The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing every year.
That means every single year, a household of four is throwing over 300 pounds of clothing straight into the landfill! While this is distressing, unfortunately, we can't control what other people choose to buy and dispose of.
We can, however, be more mindful of our own consumer choices. Ethical clothing has been gaining steadily in popularity as people become more aware of the negative environmental and societal impacts of fast fashion and mass-produced clothing.
But is it possible to shop ethically without breaking the bank? While an important aspect of ethical fashion is owning fewer, higher quality items, you still don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a pair of leggings.
Let's delve into the world of ethical fashion and discover 7 affordable ethical clothing brands!
What Exactly Is Ethical Fashion?
In the 21st century, much of the clothing and many of the products that are sold are sold in America are produced in other countries under subpar working conditions and using unsustainable materials. Not only do synthetic materials not break down once they're in landfills, but they were also often manufactured under sweatshop conditions or horrifically using child labor.
Low-quality and cheap clothing items are purchased frequently, fall apart quickly, and tossed often less than a year after they were purchased.
In response to this, a lot of people are choosing to make more mindful decisions regarding what they buy, including how it was made, where it was made, and what it's made from.
Though millennials are often given a bad rap as a generation, they deserve some credit for driving the growth in sustainable products. While only 34% of Baby Boomers said consideration of the environment altered their buying decisions, about 75% of Millennials change their buying habits because of environmental factors.
When it comes to fashion, people are reacting to the fast fashion of brands like H&M and Forever 21 by opting to buy clothes from sustainable clothing brands.
What Should You Look For in Ethical Clothing Brands?
Some factors to take into consideration when looking for ethical brands are:
- Where was the clothing made?
- Where were the materials sourced?
- What kind of materials does the brand use?
- Who makes the clothing and are they paid fairly?
- What are the factory conditions where the clothing is made?
- How far does the material or clothing have to travel to get to me?
- What are the environmental ramifications, if any, of the materials used?
Top 7 Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands
There are a lot of reasons to support ethical brands, but it is not always easy to find affordable ethical clothing. I've gathered seven cheap ethical clothing brands that are easy on the eyes and on your wallet.
1. Smoking Lily
This Canadian clothing strives to be zero-waste and buys its supplies locally sourced as much as possible. Using bamboo, eucalyptus, and leftover stock from bigger companies, each piece of affordable women's clothing are handmade in the Smoking Lily's studio in downtown Victoria, British Colombia.
2. Nomad's Hemp Wear
Started in the back of a Volkswagon van nearly 20 years ago, Nomad's Hemp Wear is now an international business. Nomad's Hemp Wear produces cheap ethical clothing using sustainable materials like hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, and soy.
While their clothing is produced in a factory in China, owners Louis and Anik say they searched for a fair-trade factory that pays fair wages and has high labor standards.
3. Funky Buddha Collection
This beautiful line of yoga-inspired clothing is made in Peterborough, Ontario. Using hemp to because of its durable and breathable qualities and its sustainable nature as a material, check out these amazing pieces today!
4. Hot Dame
Created by sisters Jenny Rota and Chelsea Dewald who grew up in Beaumont, Alberta, Hot Dame clothing is made right in Alberta!
By incorporating well-known local artists, Hot Dame clothing is unique, Canadian made, and truly a community effort.
5. Grace Designs
These globally inspired fashion accessories are designed and handmade in a studio in Toronto. Founded by Canadian designer Alison Gledhill, Grace Designs' bohemian bags are made from materials sourced from all around the world.
These simple, beautiful, and high-quality accessories are the darling of the slow fashion world. Based in Montreal and made in the Czech Republic, these wallets and bags are a sight for sore eyes.
7. Blackbird Studios
Based out of Hamilton, Ontario, Blackbird Studios boasts a "Made in Hamilton" line of clothing and accessories at their boutique storefront. The work of designers Kerry Wade and Lynn Bebee, these unique pieces are designed and manufactured right in Hamilton.
Shopping Doesn't Have to Be an Ethical Dilemma
Buying ethical clothing is a great way to receive your fashion fix without contributing to the many disturbing problems in our globalized world. By supporting ethical brands, you're voting with your money for the world that you want!
It's heartening to know that trends are moving in a positive direction, with younger generations increasingly understanding the importance of making mindful consumer decisions.
Though the problems of the world can seem overwhelming, and like there is little we can do to help solve them, choosing to make ethical clothing purchases and supporting ethical brands is a great way to be the change you wish to see in the world!
Check out the rest of our blog for more articles on sustainable and fashionable clothing, and why sustainable clothing is the way to go. And don't forget to check out our collection of affordable ethical clothing, bags, jewelry, and accessories!