These 10 ethical British fashion brands show that the UK’s more than just a fast fashion hub!
By Lora O’Brien
From back in the days when Queen Elizabeth I rocked Tudor fashion with her ruffled collar all the way to when Mary Quant shocked the world with the mini skirt, the UK has always been famous for fashion.
Unfortunately, today, my home country is getting well known for cheap fast fashion. Primark, H&M, Mango and TopShop are but a few high street brands that proliferate in all British cities.
But there’s good news, too! Today, Britain is making itself known for showing a greener side. Many ethical British brands are now not only locally made, but they’re also manufactured from eco-friendly materials, too.
To prove it, I’ve highlighted 10 ethical British fashion brands, and discovered styles as interesting and as diverse as the Brits themselves. And you know what the best part is? These labels are ALL female-led!
Sustainable British Fashion At Its Best
Kensington-based ethical fashion brand Beulah makes quintessentially British luxury clothing with a social conscience. In addition to making elegant clothing from organic cotton, silk and linen.
Beulah provides employment for trafficked and vulnerable women and runs charity activities to support victims of trafficking through the Beulah Trust. Over the past five years, the company has been recognized for its ethical values and secured a loyal celebrity following, counting the Duchess of Cambridge, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Alba as clients.
Ethics: Natural fabrics including linen and organic cotton. Proceeds go towards helping trafficked women.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Stunning, elegant midi and maxi dresses, jackets and blazers.
Oftentimes ethical fashion lacks the luxury some of us seek. But today, more designers are stepping in to fill this void. And one of the best is Mother of Pearl!
Creative Director Amy Powney loved ‘90s sportswear trends from her teenage years in North England, and regularly incorporates those styles in her work. Expect innovative, greener fabric pairings and unique prints developed in-house.
This is a womenswear and accessories brand that loves two things above all: individuality and authenticity. Their mantra is sure, be classic – but never be boring.
Ethics: Mother of Pearl creates all their products with the future of our planet in mind. This means they use materials that are natural and long-lasting, such as organic cotton, TENCEL and hemp. Oh, and if you love our main image, shot by Stella’s sister, Mary McCartney, know this: the profits from the sales of these photo prints will go to “Real Horse Power,” which provides Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) for youths.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Quirky dresses and knitwear to trousers and sweatshirts. Luxe garments featuring masculine silhouettes with feminine detailing.
The daughter of Sir Paul and former Creative Director at Chloe is probably one of the best known ethical British fashion designers!
Ethics: As you probably know, Stella has been a vegetarian all her life, so her fashion line reflects that. No animals are ever harmed for her styles. But that’s not all! The designer aims to reduce her energy use in her shops and offices with alternative energies; has strict recycling policies in her workplaces, and uses only ethically certified factories.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Exquisite tailoring, vegetarian accessories. Chic athletic wear, in partnership with Parley for the Oceans and adidas.
Sophisticated, stylish and sustainable are the best ways to describe this elegant clothing line by Carole Bamford. The British lifestyle brand not only creates clothing from rich, noble, naturally dyed materials like organic cotton, vicuna, alpaca and cashmere, but also has a line of deliciously scented organic bath and personal care products that are somehow a bit addictive!
No wonder Bamford Organics is a favourite place to shop for British aristocrats and celebrities.
Ethics: From reusing offcuts to minimise textile waste and using low impact non-toxic dyes, Bamford was founded on the belief that we need to be mindful of our connection to the earth.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Everything from stylish casual clothing, decorative homewares and clean beauty items.
Launched in 2009, Outsider Clothing is one of the pioneering ethical British fashion brands. Casually cool, this label uses all-sustainable materials that drape gently from the body, including silk, bamboo jersey, Merino wool and organic cotton.
Ethics: Everything Outsider Clothing stands for is with a better future for fashion in mind. The brand uses natural, alternative and sustainable fibres. And of course, everything is produced in ethical factories.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Sweet, feminine dresses, classic jackets, shirts and tailored trousers.
One of our favourite ethical British fashion brands is COSSAC! They’ve perfected the art of timeless, feminine and versatile apparel. Encouraging people to buy less, the brand promotes the minimalist capsule wardrobe, offering classic garments that are designed to be worn beyond seasonal trends that come and go.
Ethics: The brand uses ethically sourced, organic or low impact materials so you can shop with confidence you’re spending wisely. In a bid to minimise waste and headstock, COSSAC works with small factories to produce small collections.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Everything from knitted dresses and ponchos to shirts, trousers, dresses and even bodysuits. Personally? I’m a huge fan of their knitwear!
Christopher Raeburn isn’t just another trailblazer in ethical British fashion; he’s also a pioneer in unisex style. From upcycled wool field jackets to nylon parachute shell suits, each so-called RÆMADE style is produced by meticulously deconstructing original unwanted pieces, and reworking the materials into unique and ethical garments.
Ethics: Raeburn is all about creating zero-waste designs from materials that would otherwise go to landfill. Think: old army surplus, parachutes and other deadstock fabrics.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Super cool outerwear, especially parkas and puffa jackets. But I personally also love how his dresses flow with the use of upcycled parachute material.
Will’s Vegan Shoes was one of the first places to make stylish and cruelty-free shoes in the UK. Back in 2012, the goal was clear: to make vegan shoes at the same price, same style and same quality as a good high-street brand. Fast forward to today and WVS not only sells shoes but pretty much all a vegan needs to look and feel stylish without harming animals in the process.
Ethics: Sure, WVS designs ethically made clothing and accessories but the brand also thinks further than the garments they sell. At the end of their life, customers can return their shoes to be recycled into new WVS outsoles and uppers. They even moved their warehouse to the Netherlands to massively reduce the distance parcels travel for European customers.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Everything vegan! From sneakers to heels, knitwear to coats, Will’s is the perfect one-stop shop for vegans of all genders.
Turning what already exists into something brand new is the ethos upon which Elvis & Kresse exists. In 2005, after learning that the decommissioned fire hoses of the London Fire Brigade head to a landfill, their brand was launched to prevent this from happening. Since then, Elvis & Kresse has saved over 300 tonnes of materials, reclaiming them and turning them into luxury lifestyle accessories.
Ethics: Elvis & Kresse have been rescuing raw materials since 2005. They also donate 50% of profits back to charities.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: All kinds of eco friendly accessories, from unique bags and purses to men’s wallets and notepads.
Before launching Fanfare, founder Esther Knight was a fashion buyer in London and witnessed firsthand how broken the fashion industry is, with fashion businesses driving their financial profits at the expense of people wanting to protect the planet. Instead of leaving the industry, Esther set her sights on being part of the opposite team, one where people try to instil positive changes. Fanfare Label was born: a circular fashion brand that not only promotes sustainable fashion but also a moral way of working in the fashion realm.
Ethics: Encouraging consumers to wear their value, Fanfare Label designs clothes to last using rescued textiles and certified sustainable fabrics. If any Fanfare Label clothing needs a repair or has reached the end of its life, the brand assists to help continue its life cycle.
One of the best ethical British fashion brands for: Cool, ethically made linen suits, organic and recycled denim jeans, essential tees and statement jewellery.
Did we miss any ethical British fashion brands that you love? Let us know in the comments, below!