Not only is cheap, fast-fashion a false economy, but the industry is thought to have a huge impact on the environment, being one of the worst contributors to pollution and emitting more Co2 than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Thankfully, more clothing brands in the fashion industry are wising up to this environmental impact and are beginning to adopt more sustainable manufacturing methods. Brands are now opting to create slow fashion and advocating for manufacturing with respect to people, the environment and animals. By shopping from these brands, you can look and feel good wearing clothes that last longer and give the environment a helping hand, too!
Check out these fourteen high-quality sustainable fashion brands in the UK:
Eco-friendly clothing brands UK
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This iconic British brand proves you needn't compromise on sustainability or style. As a longstanding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, Boden's clothes are produced using ethical and sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recyclable packaging whenever possible.
In 2018, the company signed up to the Better Cotton Initiative – the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. Plus, they also promise a 365-day guarantee on all of their products.
Sizes: UK 6-22
Here's our top picks of their latest collections:
White Stuff is the first British brand to sign a Fairtrade contract committing to source denim in an ethical way. They recently launched Doing Good Stuff denim collection, created by one of the world's cleanest and most sustainable factories, using only a fraction of the water and energy used in traditional denim production.
In addition to cutting water and energy, they are reducing their environmental impact by donating the toxic by-products to make bricks for building projects in local communities.
Sizes: UK 6-22
Check out our top picks of their line here:
Abstract Funnel Jumper
Perri Fairtrade Dress
Also available in blue.
Since 1973, Monsoon has worked with craftspeople and homeworkers to create the unique hand-crafted Monsoon look and feel. The company has their own strict code of conduct based on Ethical Trading Initiative (Monsoon was one of the founding members of the ETI) standards and they regularly monitor factories to ensure compliance.
Despite growing into a global company, they remain committed to their hand-crafted bohemian roots in Indian villages and supporting these rural communities as well as their skills.
Sizes: UK S-XXL, 8-24
Here are our top picks from their collection:
Every product produced by People Tree is made to the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish. Not only were they the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation product label, but their organic clothing is also certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). As their name suggests, the brand also cares about people too and maintains fair living wages, good working conditions, transparency, environmental best practice and gender equality.
Size: UK 8-16/S-L
Here's some of their new-in range:
High Waist Briefs in White
V&A Celandine Dress
Jasmine Cardigan in Navy
High street favourite Fat Face has recently committed to being carbon neutral and using 100 per cent recycled polyester by 2025. They've also increased their waste recycling rate, reduced their carbon footprint, and switched their online delivery bags to recycled paper. By 2025, the retailer says it will not send any of its waste to landfills, and 100 per cent of the energy powering its head office and UK stores will come from renewable sources.
Sizes: UK 6-22
We love these pieces:
As the name implies, this brand takes into consideration the planet and people at every stage of the production process. They use eco-friendly fabrics – bamboo, cotton, wool and hemp – that are free of pesticides and chemicals and come from responsible sources that respect the environment and the health of workers.
Moreover, the brand only uses only 100 per cent organic cotton, certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard internal link).
This beautiful maxi dress is inspired by antique artwork the Thought team found in a print archive and has been made of soft, organic cotton crepe fabric.
Sizes: UK 6-18
Top picks from their New In:
This Cornwall-based conscious clothing brand works with artisans in India to craft both simple pieces with intricate details and printed pieces made using traditional techniques. Ethical and sustainable practices are ensured by working with factories that have certifications like SEDEX and using eco-materials such as GOTS-certified organic cotton, viscose, and cruelty-free wool.
Sizes: UK 8-20
Shop our faves from their collection:
This responsible womenswear and lifestyle brand help to empower disadvantaged artisans and tailors with the skills, training, and education required to support themselves. It also has a strong zero-waste goal to ensure that all scrap fabric gets turned into something new such as headbands, doormats and reusable sanitary pads for young girls in the community.
Did you know? Their iconic Dalitso dress was worn by Meghan Markle during the Royal Africa Tour.
Sizes: UK XS-XL
Check out these amazing pieces here:
This British contemporary clothing brand combines heritage with modernity and simplicity with playfulness, working directly with independent designers. They're conscious of their impact on the environment, contracting the production of a range of knitted cotton basics in India, close to the source of the raw materials, in order to minimise carbon-intensive freight between production phases.
This pretty and lightweight, 100 per cent cotton blouse would look great paired with a sustainable pair of jeans!
Launched in 2017 by Imogen and Ed, this website specialises in zero waste products for everyday life, championing over 250 independent eco-friendly brands across the UK. Each brand promotes ethical and more conscious ways of living with jewellery made from recycled silver to fashion pieces that are vegan and cruelty-free.
They're committed to minimal packaging, carbon neutral delivery and quality.
Shop by your values, whether you're looking for plastic free products, fashion made exclusively in the UK or vegan-friendly products that will help you lead a greener lifestyle.
This gorgeous floral maxi dress from the brand Hide The Label is super soft, vegan-friendly, plastic-free and made from sustainably sourced materials derived from biodegradable plant-cellulose.
This brand makes products that are made from natural materials, use renewable energy and are designed with the idea that it can be sent back and recycled into new products when worn out.
Their factory on the Isle of Wight makes their t-shirts in real time so fashion is only made when requested, saving materials and reducing waste. This tech has helped them bring more sustainable clothing to more people, delivered with plastic free packaging and with all their clothing made from GOTS certified organic cotton.
We love these choices:
This brand's mission is to create 'Contemporary Conscious Clothing', responsibly sourced for modern women. With two collections a year, they're paving a way for a more sustainable future by producing ethically, reducing waste, using offcuts and creating beautiful fashion made from organic, fairtrade and eco fabrics.
All their organic cotton is GOTS certified, their wool is sourced in line with animal rights recommendations or recycled and their production is ethically focused, with fair wages and working conditions.
We think these would suit you:
Belmira Organic Cotton Dress In Navy
Mafalda Organic Cotton Top In White
Nicole-May Linen Trousers In Cream
This brand creates beautifully soft and comfortable nightwear for men and women using 100 per cent organic GOTS certified cotton. Their cotton is also ‘Standard 100 Oeko-Tex®’ Certified which ensures that no harmful chemicals have been used in any process of the cotton cycle, helping to keep sensitive skin happy.
They also support the World Land Trust and for every purchase made through their website, they donate enough money to save 10 square metres of endangered wildlife across the planet. A wonderful project that puts the world's future first.
Check these out:
Know the Origin
Another name that gives it away, this brand's focus is on knowing the source of fashion, making it ethical and sustainable and supporting the farmers and workers throughout the process.
Founder Charlotte, who was deeply moved and inspired by the shocking collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh in 2013, has set up her brand and collaborated in a website space with others (including some of those on this list) to elevate fashion that empowers livelihoods, lifts people from poverty and helps build and feed communities.
As well as Know the Origin's range of comfy basics, this 100 per cent cotton Better Together jumper below is a statement of unity and sewn by Moray Reach Out, a social enterprise that supports disabled and vulnerable adults.
Sizes: UK 8-18
Buy their products:
Better Together Jumper
Lodi Modal Dress Black
Get inspired with these eco-conscious fashionistas
If you need some wardrobe inspiration, are looking to adopt a more eco-friendly way of wearing or would like your social media feed to mirror your ethics around sustainability, these are the influencers for you!
Writer, stylist and consultant Aja Barber is a passionate and powerful voice for change. She's leading the fight for sustainability as well as building to fix the fashion industry's inequality with privilege, racism, feminism, colonialism and wealth inequality in mind.
Australia based Clare Press, author of The Wardrobe Crisis and the Ethical Fashion Podcasts, spreads sustainable knowledge and helps you say hello to a better way of dressing that centres around social justice, waving goodbye to fast fashion.
A fantastic and low cost way of sustainably shopping is to buy second-hand from your local charity shop. Vanessa from @thecannyfashionista shows us all her vintage style finds and homemade outfits, serving serious inspiration!
Other sustainable fashion brands across the world
• Pact: US brand that is GOTS certified, partnered with Fair Trade Certified factories and are committed to using organic cotton where possible to save water and chemical usage. We would recommend their 100 per cent Organic Cotton clothing collection.
• Veja: French trainer brand that works directly with organic cotton producers, uses GOTS certified cotton from Peru, uses fair trade materials and is completely transparent about their sustainability. Similar to ones previously worn by the Duchess of Sussex, we love the simplicity of these V-10 trainers.
• Lucy & Yak: UK brand that works collaboratively with a team in India to create ethical pieces that support the workers in both countries, are made with renewable energy for a large percentage and use GOTS certified organic cotton. We love their renowned and hugely popular dungarees – these ones are lightweight and made from 100 per cent organic cotton.