13 Sep

7 Ethical Alternatives to THAT Zara Polka Dot Dress

At the beginning of the summer, Zara released a £40 black and white polka dot dress. So far, so good, nothing out of the ordinary to worry about.

But soon, the dress was adopted by influencers, and suddenly everyone became obsessed. The dress was (and still is) everywhere, like, literally—everywhere. It’s become so viral that it now has its own Instagram account, gathering more than 24,5k followers. Sorry, what?

While it doesn’t come as a shock that fast-fashion giant Zara is not the most ethical or sustainable brand on the planet, THAT Zara dress is the perfect example of everything wrong with fast fashion. First is the unsustainable speed at which products (including the dress) are designed, produced, sold and replaced. Then, Zara prides itself on giving consumers the ‘latest fashion trends’ every 13 days! Clearly, the promotion of such rapid consumption is inherently harmful to both people and planet. And finally, fast fashion is boring! Who wants to be dressed EXACTLY the same as every other girl on the planet (which is clearly what’s been happening with THE dress)?

So, we’ve listed 7 ethical and original alternatives to THAT Zara dress that do better on people, planet, and animals, and that won’t make you look like everyone else. We’re here to help you achieve the same comfortable, flowy, and delightfully dotty look, with an ethical flair.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Henrietta Swallow Dress – Ships internationally

People Tree is a womenswear brand and pioneer of ethical and sustainable fashion that doesn’t compromise on style. Its elegant swallow print dress in buttercup yellow and black is made from 95% organic cotton. While this dress doesn’t technically have black and white polka dots, we love its style and fit anyway!

See the rating.

Shop People Tree.

VETTA

Rated: Good

The Tiered Wrap Dress – Ships internationally

VETTA’s capsule wardrobe essentials are made in the USA from eco-friendly fabrics. This dress is actually two dresses in one: the bottom portion of this midi dress snaps off to become a shorter dress. Made from Tencel, it can be dressed up or down, making it a great option for any occasion!

See the rating.

Shop VETTA.

Marks & Spencer

Rated: Good

Polka Dot Relaxed Midi Dress – Ships internationally

Bristish retailer Marks & Spencer has set some strong environmental and labour policies and rates ‘Good’ on both topics. This pretty polka dot midi-dress has a relaxed design, for a carefree, airy feel. It also features a high neck, and the back-tie detail adds a subtle formal touch.

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Shop Marks & Spencer.

Osei-Duro

Rated: Good

Tulip Wrap Dress – Ships internationally

Osei-Duro designs and produces eye-catching clothing in Ghana, West Africa, using traditional textile techniques. It is on a mission to improve social conditions and empower workers in Ghana, and its products are all handmade with low impact non-toxic dyes. This wrap dress has an easy fit, which is perfect for that casual-yet-trendy day look.

See the rating.

Shop Osei-Duro.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Laurieton Dress – Ships internationally

A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition! This lightweight mini dress is made in Hungary using sustainable viscose.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Reformation

Rated: Good

Lawrence Dress – Ships internationally

LA-based Reformation creates killer clothes that don’t kill the environment. The brand also ensures that a large proportion of its suppliers pay a living wage. This one sleeve dress with a puff sleeve and a high slit is perfect for date-night! It’s also fitted in the bodice with an easy fitting skirt. We’re in love with this dress tbh.

See the rating.

Shop Reformation.

Kate Sylvester

Rated: Good

Sibilla Dress – Ships internationally

Kate Sylvester is an iconic New Zealand designer of womenswear, handbags, shoes and accessories. The signature Sibilla dress features a round neckline, short sleeves, and a slim fit bodice with an A-line skirt. The perfect combination of elegant and cosy.

See the rating.

Shop Kate Sylvester.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, we’ve also found 7 ethical brands you’ll love more than Zara!

Editor's note: feature image via Zara, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You has big plans for ethical fashion in 2019! To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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