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Affordable Ethical Clothing In The UK: 11 Brands You Should Know

We’ve never hidden it: the fashion industry is polluting and exploitative. 100 billion clothing items are bought each year, while a garbage truck of clothing ends up in landfills every second. And that’s not all! 95% of the clothing we throw away could instead have a second life.

Did you know that many European countries are massive producers of fashion waste? The UK, for example, is the fourth largest producer of textile waste in Europe with 206,456 tons in one year. According to a new study, each Briton spends an average of £980 on new clothing and throws away about 3,1kg of textiles every single year. Out of 3,1kg, only 0,3kg are recycled and 0,4 kg are reused. Everything else is incinerated and disposed of in landfills.

We need to act now. Let’s begin by loving what we already have in our wardrobe and if we need something new, let’s then prefer conscious brands. And yes, ethical fashion can also be accessible to everyone. I’m so happy that a lot of brands are trying to change the way clothes are produced and consumed by offering affordable and sustainable alternatives that don’t compromise on style, trends, and quality.

No more excuses then: we don’t need to buy fast fashion clothes to be trendy on a budget. Luckily for us, many conscious and ethical fashion brands in the UK are doing a great job trying to change how fashion is produced and consumed. And we found 11 affordable and sustainable brands that deserve all of our support. Let’s change the world together, one step at a time.

1. Tala

Categories: activewear
Materials: regular and recycled cotton, bamboo, EcoVero, recycled nylon, Lyocell
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £15
Shipping: international

Tala creates activewear that is comfy as it’s sexy and stylish from upcycled, recycled, and natural fibers. This brand is on a mission to create affordable and sustainable styles without the need to compromise on high-performance designs and flattering fits… and they’re doing it great! For example, their sports bras are all designed with removable pads to ensure maximum comfort and support.

At TALA, the new product development team focuses on creating the very best sustainable styles at a small price. Their priority is to design size-inclusive clothes – ranging from classic wardrobe staples to on-trend pieces – that you’ll want to wear over and over again.

Whether your activewear is for running or for low-impact activities like yoga, you’re sure to find the style – and color! – that suits you best. Last but not least, all of their pieces are animal-free and are ethically made by fairly paid workers.


2. Nobody’s Child

Categories: everything – from dresses to swimwear and shoes
Materials: organic cotton, EvoVero, recycled plastic
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £16
Shipping: international

Nobody’s Child is the first brand I’d recommend to a sustainable fashion newbie because they offer everything you may need to start building a conscious trendy wardrobe without breaking the bank. Indeed, the brand aims to create zero-waste capsule collections at small prices as they believe that thoughtfully made clothes must be accessible to everyone.

So far, 88% of their collection is made from responsibly sourced fabrics, and rigorous finishing standards are followed to ensure a minimal chemical impact on the environment. As such, all of their products meet at least one of the most common finishing standards: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), OEKO-Tex, Bluesign.

Their pieces are mindfully crafted in ethical factories in Bangladesh, China, Morocco, and Ukraine. The brand has a formal statement that covers workers’ rights and guarantees payment of a living wage, no excessive working hours, safe and healthy working conditions.


3. Beyond Retro

Categories: vintage clothing
Materials: wide range
Men’s: yes
Prices starting at £8
Shipping: international

Beyond Retro is a leading vintage retailer in the UK and is the home of vintage men’s and women’s clothing, from sportswear to dresses, sweatshirts to t-shirts and jeans. At Beyond Retro you can find some of the most famous brands out there: Nike, Levi’s, Dr Martens, Lacoste, Woolrich, and many more. They basically stock 60s to 90s clothing, vintage Y2K, plus size vintage, and even vintage football, NFL, NBA, baseball, and basketball.

Beyond Retro was born in 2002 and since then they’ve pursued a dream: to reclaim, recover, and reuse 10 billion items. Last year, alongside their parent company Bank and Vogue, the brand rehomed around 90 million items. Despite that was a great achievement to be proud of, in their own words, those 90 million is “a grain of sand”, as it’s only 10% of the UK’s annual total textile waste.

Beyond Retro is, by far, one of the biggest vintage online stores for used clothing, preloved, and thrift clothing. Keep an eye on their “garage sales”! You can grab beautiful and unique items for £5.


4. Rapanui

Categories: t-shirts, hoodies, underwear
Materials: organic cotton
Men’s: yes
Prices starting at £12
Shipping: international

Rapanui is one of my favorite fashion brands ever. The brand ethically designs everyday and versatile essentials in a range of natural colors and bold designs. They only produce in real-time and make what people actually need, when they need it. Rapanui is another example of a fashion brand that has a positive impact on the planet and people while keeping prices low. But Rapanui is more, much more.

What I do love most about this brand – other than the fact that all of their products are made from natural materials, using renewable energy – is that every and each item is designed to be sent back to them when worn out. Basically, they make new products from the recovered materials. This is what is generally called a circular supply chain. Sending Rapanui products back is free, they’ll pay the shipping costs and reward you with a coupon that you can use to save on your next purchase.

As you know, wastewater is a major source of pollution in the fashion industry. Rapanui doesn’t want to be part of this and created a closed-loop system of water. After the dyeing, the wastewater is recovered, cleaned, recirculated, and reused again. The water coming out of the filters is crystal clear, literally clean enough to drink.


Photos: @charlottexbeer_, @_ellelouise_, @mumaporter

5. This is Unfolded

Categories: womenswear
Materials: organic cotton, sustainable viscose
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £24
Shipping: the UK

This is Unfolded is a one-of-a-kind brand, which I’m super proud to talk about. It’s not a traditional brand… so you basically can’t just go shopping online. This is because they launch new clothing collections every few months and sell each collection for a short period of time.

The brand collects and uses trend data and insights to create designs you’ll love. Real customers are the ones who give feedback on patterns, styles, fabrics, and even decide what goes on sale. Production starts only once orders have been taken. This approach takes a little bit longer (4-6 weeks) for your clothes to arrive but it’s totally worth it.

Indeed, your high-quality clothes also support children’s education in India. So far they’ve already supported over 1,000 children in education. This is Unfolded is good for the planet, good for workers, and good for you.


6. Plant Faced

Categories: t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, tops, long sleeves, bottoms
Materials: organic cotton, recycled polyester
Men’s: yes
Prices starting at £24
Shipping: international

Would you like to spread awareness and encourage conversations about ethics and veganism within the fashion industry? Then Plant Faced is the 100% vegan, ethical, and eco-friendly streetwear brand you’ve been looking for. Indeed, Plant Faced aims to be more than a brand, it wants to be a movement that promotes a new wave of consciousness by advocating the non-harming or exploitation of any beings – humans, animals, or plants.

Listed by PETA as vegan, Plant Faced offers ethically made clothes with bold designs and messages – “That fur won’t warm your cold, cold soul” is definitely one great example of what I mean. What about fits and styles? You don’t have to worry, they’re timeless yet contemporary… after all, some messages never go out of style.

They ensure all the clothes and those who make them are treated with the respect they deserve and some ethical certifications, such as Fair Wear and Wrap, confirm the statement. In addition, Plant Faced plants a tree for each item sold. Their items are screen printed using eco-friendly water-based inks.


7. Omnes

Categories: dresses, shorts, skirts, tops, jumpsuits
Materials: organic cotton, recycled polyester, EcoVero, sustainable viscose
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £35
Shipping: international

Omnes creates womenswear with a feminine and unique style from quality fabrics that are grown, sourced, and manufactured responsibly. From pastel hues to bright colors, from classic to floral patterns, Omnes has all the staples you need for your casual and elegant everyday looks.

The name “Omnes”, which means ‘all’ in Latin, clearly states the mission of the brand: they understand that the responsibility to change the fashion industry is on them just as much as the consumer. We’re all together in this, we all need to change the way we produce, shop, wear, and think about clothing. As such, Omnes is committed to creating cool and conscious clothes, so that you can wear them on repeat, without damaging the planet (and your wallet too!).

They also minimize waste whenever possible by transforming the off-cuts into the perfect accessories to complete your outfits. Omnes only works with responsible and ethical factories and suppliers who look after the communities and ecosystems around them.


8. Collection & Co

Categories: shoes – from boots to sandals and heels
Materials: up-cycled faux leather, rubber
Men’s: yes
Prices starting at £80
Shipping: international

Founded in 2016, Collection & Co creates 100% vegan and PETA-approved footwear with a classic and stylish aesthetic. The sustainable materials they use have the same look, feel, durability, quality, and texture as animal leather, but are cruelty-free.

Designed in the UK, all shoes are then ethically produced in limited quantities in a small, family-run factory in Greece. The faux leather they use comes from different sources and collaborations, including discarded fishing nets and Piñatex, an innovative and natural fiber made from pineapple leaves.

And that’s not all! Collection & Co also designs vegan bags, belts, and other accessories that are perfect to be mixed and matched with your favorite shoes.

Are you looking for more UK-based vegan footwear brands? The Best Vegan Footwear Brands From The UK


9. Nude Ethics

Categories: t-shirts, jumpers
Materials: organic cotton
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £20
Shipping: international

Jessica – Nude Ethics’ founder – says we should “wear something honest, or wear nothing at all”. Never a truer word spoken. Nude Ethics was created to offer affordable and sustainable essentials made with ethical standards. Each piece is made from certified organic cotton, according to fair wear production methods, also using renewable energy and leaving a minimal carbon footprint.

Nude Ethics clothes are designed by Jessica herself, and then screen-printed and embroidered locally in England with water-based inks and thread made from wood pulp. Some pieces are even made to order by Jessica at home.

Nude Ethics also stocks other small ethical brands. But you can rest easy as by shopping from this store you’ll know you’ll be buying something honest.


10. Fullalove

Categories: dresses, lingerie, tops, bottoms, loungewear, swimwear
Materials: organic cotton, bamboo
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £8,99
Shipping: international

Do you want to consciously feel sexy in your bathing suits, dresses, and even loungewear? In this case, I can’t help but recommend Fullalove, a female-owned ethical brand that creates size-inclusive and colorful clothing that won’t go unnoticed. Fullalove uses the most amazing sustainable and certified fabrics to make comfy, great-looking, durable, and timeless fashion apparel.

Why do I like this brand so much? Because Fullalove goes beyond the choice of fabrics also looking at how they’re treated and colored. As a result, at Fullalove you can find ‘non-toxic’ collections where artificial colors are replaced with natural dyes such as raspberries, spinach, nettles, and red cabbage.

Fullalove is ethically produced in the UK by fairly paid workers. We definitely don’t need Zara or H&M anymore!


11. Kula Bags

Categories: bags, backpacks, purses, laptop cases
Materials: paper, recycled plastic
Men’s: no
Prices starting at £10
Shipping: the UK, Ireland, Germany

I bet this brand will blow your mind. Believe it or not, all of Kula’s bags are made from FSC and OEKO-Tex certified paper – yes, you read that right – which is even washable and as durable as a canvas! Can you believe it? Other minor parts of the bags, such as the linings, are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

At Kula Bags they focus on using sustainably sourced materials to design eco-friendly bags and backpacks that don’t contain leather or any other animal-based materials. All of their products and indeed approved both by The Vegan Society and PETA.

All bags bring together classic and modern design and are designed with travel, functionality, comfort, and style in mind.


Alberta Bernardi
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Alberta Bernardi is a Ph.D. in Management, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. She likes to call herself a “sustainability warrior” because she aims to spread knowledge on the environment, ethics, and plastic pollution day after day. Her love of nature and battle against plastic around the world are on Instagram @together_no_plastic