Over 45 of The Best Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands in 2020

Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Brands

Have you been looking for ethical and sustainable clothing brands but have struggled because you know you’d have to spend hours upon hours doing the research yourself? We feel your pain. This is how this post came about.

A few years ago we shared an insightful Q & A with Joshua Katcher from The Discerning Brute. He shared his views and research on human rights and animal cruelty as it relates to the fashion industry. Since that post, TMV readers were keen to take action and find ethical fashion stores that they could support.

Having awareness of what’s really going on behind the scenes is always a good first step. However, we know when we first discovered the truth, we felt overwhelmed with what to do next.

Note: this list was last updated on Thursday the 5th of March 2020.

Here are some of the questions we’ve asked

Where do we shop? How can we trust the brands? Do the clothes perform and match our style? What does a sustainable textile look like? 

When you start asking these questions, you quickly realise just how hard it is to find stores and brands that you can trust. You might find a great fair-trade fashion store that sells gorgeous garments, but all of their items are leather.

Conversely, you may come across an amazing vegan store but their products aren’t fair-trade or just plain daggy.

So are you ready for a highly-curated list of ethical and sustainable clothing brands you can trust?

Well, we can say with 100% confidence that you’re in the right place!

Why are we so confident?

  1. This is the 8th iteration of this post over the last three years. Each time we update it, we find better brands. This version is a complete revamp.
  2. In a past life, we ran an online store where it was our job to source products that ticked all our ethical boxes, including sustainability, cruelty-free/vegan, fair-trade, and organic where possible.
  3. Historically, we desperately wanted to find brands that met our criteria, regardless of style. Even though fashion is subjective, we’ve done our best to focus more on performance and quality. For example, we’d want you to be happy with the vegan leather boots you just bought. Not only accepting something that is comparatively less quality than the alternatives because you’re trying to be a mindful consumer. We know this feeling of disappointment all too well.

Although we’re vegan, not every brand listed is 100% vegan

As we’re prioritising performance at the same level as the sustainability and ethics, it means some brands we recommend may not have a product line that is 100% vegan.

This was a tough decision for us, but we recognise that when you’re shopping for ethical and sustainable clothing, you’re generally focused on one item at a time.

For example, we found some AMAZING brands that tick all of the boxes for organic sweaters. However, they also have sweaters made of wool.

If we were shopping for ourselves, we would still buy their vegan-friendly products despite them not ticking all of the boxes across their whole product line. So it’s only fair that we create the same experience for you.

Sustainable and ethical brands

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An easy-to-use list of ethical and sustainable clothing brands

What you’ll find for each brand is a list of three different categories. They will fall either under clothing, shoes or accessories. Some will overlap with a combination of all three depending on what they sell. 

Our vision for this post is to help you find go-to brands you can trust. And maybe we can start pushing conventional retailers to consider reaching out to these brands to stock their products, bringing them to the masses.

The global fashion market is valued at over 3 trillion dollars. How we choose to spend money on fashion can have an incredibly massive impact on this market.

Without further ado, here’s our updated list of ethical and sustainable fashion brands to help you live more consciously.

What’s on your list of ethical and sustainable clothing brands?

Hopefully, the brands we’ve recommended helps you find what you need. We’d love your help to expand upon this list in the comments below so that everyone can benefit. Our world needs more businesses that are ethical, sustainable and good for people, planet and animals.

Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands

Other posts you’ll love:

  1. Is Wool Vegan? Ethical Considerations of The Wool Industry
  2. The Psychology of Appealing Brands
  3. The True Cost of a $10 Garment
  4. What’s Up With The Fashion Industry?
  5. What Is Vegan Leather? The Ultimate Guide
  6. Shopping Second-Hand vs Buying New: What’s Better?

Interested in more articles?

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58 thoughts on “Over 45 of The Best Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands in 2020”

  1. This article is amazing, thanks so much for putting it together. I’d like to suggest adding Womn to the list. The website is https://womn.co/. They are a conscious clothing company based out of Los Angeles focusing on sustainable fabrics and ethical production. Similar to TwoThirds, they also use pre-ordering to cut down on potential waste.

  2. mary ni leime

    Rejean Denim and The Emperors Old Clothes are 2 brands that use secondhand or vintage fabric to make new clothes. They are focused on paying their staff a living wage as opposed to a minimum wage. Ethical and sustainable

  3. Thank you for this list with all these amazing brands. My goal was actually to reduce the amount of items in my closet ?. But with this new knowledge it is going to be difficult. I would like to add two brands. Miss Green, dutch women clothing, and Matt & Nat who makes beautiful vegan “leather“ bags. The bags are made of 100% recycled plastic bottles.

    1. You’re welcome Véronique 🙂 Haha yes, I understand what you mean, however, the list is here only if you really need to add things to your closet ? We haven’t heard of Miss Green, so we’ll check them out! Matt & Nat used to be on our list, but we removed them because closer research revealed their practices weren’t as good as we initially thought. We still have some of their products as they are of good quality.

  4. Thank you so much for all the suggestions! For most of my clothes I like to shop at flea markets and thrift shops, but for the times I can’t find that thing I’m looking for, it is great to have some good options on hand. For example for most of my outdoor clothing and gear, I can highly recommend Vaude, a German outdoor supplier.

  5. Thank you for sharing. Pistol Lake is an ethical clothing manufacturer based in Los Angeles. They have minimalist, outdoor, themed clothing for men made of recycled material. They also make sweaters out of Eudae which is similar to merino wool but made from eucalyptus trees. I think they ship internationally.

  6. Thank you for so many suggestions – I am living a plant based diet and am becoming more aware of vegan items and products outside of those I can eat. It is great to see so many ethical and sustainable alternatives out there, especially local Australian initiatives.

  7. I didn´t know few of them so now I gonna have a good time looking at them and buying few things, thanks! I bought a couple times from thehippiecow.com in case you want to add it! I really like the brand.

  8. Hi Just checking in with an update on reformation as they currently carry leather. Not sure if that’s new for them but thought you might not be aware. Hope you find this useful!

    Thanks for the article.

    Julie

  9. Sad update from Leanne at Vaute Couture. Too bad, good mission.
    ______________________________________________

    From: Leanne
    Date: September 6, 2018 at 8:27:58 AM PDT
    Subject: Investor Update: Request for help/partner
    Reply-To: Leanne

    Unfortunately, I have bad news. We’ve been working all year on raising a Series A or bringing on a large partner to scale manufacturing and cover a cash gap from 2015-2016 (more on this below), and while we had many prospects, nothing has come to fruition. Vaute is now on life support — we have 45 days left to find a partner or we will need to close the business.

    A recap of what brought us here: After the loss we took from expanding to too many categories and employing an expensive leadership and retail team in 2015-2016, I spent 2017 cleaning up our business model and paring back to focus on our profitable outerwear category, e-commerce, and a minimal team. We not only made it through our 2017-2018 fall/winter season but grew our market reach with astounding results in our first paid marketing campaign (up to 8.6 ROI some weeks). We also reached new mainstream markets through NY Magazine, Glamour, PBS, and celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Edie Falco, yet we had issues increasing production. This meant we had a successful season (we still increased sales from 2017), but couldn’t produce fast enough or at a high enough volume. The demand was there, but I realized that we had a structural issue: without a major manufacturing partner to fund growth and scale operations at our ethical standard, we couldn’t handle the volume of orders that were needed to stay in business.

    Until February 2018, I was in discussions for a Series A to get us to the fall/winter 2018 season that sadly fell through. Since then, I’ve been working with a broker to find a partner or buyer. Though we had many promising prospects and were optimistic it was just a matter of choosing the right one, we were not able to close a deal in time to responsibly begin production.

    I have done everything I possibly can, but time is running out. Please let me know if you know of a potential manufacturing partner or buyer who could scale at our ethical standard (living wage production). We need to find one by October 15th for us to launch our FW2019 collection or we will be forced to close. To keep costs at a minimum, I stopped taking an income for the last three months while we looked for a partner/buyer, and have been living with my wonderful friends week-to-week while working to find a solution. If we don’t find a partner, however, I will soon need to start looking for a job.

    The idea of closing breaks my heart. After launching in 2008 with the mission to create the category of vegan apparel and show that animals do not belong in the fashion equation, my next goal was to break through to the mainstream and make “ethical fashion” a household concept. I’ve invested every fiber of my being into making that happen and I can hardly believe it may be over. At the same time, I’m so grateful for all that we’ve accomplished. Most businesses don’t make it to their second birthday, let alone their tenth (ours is today- actually), and most pioneer companies spend so much effort just breaking ground on a new category or idea, pushing boundaries, and setting up new systems and materials, that they don’t get to then grow into a viable company.

    Still, you always think that you will be the exception. I always thought through all the challenges, through all the times we almost didn’t make it (several per season since the beginning, as entrepreneurship goes), that we would keep defying the odds and find a way forward. It may be that instead of being here to become a household name, we were here to create the category of vegan apparel, get animals on the map for ethical fashion, and lay the groundwork for businesses to follow in our footsteps to grow and go mainstream; if it is not us, I am thrilled to pass the baton to those who come after us to keep running as fast as they can to speak up for as many animals as they can, until the day when wearing animals is a thing of the past.

    I have dedicated ten years to this mission. I’ve made painful mistakes and it has felt impossible at times, yet it has been an incredible journey; we’ve made a significant social impact, and I have met the most amazing people — including you. Along with making an impact, I wanted so badly to make you money. I wish I had a different update for you, but if we cannot find a partner, and Vaute is forced to close, please know that your investment saved lives, created jobs, and opened minds and for that, I’m so grateful and also hopeful for the animals in the fashion industry.

    NEXT STEPS

    1. We are checking what tax deductions can be made for your convertible note, in the case we do close. We will be following up when we have this information.
    2. Please let me know if you might have a potential partner or buyer for us.
    3. I will update you again around October 15th to let you know what the next steps are.

    Sorry again that I do not have better news. I’m grateful to you for joining me on this mission and for everything you do for the animals and humans in this world.

    With lots of gratitude.

    Vaute · 35 Meadow St Ste 101 · Brooklyn, NY 11206-1759 · USA

    1. Hi Victoria, thanks for sharing this letter. We had no idea. What sad news. We hope an investor supports this brand and they’re getting results, and it’s for a meaningful cause. We’ll stay close to their journey in case we need to update this post. Thanks again.

  10. Honestly, finding ethical shops or brands is not easy at first, but when you know the brands already, things get easier. As for me, I buy on flea markets or there are shops that I know already, or online stores that sells handmade/artisanal products such as localbazaar.co.

  11. I love this list! I have shopped from many of these mentioned – but I recently bought a backpack from a vegan brand called Hetty+Sam (www.hettyandsam.com) they have very hip bags and purses! Keep up the great work 🙂

  12. annie calvert

    All these brands are really good and the most important is these all are vegan brands.

  13. Thank you SO much for the love – it is really so wonderful to see, read and know about so many amazing global brands! Deep gratitude! xo

  14. There’s also a great brand of vegan footwear called Nae Vegan, based in Portugal! Highly reccomend them, all their workers are local portuguese shoe makers and they share so much of the work with clients!

  15. Love your article and thank you. I could add another store called Econcious. I get my tee shirt there.
    They come in ra classic tee and the v-neck as well. You can’t beat their price either.

  16. Really Nice Post! Thanks for sharing useful information. Our company also offers non-leather briefcases, backpacks, belts and accessories.

    1. Hi Maria, never heard of Antrhopologie. I just checked out their website and they seem to be quite involved in giving back to the community. They also have a great range. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Check out Couch Guitar Straps!
    Don’t be fooled by the name of the company. They also make vegan wallets and bags using recycled materials from classic car interiors!

  18. katy mcmurray

    Vegan Wares based in Melbourne sells quality shoes, boots, wallets and belts that last for years.

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