Sustainable clothing often gets a bad rep for being costly. All those extra precautions related to transparency and environmental impact must come at a price, right? Wrong. In fact, there’s a plethora of ecologically and ethically sound clothing labels that are as kind to your wallet as they are to the world – and they won’t let you down in the style smarts department, either. Here’s a handful of the most cost-effective sustainable brands the fashion industry has to offer right now.
Know The Origin
British men and womenswear shopping concept Know The Origin pools honest, sustainable brands together into one place, to take the stress out of eco-shopping. It’s a beautifully curated site with a slant towards cool colourways and clean shapes, and everything is refreshingly affordable too. Think Fair Trade certified cotton tees (£22), versatile V-neck cami dresses that can be dressed up or down (£36) and cosy organic cotton hoodies (£54). Head to the ‘conscious living’ section of the site for homeware ideas and ‘conscious living sets’ containing items like cork keep cups and reusable face wipes.
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There are so many things to love about Thought Clothing, which specialises in sustainable, natural fabrics showcased in contemporary cuts and silhouettes for men and women. Since its beginnings in Australia, where it began as a capsule collection of men’s shirts and beachwear made from of sustainable ramie and hemp, the brand has grown exponentially and relocated to North London. Today, its items are stocked in over 1000 independent boutiques around the world. Highlights are the organic denim collection (straight leg cuts, midi skirts and culottes average at around £59.90), the bold printed dresses crafted from organic cotton or soft Tencel fabric (also priced in the region of £59.90) and super soft bamboo socks (£5.95).
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Sleek, seamless shapes. Durable design. Lightweight and breathable fabrics. The athleisure wear masterminded by Girlfriend Collective ticks all the right technical and aesthetic boxes – and what’s more, each set of compressive leggings is made from 25 recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. Crafted from ECONYL® – a fibre derived from recycled fishing nets and other plastic waste gathered from oceans and landfills – the Girlfriend Collective range is stocked by sustainable clothing platform Reformation, with sports bras retailing at a reasonable $38-$48 and leggings at $68-$88.
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The Cotton Story
Specialising in honestly-made quality cotton basics, Chelsea-based brand The Cotton Story prides itself on fair pricing and transparent production. From classic round neck tees (£18) to loose-cut boyfriend crew necks (£19) and cotton totes (£15), everything is cut from super soft and sustainable Supima cotton, grown in California, and stitched by talented seamstresses in small family-run factories in Portugal. There’s plenty for men too, such as the Oxford shirts (£45) in chic shades of thyme green and granite. For a full breakdown of The Cotton Story’s costs, from materials and labour to transport, retail and mark up, refer to the website.
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Hide The Label
Looking for a bold, ecologically sound occasion dress for under £150? Step up London-based slow fashion brand Hide The Label, whose clothes are crafted from plant-derived and reclaimed fibres and emblazoned with splashes of colour using printing techniques requiring minimal water usage. We love the midi Acadia dress (£99) with its feminine tulip print and button-fronted design, which can be styled with heels or worn open as a sweeping cover-up over jeans and a cotton tee. The wrap dresses are ultra-flattering too, like the Rosa design (£129) with its vivid floral print and cinched in waist, made from cellulose – a plant-based material which is kinder to the planet.
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Words: Mary-Jane Wiltsher