Now that you are aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion and fast fashion brands, you are probably wondering where to buy eco-friendly brands in the UK.
What makes a fashion brand ethical?
Foremost, how do we recognize that a brand is ethical, sustainable, and does not apply any fast fashion techniques to its production process?
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important nowadays, more and more people are trying to reduce their impact in areas that are relevant to them or where they know they can be fully committed. Whether it is to reduce plastic consumption, break up with fast fashion or reduce animal product consumption. It remains difficult sometimes for consumers to make the right choice.
In terms of fashion, a brand is deemed ethical and sustainable when:
- Its workers are treated fairly across the supply chain. This included, but it is not reduced to policies and practices on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, the right to join a union, and payment of a living wage.
- The brand is considered regarding the use of resources and energy it needs to produce a garment at every level: from land use, textile production, water use, as well as disposing of chemicals safely and shipment.
- An ethical brand uses very few or no animal products like wool, leather, fur, angora, down feather, shearling, karakul, and exotic animal skin and hair. Ideally, the brand is 100% vegan or use death stock, or other natural materials.
An ethical brand gathers all the prior points, which positively impact people, the planet, and animals and cares about the level of consumption. As we have seen in other articles, fast fashion brands and even high fashion brands are the opposite of this.
These elements determine if a brand is ethical or not. Now, as a consumer, it is also ethical to shop locally rather than shop brands that are located on the other side of the world even if they are ethical. Whether it is to support your local communities or reduce your carbon footprint when shopping online, shopping locally has many benefits.
There are several ethical brands in the UK, here we have gathered 24 eco-friendly and conscious brands that check the boxes ecologically and socially. You will find every kind of style and even jewellery brands, being fashionably and ethical is possible!
A list of the favourite ethical and sustainable fashion brands from the UK
BEEN London: s a London-based brand turning waste into timeless accessories you’d want to use every day. All their products are made of materials that have been something else in a previous life, including recycled leather offcuts and plastic bottles.
Mother of Pearl: is a sustainable and ethical luxury women's wear and accessories designer brand from the UK that celebrates individuality and authenticity. The brand uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including organic cotton and ensures the payment of a living wage across some of its supply chains. Find most products in UK sizes 6 to 16.
ROZENBROEK: is a British brand that features well-made clothing made from the finest organic materials, including solar energy.
Stella McCartney: A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct which includes a living wage definition.
Thought: Thought is a British brand that offers a unique collection of organic clothing using innovative materials such as hemp and bamboo. Find the range in UK sizes 6-18.
Stay Wild: if you’re looking to add to your capsule wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place. Stay Wild is a London-based swim brand founded by Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk. Designed to be flattering, feminine, and functional, the brand’s capsule collection features a sports-luxe style with a thick strapped bikini top and a high waist bottom for a firm fit and feel. The slightly cheeky cut means you get all the coverage with plenty of confidence!
Noctu: is a UK-based brand that creates beautiful and comfortable nightwear and loungewear. Minimalist styles are made from luxuriously soft organic cotton, where simplicity and function meet comfort. Shop sizes S-L.
Know The Origin: Style with nothing to hide. Fairtrade and organic ethical fashion for men and women. KTO is committed to a 100% transparent production process. Find the range of sizes, XS-L.
- Mashu: is a British sustainable and vegan accessories label specializing in handbags. Mashu’s environmental rating is "Good", crafting its exterior with vegan leather alternatives while its interiors feature vegan suede made from recycled polyester, ensuring you never have to sacrifice your morals for style again.
- Alighieri: is a collection of jewellery inspired by Dante Alighieri's 'Divine Comedy', with each piece corresponding to one of the poet's 100 poems. The brand uses a medium proportion of eco-friendly materials and visits its suppliers regularly.
Brothers We Stand: ethical men's clothing, selected with style in the UK—With the vision to support you to build a wardrobe of stylish and sustainably made menswear that is 100% vegan. The sizes available are S-XL.
RÆBURN: British streetwear brand RÆBURN makes an art out of upcycling. This is a fashion-forward brand for men and women that creates sharp looks from military surplus, with materials that include 1950s Air force silk maps, and Danish military wool blankets. It also offers free repairs, so you can take care of your precious investment pieces. Find most of the range in sizes XS-2XL.
Rapanui: This award-winning eco-fashion brand from the UK makes surf-inspired clothing in a wind-powered factory! Surf towels, socks, and hoodies—you can find everything you need to get warm after your session. Find the range in UK sizes 8-18.
- Bower: Launched in early 2015, Bower is a sustainable swimwear and resort wear brand. Bower aims to create design-led swimwear with a focus on the now with a nod to the past. The designs utilise luxury Italian fabrics, partnered with complex construction and considered details. With components sourced from Italy and France, the final product is constructed at a small, specialised factory in Italy. Along with the brand’s commitment to the Earth, Bower has dedicated 1% of all orders to be donated to the Healthy Seas initiative. Find sizes XS-XL.
E.L.V. Denim: E.L.V. Denim transforms old discarded denim into modern, sophisticated, and even 'made to measure' jean jackets, pants, and accessories. Find most jeans in UK sizes 24-32.
Pala Eyewear: offers high quality, long-lasting eyewear while committing to minimise the company's impact on the planet.
Pop My Way: Pop My Way is a GOTS certified brand that features mix and matches baby essentials that are designed to "pop" onto the garment. This UK brand's modular and versatile designs take the stress out of getting your little one dressed in mix and match elements you can switch in and out for ease or occasion.
Yes Friends: is a UK-based fashion brand that creates sustainable, ethical, and affordable clothing for everyone. Yes Friends' first product, classic cut t-shirts, cost less than £4 to make, and the brand only charges £7.99. Using large scale production and direct to consumer margins means Yes Friends can charge you an affordable price for its sustainable and ethical clothing. Find the range inclusively sized in 2XS-4XL.
- Birdsong: is a boutique label producing gorgeous women's wear. Its clothes are handmade in London by knitters and seamstresses earning above the London living wage. The business is built on a philosophy of fairness and authenticity, promising customers “no sweatshop, no photoshop”. Birdsong's products are inclusively sized from 2XS-3XL.
COSSAC: is a British brand that believes in creating sustainable, contemporary garments with a sassy edge. Find most of the range in sizes 2XS-XL.
- Elvis & Kresse: upcycles reclaimed materials into sustainable luxury lifestyle accessories, all ethically handmade, with 50% of profits going back to charities.
- Baukjen: is a London-based womenswear brand, with a focus on environmental, ethical, and sustainable style. Its clothes are designed for you, designed for good. The brand uses some eco-friendly materials, which helps limit the number of chemicals, water, and wastewater used in production. Find the range in sizes XS-L.
- Wires: is a London based eyewear brand that creates beautiful styles from a single piece of metal wire and 3D printed parts.
- Beaumont Organic: is a UK-based slow fashion brand that blends simple style with ethical production practices. Founded by Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia, the brand also has its own charitable foundation which supports people in Fiji. Find the range in sizes XS-L.
Other ethical fashion options
Breaking up with fast fashion might not be possible from one day to the next, especially considering the prices that an ethical garment costs.
If you want to keep up with your commitment, you can also consider a thrift and vintage store. They often offer great quality garments that come back in style at a very affordable price.
Another option might be to sew a garment yourself, recycling and using clothes you no longer like or want to wear. If you don't know how to sew, you can find a tutor that will help you achieve your garment idea or dream. Even if you do not have a sewing machine, there are different techniques and ideas you can share with your tutor about different sewing methods. Once you have learned some basics, this skill will serve you in the future!
Remember that not all your garments have to be new, and don't let yourself be easily tempted while viewing shops or online shops offering cheap clothes. Another option you can consider is to share your clothes more frequently with your family and friends, or exchange garments that you like from each other's closets, this is also a great way to avoid buying too much or buying a garment that you will only use one or two times for a special occasion.
In the end, your commitment is serving a higher purpose and is a higher fashion statement.
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