12 Aug

8 Ethical Alternatives to Primark

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Whenever I think about Primark, I picture the huge queues that form every time the brand opens a new location. I also think of very cheap, petroleum-based Christmas jumpers. Just me?

Primark is a pure fast fashion brand. The Irish chain is known and loved worldwide for its range of on-trend clothing, footwear, accessories, and homewares for men, women, and children at very, very, VERY low prices. So what’s the cost of Primark’s fast fashion model on the planet, people, and animals? And what sustainable and ethical alternatives to Primark are there?

Primark has taken a few steps in the right direction by implementing initiatives to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency in its stores and factories, signing the Bangladesh Accord and Cotton Pledge, and adopting the ETI Code of Conduct. These actions are commendable—but the brand still has a long way to go. Primark needs to use more eco-friendly materials in its products, set specific reduction targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and wastewater, and ensure its workers are treated fairly, including paying them a living wage and providing safe and healthy working conditions.

Overall, we rate Primark ‘Not Good Enough. Primark’s business model is based on creating vast amounts of short-lived, poorly-made fast fashion products, which inherently contradicts the values of ethical fashion and is ultimately bad news for the planet, people, and animals.

So if you want to ditch the poorly-made, cheap, and harmful clothes and give Primark a miss, we found brands like Primark that are making a solid effort across the board for sustainability and ethics. Keep reading to discover ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ ethical alternatives to Primark.

Yes Friends

Rated: Great

Yes Friends is a UK-based fashion brand that creates more affordable clothing for everyone. Yes Friends' first product, classic cut t-shirts, cost less than £4 to make and the brand only charges £7.99. Using large scale production and direct to consumer margins means Yes Friends can charge you an affordable price for its more responsible clothing.

Find the range inclusively sized in 2XS-4XL.

See the rating.

Shop Yes Friends.

Plant Faced Clothing

Rated: Good
3 images of plant faced's latest collection

Streetwear without the sweatshops, that's the motto of this British 100% vegan and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand that is all about promoting a new wave of consciousness that supports the non-harming or exploitation of any beings in fashion production.

Buy Plant Faced Clothing in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced Clothing.

Honest Basics

Rated: Good

Honest Basics is a GOTS-certified basics brand based in Germany. It's on a mission to make more sustainable fashion accessible to everyone, by keeping prices low, making quality basics that everyone has in their wardrobe, and constantly improving the sustainability of its products and supply chain.

The range is available in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Honest Basics.

People Tree

Rated: Great

Eco-fashion pioneer and leader People Tree is a seriously responsible brand. It uses lower-impact materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct.

Find most products in UK sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree UK.

Shop People Tree EU.

Shop People Tree @ Wearwell.


Rated: Great

Innovative, responsible, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a top score overall from us. The brand covers all the basics in womenswear, menswear, and kidswear. Armedangels' quality and long-lasting pieces are made from lower-impact and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. The brand also adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to protect its workers abroad.

Its products are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

Shop Armedangels @ Earthkind.

Sense Organics

Rated: Good

Sense Organics is an established German brand that has been dressing kids in its colourful organic cotton range for 18 years. We give it a "Good" rating for its commitment to lower-impact materials and its treatment of garment workers, including ensuring suppliers pay a living wage.

Find clothes for kids aged 0-10.

See the rating.

Shop Sense Organics.

Jackfruit the Label

Rated: Good
three people in pink and white bra and brief sets

Jackfruit the Label is an Australian brand that houses slow and responsibly-made underwear that is comfortable, long lasting, and lower-impact, made from bamboo and organic cotton.

Available in AU sizes 6-26.

See the rating.

Shop Jackfruit the Label.

Jyoti – Fair Works

Rated: Good
people in shirts, trousers and dresses by Jyoti

For those living in Europe, you’re lucky enough to be able to get your hands on the beautiful 100% GOTS cotton products created by Jyoti. Truly embodying responsible fashion practices, this German company provides employment for people from marginalised or disadvantaged groups in India.

Sizes available are S-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Jyoti.

Editor's note

Feature image via nu-in. All other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use the Directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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