Ethical Clothing Brands That Are Beyond Cool

Zero-waste designer Chelsea Lensing, of Kansas City.
Zero-waste designer Chelsea Lensing, of Kansas City.

I love me a good thrift store, but they aren’t a reliable place to shop when you need a specific item for a photo shoot or event. And as much as I’m attracted to the idea of the eco-friendly, fair trade, ethically produced clothing hanging at **cough** major health food chains, the pieces aren’t exactly, well… attractive, amirite? Who else is searching for brands that support conscious consumerism, without being downright fugly?

Good news! We’re not alone. And we can be stylish together. The list of brands below are either made in the US of A or sourced from ethically certified factories. Many of them are B-corps and use either organic materials, pay extra attention to reducing toxic waste from chemical dyes, or re-use deadstock and other materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Additionally, most of these brands have a give-back initiative that makes me love them even more! (Did you know that thanks to YOU, I give a portion of my proceeds to MOCSA?)

The prices of the brands vary – some are easily doable, others are fabulous investments (slow fashion costs more, and lasts longer. It’s worth it!) and some have price tags that might be out of reach right now, but it doesn’t hurt to dream! Plus, I shop sooooo much less now that I look at the supply chain of my objects, meaning I have more money to spend on select items that I know I’ll want to keep around.

Here’s what I consider when I think about shopping at one of those fast-fashion stores when I want a quick, cheap buy: it’s a priority dance. Each dollar that we spend is a vote for the world we want to see. I want to see a world where we take care of each other, our planet, and our resources; a world where we can make a living doing what we love, and feel good doing it. If I spend my dollars (votes) at shitty stores that support modern day slavery, or on factory-farmed foods that use inhumane animal practices, then I’m casting my vote for more of that in our world. Uh-uh. I can’t anymore. I’m committed to casting my vote for a better life. We all have the option to support the economies that are already living out the values that matter to us. And guess what?! There are companies doing that now, and making it look good!

These are the sustainable, ethical, good-looking brands that I’m loving right now:

1.) Krochet Kids
I was able to hear the founder speak in LA and was so moved by the intimacy between design and creation – how he and his team spend time teaching women in Peru how to sew, creating local jobs and empowering families!

Photo by @imjoshuaphillips on the Krochet Kids Instagram.
Photo by @imjoshuaphillips on the Krochet Kids Instagram.

 

2.) Hackwith Design House Simple, beautiful clothing made in America. Give them a drool– erm, I mean a look.

3.) Brother Vellies
The information on their sustainability page will amaze you. They care deeply about their products, from every material that goes into the finished product to the human beings making them. The price tag reflects this.*Puts Sahara Caroline Heel on vision board.*

4.) Elizabeth Suzann
I love reading about a brand that believes in mindful, careful consumption. In reducing waste, in creating long-lasting garments that serve many needs so you can buy fewer of them! Amen!

5.) Chelsea Lensing
Zero-waste (meaning all products are reused and no trash is sent to landfills) socially and environmentally conscious denim, plus some! All of the materials she uses are natural and sustainable – dyes included – and aren’t these seed pods so cute!? I think I audibly squealed when I saw her denim bag for cans. SOOOO stoked to know about Chelsea – A Kansas City gal doing great things.

Chelsea Lensing is passionate about sustainable denim.
Chelsea Lensing is passionate about sustainable denim.


6.) All Undone
Yep, sexy can be sustainable too. This site just looks so damn good – their branding and brands are spot on. Love these bras and undies.

7.) Groceries Apparel
Groceries Apparel is committed to developing the most sustainable fashion with the best possible manufacturing process. They oversee their creation process from start to finish in their LA factory, using 100% organic and recycled material including a full-fledged American dye studio. They use local and traceable production practices to leave the smallest footprint possible, all the while maximizing the quality of their clothes and the wage they pay their employees! I’m about it.  BONUS: Use code “ABBIMILLER” for 25% off!

Groceries Apparel is made with 100% organic and recycled materials.
Groceries Apparel is made with 100% organic and recycled materials.


8.) Nisolo Shoes
These leather shoes are handcrafted and ethically made, omg do they look good.

9.) THINX
The coolest undies for menstruating humans! Wearing these cuties as I type. They also give undies to women in developing countries, so they don’t have to skip school on their period. I’m eager to try out their new Organic line.

10.) Vetta Capsule
A capsule wardrobe essentials by a company committed to environmentally friendly fabrics and responsible factories? I’m in. Even their packaging is sustainable! As a capsule wardrobe kinda lady, I’ve been digging this brand since they first came on the market. Such a great idea for us all to choose quality items that layer and shapeshift into a gazillion looks.

11.) MADI Apparel
Here’s another Kansas City company making waves in the fashion world with their bamboo-made intimates and a give-back initiative that supports women who’ve survived rape or sexual assault. The owner, Hayley, is such an incredible human. Her mission and passion for supporting women in our community is palpable.

MADI Apparel donates a pair of underwear to women in need with each purchase.
MADI Apparel donates a pair of underwear to women in need with each purchase. This tank is my go-to sleep tank, love it!  


12.) Pansy

Organic USA Cotton undies made in California! They use the BEST fabrics! I love these undies, and that they are designed to be sturdy and last for ages.

13.) Ali Golden
This brand focuses on high standards of ethics and sustainability, and their clothes are soooo cute. Romper, anyone?

14.) Reformation
They are uber-sustainable and committed to reducing the impact of fashion.  And their belief in transparency means you can tour their factory in LA! Plus, their clothes are ridiculously good looking.

15.) Shop Future
Beauuuutifully curated vintage! My friend Lane is a design goddess, even if you don’t know your size, she can somehow dress you with the perfect pair of buttery jeans. You’ll thank her.

16.) Ace and Jig
Their manufacturer offers free childcare and uses reclaimed rainwater to grow organic produce for their employees… talk about work perks!

17.) Jesse Kamm
The bessssst pants / mortgage payment ever. These are to sailor pants what Madonna is to the music industry.

18.) Shop IMBY
Their clothes are made in the USA with fair wages and ethically sourced or deadstock fabrics, and they look seeeeewww good. Just look at these trousers! This is a small company owned by a lovely woman; it’s powerful to know we can support small business just by dressing ourselves!

19.) ADAY
Oooh baby, these clothes let me go from yoga class to matcha latte date with my bestie like *that.* I’m in love. Their tapered leg trousers are amazing, and even their silk inspired pieces are machine washable… because who has time to dry clean? You can go from Uber-to Subway-to Airplane-to Part-ay and still be fresh!

20.) Eileen Fisher
This woman has won numerous awards for her conscious business practices! I seriously wanna be her when I grow up. Should we form an Eileen fan club? Probably already exists… in the meantime, I’ll admire her designs and shoe genius.

21.) Bryr Clogs
Because, shoes. And sustainability. And US manufacturing. Everything they do is just so right. I never knew I could Instagram-crush on clogs so hard.

22.) Live The Process
100% made in the U.S. of A. Their Radius sports bra is so cozy (I wear it regularly, no sweat needed!). Beyond their products, I also really dig what Robyn has done with the community of their brand, and general ethos. High fives for high vibes.

23.) Girlfriend Collective
I am so so so obsessed with this brand.  Their cuts are incredible (currently wearing their high waisted leggings) are totally into their recycled fabric from trash in Taiwan! Plus, their body positive brand culture gets a hell yuuus from me.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of creators now who consciously choose to support sustainable and ethical practices. Some of which might be right out your front door! Check out your local shops and support the local economy. And when you find a winning company, let me know! Perdy please tell me where YOU like to shop, in the comments below!

 

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