By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Buying sustainable fashion is mandatory nowadays for the ethical consumer, but it can become tremendously pricey. One reason for this is that many eco brands are smaller than huge fashion conglomerates and can’t reduce costs based on economies of scale. Additionally, since their manufacturing processes are more ethical and ecological, that means they’re paying better wages to their workers and are using less toxic fabric and dye – which normally comes at a cost.
But if you look hard enough though, you can find cheaper sustainable fashion faves that are just as chic as the better known, pricier eco-fashion brands.
Here’s our pick of the best cheaper ethical fashion, with the most expensive ones on top…the bargains are below.
Faux Fur: The Posh Label
A fashion favourite that will come to your mind is British label Shrimps . But those lovely fluffy and chubby faux furs that keep you warm all winter may cost you from £300 to £600.
Faux Fur: The Bargain
If you would rather not spend that much money, a great vegan alternative is Choies, whose two toned faux fur (bottom) looks super awesome with a pair of jeans and is less than £100!
Good Old Denim: The Posh Label
There are increasing numbers of ‘eco denim’ brands on the market today, but one of the most popular is arguably Joe’s Jeans, loved for their sexy cuts and variety of styles. But a pair of trousers can cost up to $290!
Good Old Denim: The Bargain
H&M has produced several Conscious Collections that feature denim – and pretty dang stylish they are, too! These denims use less water, less dye, and are made from organic cotton. Prices start at around $12.
Vegan Handbags: The Posh Label
We’re in love with Jill Milan’s super refined vegan handbags. They’re truly stunning and the designs are so refined, rumour has it, one of them even ‘inspired’ a Saint Laurent design. But these luxury bags can be a bit pricey for the average girl, with prices going up to around $600!
Vegan Handbags: The Bargain
Alternatively you can buy a handbag from Sole Society for less than $100. Like Jill Milan, the brand always uses PU leather and the most eco-friendly materials around, and its design led styles will have friends and strangers asking where you got that bag from!
Fine Knitwear: The Posh Label
Posh Argentinian brand Animana sells soft, comfy alpaca sweaters and ponchos in chic boutiques throughout Paris. The brand prides itself for supporting the people of the Andes, who highly value their alpaca and treat them well. Alpaca is always going to be priced a bit high, but it’s worth it – this super soft material keeps you warm on chilly days, but never overheats. It’s not scratchy like wool and it has more ‘give’ than cashmere, making it totally worth the nearly $300 you’ll spend on one of these numbers.
Fine Knitwear: The Bargain
Sure, we adore Animana’s loose, classic styles, but if you don’t have the cash to splash out on one of their jumpers, you can still get the goodness of alpaca at Quina and Cantuta. The alpaca fabric isn’t quite as thickly woven, but it is half the price.
Organic Cotton Tees: The Posh Label
Peruvian label Project Pietà gives an arty twist to its tees, with edgy quotes printed onto silky Pima cotton. The project benefits prisoners in Peru, who design, create and get paid for working on the tees. But are you willing to spend $43 for a t-shirt?
Organic Cotton Tees: The Bargain
Yeah, yeah, we know – it’s a horrendous fast fashion label. But if you’re seriously broke, and are planning on keeping one of Zara’s organic cotton T-shirts forever, it’s well worth the foray into the high street brand. Oh, and at least they’ve been rated ‘good’ by Good On You.
Vegan Boots: The Posh Label
English designer, Beatles daughter, fashion guru and eco hero Stella McCartney sure knows how to charm with her designs. She styled these super sexy thigh boots with almost every look in her label’s Pre-Fall ’18 lookbook – proving that they’re more versatile than you initially might think. Made in Italy, this black pair is cut from stretchy faux-leather and has side zips to make them easy to put on – but they’re not easy to buy for everyone, with a price tag of over $1000.
Vegan Boots: The Bargain
The Chere Boots by NAE Vegan are super ethical, fit just about every calf size, and are perennially chic. At at around 1/10th the cost of Stella’s boots, they’re a serious bargain.
Hand Embroidered Blouses: The Posh Label
All Things Mochi is a very high end embroidery brand that uses ancient textiles and an outstanding craftsmanship to create modern trend silhouettes, effortlessly merging eastern and western sensibilities and encouraging the talent from the community. Be prepared though to have a budget that can arrive up to $1500, just for one piece.
Hand Embroidered Blouses: The Bargain
Alternatively if you shop at People Tree you probably won’t spend more than $100. This cherished ethical brand has artisans in India creating extraordinary handmade embroidered garments, and much more. This business model is beneficial for the buyer and the consumer, since the client gets unique, one-of-a-kind, beautiful pieces that are not typically available in their area and the artisans are able to sell to a person that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach out to from their hometown.
Eco Jewellery: The Posh Label
One of Eluxe’s favourite designers of eco-jewellery is undoubtedly Pippa Small, whose visual tales from around the world are envisaged on gems that have a hippie aristocratic allure.
Eco Jewellery: The Bargain
If you would rather not spend $500 to $4000 for some fine eco-jewellery, we’d advise checking out another eco-jewellery brand we love: Slade Fine Jewellery. This is a label that gives new life to old gems by creating wearable works of art that are affordable and completely ecological.
Online Retailers: The Posh Label
The digital era is all about online shopping, but it can be misleading: some top retailers, like Net-a-Porter have an increasingly wide variety of sustainable brands, and have also cut all fur-based fashion from their stock – but they also carry non-ethical/sustainable brands, too, which is confusion for some shoppers.
Online Retailers: The Bargain(ish)
Reve en Vert is a virtual place to purchase contemporary clothing that’s all consciously created. This site embraces innovation and integrity by showcasing brands that reduce social and environmental impact without compromises. No wonder many call it ‘the ethical Net-a-Porter’!
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