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Taking care of workers and the planet means more sustainable fashion often costs more. But it’s a spectrum. These brands offer a more approachable entrypoint. These brands are all rated “Good” or “Great” and have a $-$$ price point in the Good On You directory.
Find conscious fashion that fits your budget better
Building a more sustainable wardrobe encourages consumers to be aware of how their fashion choices impact the environment, workers, and animals. Why don’t more people jump on the sustainable fashion train? Price may be one thing holding people back. Responsible clothing has a reputation for being more expensive, and for good reason. But while taking care of workers and the planet means more sustainable fashion often costs more, it’s a spectrum. There are some brands emerging that offer a more approachable entrypoint.
When I first discovered more sustainable fashion, I was a sophomore in college. Living on a college budget and trying to keep up with fashion trends is challenging enough; adding eco-consciousness to the mix leaves you with pretty limited options.
So, how can consumers on a budget find more affordable clothing brands? First, let’s look at why more sustainable clothing tends to be more expensive in the first place.
Why is responsible clothing typically more pricey?
More sustainable fashion items are typically more expensive for a number of reasons. A notable example is the higher quality of materials being used in garments. For example, when comparing materials such as organic cotton and conventional cotton, consumers learn that organic cotton is grown without harmful pesticides. Since organic cotton uses less chemicals, this crop requires more up-keep. On top of the high quality of materials being used, ethical brands pay their farmers and employees a living wage, which has to be factored into the price of the garment.
When shopping for more affordable conscious fashion, beware of cheap fast fashion brands greenwashing
When looking for more affordable responsible fashion brands, it’s important to keep your eyes open to greenwashing. Fast fashion giants such as H&M have come out with “conscious” clothing lines. While these affordable brands might be using lower-impact materials for a few items, their business model does not support sustainability. Fast fashion brands rely on consumers viewing clothes as disposable and continuously buying into the latest trends. While the fast fashion brand’s eco-conscious claims lead consumers to believe they’re making a more sustainable choice, this mass production ultimately still causes harm to the environment.
How to find more affordable sustainable fashion
When kickstarting a conscious wardrobe, try starting with the basics. Simple swaps such as t-shirts and underwear are typically a more budget friendly place to start. Another wonderful way to celebrate eco-friendly fashion on a budget is by shopping second hand or hosting clothing swaps.
Luckily, there is another solution for when you must buy new. Below are some of the more affordable fashion brands rated “Good” or “Great” with a $-$$ price point in the Good On You directory.
A note on affordability
Good On You wants to help you find more sustainable options no matter your budget. But we recognise that many responsible brands appear more expensive up front. That’s because more goes into a price tag than the cost of fabric. Fast fashion prices are often low because workers are not paid living wages and sustainable practices are not followed in production.
Fast fashion has also distorted our view of clothing prices. We now spend much less and buy far more low-quality garments than we did a few decades ago. When taking into account cost per wear, higher-quality items you’ll wear again and again end up costing less in the long run despite the initial investment.
We aim to highlight the range of more affordable sustainable brands, but we also encourage you to seek out the most sustainable options that work for you. Sometimes this means shopping second hand, other times rediscovering and restyling what you already own.