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Affordable Ethical Clothing: 13 Budget-Friendly Brands

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By: Ash Merscher

Woman lying on the couch wearing affordable ethical clothing from WAMA Underwear.

So you want to wear ethical clothing, but you’re having trouble finding affordable ethical clothing. You’re not alone. Sometimes, the sustainable lifestyle feels out of reach with its higher price tag. But I did the research and found several affordable sustainable clothing brands that don’t break the bank.

Whether it’s using sustainable fabrics or low impact dyes, these 13 businesses offer a range of clothing, shoes, and accessories that make you feel good about your wardrobe. They provide everything from hemp bikini underwear to vegan shoes to organic denim. I hope you (and your wallet!) will love these sustainable clothing brands.

Hemp Thongs

The Perfect Pair of

Minimalist Underwear

Hemp Thongs

The Perfect Pair of Minimalist Underwear

 

 

Affordable Ethical Clothing: 13 Budget-Friendly Brands

(table of contents)

 

1. WAMA UNDERWEAR

Man and woman stand together wearing affordable sustainable clothing from WAMA underwear.

I must start with my favorite! WAMA provides a unique twist to sustainable underwear, leading the way as pioneers of hemp underwear. Hemp clothing benefits include more robust fabric, natural sun protection, antibacterial properties, and breathability. Plus, it’s sustainable, organic, and earth-friendly!

My personal favorite is boy shorts underwear because it’s perfect for working at home or lounging around on any occasion. But everyone is different, so give a few underwear styles a try to find your fav pair. You can choose mens boxers, women’s hipster panties, a hemp bra, and more!

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • Hemp is one of the most robust and sustainable fabrics on the planet. Even in the hemp vs cotton debate, hemp is the clear winner. One study found that hemp uses 50% less water than cotton and produces twice as many fibers. Plus, the plant naturally prevents erosion and improves soil health.
  • WAMA manufactures all hemp in China, the world leader in hemp production. Keeping everything in one place reduces emissions and costs for customers. Still, WAMA works with fair-pay factories that provide high-quality working environments under a strict supplier code of conduct.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Hemp’s durability means WAMA underwear lasts longer than conventional underwear, so you’re already saving money! But as a bonus, WAMA offers reduced pricing with packs that come with three, six, or ten pairs, keeping your undies under $20 a pop.

 

2. TENTREE

Two people walking up a seaside cliff wearing sustainable tees from Tentree.

Tentree’s motto is “buy one, plant ten,” meaning the company plants ten trees for every item you purchase. (Hence, its name.) The brand uses a few different sustainable fabrics, including hemp, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Tencel, an innovative wood pulp fiber. You get comfy and sustainable everyday clothing and accessories!


WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • The brand has planted over 53 million trees in countries like Indonesia, Peru, and Madagascar, reforesting over 12,000 acres of land and removing tons of CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Tentree commits to accessibility in ethical clothing, meaning its pricing complements all wallets, and its sizing includes all bodies.


AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Score eco-friendly tees for $40 or less. Go for a classic, straightforward look, or opt for patterns, stripes, or trendy illustrations. Plus, all their joggers, sweatpants, and leggings are under $70, and I personally never want to take them off.

WEBSITE

Tentree.com

 

3. AZURA BAY

Azura Bay’s recycled and compostable packaging includes boxes, bags, tissues, stickers, and more.

As an affordable ethical clothing shop, Azura Bay sells comfy basics and underwear from various eco-friendly brands—including WAMA undies! All brands featured on the site are either Fair Trade certified or demonstrate transparent, ethical business practices, such as fair wages and safe work environments. Many of their shops feature initiatives like zero-waste, up-cycling fabric, organic fabrics, waterless dyeing processes, and more.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • Azura Bay partners with Better Packaging Co to use compostable and 100% recycled packaging, all made in the U.S. The company strives to use FSC certified paper and eco-friendly inks as much as possible.
  • The brand supports three nonprofits (World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Because I Am a Girl) by donating a portion of their profits.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Score high-waisted, organic cotton leggings that actually cover everything for under $100. Pair them with one of Azura Bay’s super comfy fleece sweaters for a package discount!

WEBSITE

Azurabay.com

 

4. LUCY & YAK

Two women sitting and drinking tea are wearing comfy, sustainable dungarees from Lucy & Yak.

Lucy & Yak uses eco-friendly and organic fabrics to create unique and very colorful clothing, such as jeans, sweaters, outerwear, dresses, and even scrubs for medical workers. They’re most known for their “dungas” (dungarees, aka overalls), all made with organic versions of cotton, denim, and corduroy. This affordable sustainable clothing brand offers styles for men and women.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • Lucy & Yak uses solar energy to run their factory in India and pay their workers four times the local minimum wage.
  • Organic cotton uses 88% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton. It also better supports soil nutrients. The company partners with various suppliers, 50% of which are GOTS certified and use organic cotton. By 2022, they hope to use 100% GOTS suppliers.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Grab some plain “dungas” for around $60, or get creative and go for a bright, printed pair for about $75. Super-cool color-block fleeces start at $55 or get basic tees for under $20.

WEBSITE

Lucyandyak.com

 

5. SZ BLOCKPRINTS

A woman standing in a field carrying a basket is wearing a printed dress from SZ Blockprints.

SZ Blockprints uses traditional block printing from Jaipur, India, to produce beautiful and sustainable clothing, accessories, and homeware for women and children. The brand sells brightly colored tunics, pants, dresses, jumpsuits, bags, table cloths, and sarongs, all featuring unique prints. A multigenerational family printing studio creates the clothing you’ll wear, all designed by a woman named Kitty Rae, known as the Godmother of Block Printing. You get all this uniqueness with a solid commitment to sustainability.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • SZ Printblocking uses 100% recycled packaging materials and makes hang tags from excess cotton pulp.
  • The company embraces slow fashion, working with local artisans to create one-of-a-kind pieces, pushing against the environmentally damaging fast fashion industry.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Find unique, airy, hand-printed dresses, tunics, and pants, all for under $100. Get a wristlet clutch for $45 or a quilted toiletries bag for only $37.

 

6. THOUGHT CLOTHING

Woman sitting in a chair wearing affordable ethical clothing from Thought Clothing.

Thought Clothing is an affordable ethical clothing pioneer, establishing itself back in the 90s. The company uses various eco-conscious materials, including organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and recycled polyester. Plus, it upcycles leftover fabric into new products, reducing unnecessary waste. My favorite part? Thought Clothing commits to zero-plastic packaging (with 98% recyclable) and 100% biodegradable garment bags.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • Thought Clothing puts a lot of thought (see what I did there?) into everyday business decisions. For example, to combat CO2 emissions, the company only uses sea freight—no airplanes used!
  • The brand relies on vegan glue, and any animal products used (like fur or feathers) are byproducts, meaning the animals didn’t die specifically for fashion purposes. Even PETA’s a fan, approving 95% of their products.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Thought Clothing has over 100 choices in dresses and jumpsuits that start around $70, with most under $100. And you can get vegan, organic cotton trousers for about the same price.

 

7. CHNGE

A black-and-white photo featuring three people wearing CHNGE sustainable clothing.

CHNGE’s central message is “you are loved, you are important, you are valued,” so I’m already swooning. The company provides affordable sustainable clothing by using ethically farmed, organic cotton sourced in India. CHNGE may very well be the queen of quality standards, as it has certifications from Fairtrade, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, Global Recycled Standard, WRAP, and Carbon Neutral. Plus, most of their clothing offers messages to encourage positive change!

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • When debating organic cotton vs cotton, CHNGE calculates that the company saves 500 gallons of water per t-shirt by going organic.
  • CHNGE offsets their carbon emissions by 100% and donates 50% of net profits to social, environmental, and educational charities that help make the world a better place. So far, they’ve donated over $280,000!

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Get a super cool, long-sleeved graphic tee for $35 or a tie-dye t-shirt dress for just $43. CHNGE is constantly switching up styles, prints, patterns, and graphics, so what you see today on their website may change in a few weeks.

WEBSITE

Chnge.com

 

8. YOBEL

Inside the store at Yobel Market featuring affordable ethical clothing.

As far as sustainable clothing brands go, Yobel takes their efforts one step further and guarantees fair trade principles to all partner organizations. The brand sources sustainable and ethically made clothing and accessories from artisan women across the developing world, working with those in India, Kenya, Guatemala, and more. You’ll find bags, jewelry, dresses, t-shirts, and other affordable fashions.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • Yobel sells one-of-a-kind goods that support worldwide project initiatives. When you shop, you know exactly what your purchase is impacting, such as poverty relief, zero waste, sustainability, and artisan empowerment.
  • Their tag line is “We believe that when people and our planet are priority, we all profit.” plus they give 10% of all their Yobel swag to their local rescue mission called "Springs Rescue Mission".

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Yobel offers a range of high-quality accessories for under $100. Get vegan, eco-friendly watches made sustainably in the Netherlands, or opt for a wool fedora crafted with fair-trade materials and salvaged leather. And their Tagua Animal Pendants, hand-carved in Ecuador for $36, always sell out. The polar bear pendant personally tempts me!

WEBSITE

Shopyobel.com

 

9. SMASH + TESS

Three women doing handstands wear affordable sustainable clothing from Smash+Tess.

I’m honestly in awe of this trendy brand, which pledges to slow down the fashion industry and creates comfy, sustainable clothes for anyone in any size. Claiming to be the leaders of the “Romper Revolution,” Smash + Tess produces all apparel in North America (Canada and the US) using a bamboo and cotton fabric blend. As a shopper, you can count on fair wages, safe working conditions, and sustainable materials. I didn’t even know about this romper revolution, but I want in!

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • The brand offers inclusive sizing, accommodating anyone from XXS to XXXL, including petite and tall shoppers with a unique visual size guide.
  • Using bamboo is vital to the clothing brand. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants globally (it can grow up to three feet in just one day!) and doesn’t need environmentally damaging irrigation or fertilizers.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

The brand’s famous rompers (a top and bottom combo, kind of like a jumpsuit) start at under $100. Choose men’s and women’s styles that you can dress up or down.

WEBSITE

Smashtess.com

 

10. NINETY PERCENT

Two women standing in a forest supporting sustainable clothing brands and charities by wearing garments from Ninety Percent.

The Ninety Percent brand is an affordable and sustainable do-gooder! The company’s namesake comes from donating 90% of its profits to charities like BRAC, Children’s Hope, WildAid, and more. The brand makes women’s styles using only sustainable fabrics, including organic or recycled cotton, wool, EcoVero™ (an alternative to viscose), linen, and hemp, plus Modal™ and Tencel™, both made from pulp fibers.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • The company established seven focus areas: respectful working environments, sustainable materials, garment longevity, transparency and traceability, animal welfare, water stewardship, emissions, and CO2 reduction.
  • Ninety Percent’s Echotex factories put people and the planet over profit, providing health insurance, fair wages, and free meals to employees daily.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Basics start at $35 but they’re anything but “basic!” Find fashionable styles like one-sleeved tops, split-back tees, and crop tops. Or, score cute dresses for under $50, including a Tencel t-shirt dress for just $25!

 

11. ECOVIBE

Woman sitting on a bed wearing affordable ethical clothing from EcoVibe.

Based in Portland, Oregon, ECOVIBE carries affordable sustainable clothing brands from all over the country. Their brands use eco-conscious fabrics, including recycled fabric blends, Tencel, and modal (made with beech tree pulp). Besides clothing, you’ll find furniture, home goods, and garden supplies. ECOVIBE’s mission is to keep goods affordable and broaden the accessibility of living a sustainable lifestyle.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • As a member of 1% For The Planet, ECOVIBE partners with thousands of other businesses to donate 1% of annual sales to environmental nonprofits.
  • When selecting brands to feature, the company focuses on local designers, women, and minorities. They also host community-based events, classes, and workshops!

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Stock up on the basics, like tanks and tees, which start at just $28. Or, get cozy and grab one of their super-soft sweaters or cardigans, all under $100. I feel like I could sleep in them.

 

12. TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES

A group of artisans from India who partner with Ten Thousand Villages.

Although Market-to-Market businesses are aplenty in today’s world, that wasn’t the case in 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler began her endeavor with Ten Thousand Villages. After traveling to Puerto Rico, the concept came to fruition and now supports global artisans with shops across the US. You’ll find everything from clothing to home goods, furniture, kitchenware, and more.

 

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • The company uses fair trade principles that focus on the maker, not the business. So they pay artisans before shipping their goods, meaning there’s no financial risk to the craftspeople.
  • Ten Thousand Villages works with over 20,000 artisans in more than 30 developing countries, 60% of whom are women.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Mostly for accessories, Ten Thousand Villages offers handmade scarves from India starting at $25 and socks with quirky patterns for just $16. Decorate your hair with their accessories from places like Chile, Nepal, India, and Guatemala, all costing less than $20.

 

13. REF JEANS

Two women sitting on stools wearing sustainable denim by Ref Jeans.

Denim is one of the worst offenders in environmental pollution, so I had to put at least one jeans company on the list. Ref Jeans is an offset of the company Reformation, carrying over their sustainable and ethical practices of using renewable, natural, and recycled fiber. This affordable ethical clothing brand strives to create high-quality women’s denim for under $100 using 30% less water than conventional brands.

 

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT

  • To keep fabrics and textiles out of landfills, the company buys “deadstock” supply and uses it to make 5% of their products. They also remanufacture vintage clothing, which, across the fashion industry, can save over 13,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per person per year.
  • Reformation has been carbon neutral since 2015. At checkout, you’ll learn ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint, too.

AFFORDABLE FAVORITES

Although patterned and novelty jeans are more expensive, most pairs stay under $150. Skinny and straight-leg styles are just $98, and shorts are under $80. Most jeans come in different shades of denim, so there’s lots of variety.

Hemp Boxer Briefs

The Most Comfortable Pair of

Men's Underwear

Hemp Boxer Briefs

The Most Comfortable Pair of

Men's Underwear

 

SAVE MONEY AND THE ENVIRONMENT WITH AFFORDABLE ETHICAL CLOTHING

A sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be a privilege, thanks to these 13 affordable ethical clothing brands. Whether you’re in the market for a great-fitting pair of jeans, a fair-trade bag from Guatemala, or any type of affordable sustainable clothing, this list has your back. And when you need soft, breathable weed underwear, WAMA has your back(side).

I’m always on the hunt for new sustainable clothing brands. Did I miss any of your faves? Let me know in the comments!

 



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