Sustainable and ethical brands to support



Sustainable and ethically-sourced fashion has become increasingly popular in recent years. Consumers don’t just want to look good anymore, they want to feel good and do good too.

Ella Schuellerman, Arts & Life Editor

Today, one of the top priorities for fashion lovers is ethical practice and sustainability efforts within a brand’s mission. Fashion trends are not limited by what is “in” or “out” for a season. People do not support brands solely for the style or the popularity or who wore it and when. There’s a mission-driven focus.

Before people typically jump to the sustainable option, they are often persuaded by fast fashion, a type of unsustainable, mass-produced clothing that has become the go-to for garments because of the cheap, trendy, sample ideas mirrored off of the unattainable runway looks. The impact of fast fashion, however, is detrimental. 

According to Good on You, “It forms a key part of the toxic system of overproduction and consumption that has made fashion one of the largest polluters in the world.” Fast fashion’s toxic textile dyes are the second largest polluter of our water and approximately 1,102,311,310 pounds of unwanted clothing ends up in landfills each year. The fashion industry is desperate for change and pioneers of sustainable practice. 

Sustainable and ethical fashion companies, however, are creating a new category in the industry. They want to support those making the garments while also reducing daily environmental impact. Moving beyond design, marketing and sales, many fashion companies are conscious about carbon emissions, textile pollution, waste management, water reduction, cruelty-free creations, equal payment above living wages, safety of workers and transparency on all policies and practices. 

Here are eight ethical and sustainable clothing brands you need to know about and why:


Alternative Apparel

This brand checks off both boxes on sustainable and ethical practices. Not only does Alternative Apparel hold working conditions at high importance, the brand makes 80% of its garments with sustainable materials. According to the brand’s mission statement of global responsibility, “Packaging and distribution contribute to waste, so we use oxo-biodegradable mailer bags and have implemented a program to reuse and recycle materials from our vendors.” Alternative Apparel joins the eco-revolution and ensure our clothes do not come to us at the expense and loss of our planet or people. 


Ideal for: The person who loves comfortable, sustainable clothes for lounging around

Products: Women’s and men’s apparel and activewear

Size Range: XS-2XL

Price: $-$$



Founded in 1973, Patagonia is an American clothing company that has a focus on outdoor wear and supplies. The company is built on the goal of saving the planet. According to Patagonia’s website, “We aim to use the resources we have — our voice, our business and our community — to do something about our climate crisis.” Patagonia supports youth in the fight against social issues and environmental ethics through donations, events and climate crisis advocacy. 


Ideal for: The person who loves hiking 10-mile trails and wears long underwear under everything

Products:  Women’s and men’s outdoor apparel, swimwear and activewear

Size Range: XS-XXL or up to U.S. 22

Price: $$



Pact aims to be “Earth’s favorite clothing company.” Every garment the brand makes begins with their organic cotton material that vastly reduces water usage in manufacturing and uses no toxic chemicals. Not only is the company environmentally friendly, Pact partners with Fair Trade Certified factories that have a mission of caring for their people and the planet. With their carbon off-set shipping options, give-back donation boxes and inclusive sizing, Pact is a brand trailblazing the category of ethically-sourced clothing. 


Ideal for: Anyone who supports Fair Trade

Products: Women’s, men’s and children’s basics and activewear

Size Range: XS-3XL or up to U.S. 24

Price: $



Based in Tennessee, Able has the ethical goal of supporting female, artisan-made products from Peru and advocating for fair labor practices. Able identifies as a certified B Corporation, which is for businesses that meet the highest of ethical, social and environmental standards including public transparency, legal accountability and a united front for using their business for good. 


Ideal for: The empowered woman who loves to empower others

Products: Women’s apparel, shoes, jewelry and other accessories

Size Range: XS-XL or up to U.S. 12

Price: $-$$


Girlfriend Collective

“We made it, but you make it. Everything we make was designed to make you feel your best while being the best to the planet.” The Girlfriend Collective aims to positively impact the planet and the people on it through various sustainable efforts. In 2020, the female-based brand recycled 5,348,317 water bottles, prevented 4,626,823 pounds of CO₂ release and saved 12,661,486 gallons of water. On top of those whopping numbers, the brand provides comfortable athleisure options with a sustainability report on each garment. 


Ideal for: The woman who loves to feel good in her leggings both at the gym and the Trader Joe’s check-out line

Products: Women’s athleisure, sports bras, leggings and tops

Size Range: XXS-6XL 

Price: $$-$$$


Threads for Thought

Lounge garments created through recycled fabrics, organic cotton and regenerated rayon, Threads for Thought takes cozy to the next level. Founded in 2006, the brand has a goal of leaving a smaller impact on the environment and marginalized communities with each purchase. The brand’s responsibility to its consumers and environment is to produce goods ethically and support sustainable efforts besides their own, in hopes for a healthier future for everyone. 


Ideal for: The person who enjoys lounging around the house in-style

Products: Women’s, men’s and kids lounge apparel, athleisure and sweaters

Size Range: XS-XL

Price: $-$$


Conscious Step

This Fair Trade, organic and vegan company not only puts a fabulous sock on your foot but supports charities while they’re at it. Each purchase is sustainably sourced, and supremely soft. Conscious Step’s mission is committed to lasting social and environmental change in such areas as its production process, fair wages, a safe working environment and the use of sustainable materials. Each purchase has a “for others” impact through the many partnerships committed to changing the world for the better. Some Conscious Step’s partnerships include Room to Read, Oceana, Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity and Keep a Breast.


Ideal for: Anyone who likes to make a bold statement with their feet

Products: Socks for all

Size Range: Small and medium

Price: $


The Classic T-Shirt Company

With this company, inspired by their first daughter, founders Paul and Olga Garibian wanted to create T-shirts that connect quality with integrity. The Classic T-Shirt Company is made in the USA in sustainable state-of-the-art facilities to ensure quality control and longevity in each shirt with its fabric and fit. The company uses 100% organic cotton and boasts a Global Organic Textile Standards certification that protects cotton farmers and the planet’s water table from damaging chemicals, setting an example for future generations. 


Ideal for: The person who banks on a wardrobe full of basics

Products:  Women’s and men’s long sleeves, crewnecks and other tops

Size Range: XS-XXL 

Price: $$