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Ethical clothing brands

(46 Posts)
Leanback Sun 11-Dec-16 16:01:06

I start a new job in January and for the first time in my life I will be living with an above average wage coming in each month. As a result I want to use the extra income to start making more ethical purchasing choices, such as cruelty free make up and buying more from ethical and long-lasting clothing brands than high street fast fashion.

I'm pretty clued up on the cruelty free make up as there is quite an extensive list online, but could anyone enlighten me on ethical but trendy clothing brands.

BabyGanoush Sun 11-Dec-16 16:24:05

not sure if it is trendy enough for you, but Peopletree are supposedly quite ethical.

Floisme Sun 11-Dec-16 17:06:01

I struggle with this as most of the ethical brands I've come across aren't really my style although I buy from People Tree sometimes. I'm now trying to come at it from a different angle by buying less new and more second hand.
There's some useful info here although once you start reading you realise what a rabbit hole it is.
Not much more to add I'm afraid although I'll be watching for other tips.

Leanback Sun 11-Dec-16 17:24:05

From doing google searches I've had the same problem flo. I'm considering just trying to avoid fast fashion, so using a mix of charity shops and eBay plus only buying from brands which are meant to last such as Barbour and doc Martan.

Floisme Sun 11-Dec-16 17:41:15

I''m thinking the same way. I recently bought myself a very fitted jacket in Harris Tweed for a big birthday. It's not particularly fashionable but I absolutely love it - not only the jacket itself but the fact that it has a serial number so if I wanted, I could probably trace the person who wove the cloth.

I've also resolved (although I've tried before and fallen off the wagon) to give up on cheap cashmere which by all accounts is really bad environmentally. So I'm looking out for second hand while also saving up for Brora (which will probably take me the whole of 2017 but hey).

aniceearlynight Mon 12-Dec-16 19:39:55

This summer I read To Die For by Lucy Siegle and Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline and I have been trying to shop ethically since. But I have to confess I'm finding it difficult. Like Floisme, I have found that a lot of ethical brands aren't my style. I responded to a question on the Ethical Living board re. ethical fashion and that got me started on compiling a list. I will add a few suggestions below so you can check them out. Bear in mind that some of them are expensive.

Kayu clutches (expensive but some lovely woven straw ones for summer)
Mimi Berry (the leather processing industry has a huge environmental impact but these bags are made in England from more environmentally friendly vegetable tanned leather sourced from tanneries in Belgium, Italy and the UK)

Beyond Skin (Brighton-based vegan ethical shoes)
Celtic Sheepskin (Produce boots in their factory in Cornwall so more ethical than Uggs etc).
Veja trainers (Hip French brand, eco-friendly, soles made from wild rubber from the Amazon. Pay more than market price for organic cotton. Trainers produced in Fair Trade certified factory where 80% of workers are union members)


Noctu (Understated organic and fair trade sleepwear.)
Nude Label underwear (Ethically made in Spain)
Swedish Stockings (tights and stockings made from recycled yarn in zero-waste, solar powered factories. And & Other Stories have started selling them - hurray!)
Braintree Socks (Sustainable hemp and bamboo socks. Good Christmas presents as they come in lovely boxes)

The Acey
Beautiful Soul (occasionwear designed and made in England, beautiful but £££)
Beulah London (ditto also £££)
Brora Cashmere as mentioned upthread
Chinti and Parker Cashmere
Johnstons of Elgin (They buy their cashmere from the Sustainable Fibre Alliance and still process it all in their factory in Scotland. Will repair old items. )
Finisterre (men and women's 'performance wear')
Lowie (lovely knitwear)
People Tree, as mentioned above
Reformation (sustainable LA fashion brand loved by bloggers and fashionistas, just did a capsule collection for Net a Porter)
Seasalt (most ethical on the high street?)
The White T-Shirt Company
Zady (have just done capsule collection with Emma Watson)

Hope you find something useful in there!

Leanback Mon 12-Dec-16 19:57:07

Thank so that's really helpful!

banivani Mon 12-Dec-16 22:06:24

Nancy Dee also have an ethical profile. I bought a jacket from them and it's grand but not great enough to have had me risk a dress 😬 I find it hard to get a picture of the fit on me (not thin and not six foot tall) so have dithered now for years.

skippingdolefully Mon 12-Dec-16 22:09:39

Hmm, I was under the impression that Cos and presumably & Other Stories are ethical-esque.

Floisme Mon 12-Dec-16 22:10:14

Thanks anice and banivani - great to get more suggestions.

Floisme Mon 12-Dec-16 22:13:53

I believe Cos and & Other Stories are part of the H&M corporation, who I don't think are the worst offenders but aren't that great. I remember H&M were caught out using children not that long ago. I say this with regret as I'm a huge H&M fan and am just getting into Cos.

playmobilpeacock Mon 12-Dec-16 22:14:16

Nothing useful to add, I'm interested to know too.

choppolata Tue 13-Dec-16 08:06:25

I find it really difficult to get work appropriate ethical clothing, Nancy Dee do some nice styles in dresses but they are thin jersey and a bit droopy for my liking. People Tree stitching quality isn’t great, ok for casual but not good enough for my corporate environment. As mentioned above, better to buy second hand sometimes. Ethical footwear is easier but pricey, I buy from Wills, Bourgeois Boheme and Beyond Skin.

Floisme Tue 13-Dec-16 18:04:21

How about the Dr Martens 'Made in England' range, from their original factory in Northampton?

I've also started looking more closely at the ethcial statements on high street websites. Kettlewell, although they're not an ethical brand, at least seem to have a handle on where their stuff is made and who their suppliers are. I've never bought from them and it's not all to my taste but I do love a ruched skirt so, unless I hear something, I'll buy from them next time rather than the usual Boden/Hush/Baukjen.

ZaraW Tue 13-Dec-16 18:24:09

Izzy Lane is my favourite ethical brand. Amazing knitwear and ethical silk. Expensive but the sales are good. I've had a coat for 7 years and the quality is excellent.

aniceearlynight Tue 13-Dec-16 18:31:00

Floisme, I am also studying the ethical statements on retailers websites and am amazed at how many say absolutely nothing about their ethical/environmental stance or corporate responsibility. Designer brands seem to be particularly bad at this.

I also wonder whether some companies are just not very good at letting us know about their ethical stance. Whistles and Jigsaw, for example, have something about their ethical stance and corporate responsibility on their website. However, LK Bennett has nothing on this but does have a page on how their shoes are made in Spain and a video with 'fashion icon' Caroline Issa (me neither) strolling around looking at the shoes in their factory. The video emphasizes craftmanship, tradition and quality but doesn't spell out that LK Bennett shoes are sweatshop free and as they are made in the EU it is likely that all their employers are paid fairly and can join a union if they want to (workers' rights are strongly protected in Spain). So it seems that LK Bennett shoes may not necessarily be environmentally friendly (as I have no idea where the leather comes from) but it would appear that they are ethically produced...and I think the company is missing a trick not telling us that.

Good point re. the DMs 'Made in England'. I think New Balance also produces some of their trainers in the UK.

SealSong Tue 13-Dec-16 18:44:02

Norman Walsh is a little company making ace retro looking trainers in Lancashire.

Floisme Tue 13-Dec-16 19:10:09

Yes anice if they did have ethical practices, why wouldn't they tell us?

There was something in the news recently about fashion and links with the modern slave trades and how designer brands were among the most .... shall we say secretive? I'll try and find it although it may take me till tomorrow.

Leanback Tue 13-Dec-16 19:18:07

Loads of things have been in the news recently about factory fires abroad in sweatshops and stuff.

In my own research new balance have come up as ethically produced. A lot of places also talk about asos's green line which is meant to ethical. And H&M conscious range but from other things I've read they seem to have the worst reputation for the use of unsafe factories etc.

I wish more brands were open about where their clothes are made. Everyone seems to use such ambiguous statements and working it out feels like a minefield. Thank you for all your suggestions so far. I will definitely check them out.

Floisme Tue 13-Dec-16 19:55:15

H&M are hard to fathom. In some of these ethical practice surveys they come out relatively well but then you'll see them in the news for using child labour. (I should declare an interest here as they're one of my favourite high street shops.) I'm sceptical about the Conscious range but on the other hand, if it does well, it at least encourages them to carry on.

Asos I won't buy at all because I have friends who've worked for them although to be fair, that's personal as much as it's ethical.

Floisme Tue 13-Dec-16 22:14:01

Sorry anice Just realised I misread your post about LK Bennett the first time. So their working conditions sound ok if not environmentally friendly? That's useful to know (pity I'm not much of a fan but hey). Yes why not say so, the idiots!

I really like some of that Izzy Lane stuff so thanks for that Zara. Some really good ideas here. Better get saving...

allthecoffeeplease Wed 14-Dec-16 12:47:15

An an ethical fibre, you can't really go wrong with organic wool. It's sustainable, hardly needs any washing compared to organic cotton, free from toxic chemcials and fully recyclable. Look for retailers that only sell museling-free wool products and that are ethically produced - one such being Lana Bambini where most products are made in Europe.

Floisme Thu 15-Dec-16 19:26:00

These are the two surveys I was looking for the other day. They're not about ethical brands but they look at some of the high street stores and also some designers. They're based on efforts to avoid using forced labour and also on transparency in general.

They're not exactly giving anyone a pat on the back but possibly the higher scoring ones are the best of a pretty awful bunch?
Interestingly H&M score highly in both. I was sceptical about them upthread because their quality is so random which I'd taken to be a sign of an over extended supply chain but they often do ok in these kinds of exercises.

Also interesting is how badly some designers e.g. Prada and Chanel are rated, although it's unclear whether that's because of their practices or because they're too arrogant to co-operate.

FrustratedFrugal Thu 15-Dec-16 20:22:43

I did a lot of fact checking and CSR memo reading a year or two ago (after the Rana plaza disaster, I contacted companies that had made my clothes) and decided that H&M is pretty decent among a bad bunch - and Zara wasn't. MiH was okay too. I contacted a lot of Italian brands and it seemed that ethical sourcing was not even on their radar yet.

I also learned that lengthening the life cycle of a garment (by wearing it a lot, altering, recycling and buying vintage) was probably the most responsible thing I can do - not binning an average of 13kg of clothes every year.

MsUnderstanding Thu 15-Dec-16 20:28:47

Great thread. Shame there isn't some kind of international standard like the cruelty free bunny. I'm also buying less and buying 2nd hand if I can.

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