4 affordable brands making an effort to be more ethical

11th Aug 18 | Beauty

Some of the clothes might be made out of hemp, but they definitely won't make you feel like a Seventies hippy.


Shopping ethically in our fast fashion-obsessed culture is tricky. Not only do brands make it difficult to have a clear view of their supply chains, but it often feels like the only way you can be sure that you’re buying consciously is if you really splash the cash on labels like Stella McCartney.

Unfortunately, few of us are on that kind of budget, and shopping in a way that’s kind both to the planet and other people can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

But more and more brands are realising that a lot of consumers actually do want ethical options. This means that there is an increase in stores offering conscious clothing at a more affordable price point.

We’re not saying these brands are perfect, but they’re definitely taking steps in the right direction – and here are some of our favourites…

1. Nobody’s Child

Nobody’s perfect but your dress can be #WeAreNobodys *Tap to shop*

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At the core of this e-commerce site’s ethos is cutting down on waste. Instead of a long and complicated supply chain that’s difficult for the consumer to decipher, Nobody’s Child does everything itself – this includes dyeing the fabrics, designing the clothes and making the garments in its own factories.

This is brilliant because so many big brands don’t take the time to consider the steps in their supply chain in the past. In 2013, a garment factory in Bangladesh, Rana Plaza, collapsed killing 1,134 people. Brands including Primark, Mango and Matalan had apparel manufactured there, and the tragedy raised serious questions over safety and working conditions of the factories high street brands use abroad.

As well as being socially and ethically conscious, Nobody’s Child is refreshingly cheap with the majority of items under £30. Not only this, but the clothes on the site have been deemed so cute that they’re also sold by ASOS and Topshop – so they’re as fashion-forward as they are sustainable.

2. Thought Clothing

Keen to minimise the impact fast fashion has on the environment, Thought’s focus is on the materials it uses. Beyond fail-safe ethical fabrics like cotton and wool, it uses the likes of bamboo and hemp – as well as ones you might not have heard of. Anyone for tencel or modal?

This is particularly important because so much of our clothes are made of unsustainable materials. Take nylon, which is probably what all your gym gear is made of. This is actually a type of plastic made from crude oil – it’s not biodegradable, and the oil industry has a huge impact on the environment.

Thought doesn’t just carefully consider the materials it uses, but also its supply chain. Most of the fabrics are actually made in the UK, meaning that its carbon footprint is significantly minimised. When parts of the chain are outsourced, the company ensures that all employees (whether directly working for the brand or not) are treated fairly.

So what of the fashion itself? Thought’s vibe is flowy, relaxed and with splashes of colour. These are definitely timeless outfits that will last you a while, reducing the need for buying more stuff. Just a little bit pricier than Nobody’s Child, prices vary but a top could cost you around £30 and a dress up to £60.

3. Asos Eco Edit

Even though sustainable shopping feels like it’s become a trend just recently, Asos was somewhat ahead of the curve when it launched its Eco Edit in 2010. This is a section of the e-commerce site where 36 brands are hosted, all having met Asos’ ethical stipulations.

Each product sold in the Eco Edit must be made up of at least 50% sustainable fibres, and the brand responsible must support either the people in fashion (ie. building communities, fair wages, fair trade, etc), or environmental concerns. Showing that Asos is serious about making the Eco Edit a go-to, it has a target of 30 million annual sales by 2020.

Happy London Fashion Week for everyone going/covering! You already know what I am doing…#RCGD #Oscars #NoSleep. I recently shot wearing the @ASOS Eco Edit – pictured here in the ASOS WHITE Dungarees which fall within their collaboration with the non-profit organisation ‘Better Cotton Initiative’. The BCI improves cotton farming globally and battles the negative impacts of mainstream cotton production. I've been shopping the Eco Edit for a few years for afforable but sustainable pieces which satisfy key eco principles – from building communities and developing fair trade, across to preserving craftsmanship and artisanal skills, removing waste or advancing animal welfare. 🍃🍃 Part of the Eco Edit – ‘Cos caring for the planet is cool’ – read more through the link in bio. _______________________________________________________ #Fashion #Motivation #FashionRevolution #EcoEdit #FairCotton #LFW #BetterCottonInitiative 📷 @eleonoracecchini

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Like Asos itself, there’s a huge range of fashion-forward clothes on the site to suit all different styles. Prices are between £5 and £250, with the majority of products being on the lower end of this scale.

4. Madia & Matilda

Madia & Matilda is a British company that creates upcycled and sustainable clothing, using old materials to craft something new.

Many people say that you should buy vintage if you’re interested in sustainable shopping. While this is definitely a great approach, it makes it tricky to rock current fashion trends. That’s why Madia & Matilda is a good alternative – they use vintage materials to make modern outfits.

The company describes how an estimated £140 million worth – or 350,000 tonnes – of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year. Using upcycled materials gives outfits an extended lifetime, and makes an effort to help reduce this waste.

The style of the brand is classic and cute, with tops costing an average of £20 and dresses around £30 upwards.

© Press Association 2018