10 Sustainable Alternatives to Urban Outfitters - Good On You
10 Sep

10 Sustainable Alternatives to Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is fun, edgy, affordable, and makes you feel like the coolest kid on the block. It has everything one could need to achieve the perfect boho/hipster/geeky/carefree look: artsy t-shirts, vintage-style dresses, trendy jewellery, and even beauty, homeware, records, and polaroid cameras?!

I remember going into my first Urban Outfitters as a teenager and buying neon nail polish and this cool leopard cross t-shirt. I felt like a badass, and I couldn’t wait to show all my friends at school.

But that was long before I knew what was happening behind the scenes of Urban Outfitters, and the reality is: UO might be a lot of things, but it’s not super sustainable.

The US brand is doing very little to reduce its impact on the planet, like implementing water reduction initiatives, eliminating hazardous chemicals, or minimising textile waste.

On the labour front, Urban Outfitters isn’t doing so well, either. Despite launching its UO Community Cares initiative—where employees and customers are encouraged to give back to their local community—we found little evidence of labour policies or even of payment of a living wage. And in 2015, the brand was caught up in a labour rights scandal where employees were asked to work for free on weekends in the guise of ‘team building’! Not cool.

When it comes to animals, Urban Outfitters does not use fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin, but it does use leather, wool, and exotic animal hair from unspecified sources. There is no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production, which is problematic because the welfare of both the animals and the workers cannot be guaranteed!

Unsurprisingly, we rate Urban Outfitters ‘Not Good Enough’ as it’s doing very little to protect the environment, its workers, or animals. So while UO’s collections appeal to open-minded and progressive young people, the brand has a long way to go before we can count it as sustainable and ethical.

So if you’re into the Urban Outfitters vibe, we found 10 sustainable alternatives from all over the world that are just as edgy, fun, cool, and most importantly, way kinder to the planet, people, and animals. Amongst these ethical alternatives to Urban Outfitters, you’ll find brands that cater to different styles like streetwear and cottagecore/boho, different budgets, and different sizes, so you’re bound to find a brand you like.

Afends

Rated: Good
3 images of afends' latest collection

Afends is an Australia-based fashion brand leading the way in organic hemp fashion, using renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact. You can find the full range in sizes XS-XL.

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Shop Afends.

Plant Faced Clothing

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

Streetwear without sweatshops, that's the motto of this British 100% plant-based, ethical, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand. Buy Plant Faced Clothing in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced Clothing.

Yes And

Rated: Good

YES AND aims to banish the stigma that sustainable fashion has to sacrifice style, quality, fit, color, comfort or price. With this US-based brand you can actually have it all, and more: it is certified organic, low-impact dyed, and ethically made! You can find most items in sizes XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop Yes And.

The Common Good Company

Rated: Great

The Common Good Company produces clothing using recycled materials, proving that there is not only a better way to produce but a better way to consume. Find the clothes in AU sizes 6-14.

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Shop The Common Good Company.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources. Find most products in XS-XL.

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Shop Whimsy + Row.

tonlé

Rated: Good

tonlé provides environmentally-friendly women's clothing with a zero-waste design process. To do so, the brand uses remnant fabrics from large manufacturers as well as recycled threads and reclaimed wood from local suppliers for its trim and accessories. Its range is inclusively sized from XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop tonlé.

Christy Dawn

Rated: Great
3 images of christy dawn's latest collection

Christy Dawn is a minimalist showroom for vintage-inspired women's clothing and footwear, locally made with surplus fabric. The US brand rates 'Great', making it a fabulous boho option for your wardrobe. Find the clothes in standard sizes XS-XL, or shop the Extended and Petite collections.

See the rating.

Shop Christy Dawn.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year! MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton. MUD Jeans are available in a range of sizes, usually from W25 L30-W33 L32 for women and W28 L34-W36 L34 for men.

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Shop MUD Jeans.

Shop MUD Jeans @ Labell-D.

WIILDS

Rated: Good

WIILDS is a surf brand located on the east coast of Australia, providing you with quality goods. The brand works exclusively with ethical, environmentally conscious suppliers, and as a result, nearly all of its products are organic (GOTS Certified). Love! Find the range in sizes S-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop WILLDS.

Phyne

Rated: Great

Phyne is a German sustainable brand that offers minimalist streetwear for a fearless future. All its garments and accessories are made from organically produced natural fibres, in accordance with the environmental and social requirements of the globally recognised Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). You can find Phyne products in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Phyne.

Shopping second hand

Urban Outfitters is a big retailer, but it still manages to give you that retro, vintage, second hand feel. If that’s what you’re into or if you’re on the hunt for a retro band t-shirt, why not buy clothes that are actually second hand? Not sure where to start? Have a look at our favourite vintage and second hand stores and platforms.

Editor's note

Feature image via Urban Outfitters, 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 Good On You to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales with top-rated partners made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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