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Ethical Clothing Stores to Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable


Fast fashion used to seem like a pretty innocent habit. For 50 bucks, I could get a whole shopping bag full of Forever 21’s latest trends and an adrenaline rush! I thought it was a harmless habit (as long as I didn’t do it too often, of course) — until I learned about the fast fashion industry. At first, I was resistant to learn the truth about fast fashion because I didn’t want to say goodbye to $3 tank tops. But once I realized how many ethical alternatives are out there, I discovered that I get even more of a rush from supporting sustainable fashion brands or secondhand shopping — because not only am I getting my fashion fix, but I’m not contributing to the wasteful fashion industry.

A great way to make your closet more ethical and sustainable is to simply stop buying new clothing from fast fashion stores, such as, H&M, Old Navy, Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Zara, as well as from designers and fashion houses with unethical or unsustainable practices, and to instead support brands whose values align with your ethics.

So, if you’ve been wanting to add more ethical and eco-friendly pieces to your wardrobe, read on for our suggestions of sustainable clothing stores, brands, and more.

What Is Ethical Fashion?

Generally, ethical fashion refers to brands that employ “slow fashion” techniques and strive to be the opposite of fast fashion (more on fast fashion down below). These brands are typically transparent about business elements such as labor practices, employee rights, supply chains, and materials (typically with a focus on natural and recycled fabrics).

That said, everyone has different standards of what is ethical. For example, some of the stores on these lists sell clothes made from animals (such as leather, wool, silk, and cashmere clothing). While some brands maintain that those fabrics are sustainable because they are made of “natural” materials as opposed to synthetic ones, breeding and raising animals to use and kill them for fabric is not very sustainable or ethical, is it?

But no matter your standards, we chose the brands and stores on the list below because they are known for being generally transparent about their business and sustainability practices.