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08 Mar

Meet 33 Women-Owned Brands Making Waves in Ethical Fashion

Our editors curate highly rated brands that are first assessed by our rigorous ratings system. Buying through our links may earn us a commission—supporting the work we do. Learn more.

 

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some dynamic and responsible women-owned brands rated “Good” or “Great” on our directory.

Feminism and sustainable fashion

Fast fashion is inherently anti-feminist, a constant violator of human rights, and terrible for the planet. Since the 1990s and the dawn of globalisation, most of our garments have been grown, sewn, and crafted outside of our home countries where a majority of the garment workforce are women—usually women of colour—who are too often exploited and underpaid.

Along with severe underpayment, many of these women also face harassment, insults, and pressure to continue working in less than adequate conditions—all for the sake of a $10 SHEIN top that is unlikely to last longer than a season.

If you’ve seen The True Cost, or any other film documenting fast fashion’s horrors, you know that it doesn’t stop there, and that fast fashion also disempowers women by promoting unrealistic beauty standards, lining the pockets of majority-male C-Suites, encouraging excessive spending, and causing other environmental injustices.

In this story there is definitely no “knight in shining armour,” but there is an empowered community of entrepreneurial women committed to changing the fashion industry in their own unique and innovative ways, and we’re excited to share them with you here.

Before diving in, if you’re interested in understanding more about the intersectionality between environmentalism and feminism, then the resources below will help you get started:

Now, without further ado, we’re pleased to introduce to you 33 of our favourite female sustainability superheroes.

The Good Tee founder Adila Cokar and four garment workers holding up Fashion Revolution

North America

Passion Lilie

Rated: Good
someone wearing matching top and pants by passion lilie.

“I decided to start Passion Lilie in 2013 because I felt fair trade apparel didn’t have enough stylish, well-fitting, and affordable options… My heart and soul go into every piece. I hope to spread joy and goodness through Passion Lilie’s thoughtfully crafted collections.”

Katie Schmidt, Founder and CEO of Passion Lillie

Based in New Orleans, Passion Lillie champions bright and joyful patterns in its printed clothes, accessories and homewares. It offers a free job training program to help women in India become tailors.

Find its range in sizes XS-XXL

See the rating

Support Passion Lillie

SANTICLER

Rated: Good
Someone in black bralette top and midi skirt by Santicler.

“Our rich European heritage of makers and weavers and a childhood spent exploring nature juxtaposed with decades in the fashion industry, current innovations, and our dedication to cultural sustainability has transformed our perspectives, giving us an appreciation and distinctive point of view that has ultimately informed our brand ethos.”

Santicler

After years of working at some of the world’s biggest fashion brand’s Santicler’s founder Monica created her own brand to offer elegant, responsibly made designs that would transcend the traditional seasonal fashion cycle.

Find its range in sizes 0-3 (equivalent to XS-L)

See the rating

Support Santicler 

The Good Tee

Rated: Great
three people standing by the sea in long-sleeved grey and black Fair Trade Organic tops by The Good Tee

“Jane Goodall said it best: ‘What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.’ Sustainability means different things to different people. Understand your values and integrate them into your brand.” 

Adila Kokar, Founder of The Good Tee

Kokar’s Canadian brand The Good Tee strives to be a positive example of responsibly made basics for the whole family, while simultaneously humanising the fashion industry.

Find its range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Support The Good Tee.

Harvest & Mill

Rated: Great
Harvest & Mill sustainable socks pack in ivory

“The Harvest & Mill family includes team members that have a background in organic agriculture and sustainable systems and who work side by side with our designers. We are serious about creating a more equitable and healthy fashion industry.” 

Natalie Patricia, Founder of Harvest & Mill

Founded in 2012, Harvest & Mill makes organic cotton clothing that is entirely grown and milled in the USA and sewn in the Bay Area.

Shop the range in sizes S-XL.

See the rating.

Support Harvest & Mill.

POPLINEN

Rated: Good
Three people wearing lower-impact loungewear by POPLINEN.

“As a woman of color with Latina roots, I started Poplinen because sustainable fashion should not be exclusive, and if we truly want to address sustainability issues globally, the industry is in need of more minority representation within the space. It’s my passion to create earth-friendly, everyday essentials that provide comfort without compromising your style––all while making a more equitable climate future for people and the planet.”

Desiree Gaitan-Buchanan, Founder, Poplinen

Poplinen’s minimalist wardrobe essentials are made from lower-impact materials, including, as the name suggests, linen, and its final stage of production happens locally in California.

Find its range in sizes XS-3XL

See the rating

Support Poplinen

Proclaim

Rated: Good

“I started Proclaim because I was tired of not being able to find a nude bra that matched my brown skin. What started as an annoyance about the colour nude turned into something much bigger. It turned into the opportunity to revolutionise an industry. Proclaim is a love letter to women who demand change rather than settling for the status quo.” 

Shobha Philips, Founder of Proclaim

Los Angeles-based Proclaim makes beautiful bras, underwear, and basics from lower-impact materials like recycled plastic bottles and TENCEL. Its designs come in three shades of “nude,” building inclusivity into the brand. It also ensures the people in its California factory earn a living wage, and visits suppliers regularly.

Find the range in sizes S-3XL.

See the rating.

Support Proclaim.

The Tiny Closet

Rated: Great
ethical basic white shirt by Tiny Closet

“I am a small-business owner, responsible for manufacturing and selling new clothing from outsourced fabrics. I make my business available to both a domestic and global audience yearlong. Because of these choices, I am very conscious of how I operate my business, and I take every action necessary to minimise my carbon footprint, support ethical wholesalers, source and use only deadstock fabric, and eliminate waste with made-to-order production.” 

Natalie, Founder of The Tiny Closet

The Tiny Closet is a line of simple and beautiful clothing. Each garment is made to order from deadstock fabrics to reduce waste, and designed to be worn for years to come.

The clothes are available in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Support The Tiny Closet.

Thesus (Alice + Whittles)

Rated: Good
Vegan boot and people dressed in tops by Thesus.

“We’re not trying to make people feel guilty about what they buy, we’re trying to make a product that’s about workmanship, craftsmanship, and quality. We want the shoes to be affordable and facilitate change on a grassroots level.”

Sofi Khwaja, Co-Founder of Thesus

Thesus favours transparency, responsible manufacturing practices, and lower-impact materials as a means of creating long lasting, positive change.

Find the boots in EU sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Support Thesus.

Parker Clay

Rated: Good
Someone unfolding a striped cotton towel on a beach, wearing a light leather backpack by Parker Clay.

“We created Parker Clay because we wanted to bring these beautiful products to the world, create jobs to empower vulnerable women to become economically independent, and protect traditional, sustainable, and ethical craftsmanship all at once.”

Brittany Bentley, Co-Founder of Parker Clay

A bag that saves lives? You got it. Parker Clay is an American brand looking to create a future without exploitation by bettering lives and communities in Ethiopia. The brand has partnered with Ellilta Women at Risk program, fighting to bring women out of prostitution by providing a more stable income and safe working environment.

See the rating.

Support Parker Clay.

Chelsea Bravo

Rated: Good
Woman wearing sustainable swing top

“I was honest with myself about where I was and where I saw myself going, that process led to me having a sustainable business that works for me.”

Chelsea Bravo, Founder of Chelsea Bravo

Chelsea Bravo’s collections creatively infuse her artistry with simple silhouettes for both women and men. Brooklyn based and more sustainably made with a high proportion of lower-impact materials, her pieces are contemporary and eye-catching.

Find them in sizes 2XS-XL.

See the rating.

Support Chelsea Bravo.

Subset (Knickey)

Rated: Great
People in underwear by Subset.

“Our biggest contribution to disrupting the traditional supply chain is in considering the ‘end of life’ of garments after consumer use.” 

Cayla O’Connell Davis, Founder of Subset (Knickey)

Made in a Fair Trade certified factory, Subset (Knickey)’s organic cotton underwear sets are some of the best in the sustainable market.

Find most items in sizes 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Support Subset (Knickey).

ARTICLE22

Rated: Good

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gold and silver jewellery

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“I met artisans in a rural village melting US bombs into spoons. Having studied history at Williams College and Oxford University, I was beguiled by my lack of awareness of the Secret War in Laos (1963-1974) which left a legacy of 80 million unexploded bombs. Recognising that market linkage and design are major constraints on artisans, I founded ARTICLE22.” 

Elizabeth Suda, Founder of ARTICLE22

Every piece of ARTICLE22 jewellery is locally handcrafted in Laos using recycled materials from Vietnam War bombs, plane parts, military hardware, and other aluminium scraps.

The range is available in sizes S-XL.

See the rating.

Support ARTICLE22.

Bario Neal

Rated: Good
person holding a relaxed hand under their chin wearing earrings, rings and necklaces by Bario Neal

“Today, we’re an industry leader in ethical sourcing and mindful production. Our jewellery reflects individualism, gender and marriage equality, and conscious values rooted in ethical origin from mine to market. We hope that you’ll find a piece of jewellery that represents your most authentic self.”

Anna Bario & Page Neal, Founders of Bario Neal

Bario Neal is a responsible custom-jewellery designer that hand-makes rings and fine jewellery using conflict-free diamonds and other gemstones. The brand uses more ethically sourced materials, including reclaimed precious metals, Fairmined gold, and stones to bring to life each of its beautifully designed pieces.

 

Minimalist

Rated: Good
someone in tops and trousers by Minimalist

“After 20 years in the industry, I knew that the world didn’t need another fashion brand that followed the same ‘take-make-waste’ linear production model that, unfortunately, most apparel companies use today.”

Tamara Davydova, Founder of Minimalist

Anchored in timeless design, Minimalist is a curated collection of women’s ready-to-wear clothes all made in New York and designed to be recycled at their end of life. It seeks to be part of the solution in making fashion more sustainable by using certified lower-impact materials and ensuring fair wages and work conditions in the local New York City factories that it supports.

Find its clothes in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Minimalist.

Europe + the UK

O My Bag

Rated: Good

“The classes I took at university on global issues like development aid shaped my ideas. It made me realise that fair trade can create social change. People can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace.”

Paulien Wesselink, Founder and CEO of O My Bag

O My Bag merges style and a responsible approach, creating vintage-inspired bags using lower impact, high quality materials. The Dutch label also uses lower-impact and non-toxic dyes in its products.

See the rating.

Support O My Bag.

BASTET NOIR

Rated: Good
Someone in suit by Bastet Noir.

“Making the world a better place one woman at a time. Because we give a damn.” 

Daniela Milosheska, Founder of BASTET NOIR

BASTET NOIR offers custom-made clothing manufactured by women in Macedonia, ensuring that every purchase contributes to the welfare and education of these women and their children.

Find most items in sizes 36-42, or in custom sizing.

See the rating.

Support BASTET NOIR.

E.L.V. Denim

Rated: Great
Someone in upcycled denim jacket and jeans by ELV Denim.

“Anna didn’t understand why the denim industry was producing 4bn pairs of jeans a year from virgin fibres. She decided to rework existing jeans into new modern, sophisticated styles that can be tailored to fit every ‘body’.”

– E.L.V Denim

Founder Anna Foster scours vintage clothing warehouses around the UK to find old denim jeans for reworking, before having them washed, recut and remade all in East London. E.L.V Denim only uses fabrics from pre-loved garments across its collections, which have now expanded from jeans to shirts, skirts, jackets and more.

Find its range in sizes 24-38 and XS-L, or have your jeans custom-made to fit

See the rating

Support E.L.V Denim

HERTH

Rated: Good
Someone in a luxurious, more sustainably made shirt, bra and pants by HERTH.

Antonietta Caracciuolo, the founder and designer of HERTH, had a clear plan in her mind: she wanted to create an inclusive brand reflecting her vision of timelessness and sustainability. [Her] commitment is to create a minimal and contemporary brand with people at its heart, where slow is better, every garment is made with care from top quality, local and certified raw materials.

HERTH is an Italian lifestyle brand whose philosophy combines responsible production with timelessness. It promotes slow fashion by working with local Italian artisans and only the purest materials. The brand embodies effortless luxury.

Find the range in XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Support HERTH.

Jyoti – Fair Works

Rated: Good

“We will probably not be able to change the textile industry by ourselves. But we can serve as a positive example by showing that it can be done differently, better, more justly. We can be an inspiration for other companies and an alternative for our customers. And we can provide fifteen women in India with a livelihood. We think that is already quite an achievement.”

Jeanine Glöyer, Founder of Jyoti

Embodying more ethical fashion practices, this German company provides employment for people from marginalised or disadvantaged groups in India.

Sizes available are S-XL.

See the rating.

Support Jyoti.

Mother of Pearl

Rated: Good
Someone in maxi dress by Mother of Pearl.

“Sustainable fashion isn’t always about buying something with a green tag on, it’s just considering what you’re doing. There are so many things that everybody can do that would make things a lot better. The number one thing is just consuming less and looking after what you buy.” 

Amy Powney, Founder of Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is a more sustainable luxury womenswear and accessories brand from the UK that celebrates individuality and authenticity.

Find most products in UK sizes 6-16.

See the rating.

Support Mother of Pearl.

KOHR

Rated: Great

“I kind of started to get the ‘ick’ for fashion…this was when I first started exploring sustainability. I watched lots of documentaries such as The True Cost, read books, and researched into anything I could find. I finally decided there is a place for me in the industry with my own brand fitting into a gap in the market I discovered.”

Amy Kohl, Founder of KOHR

KOHR is a UK-based slow fashion brand that designs and manufactures in house. The brand has three main focuses to ensure it’s innovative and responsible: longevity, versatility, and traceability.

Find the range in sizes S-XL or made to order.

See the rating.

Support KOHR.

Culthread

Rated: Great

I want to cater to those who have a similar vision and mindset as me: women who are ethically and environmentally conscious and are always eager to release their inner fashionista.” 

Rina Einy, Founder of Culthread

Culthread is a London-based brand creating stylish, practical, and everlasting jackets and accessories from vegan and deadstock materials.

The garments are offered in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Support Culthread.

Swedish Stockings

Rated: Good
Someone lay down on their side dressed in white basic top, sheer stockings by Swedish Stockings.

“After learning that traditional pantyhose are petroleum products planned for obsolescence, we started Swedish Stockings with the mission to change and influence the entire hosiery industry towards sustainable production overall.” 

Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg, Founders of Swedish Stockings

Swedish Stockings creates the best quality black and patterned stockings, knee highs, tights, socks, and pantyhose, all made from lower-impact materials.

Find the perfect pair in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Support Swedish Stockings.

Pantee

Rated: Good

“Inspired by the overwhelming amount of waste caused by overproduction in the fashion industry, we created Pantee, the world’s first underwear brand made from deadstock T-shirts. We’re proud to have created a brand that pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved through upcycling and reuse.”

Katie McCourt, co-Founder of Pantee

Pantee is a women’s underwear brand based in the UK with a focus on comfort. The brand incorporates a high proportion of lower-impact materials including recycled materials, and its limited production run minimises textile waste.

Find most items in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Pantee.

Australia

Sans Beast

Rated: Good
A trendy person dressed in an edgy, 90s look wearing a small green crossbody bag by Sans Beast.

“The brand was created with the purpose of delivering pieces that had beauty – without the beast. A brand with an honest, transparent narrative – that gives back with every purchase.”

– Cathryn Wills, Founder, Sans Beast

Willis founded Sans Beast to be the antithesis of the leather bag industry. The brand’s stylish shoulder bags, backpacks and totes are made from vegan leather and lower-impact materials, and it donates to a range of charities with every purchase made.

The Common Good Company

Rated: Great

“The Common Good Company was started to prove there is not only a better way to consume but a better way to produce. This is echoed through our supply chain and we’re proud to have a number of key female leaders within our business model. By employing and educating women, we can mitigate climate change through leadership and by inspiring community action to build climate resilience, adopting green tech and lead local and global policy.”

Tessa Carroll, Founder of The Common Good Co.

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.

See the rating.

Support The Common Good Company.

All The Wild Roses

Rated: Good

“Our brand was inspired by my first overseas visit to my native Vietnam when I was 19 years old. For the first time, I met many of my extended family, like most women in the region, they worked as seamstresses but opportunities were very limited due to lack of skills, education, and access to markets. After this experience and through our growing connection with each other, we wanted to create something together with the aspiration to provide work opportunities and prosperity not only for them, but for women in their community in Hai Phong, Vietnam.” 

Hang Osment-Le, Founder of All the Wild Roses

All the Wild Roses uses up to 50% deadstock fabric to create high quality and long lasting products.

Find most items in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Support All the Wild Roses.

TALI & TASI

Rated: Good

“We exist to inspire and allow others to lead adventurous, authentic, well-travelled lives that impact positively on the planet. It’s not just about the clothes; the clothes are the conversation starter; the platform we use to reach our audience.” 

Jessica Abrahams, Founder of Tasi Travels

For travelwear designed for adventures, look no further than Australian brand Tasi Travels.

Garments come in sizes XS/S, S/M, and M/L.

See the rating.

Support Tasi Travels.

Luna + Sun

Rated: Good
person holding a baby wearing a hat, top and shorts, with a person in a loose, pink dress by Luna + Sun

“Just after I launched Luna and Sun I also found out I was pregnant and becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways. I completely understand how other mothers feel after having a baby. Our bodies change and unfortunately a lot of the clothing out there doesn’t accommodate this. This is why I’m creating clothing that isn’t only sustainable, ethically made, and cruelty free, but also made for comfort and suits a variety of shapes and sizes for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond.” 

Teshani McManus, Founder of Luna + Sun

Luna + Sun is an Australian, cruelty-free fashion line creating gorgeous feminine designs. Its factory is certified by Ethical Clothing Australia, and its products are OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 certified.

Find most pieces in AU sizes 6-18.

See the rating.

Support Luna + Sun.

Little Emperor

Rated: Good
girl wearing pink little emperor t-shirt

“Whether we realise it or not, every time we buy something, we’re voting. When we buy clothes that have been made in factories where workers are underpaid and working in life threatening conditions, we’re supporting it. And when we spend our money with businesses that do the right thing throughout their supply chain, we’re supporting that.” 

Elizabeth Bold, Founder of Little Emperor

Little Emperor creates affordable clothing made from organic cotton, with every garment designed in Sydney, Australia, and made in a Sedex-approved factory ensuring living wages and safe working conditions for workers.

Find clothes for kids ages 2-8 years.

See the rating.

Support Little Emperor.

Elle Evans

Rated: Good

“I knew I wanted to structure my company differently, and starting from scratch meant that sustainability could be at the heart of every decision I made.” 

Elle Evans, Founder of Elle Evans

Founded in 2013, Elle Evans Swimwear creates beautiful, more sustainable swimwear and activewear for people who care about fashion and the future.

The range is stocked in sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Support Elle Evans.

Pure Pod

Rated: Good

“I was completely mentally and physically burnt out by my industry at that stage and had to heal myself.”

Kelli Donovan, Founder of Pure Pod

Pure Pod is a responsible lifestyle fashion label based in Australia using organic and fair trade accredited materials.

Find most styles in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Support Pure Pod.

Asia

Loop Swim

Rated: Good
two girls playing in water wearing colourful sustainable swimwear by Loop Swim

By the time Loop founders, Itee Soni and Heather Kaye, met in Shanghai in 2008, they were both fed up with the unnecessary waste they saw being generated first-hand by the fashion industry. So, they decided to do something about it.

Loop Swim transforms post-consumer use plastic bottles into phenomenal REPREVE UP50+ sun protective swimwear for men, women, and kids.

Find most items in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Support Loop Swim.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, group image via The Good Tee, 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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