Top 10 sustainable and eco-conscious fashion brands in the UK!

Navigating the slow fashion industry may feel like a minefield, but it’s easier when you know what to look for.

How do you know if a fashion brand is eco-conscious and sustainable?

A sustainable and ethical fashion brand is kind to people, animals and the planet. You can usually find relevant and transparent information on company websites. Look for details about values, policies, processes, missions and initiatives.

A good place to start is to read about the materials used. The best sustainable fashion brands don’t use any animal products like leather, wool or down feathers. They also avoid synthetic materials such as nylon, acrylic and polyester.

When creating or sourcing materials, they go for natural fibres like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and linen. The most eco-friendly options are recycled materials or fibres that would otherwise go to waste, like discarded fruit skin.

Eco-conscious and sustainable brands are also dedicated to responsible manufacturing processes. Look for:

  • Environmentally friendly energy resources
  • Low carbon emissions
  • Little or no water, pesticides and chemicals
  • Minimal excess and waste 

Things to look for in sustainable clothing brands

Responsible sourcing, production and packaging. Do they use resources and processes that have a low impact on the earth?

Eco-friendly materials. What are products made of? Are fabrics ethical as well as vegan?

Responsible packaging. Is it recyclable, compostable or biodegradable? Who delivers the parcel, do they have ethical policies?

Recirculating pre-loved products. Do they encourage sending items back to be repurposed?

Fair employers. Do they treat their workers well across the supply chain? Do they pay appropriate living wages?

Model representation. Do models represent different races, abilities, body types and genders?

Diverse clothing options. Do they cater for all people and sizes?

Anti-discrimination policies. Do they have any information about equality and diversity? How have they dealt with past issues? Is the leadership team diverse?

Charitable causes and community. What initiatives are they involved in? Do they donate profits or support local organisations?

Beware of greenwashing

Some brands make big claims about caring for the environment, but it isn’t always true. This is known as greenwashing, where companies market themselves as sustainable but cannot prove they are.

You can avoid this by researching into a company, their clothing and what they sell. Relevant information is usually found on garment labels and brand websites.

10 affordable and sustainable clothing brands UK

We love many of our eco-conscious and sustainable brothers and sisters, and here are some of our favourites. They source materials responsibly, respect their workers and commit to ethical and eco-friendly initiatives.

1. Rapanui – £

Rapanui makes clothes as and when they’re ordered. They promote a circular supply chain by encouraging customers to send back worn-out items, which they then make new garments from. You can find versatile tees, hoodies, underwear, jackets, surf towels, beanies and more.

2. Glass Onion – £

Glass Onion’s founder used to sell vintage clothing from his grandma’s shed. Today, they source vintage clothes from around the world, selling quality pieces via wholesale or on their website. Think Y2K, crochet and classic designer sportswear.

3. Everpress – £

In their own words, Everpress is “on a mission to support independent creativity in a sustainable way”. They help designers produce and sell original clothing while working ethically and empowering the community. Items include t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies.

4. Yes Friends – £

Yes Friends sells classic jeans that are ethical, sustainable and affordable. They work hard to improve the lives of garment workers – one initiative is giving customers the option to tip garment workers when making a purchase.

5. Lucy & Yak – ££

With their recognisable dungarees and playful prints, Lucy & Yak are a vibrant and mindful clothing brand. They follow strict inclusivity policies and have recently extended their sizing range to include UK sizes 4–32.

6. Finisterre – ££

Designed for those who love the surf and sea, Finisterre’s clothing is functional and made to last. The company runs the Finisterre Foundation, which removes boundaries so everyone can enjoy the benefits of the ocean.

7. Omnes – ££

Omnes’ sustainability strategy includes carbon offsetting over 110% of their footprint. Garments include stylish and sustainably made tops, trousers, dresses, skirts, knitwear, co-ords and wedding outfits in various colours and prints.

8. People Tree – £££

Fairtrade and thoughtful clothing from People Tree comes in linen, TENCEL™ and other certified materials. They sell timeless basics in neutral colours as well as brighter, stylish pieces – ideal if you’re looking to build an interchangeable minimalist wardrobe.

9. Ninety Percent – £££

Since 1988, the London-based clothing company has been running a fashion business that puts the planet first. Today, they share 90% of profits with charitable causes and sell all sorts, from contemporary summer workwear to festival season specials.

10. Pangaia – £££

Materials science experts Pangaia create essential products while working to protect the environment. Through everyday lifestyle products, their focus is on being inclusive to all. Dynamic initiatives include the Tomorrow Tree Fund and Bee The Change Fund.

If you’re moving towards a more eco-conscious and sustainable lifestyle, find out about buying sustainably.

January 29, 2022 — Jade Whittaker