Today we are fortunate enough that there’s an ethical alternative to almost any brand that we used to shop regularly at the mall or online, no Cinnabon or Parking Hassles required.
Since the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, taking the lives of thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh, consumers all over the world are using their voices to ask for fashion choices that positively impact both people and the environment.
In the 6 years since then, the pool of brands upholding ethical standards, and sustainability has rapidly grown, allowing the everyday consumer to fill their closets with more conscious options. Here are some great ethical alternatives to the everyday brands we used to shop:
For the Anthropologie & Free People Lover – Ethical Alternative // Symbology Clothing
Founded in 2012 by Marissa Heyl, Symbology is a sustainable fashion label that merges block printed fabrics made by artisan women in India. The label, known for its’ bohemian and bold printed dresses and jumpsuits, has recently expanded its curation to be size-inclusive and maternity-friendly designs. Heyl is excited to also launch an upcoming bridal collection. She says that, “with a Symbology dress, customers make a statement in more ways than one–not just by donning a head turning number, but reflecting their values as well.”
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. Whether you’re in a need of a comfy knit sweater this winter, or a few work wardrobe essentials, they have it all. Best of all, they break the stigma of “Made in China,” by partnering with facilities and employee standards of the highest quality and ethics.
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.
For the ASOS Lover – Ethical Alternative // Reformation
Providing extremely high-quality, on-trend, sustainable collections, Reformation has quickly risen the ranks as one of the most well-known sustainable brands among celebrities, influencers, and consumers. Reformation’s design mission is to make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. Each piece is created with eco-friendly materials, and the brand also partners with the Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation Project and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) Water Restoration Program to help put back some of the resources they’ve used.
For the Lulu Lemon Lover – Ethical Alternative // Boody
Boody is an activewear brand born in Australia in 2011, and now has offices in San Diego, committed to being ‘Good for You, and our Planet.” Each piece is crafted with bamboo viscose, which is incredibly easy on the skin, superbly soft, and highly breathable. “We strongly believe that our customers have the right to know what it takes to produce what they wear daily. By changing our habits as consumers and educating ourselves and our communities we can all “be the change” needed to reduce the social impact on our planet.”
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.”
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.
For the Samsung Lover – Ethical Alternative // Fairphone
Fairphone is the phone that cares for people and the planet. In 2013, the company launched with the goal of a movement towards fair electronics. “By making a phone, we’re opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. We’re making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first.” The phone itself has all the capabilities of any other smartphone, plus a repairable design, 64G storage, a 12MP camera, an android processing system, and recyclable materials.
For the Ray-Ban Love – Ethical Alternative // Solo Eyewear
Solo Eyewear is environmentally friendly, polarized eyewear that donate to restore vision to those in need. Jenny, the founder, who has poor vision, encountered two startling statistics in her research: approximately 1 billion people do not have access to eye care and nearly 80% of the world’s blindness is preventable, that’s when Solo Eyewear was born. In addition to their vision restoring efforts, SOLO also utilizes recycled and repurposed materials in the construction of its eyewear. This effort has saved hundreds of pounds of virgin plastic from being produced each year.
For the Expedia Lover – Ethical Alternative // Kind Traveler
With the slogan “Do More Than Travel,” Kind Traveler’s goal is to transform the collective of everyday travelers into a powerful financial force that betters the world. Each booking made through Kind Traveler gives back to a variety of causes, benefiting people, animals, and the environment. They’ve partnered with hundreds of travel destinations and non-profits to create an impact-driven community around the globe, not to mention their booking prices are much more affordable than bulk travel sites like Expedia.
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Marisa Flacks is founder of RISE Creative, a creative agency serving brands that are changing the world. Connect with her about design, strategy, and marketing on Instagram. @risecreativeco