÉTICA – With many sustainability initiatives, ÉTICA claims to use up to 90% less water and over 60% less energy to make their denim clothing. The jeans are fairly made in their own factory in LA.
Nudie Jeans – With tons of retailers, Nudie is a great sustainable option for those who prefer being able to try jeans on. Their jeans are made from organic cotton and they manufacture both in Europe and India where workers are paid a living wage.
For the American Eagle Lover – Ethical Alternative // ABLE
ABLE’s mission to end generational poverty by creating economic opportunities for people, especially women, to provide for themselves, their beautiful wardrobe staples are perfect for any closet. From their extremely well-made jeans, to comfortable tops and dresses, you can build the foundation of any closet.
Casual & Loungewear
MATE has joggers, tees, tanks, sweat sets, and waffle knits in a rainbow of colour options. All their pieces are responsibly made in LA form natural and organic materials. And it’s not just lounge clothes! MATE also has some lovely dresses and linen pieces that would be perfect alternatives to Everlane’s.
Girlfriend makes most of their clothes out of recycled water bottles and the fabric has Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification which regulates the use of harmful chemicals. Their products are made in Vietnam in SA8000 certified factories which they have extensive information on their website about what this certification means and their sustainable practices.
For the GAP Lover – Ethical Alternative // PACT Organics
Whether you’re looking for a plain organic t-shirt, or a cozy Fall sweater, PACT makes the softest basics that fit your life. Their goal is to be the first guilt-free fashion brand, meaning, “Organic Cotton, Fair Trade Factory Certified, zero harmful chemicals, and processes that use significantly less water than conventional cotton. Plus, we offer ways to recycle or reuse your old clothing.”
Classic cut cashmere sweaters have been a staple for Everlane, however despite their “radical transparency” Everlane offers almost no information about their cashmere sourcing.
For a more conscious alternative check out Naadam. They claim to be “the world’s fairest cashmere” practicing direct trade and sourcing their cashmere from farmer’s in Mongolia’s Gobi desert. They pride themselves on having 100% traceability with their cashmere products.
For the Victoria Secret Lover – Ethical Alternative // MADI Apparel
MADI Apparel takes it back to the basics, with ethically made undergarments for all women. I say all women because for every pair bought, a pair of equal quality is donated to a woman in need. Each of their pieces is sewn with quality craftsmanship, economically empowering another woman with job opportunities, and created with the softest bamboo, so you’ll stop looking forward to coming home and taking your bra off.
BHAVA (vegan) – high quality vegan shoes in a variety of both classic and unique styles .
Fortress of Inca – classic leather shoes fairly handmade by artisans in Peru.
Nisolo – large selection of leather shoes with many similar styles to Everlane. Nisolo is passionate about wage transparency and fair manufacturing.
Rothy’s (some vegan) – large variety of flats 3D knit from ocean plastic (dupe for Everlane’s re-knit flats). While Rothy’s has some good sustainability initiatives, I wish they had more info about their ethics and wages.
Other ethical brands
Tradlands – From classic shirts to jumpsuits, to dresses and knitwear, Tradlands has many styles that would easily fit in a former Everlane-lover’s wardrobe. They take a “modern approach to foundational pieces’ with a focus on quality and longevity.
Vetta – Their pieces are designed as a capsule with classic styles and options to mix and match, plus many convertible designs for added versatility. Vetta uses a variety of sustainable materials and manufactures in the US as well as in fair trade and SA8000 certified factories in India.