Bookmark this page and stop by before you shop to learn about (or be reminded of) ethical, sustainable, all-around better options. Not all of these brands are perfectly ethical or low-impact in every single way, but all have features or practices that make them a better choice than turning off your conscience and buying fast fashion or trendy pieces you won’t wear for long. They might use eco-friendly materials, have a fair-trade or mission-driven business model, be made in the USA, or simply make classic, durable pieces that you can use and love forever and ever.
Of course there are lots of great brands I haven’t included here and this guide is very much a work in progress. These are simply brands and sites that I’ve personally shopped or heard great things about. If there’s an ethical or sustainable source you think I should know about, email or Tweet at me.
Instead of hunting around for eco-friendly or ethical brands, just head straight to these websites. They only carry brands you can feel good about and explain the credentials (whether American-made, fair trade, eco-friendly, vegan . . ) of each brand:
Ethica: The “online shop for mindful independent fashion and clean beauty” has vetted the brands it features for ethics and eco-friendliness. Known and loved brands like Ace and Jig are showcased alongside ones you’ve yet to discover.
Dara Artisans: An online marketplace of artisan-made goods from allover the world, including both brands you’ve heard of like LemLem and Matta and others you’ll be oh-so-happy to discover.
Good Cloth: A curated selection of beautiful, ethical things for the whole family and the home.
Credo Beauty: Like Sephora for the health-conscious and neo-hippies who won’t sacrifice vanity for the cause.
Ace and Jig: Chic pieces designed in Brooklyn and produced in an eco-friendly and ethical manner in India. These are anything-but-basic basics that you can wear for ages.
Amour Vert: Using innovative eco-friendly fabrics like wood pulp fiber, non-toxic dyes and a zero-waste philosophy, this San Francisco-based clothing and accessories line creates chic wardrobe staples with enduring style.
Eileen Fisher: You may think of it as your mom’s brand, but Eileen Fisher now makes styles for all ages and seems truly committed to eco-friendly practices and anti-materialism messaging.
Fog Linen Work: Beautiful basics designed in Japan made of linen from Lithuania. Linen is one of the most (if not the most) eco-friendly fabric options because, unlike cotton, the flax plants from which linen is made have minimal water needs and require little to no pesticides. Plus well-made linen is incredibly strong and long lasting.
Harare NY: A small collection of womenswear “pioneering a a movement–one that is ecologically friendly, locally sourced, sustainable, and above all human.”
Loup: Chic French-inspired basics made entirely in NYC.
Maiyet: This luxury label “partners with global artisans to incorporate exquisitely handcrafted details and unexpected fabric techniques into our collections” to “promote self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in developing economies.”
The Podolls: This line of timeless but trend-influenced fashions is designed by a husband-wife team. Everything is hand-sewn in San Francisco using sustainable fabrics from around the world, and the brand is “rooted in sustainability, global stewardship, and a commitment to centuries-old techniques and craftsmanship.”
Reformation: Fashion-forweard, made in LA and devoted to being as sustainable as possible.
Road Twenty-Two: Tee shirts and other luxury basics made in San Francisco by woman-owned company that employs formerly incarcerated women to put them on the road to better lives.
Sseko: Sandals, bags and more made by women in Uganda by a mission-driven business that donates a portion of profits to women’s education.
Thief and Bandit: Eco-friendly, handmade printed fashion and home goods from Canada
United by Blue: For every piece of outdoor apparel and durable basics this mission-driven Philadelphia brand sells it removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways.
Zady: This NYC-based fashion start-up is on a mission to make chic and ethical basics while educating us about the true costs of fast fashion.
Shoes and Bags
Bryr Clogs: Cool updates on classic clogs, made by hand in San Francisco.
Labante London: Affordable vegan bags that resemble high-end leather ones.
Marlow Goods: Bags, sandals and accessories made by NYC restaurateurs using leather from the sustainably raised beef served in their eateries, tanned and dyed locally using eco-friendly processes.
Rothys: Stylish and comfortable flats made out of recycled water bottles.
Shannon South: Chic leather bags made in NYC of leather remnants from the furniture industry.