Sustainable fashion has been gaining traction in the last few years, and loads of eco-friendly brands are being created to cater to a range of styles and needs. But there’s still work to be done to make fair fashion accessible for all. One issue that crops up again and again is difficulty finding brands with a wider size range that don’t fall way outside the budget. We hear you, and we’ve tracked down size inclusive affordable brands that just might tick your boxes.
Up until recently, it was hard to find size-inclusive or plus-size sustainable fashion brands. Even though the body positive and ethical fashion movements have grown side by side, some have argued they have failed to join forces. With designers often having to choose between ethics and extended size ranges, plus-size shoppers are left feeling excluded from the conversation.
Sustainable fashion can be expensive, especially compared to fast fashion’s ridiculously low prices. For many people, one look at the price tag on an item of ethical clothing is enough to turn them off for good. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and we’ve talked before about whether ethical clothing is as expensive as it seems and why it’s worth investing in anyway. There’s so much more that goes into a price tag than the cost of fabric, like paying a living wage and taking care of our Earth.
If you have a budget, you could adopt the “Cost per wear” rule, which takes into account how many uses (or “wears”) you can get per item of clothing, and the more wears, the better the investment. By using this rule, you begin to realise that investing in quality clothes over cheap disposable garments is far better for your wallet in the long run. Here’s a convenient calculator to figure out if something is worth the investment!
That aside, when you combine the lack of size inclusivity with the fact that not everyone has a lot of disposable income for clothes, finding sustainable fashion brands can be challenging—if not downright impossible. Everyone should be able to find ethical brands that fit and match their values, style, and budget.
The good news is that the Good On You team rolled up its sleeves and went on the hunt for brands that celebrate all types of beauty and sizes, AND that are easier on the wallet! Keep reading to discover 16 size-inclusive, affordable, and fashionable brands.
And remember, while we love recommending up-and-coming sustainable labels, we also believe buying second hand is almost always the most sustainable option. Vestiaire Collective, thredUP, Thrift+, Depop, and more recently, The Plus Bus (for our US-based audience) are all fantastic platforms to check out.
A note on affordability
Good On You wants to help you find sustainable options no matter your budget. But we recognize that many sustainable 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.
A note on size inclusivity
Good On You wants to help you find sustainable options that suit your needs. We share your frustration that sustainable fashion has too few size-inclusive options. Sustainable brands often lack an extended sizing range beyond 2XL, and when they do, they might provide limited options. In order for sustainable fashion to become more mainstream, it has to include everyone, and brands need to catch up or risk getting left behind. Until then, ethical brands offering custom sizing are a good option. Dipping into brands rated “It’s a Start” if they best meet your needs also works. Discover more about the importance of size inclusivity in fashion.