Table of Contents
- 1 Going Beyond the Hashtag: What is Sustainable Clothing?
- 2 Are Sustainable Clothes More Expensive? Is the Cost Worth It?
- 3 Why Affordable Sustainable Fashion?
- 4 These Best 10 Affordable Sustainable Clothing Brands Are Taking it Slow!
- 5 How Can We Help You in Finding Eco-Friendly Clothing Fits?
- 6 The BeZen Take on Affordable Sustainable Clothing Brands
We’ve all heard that slow and steady wins the race. Let’s throw another S into the mix and make it even more relevant and fitting- that S we’re taking about is sustainability.
Affordable sustainable clothing is the new green revolution, without a doubt. We are well aware of the havoc the fast fashion industry is wreaking on the planet. If you’re still clueless how, let us sum it up this way- with rapidly changing trends, use and throw fashion induces mass clothing manufacture that is ecologically demanding.
Cheaply made pieces that are rapidly produced at demand and are specifically targeted at consumption constitute fast fashion.
Not only fast fashion companies end up making mass profits, they do so at a huge cost. By yielding an enormous amount of chemicals and waste used in these fabrics, fast fashion has indeed gone beyond social media- the proof is our polluted atmosphere and grieving oceans.
These extremely affordable trends, thus, have costly repercussions. With about 100 billion pieces of clothing come a ton of microplastics and an even bigger carbon footprint.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is sustainable affordable fashion– fashion that is slow and encourages consumers to move towards ethical clothing trends that last for years. In a way, adopting sustainable fashion is fashion activism at its best.
As we continue to push the fashion industry to adapt to healthier patterns of production and manufacture, the goal of eco-friendly clothing is also to dissuade consumers from going towards trends that are clearly harmful. Sustainable fashion seeks to reverse the harmful effects of fast fashion by driving consumers towards conscious consumerism. The myriad benefits of sustainable fashion
Thus, if you have decided to embrace sustainable affordable fashion that is versatile and would help you make a compact, capsule wardrobe, you would like to take a look at our brand recommendations that are affordable, clean and ethical.
Before we skip to the good part, let’s do our bit- being informed about what goes into sustainable fashion and what surrounds it. With this piece, we will attempt to answer every question you might have regarding the efficacy of sustainable clothing that is affordable. And be assured, that this isn’t another vortex of false promises that you will be falling into.
Going Beyond the Hashtag: What is Sustainable Clothing?
When we speak about sustainable fashion, we are taking about apparel that is not just organic, but a tad above it. It indeed goes beyond the hashtag accompanying clothing in earthy tones.
Sustainable clothing isn’t limited to hula outfits (we’d say it creates some ripples, but we know that you can’t wear it on daily basis.) or fabrics the color of oatmeal, like how fashion great Stella McCartney puts it. You do not have to compromise on being fashionable just because it is labelled as sustainable.
Slow fashion is not a roadblock to an elevated experience. In case you have your own reservations about what is sustainable, or what you see being marketed with the label, we will lay it down for you.
Sustainable fashion is when apparel (which includes clothes, innerwear, shoes and even accessories like bags, hats and belts) is manufactured, designed, distributed and used in ways that are environmentally sound and ethical. It is here that sustainable might subsume the tag of organic, but it is much more than that.
Fashion that is slow, eco-friendly and sustainable is a movement in itself. Conversations on sustainability have multiple dimensions that engage discussions around conservation of resources, carbon footprint, worker rights, corporate social responsibility, labor laws, supporting biodiversity and addressing the evils of overproduction.
Issues that constitute the gamut of sustainability are extremely complex and it is required that brands involve themselves with these issues beyond a superficial commitment.
There are a few factors which constitute the concept of sustainable fashion which are-
Quality over Quantity is the Way!
The first and the foremost aspect of dressing yourself the sustainable way is to swear by the quality of one article of clothing that is durable in terms of quality. It is no secret that fast fashion brands are notorious for producing clothes that are worn for approximately 7 times. This is a drastic change from the standard 120 wears and the number of tims we wear a garment before discarding it is quickly decreasing.
This is why according to Harriet Vocking of EcoAge recommends asking yourself the following questions before you head out for a shopping spree-
- What are you buying?
- Why are you buying it?
- Do you really need what you are buying?
- If you buy it, will you wear it at least 30 times?
Who Has Made Your Clothes?
Now, this is where we involve ourselves with the issue of worker rights. With the kind of money fast-fashion companies are minting, you will expect that most of it will be going towards feeding the families of the workers that make them. But unfortunately, this is a huge deception that people fall for.
And even if they know about the way people in third world countries slog to manufacture clothes that will most probably be discarded when the next trend hits, they choose to prefer convenience over consciousness.
This is why, whenever you are out to get something sustainable, make it more than a hashtag. Sustainable fashion is an attitude that uplifts communities that are directly or indirectly related with what you wear. Be it the farmers who have toiled to grow the cotton, or the worker who sews buttons into your newest shirt made from 100% organic cotton- sustainable fashion is about making lives better.
Ensure that your clothes are coming from a facility where workers aren’t subjected to draconian conditions and are paid fair wages for their hard work. Opt for brands that are upfront about their policies. If possible, try visiting a facility and interact with the people there.
Is it Certified?
Certifications are a main factor that can help you decide how sustainable are your garments.
Look out for the targets the brands have set for themselves- this can include minimizing their carbon footprint, constantly switching to more ethical and cruelty-free facilities, sourcing their materials from craftsmen that receive a fair compensation, if the products used are non-GMO or not.
Sustainability certifications such as B-Corp, the Leaping Bunny sticker, ECA, Fairtrade, BLUESIGN is a good indication that a brand is following practices that comply with international standards to ensure environmental safety.
Is It Toxic Chemical-Free?
Even though clothes seem like the most innocuous item out there, the shadow of an ugly truth looms large over them.
Hidden chemicals like AZO dyes, Formaldehyde, PFCs, Phthalates, anti-wrinkling agents, caustic soda and surfactants are used indiscriminately by the fast fashion industry. When washed out, these chemicals pollute our water bodies, can cause safety hazards for workers who work with these chemicals while manufacturing clothes. These agents also pose as significant health hazards and can disrupt and weaken our endocrine system, affect reproduction and can also be cancerous.
This is why, it is important to choose fashion which is safe to carry, even though the impact of such toxic chemicals on the skin isn’t direct, according to Greenpeace scientists Dr. Kevin Brigden.
However, certain dyes can be allergens and cause skin diseases and rashes.
Speaking of this impact, imagine what could happen to the biodiversity thriving in the oceans and around us, if they come into direct contact with these harmful chemicals.
In all seriousness, chemical pollution tends to damage the ‘fabric of life’, if we go by environmentalist Rachel Carson’s words. This is why it is important that your fabric is free of these notorious pollutants, so that you are able to preserve the threads that connect you to the goodness of nature.
Are Sustainable Clothes More Expensive? Is the Cost Worth It?
Conversations surrounding the concept of sustainable apparel say that it is quite expensive and is a luxury good. The price factor drives several people away from embracing sustainable clothing. Yet, the key to dismantle this belief system around sustainable fashion is to understand its effect on the planet.
Sustainable clothing can be affordable, but they are slightly expensive than fast fashion garments. While a piece of sustainable and ethical clothing can cost more than a mass produced clothing article- it is still comparatively cost effective, especially when we consider the ecological cost and harms inflicted by the latter.
Moreover, if we calculate the amount we spend on fast fashion frequently, a one-time investment in sustainable articles is more fruitful. Think about this- what’s better- spending a few extra bucks on a garment that can be styled in at least 4-5 ways, has come from a safe production facility, has less ecological costs or spending a lot of money over a year on fashion trends that you won’t even consider wearing after a new one enters the market?
This is because firstly, sustainable and ethical fashion lasts longer than fast fashion. Investing in pieces that are skin-friendly, durable and versatile is the key to eco-friendly clothing. The key here is to avoid engaging in excessive shopping patterns.
While the likes of Rebecca Bloomwood would disagree, maybe researching and knowing about the actual expense of fast fashion will make her reform her ways. And in doing so, our inner shopaholic might find the cure for their addiction to shop any and everything they see once it is on social media.
Textile waste is a real thing, and with fast fashion in the picture the amount of clothes and articles we discard on a regular basis without even giving them a second life. The excess of your fashion cravings often ends up in a landfill where it is incinerated. Since a lot of fashion industry goods make use of synthetics in their manufacture, these cute looking garments can emit a significant amount of toxic gases and fumes which pollutes the atmosphere.
Frequently buying clothing that is made from organic fabric is equivalent to dishing your money out on fast fashion as well. Quality over quantity is the go to maxim when you are searching for fashion that is good for you and good for the planet.
Therefore, a minor degree of extra costs you incur while buying something you would use for a long time is worth it. Moreover, if you are curious about the maths behind why ecological fashion is expensive, it is boiled down to the following factors excluding greed-
- Labour, as everyone has a right to be paid well above the bare minimum to lead a respectable, good life
- Material sourced according to organic farming standards
- For certifications and the enormous amount of paperwork that goes behind earning the marker of a sustainable brand
- Marketing and retail costs. However, this has become debatable as many brands prefer a Direct to Consumer model of selling their apparel, especially in the times of COVID-19. But there are several things that demand attention and expenses which go beyond paying store rent. The investment can be used by ethical clothing brands to improve other aspects of the supply chain- like using environment friendly technology or sourcing more ethical materials.
Why Affordable Sustainable Fashion?
About 97% of resources that go into producing clothing are new or virginal resources. The textile industry is reported to use about 93 billion cubic metres of water in a year. This astonishing amount is enough to fill at 37 Olympic sized swimming pools. As you must have guessed, fashion might feel cute, but its long-run impacts aren’t what you can delete later.
Unfortunately for us, the fashion industry is guilty in more ways than one. A cardinal sin that this industry commits is massive overproduction. And not all overproduced garments are sold, many of them lie unused as seasons and trends continue to change.
As a result, since these excess garments are unproductive- they go into the landfills where they never decompose or they are burned. This is the reason why the fashion industry is guilty as charged for exacerbating the problem of global carbon emissions and is the second biggest contributor in terms of water and plastic pollution.
Sustainable fashion seeks to address these very problems by replacing synthetics with eco-friendly fibers that are biodegradable and recyclable.
The point about affordable ethical clothing is to make your clothing last for a longer time without making you feel guilty about the amount of money you had splurged on them.
More than this, sustainable and affordable fashion is beneficial in myriad little ways we don’t even think about. There is a tip on how to go about ethical fashion AND make it affordable- ever heard of simplicity is the ultimate sophistication? That’s it.
Invest in a few, quality articles which you can carry effortlessly and you will wear frequently. While we understand that all of us had a dream to own a closet full of swanky and the most fashionable clothes- the current dream we aspire to is making a minimalistic wardrobe that contributes to less textile waste.
There are several pros of sustainable, affordable clothing that outweigh the various cons of your latest fast fashion hauls. Read below to see why you should take a step towards embracing ethical and eco-friendly fashion:-
Reduces Water Footprint
Affordable sustainable clothing saves a ton of virginal natural resources by using recyclable fibers and fabrics. Even though fabrics like cotton demand a lot of water to process it into usable cloth, they tend to be better than synthetic materials like nylon and polyester as they are grown in areas with little moisture. Moreover, the dyes used in sustainable apparel use less water, which reduces the water footprint by a considerable amount.
Reduces CO2 Emissions
Since several fast fashion articles are petroleum-based and made from fossil fuels, they generate immense amounts of greenhouse gases, thus contributing to global warming and climate change. Chemical processing is another factor that leads to significant CO2 emissions.
On the other hand, sustainable fashion uses material that is recycled or does not require chemical processing. With little water, less energy and biodegradable properties, ethical fabrics like hemp, cotton, and more recently the TENCEL Modal are environmentally sound options that limit CO2 emissions.
Affordable Sustainable Clothing is Cruelty Free!
Sustainability also means extending empathy instead of blatantly exploiting other life forms. An example can be the leather industry, that thrives on killing about 430 million animals annually. On the other hand, vegan alternatives like vegan leather and Mylo, which is used by Stella McCartney or new innovations like compostable sneakers and a leather alternative made from the leaves of the pineapple like Pinatex are more ethical as they focus on minimising animal cruelty.
These Best 10 Affordable Sustainable Clothing Brands Are Taking it Slow!
Now that we have dwelled upon the various reasons you should opt for sustainable clothing which is safe for you, we have made a list of the 10 best brands which have taken sustainability, slowly and steadily to a new level. The following brands are known as pioneers and changemakers in the fashion industry as they are known for their high quality as well as their affordability. Therefore, you do not need to fuss with the cost while buying something you think is great for you and the nature.
If you’re on a tight budget and yet wish to make a difference with whatever you have, Pact should be your go-to for sustainable, affordable clothing.
With pieces that are crafted with care (and organic cotton), the company leaves no stone unturned in displaying their commitment to sustainable fashion.
With their diverse range of clothing articles made from sunshine friendly fabric that is super-soft to touch, Pact partners with Fair Trade Certified factories and uses thoughtful packaging. The brand even gives consumers an option to offset the carbon cost of the shipment. You can choose from a wide range of clothing as well as bed linens and bath towels- all of which is safe and organic!
Check out their full range of affordable sustainable fashion and browse through their website to find the fit that suits you the best!
Speaking of affordable sustainable clothing, Boden is making ripples for all the right reasons. The British brand is pretty upfront about their stance on sustainability and ethics.
Boden emphasises that it was never about fast fashion and uses as many recycled materials as possible.
Attention to detail is the brand’s forte, which is apparent in its range of apparel that is available in various prints and sizes. We would encourage you to get a garment made out of goodness, like this belted jersey maxi dress!
‘Let’s change our clothes, for good’ is the brand’s tagline and it shows on their teeming catalogue which is full of goods made from organic PIMA cotton that will last you forever and is ethically made.
With Fair Indigo you can be assured that the ecological and social aspects of sustainability are well managed.
The company also gives consumers an alternative to directly donate to schools in Peru that serves impoverished kids and supports their education. Browse through their website to find out more about their endeavors and catalogues, And do not forget to check out this minimalist French Terry dress on their website!
More tortoise than hare, Mata Traders are trying to shake things up on the block with their commitment. What we liked about Mata was their genuine and honest approach about how do they go about sustainable clothing and who are the people behind the gorgeous summer dresses, smart trousers and yes, there is some really cool jewelry as well!
Mata’s motto is to engage in intentional, slow and responsible clothing. A Fair Trade federation member, the brand is an advocate of gender-equality and favors people over profits. That is why we love this brand. Moreover, they use handlooms instead of commercially knit fabrics and the effort shows!
Among sustainable fashion picks, Mata is pretty light on the pocket too. For timeless pieces that can last you long if you take great care of them, you can check out their new Spring collection to look your freshest and earthiest best!
Capsule wardrobe enthusiasts alert! VETTA offers customers the option to create their own 5-piece capsule wardrobe. However, they also sell stand-alone items on a budget. Select your pick from their range of classic essentials, new arrivals and their best selling T-shirt dresses, sweaters and more.
VETTA is honest about the change it seeks to make, their clothing is manufactures in a family-run unit in NYC. Aside from ethical clothing, VETTA is committed to extend their commitment to sustainability to packaging as well.
The brand uses TENCEL (Which is a leading manufacturer of Modal fabric, read more about it here), organic cotton and deadstock fabric to manufacture pieces that are timeless and stylish. Check out their whole range, here!
We love fashion that lasts for days, and for this brand, creating such clothing articles is its passion. According to the brand’s website, it is fixing ‘broken’ fashion by eliminating clothing waste through their novel concept of circular fashion.
All the products from For Days are 100% recyclable and here is the deal-the brand prides itself on selling ‘Take Back Bags’ where customers get an instant credit of $20 in their wallet for buying a bag that they can fill with old clothes from any brand. The contents of the bag are then upcycled or downcycled into materials for carpeting, depending on the material they are made from.
Or they are sold to resale centers that serve lower income communities. In any case, your clothes are not going to be burned or dumped in a landfill.
With their classic and affordable range of clothing- watch out for T-shirts and jumpers made from organic cotton and materials like recycled terry fleece- For Days is out to establish itself as a premier choice for sustainable affordable fashion. You can check out their full range on their website, here.
We should never underestimate the importance of intimate wear that is soft, breathable and doesn’t irritate parts of you that are the most delicate.
With Knickey’s range of elevated cotton basics that are compromise-free, you can be assured that your briefs are safe and can create an impact.
According to the brand, their Recycling Program helps you retire your old intimates with responsibility by downcycling it into insulation materials, carpeting and furniture batting. Moreover, you get a free pair of Knickeys for doing your bit towards the planet when you order from them next.
All Knickey intimates are made with care and are plus-size friendly. You can check out their starter sets that offer affordability, comfort, rise and coverage and is made from 95% GOTS cotton and is Climate Neutral certified. You can build your own custom assortment from their range of core colours. Machine washable and super soft, we don’t see why you shouldn’t get yourself a pair of Knickey’s!
No wardrobe is complete without a pair of athleisure that feels like second-skin. To realize this dream, Girlfriend Collective with their transparent policies and activewear made from recycled fishing nets and polyester has made it their mission to make clothing more eco-friendly.
All their products are subjected to the SA8000 social accountability standard and are made from recycled plastic wastes. By diverting the amount of synthetic waste that could end up in landfills and oceans, their products are made from LITE fabric and ECONYL yarn, and BPA free recycled polyester.
Stretch into comfort with their bestselling high-rise and ultra soft leggings at a budget! You won’t regret this purchase as all of their items are dyed with eco-friendly colours and come in safe, ethical packaging! We adore a brand which is setting goals left, right and center. Make sure you check out their range and read up on their brilliantly informed sustainability and manufacturing questionnaire.
If you are Boho fan and love yourself some brilliant tie and dye fits, cotton leggings that scream comfort and cool headbands, Soul Flower is your go-to for all this and more.
Made from organic cotton, recycled polyester and low-impact dyes, all Soul Flower products are Fair Trade certified and are handmade with love. Each soul flower piece is unique, so don’t wait to get yourself something nice and affordable from their trendy store, here!
Look good while doing good for the planet, that is Tentree’s philosophy. The brand prides itself on its Earth-first essentials that are made with the materials that have the smallest environmental footprint and are ethically manufactured in their partner factories that ensure safe working conditions and are FT, FWF, WRAP and SA8000 certified.
With other glowing certifications such as B Corp and Climate Neutral, Tentree is creating an impact by planting trees for every purchase you make. The materials used in Tentree products are every bit of how you envision ethical and affordable fashion to be. Made from TENCEL, hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton, Tentree’s range of hoodies, sweaters, cardigans and underwear are a must belong in your closet.
How Can We Help You in Finding Eco-Friendly Clothing Fits?
With BeZen, building your very own capsule wardrobe and shopping for eco-friendly clothing that is safe and ethical is a breeze. Our motto is to promote the real message of sustainability. With our curated product recommendations, we can be your personal shopping assistant. Our vision is to help people find the best and the most sustainable and affordable alternatives, be it food, lifestyle or fashion. You may look at this short video to see how we help you find the best and the most green alternatives out there!
Coupled with extensive research which takes in account valid certifications, we wish to bring convenience at a click with our Chrome Extension.
After downloading it, here is how Zen is going to help you make a better choice when you are shopping. The extension is active on Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy. While surfing these sites, we will redirect you to our ethical partner’s website so you can make an eco-friendly choice. Once you check out, we will provide you exclusive coupons that will make your day and hopefully more eco-conscious.
As far as privacy is concerned, we never compromise your details. We only use your queries about what you wish to buy on search engines and e-commerce portals to recommend you the greenest alternatives out there. We are strictly against selling user data and are committed to protecting your privacy, which is as dear to us as is shopping responsibly.
The BeZen Take on Affordable Sustainable Clothing Brands
We swear by fashion that is responsible and sustainable. However, aside from telling you about brands that are already making a change with their methodology, process and vision, we would like to encourage you to prolong the life of your clothes and use them as much as you can so that you do not contribute to the burgeoning problem of global textile waste.
With about 85% of our clothes ending up in landfill dumps, we should get thinking about the best way to recycle clothing and minimize the harmful impact of the garment industry.
A lot of it can come out of ethical, affordable fashion which does not compromise your budget and helps you live guilt-free when it comes to wearing fabrics that are good for the health of the planet. Fashion does not have to be expensive in order to become hip or trendy. With our Chrome Extension, shop guilt-free from our qualified partners that have resolved to touch lives and make it better with little baby steps. Most of this change depends on you as a consumer.
Exhort corporations to look into the needs of the planet, communities and life forms- fashion activism is on the rise, after all. Go beyond the hashtag and explore these eco-friendly fabrics to craft your own style. It doesn’t have to be only external, sustainable fashion is an attitude of empathy, humility and transparency. Aside from saving quite a few bucks, remember, that through ethical, affordable clothing- you are also creating an impact that will save the planet and empower communities that are an inextricable part of our lives.