There are many misconceptions when it comes to ethical fashion. The most common ones are that it is expensive and boring. We’re here to show you that it does not have to be the case. Of course, unlike pieces from fast fashion brands like H&M or SHEIN, ethical fashion will never be as cheap as a cup of coffee, and we don’t think it should ever be. Sustainable designs are also made to last through trends, and stand the test of time. In the long run, you may end up finding them a better investment, due to a lower cost per wear!
Here is a round up of some brands that offer affordable ethical fashion designs that won’t break the bank, all coming in at under $100 (you could easily spend that much in a fast-fashion store). You’ll find that there is a wide range of styles here that can cater to anyone, proving that ethical fashion doesn’t have to be expensive or boring.
1. Step of Grace
Step of Grace is a lifestyle brand that is both planet and wallet-friendly. They use natural fabrics to build beautiful pieces that will last. These include pure linen, organic cotton, bamboo fibres and natural blends. The brand engages small to medium production houses in Indonesia, maintaining a direct relationship with them, visiting the facilities regularly and spending time talking with the workers. This therefore helps them ensure that all their pieces are produced ethically.
Cambodian brand Dorsu was founded on the principles that clothing should be produced in a way that embraces people and causes as little harm to the environment as possible, established to set an example within the Cambodian and global garment industry. The brand designs and produces small batches onsite, which is why they can make their ethical fashion pieces so affordable! They also carefully craft using soft, breathable cotton jersey, using deadstock fabric, creating versatile and timeless designs.
3. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective was founded with the goal to be as transparent as possible, and they deliver on their promise by disclosing every part of their production process. Their activewear and loungewear offerings are made of soft, recycled yarn that eliminates the need for petroleum and diverts water bottles from landfills at the same time. Bonus: not only is their range size-inclusive (offering sizes XXS to 6XL), they also offer a maternity line! To ship to Singapore, shop on Net-a-Porter.
Local brand NOST creates loungewear featuring hand block printed motifs inspired by architecture, using 100% gentle organic cotton & dyes. The brand partners with artisan families and vulnerable communities to preserve craft heritage, as well as to provide safe and fair employment. On top of that, they also use raw fabrics that are produced and sourced sustainably, to reduce the environmental impact in the farming and washing processes.
Boody is an Australian brand that specialises in designing basics using bamboo, from loungewear to activewear, to even childrenswear! They use organically-grown bamboo, which is highly breathable, comfortable, and soft, creating high-quality pieces that you won’t want to take off. Championing compassion, the brand also donates 1% of all their sales revenue to charities, supporting both the environment and the community.
- Everyday Slip, $41.95 AUD
- Long Sleeve Hooded T-Shirt, $62.95 AUD
- Good Night Summer Sleep Set, $73.95 AUD
6. Dear Samfu
Dear Samfu is a Singaporean brand that aims to bring Grandma’s values of thoughtfulness and sustainability back into the contemporary woman’s wardrobe, offering a unique twist to affordable and ethical fashion. They create small batches of classic pieces designed to be worn through seasons. By using remnant fabrics, the brand is able to avoid the production of new material, while also saving precious resources needed to manufacture new fabrics.
- Save the Date Dress in Dusty Rose, $129
- Big Sister Cheongsam Top in Red Blossom, $98
- Big Sister Skirt in Golden Paisley, $128
Boden is a proud UK brand that makes clothes for the whole family. Because they take time designing every piece, they are able to vouch for the quality, offering a 365-day guarantee. Furthermore, every supplier they work with sign the Responsible Sourcing Commitment, promising to treat their workers with the respect they deserve. Their goal? Ensuring that the pieces you own are not just beautiful, but also come with an equally beautiful backstory.
- Lola Jersey Dress in Chartreuse, $105
- Isabel Smocked Jersey Top in Navy, $82
- Cuffed Jersey Joggers in Grey Marl, $77
Kotn’s mission is to set the standard for conscious creation and consumption. The brand makes sure to source their materials straight from farmers, cutting out any middleman. This way, they can provide transparency, offer farmers better prices and business practices, as well as offer fair prices without compromising on quality. They have also funded a number of social impact projects, including building and operating new schools, providing private subsidies and resources to farms and communities, and advocating for environmental responsibility and stewardship.
- Ribbed Henley in Portabello, $42 USD
- High Waist Tapered Trouser in Natural, $84 USD
- Turtleneck Mini Dress in Scarlet, $69 USD
Through a zero-waste process, tonlé creates clothing, accessories and homewares from reclaimed materials that other manufacturers consider waste. The brand values all their workers, they all earn fair wages and benefits, including a generous vacation package, free lunch, training opportunities, and team retreats. By making use of creative pattern making that uses 100% of a given textile, and creating garments from reclaimed materials, the brand is able to design sustainable but still fun and fresh designs.
10. Thought Clothing
Thought’s brand name reflects everything they stand for—thoughtful designs that are sourced responsibly and foster change. The brand embraces the concept of slow fashion, and provide affordable ethical designs with the greatest consideration for people and the planet. The practical and flattering pieces are designed to last and to be worn time after time. They are also a proud member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, working with ethical factories and continuing to refine their processes in-house.
- Everly Jersey Printed Jumpsuit, $59.95 GBP
- Loren Organic Cotton V Neck Basic Cardigan, $39.95 GBP
- Verronica Organic Cotton Maxi Skirt, $64.95 GBP
Singaporean brand Orejas designs essentials that celebrate both simplicity and functionality. Not only do they prioritise the use of natural and biodegradable fibres, they specifically look for those with smaller water and carbon footprints, since they acknowledge that not all natural fabrics are made equal. All of their garment workers are also paid living wages and work in humane conditions.
Everlane’s mission is to deliver exceptional quality, radical transparency, and all from ethical factories. Instead of gearing their designs towards trends, they create their pieces to be timeless and last. All of the factories they work with are evaluated based on factors such as fair wages, reasonable hours, and environment. They also share everything, from details on each factory to the cost breakdown of their designs. By insuring their customer’s trust, and delivering on the quality on every piece, they have grown to become a favourite affordable ethical fashion brand for many.