Get in on this movement.
If you shop at fast fashion retailers, we're not judging. We get the appeal: their pieces are cheap, trendy, and often look like luxury fashion knockoffs. But the sad fact is that many companies reduce the cost of their clothing by employing cheap labor, which often means relying on factories in developing countries where working conditions may be unsafe and less regulated, fair wages may not paid, and reasonable hours may not be met.
Fast fashion can lead to waste, too. Many of us tend to go through clothes quicker than we should, in part because items are poorly made and fall apart after a few washes.
I can relate. So, one of my goals this season is to invest in more sustainable fashion pieces that—although they might be a little more expensive per item—are durable, high-quality, and eco-friendly. I think I'll save money by not constantly giving in to quick trends that I'll toss for the next best thing. Going into fall, I plan to invest in sustainable brands that are giving back. Below, 11 of the ethical, sustainable brands I'll be shopping.
For sophisticated workwear and weekend basics, Everlane has you covered. The brand spends months searching for the best factories around the world, then builds strong personal relationships with factory owners to ensure their integrity to maintain ethical practices, like fair wages, reasonable hours, and a healthy environment. Also good: Everlane is transparent on what it costs to make each of their items, and even occasionally offer a "Choose What You Pay" option on overproduced apparel and accessories.
For fall, we're really loving the adorable Cotton Long-Sleeve Crew, which is made of 100% cotton (and giving us casual French vibes). Bonus: it'll keep you cozy in the office.
Cuyana offers beautifully made, sustainable goods that are modern enough for your closet. Owning the mantra "Fewer, better things," Cuyana launched the Lean Closet movement, which helps offer victims of abuse a fresh start by donating your used clothing. Select "Lean Closet" at checkout and the company will send you a linen bag to fill with things that you no longer use. Mail it bag back to Cuyana (with the included shipping label), and for every donation you make, you'll receive $10 towards your next purchase.
In our carts right now? This cotton-modal blend Pima Modal Spandex Blend Dress has side slits and a relaxed fit, making it comfortable for traveling but chic enough for a dinner date.
If you're after smart, durable leather shoes, look no further than Nisolo. The company responsibly sources their leather from tanneries that are committed to the ethical treatment of animals (always byproduct of the meat industry) and have eco-friendly waste disposal systems. For their shoe production, Nisolo employs ethical factories and works closely with small, independent artisans to help grow their businesses and production capabilities.
For the perfect fall shoe, try the brand's Mariella Mule. This soft leather mule will make getting ready in the morning so easy; just slip on and run out the door. You'll never be (stylishly) late to the office again.
KALA creates earth-friendly intimates that are built to last. All of their clothing is made in America by local artisans who are paid a fair wage, and uses materials (from organic cotton to TencelTM) that are all-natural and biodegradable. The company prides itself on creating intimates for every woman; from inclusive sizing to true nudes for every skin tone, they're committed to empowering women with comfort and confidence.
We're loving their surprisingly supportive The Sheer Bra, a wireless bralette that's super comfy. The cutout and mesh details in the front make it an incredibly sexy choice, too. May we recommend pairing it with the coordinating cheeky cut panties?
5 People Tree
A pioneer in sustainable fashion, People Tree has partnered with Fair Trade producers, garment workers, artisans, and farmers in the developing world to create ethical and eco-friendly fashion for over 25 years. They're accredited by the WFTO, the Fairtrade Foundation, and the Soil Associate, so you can really trust how their products are made.
We are obsessing over this toasty deep blue Renee Corduroy Skirt. Corduroy is going to be huge for fall (read: you're going to be seeing it everywhere), and we can't wait to get our hands on this edgy find.
A feminist brand supporting women, ABLE believes that to end generational poverty, you must create economic opportunities for people, especially women, to provide for themselves. Whether your item was made in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, or at their headquarters in Nashville, each piece is made by a woman and helps to close the gap on generational poverty. Also good: The brand offers free unlimited U.S. shipping back and forth until you find your perfect fit on any of their products.
ABLE has an amazing online denim shop, which includes this darker washed jean jacket that will go with everything in your closet. Trust us.
Prana—a brand that's Fair Trade-certified and part of the Fair Labor Association—uses organic cotton and hemp, recycled wool, and recycled polyester (think: from plastic water bottles) to make some of our favorite yoga wear.
Case in point: the strappy Verana Bra has an interior shelf bra for extra support and mesh lining for increased breathability. In even better news, it comes in a variety of colors, so you can stock up on basics like gray, black, and navy, too.
A certified B-Corp, Cotopaxi creates playful, functional activewear and outdoor products. They make gear out of leftover fabric and insulate jackets with llama fur. Cotopaxi even donates 2% of their revenue to alleviate poverty and partners with other charitable organizations to provide health and education in developing countries.
These muted, sweat-wicking Haraka Tights are great for high-impact workouts, since they have a little bit of compression. We also love that we can nab some of the brand's products on Amazon, such as this 80s throwback lightweight windbreaker in a fun color-blocked print and this equally amazing hip pack for weekends spent hiking outdoors.
Hyde's mission? Design "eco-elegant" activewear that looks good and you can move freely in. Using organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and dying their fabrics with the environmentally sustainable bluesign system, Hyde helps reduce the air and water pollution that accompanies conventional cotton processing.
This fitted, organic cotton Taylor Tank is perfect for yoga, barre class, and Pilates. The anything-but-basic top fits like second-skin and has a strappy back that adds a little flair.
Aday is a seasonless brand with a "less is more" attitude, and prioritizes sustainability by producing smaller ready-to-wear collections with versatile wardrobe staples (instead of quick turnover trend pieces that you'll just throw out next season). When the company can't find the fabric it's looking for, they makes it themselves; Aday's recycled scuba material is created by using custom grade Repreve yarn made from water bottles.
11 Vitamin A
Combining feminine design with sustainable innovation, Vitamin A makes swimwear with their signature EcoLux fabric, the first premium swim material made from recycled nylon. In addition to using sustainable materials, the company also utilizes waterless digital printing technology (cool, right?). Plus, Vitamin A gives back a portion of proceeds directly to environmental organizations that help to protect our oceans.
Inspired by 70s beach glamour, this minimalist black Leah One Piece with its high-cut leg and deep scooped back is the sexy swimsuit you need in your rotation.