A flared black and gold cotton top by ethical Indian brand The Summer House.
25 Jan
A flared black and gold cotton top by ethical Indian brand The Summer House.

The 8 Most Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Brands From India

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India is known for its rich cultural history and artisanal textile traditions, and is home to a host of conscious fashion labels creating beautiful clothing that is more respectful of people, the planet, and animals. Here are eight of our favourite more sustainable clothing brands from India.

Clothing rooted in artisanal craft

India’s traditional fashion is known worldwide for its brilliant colours, intricate designs, and links to culture. And as one of the largest producers of textiles in the world, and the leading global source of organic cotton, it is also a prime example of an area where the expanding sustainable fashion movement can thrive.

However, owing to globalisation, legacies of colonialism, and outsourcing of cheap skilled labour, much of the clothing “made in India” sold by the most profitable brands like H&M and Zara is rooted in worker exploitation and environmental harm. Fast fashion and the mass market leads to the devaluing of local artisanal craft and the disruption of valuable traditional handcrafting techniques.

By supporting smaller Indian clothing labels that have roots in the region and are creating responsibly-made clothing doing better by people, the planet, and animals, you are helping to shift the fashion landscape.

So what makes a fashion brand more ethical than others?

Long story short, a responsible brand makes sure it positively affects our Earth and its inhabitants.

A more ethical brand ensures its workers are treated fairly across the supply chain. This includes policies and practices on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, the right to join a union, and payment of a living wage.

A more sustainable brand also cares about its use of resources and energy, reducing its carbon emissions, impact on our waterways, and using and disposing of chemicals safely.

Finally, a conscious brand uses no or very few animal products, like wool, leather, fur, angora, down feather, shearling, karakul, and exotic animal skin and hair. Ideally, the brand is 100% vegan.

Now that you know what to look for to determine whether a brand is more ethical than others, you might decide to shop from companies located in your country or city. Whether it is to support your local communities or reduce your carbon footprint when shopping online, shopping locally has many great benefits.

So if you live in India or want to support small Indian labels, you might wonder which clothing brands are doing better. We know how you feel, which is why we compiled this list of “Good” or “Great” rated fashion brands either based or produced in India.

Curious about brands in other regions? Check out our favourite brands from:

Our favourite more ethical and sustainable brands from India

No Nasties

Rated: Great

Another leader when it comes to ethical fashion, No Nasties makes simple and stylish clothing from Fairtrade organic cotton in India where it is actively working to grow the ethical consumer market.

Find styles in sizes 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop No Nasties.

Shop No Nasties @ Made Trade.

I was a Sari

Rated: Good
A woman in a rust coloured ethical dress.

I was a Sari is an Indian brand bringing traditional styles into the modern age. Used saris and deadstock fabrics become vibrant products that are sold worldwide.

Find pieces in sizes S-L.

See the rating.

Shop I was a Sari.

Maatie

Rated: Good
A woman in a salmon coloured dress by Maatie.

Maatie is an Indian brand that tries to go back in time while going forward. The brand specialises in block printing, bringing traditional techniques to design with an ethical mind.

Find pieces in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Maatie.

EcoRight

Rated: Good

EcoRight is an Indian brand that creates products that help people go eco-friendly in a fun way, offering items made from lower-impact and responsibly-sourced materials.

See the rating.

Shop EcoRight.

SUI

Rated: Good
Two people wearing dresses made by Indian brand SUI.

SUI is an Indian label creating gorgeous womenswear in sizes 2XS-2XL with every product crafted in their workshop in Delhi.

See the rating.

Shop SUI.

The Summer House

Rated: Good
An organic blazer and skirt outfit designed by The Summer House.

Indian brand The Summer House creates mindfully designed, organic womenswear with a focus on quality.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop The Summer House.

Thaely

Rated: Good
Vegan sneakers made from recycled plastic designed by Thaely.

Indian brand Thaely offers a range of vegan sneakers made from recycled plastic bags, bottles, and rubber.

Find the shoes in EU sizes 37-48.

See the rating.

Shop Thaely.

Anchal

Rated: Good
Colourful quilt set by Indian brand Anchal.

Anchal is a lifestyle brand that practises upcycling and the use of vintage textiles throughout its product ranges. Anchal is based in the US but made in India by local artisans from locally-sourced fabrics.

See the rating.

Shop Anchal.

Editor's note

Feature image via The Summer House, 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 our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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