10 Best Affordable Eco-Friendly Clothing That Won’t Break the Bank (or the Environment)
When it’s time to purchase new clothes, you might be thinking about making the switch to sustainable style to lessen your environmental impact. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank when you check out this list of the most affordable eco-friendly clothing.
Read on to learn why it’s time to breakup with fast fashion. Then discover the most affordable sustainable fashion brands for everyone in the family.
What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It Bad for the Environment?
The fast fashion industry encourages us to view clothing as something disposable. We’re constantly pushed to follow the latest trends, buy clothes that often fall apart after wearing them for only a few months, and then buy more clothes.
Sadly, in order to pump out as much clothing as quickly as possible, the fashion industry often resorts to unethical work practices, including unsafe conditions and child labor. The fast fashion industry is also estimated to contribute around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
And where does all this cheaply made clothing end up when it wears out? Typically, in the landfill. In fact, the average American creates 82 pounds of textile waste each year.
What Is Sustainable Fashion?
In order for clothing to be considered sustainable, it should be made with eco-friendly materials, be ethically made, and be designed to last.
When you select eco-friendly materials, you’re avoiding fabrics like polyester and nylon, which are both made from petroleum. These synthetic fabrics are also responsible for the microfiber pollution that’s destroying our waterways and poisoning aquatic wildlife.
Related: Cora Ball vs. Guppyfriend- Which Is Better at Reducing Microfiber Pollution?
What Is Ethical Fashion?
Ethical fashion brands are attentive to how workers are treated. They want to ensure that everyone from the farmers growing the cotton to the manufacturers assembling the clothing are treated fairly.
This includes setting up safe working conditions, paying fair wages, and absolutely no forced or child labor.
Additionally, ethical brands not only take their human workforce into consideration, they’re also concerned about the animals we share the planet with.
After all, the livestock raised for food consumption already greatly contribute to global warming. We don’t need the added carbon footprint from livestock raised for leather or fur. That’s why many eco-friendly fashion brands are also vegan or cruelty-free.
Why Is Eco-Friendly Clothing More Expensive?
When you’re used to shopping fast fashion, it’s really easy to be shocked at the higher price tag of sustainable clothing. Why is eco-friendly clothing often more expensive? There are actually several good reasons for it.
Sustainable clothing is typically made from natural materials — such as cotton, linen, or hemp — or semi-synthetic materials like TENCEL or fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
To ensure natural fibers are truly sustainable, they must also be grown organically. This means growing the plants without pesticides while properly managing freshwater and wastewater.
All of this is especially true for cotton, which is one of the most resource-intensive crops grown.
Related: The Best Reusable Cotton Rounds for a Sustainable Beauty Routine
Growing these raw materials sustainably costs money, which ultimately impacts the final price of the product.
A Living Wage
Too often, fast fashion companies rely on sweatshop labor to create their pieces. Even worse, they sometimes use child labor.
Sustainable clothing brands feel neither of these practices are acceptable. To ensure they can pay their workers a fair wage, these brands have to charge more for their products.
The next time you see clothes at such low prices, consider who’s really paying the price. It’s mostly likely a garment worker stuck in terrible working conditions and not making enough to feed their own family.
Unlike fast fashion, sustainable clothing isn’t designed to be worn a few times and then thrown away. It’s made to be worn again and again for years to come.
Because of this, a lot of time and care goes into how each piece is designed and constructed. This can include higher quality materials and extra attention assembling all of the pieces together.
Where to Find the Most Affordable Eco-Friendly Clothing
Now that you know why fast fashion is so bad for the planet, you’re probably ready to make the switch to something better. Fortunately, it’s easy to go eco-friendly on a budget and not spend everything you earn when buying sustainable clothes.
This list of the most affordable eco-friendly clothing includes options for women, men, and children, so you can easily find something for the entire family. When available, we’ve also included exclusive discount codes unique to Earth Friendly Tips to help you save even more.
ABLE is a women-run fashion brand that seeks to move fashion forward and empower women in their everyday lives. They believe that one way to help end poverty around the world is to provide good jobs to those who lack opportunities.
ABLE has clothing, handbags, accessories, and a great selection of shoes, for women ranging in size from XXS to 3X. To help have a lower impact on the planet, ABLE uses eco-conscious materials and production processes. Additionally, the company is moving toward more recyclable shipping materials and tags to help reduce waste.
The company also does a lot to ensure clothing stays out of landfills. First, everything from ABLE comes with a lifetime guarantee. If something doesn’t hold up, you can have it repaired or replaced.
Additionally, since the company realizes that our size often changes as we go through life, they created the Size Swap collection. If you purchase a piece from this collection and something changes so that it no longer fits, you can exchange it for your new size — no matter how long it has been.
Also, be sure to check out their More Than a Sale section to score some of the best prices.
Related: The Best Non-Toxic Laundry Stain Removers That Actually Work
Tentree makes all of the essential clothing everyone in the family needs using some of the most sustainable and comfortable materials available. This includes basics, activewear, loungewear, and accessories for men, women, and children in sizes that range from XS to XL.
The company uses natural fabrics like organic cotton and hemp. They even consider the smaller details, like using biodegradable buttons made from coconut shells.
Tentree only works with manufacturers and suppliers that guarantee a safe and respectful workplace for their employees and strive to reduce their impact on the environment.
They also believe sustainable clothing should come in sustainable packaging. That’s why they use 100% recyclable and compostable shipping mailers and eliminate single-use plastics by using recycled paper for tags and packaging inserts.
However, one of the best parts about buying affordable eco-friendly clothing from tentree is that your purchase helps plant trees. For each purchase you make, tentree is able to plant 10 trees to help fight climate change.
Each piece of apparel comes with its own unique tree code specific to your 10 trees. Once you register your tree code, you’ll be able to track your trees to see when and where they’re planted.
Plus, you can get more than just clothing at tentree. The company also has one of the top carbon offset programs with affordable options to help you live more sustainably.
As always, be sure to take a look at their sale section to take advantage of even more great markdowns.
Related: How to Save More Trees by Easily Reducing Paper Towel Waste
3. Girlfriend Collective
Whether you’re looking for some of the best sustainable activewear, or you want eco-friendly swimwear that actually fits, you’ll find exactly what you’re searching for at Girlfriend Collective. In addition to these items, Girlfriend Collective also sells clothing, intimates, and accessories.
This size-inclusive brand offers everything from XXS to 6XL. Plus, don’t let the name fool you. They also have tops and bottoms for men.
While the company uses a lot of different fabrics, all of them are made from post-consumer waste. They also use eco-friendly dyes that are carefully cleaned before becoming wastewater. They even donate the dye mud to local pavement facilities so it can recycled into sidewalks and roads.
Everything is manufactured in an SA8000 certified factory that guarantees safe and healthy conditions, fair wages, and absolutely no forced or child labor.
To help divert fabric waste away from landfills, the company has created the Recycle. Reuse. ReGirlfriend. program that collects old Girlfriend Collective compressive leggings and recycles them into new pieces that can be worn again and again.
As a way to say thank you for participating in the program, they’ll even send you store credit you can use on a future purchase!
Additionally, Girlfriend Collective makes ReSlides, a 100% recyclable shoe created from soy oil and recycled materials in an ethical factory in the USA.
Pact calls itself Earth’s Favorite clothing company. Take one look at their comfortable, sustainable clothes and you’ll quickly see why.
You can find pretty much every type of clothing you need for women, men, children, and babies in sizes that range from XS to XXL. You can even get specialty clothing, such as sleepwear, outerwear, and amazingly comfy sustainable maternity clothes that will easily take you from the first trimester through birth.
To ensure all of their products support people and the planet, Pact proudly partners with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Fair Trade USA, and SimpliZero.
Their Last Call section has outstanding clearance prices starting at 40% off, so you definitely don’t want to miss an opportunity to scoop up some pieces at those savings.
You won’t have to worry about your stylish and affordable eco-friendly clothes arriving in plastic because Pact uses Vela shipping bags. These responsibly made, carbon-neutral, FTC certified bags are made from completely recyclable paper.
The company is also working to keep clothing out of landfills with their Give Back Box. Simply fill the box with gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories that you no longer wear. Then print out the free pre-addressed shipping label and send your clothes back so they can be distributed to charities and nonprofits that need them.
Plus, you can find more than just clothing at Pact. The company also has bath products to help you create that perfect eco-friendly bathroom and organic bedding to help you put together a sustainable sanctuary in your bedroom.
Related: How to Do a Home Waste Audit (And Why It’s so Important!)
Are you looking for affordable eco-friendly clothing for kids that can keep up with their growth spurts AND offers style that they love? Then look no further than Mightly.
As one of the best eco-friendly clothing brands for kids, Mightly makes people friendly, planet friendly, and play friendly clothing for children of all ages. All Mightly pieces are made with GOTS certified cotton in Fair Trade certified factories, which makes them amazingly soft and better for the planet.
Their mission is to make sustainable children’s clothing more affordable for everyone, so they’re intentional about keeping prices as low as possible. Since Mightly manufactures its own clothing and sells directly to costumers, they’re able to avoid retail markups and offer a fair price.
This means you can find tops, bottoms, pajamas, outerwear, and more with quality you’ll appreciate and coziness they’ll love. Plus, all of Mightly’s products come with a 100 Day, 100% Happiness Guarantee.
If you’re interested in picking up a few pieces for your kids, be sure to use the code GETMIGHTLY20 to take 20% off and save even more on their already affordable prices.
Related: The Best Children’s Books About Sustainability
6. People Tree
People Tree is one of the leading slow fashion brands in the world and a pioneer at offering sustainable fashion at an affordable price point. The company sells clothing and accessories for women in sizes that range from small to large.
Every product is created with the highest ethical and environmental standards in mind. This includes using natural materials, organic fabrics, low impact dyes that are free from harmful azo chemicals, and Fair Trade labor throughout the supply chain.
This is why People Tree was the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organization product label.
You can find some of the best deals on sustainable style when you check out their outlet section. Here you’ll find timeless designs with discounts anywhere from 40% to 60% off or more!
7. LA Relaxed
LA Relaxed has created a business model to help limit excess in the fashion industry. They don’t overproduce items so nothing ever gets sent to the landfill.
They also try to keep their operations under one roof to reduce their environmental impact. This means that everything from the design studio and pattern room to the cutting table and the production line are all housed in their own factory in Los Angeles.
That also means this ethical clothing label is able to pay their garment workers a livable wage and ensure they have healthy and safe working conditions.
In addition to using third-party certified plant-based fibers, such as GOTS cotton, LA Relaxed also partners with LA-based fabric mills to use excess fabric that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
When you shop with LA Relaxed, you can get everyday essentials, loungewear, and accessories for women in sizes that range from XS to XL. They also have a sale section with impressive markdowns that help you save even more!
Related: Make Laundry Day Easier and Safer With These Sustainable Tips
Toad&Co is committed to making clothes with eco-friendly materials that look good and feel even better. Some of the sustainable fibers they use include organic cotton, hemp, and TENCEL.
They also have an extensive line of vegan clothing that avoids the obvious, such as leather and suede, but also excludes anything obtained through animal exploitation. This can include silk, fur, feathers, and down. Instead, their vegan-friendly clothes use plant-based and man-made fibers.
To ensure your conscious clothing arrives to you without a ton of excess plastic waste, Toad&Co has partnered with LimeLoop to offer reusable packaging. Simply select “Reusable Shipper” during checkout and your clothes will come in a durable mailer that has a prepaid return label so you can easily send it back.
If the reusable shipper option isn’t available, that simply means they’re out of stock at that moment. But don’t worry, your clothes will come in a 100% recycled paper package printed with algae or water-based inks instead.
Toad&Co has an outstanding variety of everyday essentials for men and women in sizes that range from XS to XL. Plus, don’t forget to check out their women’s sale section and men’s sale section for even more savings.
9. Happy Earth
Happy Earth is a powerful 1% for the Planet company that shows what the fashion industry should be like. The company uses sustainable materials to create responsibly made basics and accessories for men and women in sizes that range from XS to 3XL.
Their clothing pieces are made with organic cotton, reclaimed fibers, regenerative cork, and non-toxic dyes in Fair Trade and WRAP-certified facilities to protect people and the planet.
Then everything arrives at your front door in lightweight, recycled mailers. Happy Earth even offsets the small amount of carbon emissions for the lowest impact possible.
Plus, not only can you get stylish sustainable clothing, but every purchase gives back to make our planet a safer, healthier place. When you checkout, you get to choose which environmental campaign you want your purchase to support.
Your options include fighting climate change, planting trees, or picking up trash. You even get a collectible impact pin with every order so you can track your environmental impact.
You can find Happy Earth clothes at Earth Hero, which is one of the best zero waste online stores to get all of your eco-friendly essentials. If you decide to shop at Earth Hero, be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to save even more and take 10% of your order!
10. KNOWN SUPPLY
KNOWN SUPPLY makes quality wardrobe staples that you’ll enjoy having in your closet for years to come. They offer tops, bottoms, and accessories for men and women that range in size from XS to 4XL.
This certified B Corp uses organic cotton to create minimalist pieces that still have fun patterns and style. To honor and celebrate the people who produce the clothing we buy, KNOWN SUPPLY creates employment opportunities in Peru and Uganda through their work with Fair Trade Certified.
Plus, KNOWN SUPPLY wants you to know who made your clothing. That’s why each piece is hand-signed and you’re able to learn more about the makers on the company’s website.
Don’t forget to check out the Last Chance Sale section to find a variety of styles marked down to even more affordable prices.
Additionally, to help give gently used clothing a new life, the company has partnered with For Days to offer clothing recycling. Simply purchase the Take Back Bag, recycle your old clothes, and receive a $20 credit on your next purchase.
A Final Thought on Affordable Eco-Friendly Clothing
The next time you’re shopping for sustainable brands, keep in mind that you’re getting what you pay for. While you might be spending a bit more than usual up front, in the long run, you’re actually saving money.
This is because you’re purchasing something with everlasting style. Plus, instead of having to buy new clothes every few months because they wear out, you’re getting something that will last for years and years to come.
More Helpful Eco-Friendly Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about these affordable ethical clothing brands? Are you looking for even more tips that can help you live a sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
- The Best Laundry Detergent Sheets to Make Every Load More Eco-Friendly
- How to Cope With Climate Change Anxiety
- Treat Yourself to the Best Fair Trade and Eco-Friendly Chocolate
- The Ultimate Guide to Zero Waste Grocery Shopping