When companies design clothes that are multi-purpose and can be styled in different ways, I am all for it; I don’t mind forking over more money for more value and more quality, when I am financially fit to do so. That doesn’t happen often, but that’s the point of slow fashion and of building a wardrobe that is of value, quality, and beloved.
When I first started building a smaller wardrobe (sounds oxymoronic but true), I quickly became overwhelmed by how much stuff I had. This overwhelming feeling made me feel like I had to get rid of everything I owned immediately and start fresh; however, this sense of urgency is not only counterintuitive to the very essence of building a small yet mighty wardrobe slowly but it is also not practical because I don’t have endless expendable income to use towards an entirely new wardrobe.
It is a process but I’ve started to realize that this progress can be fun; I’m building and cultivating something that I truly love and am inspired by every single day. The brands I have listed below are those that I have either purchased for myself or want to in the future because I believe in their missions of producing quality over quantity, timeless over trendy pieces and consuming consciously over conveniently. Take a look at the best ethical clothing brands below and get shopping!
If you’ve read any of my other articles you know how much I love Everlane. I am all for their transparency re cost and production, as well as their effortless and minimal style. Most recently I got a grey plaid blazer from them and absolutely love it; I feel comfortable spending a little bit more on it because I know that I am getting a lot of value for what I purchase.
I would rank Everlane as one of the more reasonably priced ethical and sustainable clothing brands out there, which makes it a fan favorite among today’s generation. The company’s clothes are usually very minimal and classic, collections that would likely become a staple in your closet. As I mentioned, I love their oversized blazer but I am also a big fan of their shoes — The Day Heel, The Double Strap Block Heel (pictured below), and the Boss Bootie are three of my favorites and true staples in my own closet.
Everlane products are made in ethical factories, with those manufacturing your clothes earning a fair wage, and their prices are, as they say, radically transparent. If you want to start your ethical wardrobe, with a few staple pieces, but don’t quite know quite where to start, I’d recommend checking out Everlane.
2. Hackwith Design House
Definitely within the higher price point range of ethical clothing brands but oh so worth it, Hackwith Design House is must on my best ethical clothing brands list. I am currently obsessing over their Lapel Open Jacket that functions as both a collared top when slightly wrapped and tucked in and an open jacket, perfect on a chillier summer evening.
Their pieces are made in-house in their Minnesota studio and most of their pieces are made-to-order, meaning that they aren’t made until you order them. Not only does this reduce waste on the environmental front but it also ensures that what you are purchasing is going directly from the seamstress’ hands to your hands, thoughtfully, fairly, and mindfully. What you order is made especially for you, which makes me care more about and for the garment(s) and pieces I receive.
HDH is mindful of their designs, making effortlessly chic pieces that you can wear multiple ways. If you are ever in the position of splurging, I highly recommend checking out Hackwith Design House. They also have a swim collection which will get you ready for the summer asap!
What I love about this company is that it focuses on the capsule wardrobe and, in doing so, designs pieces that are versatile and can be styled in different ways. For instance, in their newest Romantic capsule collection, there is a Tier dress that can be worn as a midi and a mini dress because the bottom half unlatches.
Similarly, there is a romper that divides into pants and a top and the top can be work both back and front. In doing so, you get so much bang for your buck because each piece can be transformed and worn multiple ways depending on what you want to wear any given day. Alongside selling individual pieces that you can incorporate into your wardrobe, they also give you the option to shop by and purchase capsules as a whole, giving you a huge hand with not only selecting your versatile pieces but learning how to style them.
I have had my eye on a couple of pieces for a long time now because I know that I’ll be wearing each piece over and over again (#capsulewardrobetips101). To me, this company is so smart in what they offer because it helps those first-time capsule wardrobers learn about and start a capsule wardrobe without feeling overwhelmed. Building a capsule wardrobe is seriously overwhelming and any help I can get I gladly reach out with both hands, so VETTA is a great company for this purpose.
VETTA currently offers 5 different capsule wardrobes to choose from, each with its own distinct style to it. Below is a favorite piece of mine, The Button Up Midi Dress, from the Classic Capsule collection, made responsibly and fairly in a family-run factory n NYC and with 100% Tencel, a natural and sustainably harvested fiber that makes for some seriously feel-good clothing.
Oh, Reformation. I love this company. It’s pretty much a fashionable girl’s dream with the added bonus of being ethically and sustainably made. With Sustainability Reports that are sent out to subscribers quarterly giving them the 411 on all things sustainability in regards to the company’s impact on the environment, Reformation is a favorite among many — and for good reason.
Their clothes (now including shoes) have an arguably 90s inspiration behind them and not only look good but feel good to wear because they try to reverse the negative environmental impact made by the fast fashion industry. They are transparent with their numbers and with the fibers they use to be as holistic with their production as possible. They even have what they call ‘Ref standards,’ ranging from A – E, A being the best, most natural fibers, and E being too environmentally intensive; their goal is to make 75% of their clothing with A-B fibers.
I love this company because, as their mission states, they want to make clothes according to what women want to wear right now. In a sense, they follow what’s trending but not in the way fast fashion companies do. Reformation strikes a fine balance between trendy and classic silhouettes that also have a positive impact on our carbon footprint.
I highly recommend perusing their ‘About’ section and reading about what they are doing differently.
One of my favorite go-to athletic wear brands, Girlfriend Collective is sustainably made and oh so comfortable. The company’s main attraction is its wide selection of bra and legging colours, most recently premiering their Garden and Canyon collections (the photo below is the Compression Legging in ‘Cocoa’).
I have a bunch of their leggings because I not only love the actual product but I love how they make their product. Each pair of compression leggings is made with recycled water bottles and their LITE leggings are made out of fishnets. They even show statistics on the environmental impact they have so you can see the impact you help make in real numbers.
What I also love about this company is their inclusivity: their compression leggings run from XXS to 6XL, making them perfect leggings for everybody — and everybody. They also just came out with maternity leggings for those mamas to be!
If you’ve never tried these leggings, I highly recommend that you do!