Skip to main content

Who’s who of ethical fashion brands

We take a look at 28 ethical fashion brands such as Beyond Retro, Know the Origin, Monkee Genes and MUD, who are doing things differently. 

If you want to avoid contributing to the unsustainable fast fashion system there are plenty of ethical alternative brands. 

These ethical clothing brands are run by dedicated individuals with a passion for clothing and the planet. 

They sell all the clothes you might buy on the high street (t-shirts, skirts etc), but with ethics and the environment as key drivers for their businesses. 

With so many brands to choose from, we guide you through who makes what and where you can find them. 

For more detail on the ethical fashion industry, see our detailed shopping guide.

What is ethical fashion?

In contrast to fast fashion retailers, ethical fashion brands focus on issues such as workers’ rights (including pay, working conditions and forced labour), the fabrics used, carbon emissions through the whole supply chain, and sustainability rather than wear-and-throwaway.

Our research and shopping guide to ethical clothing found that many of the companies are members of organic and fair trade certification schemes like GOTS, the Soil Association and Fair Wear Foundation, and some are going beyond to innovate and revolutionise the system, such as taking old items back and re-processing them into new clothes.

Many ethical brands are committed to a slow fashion movement. Like the slow food movement, the emphasis is on building direct connections with producers, knowing the provenance of a product, reducing the impact on the environment as much as possible, and creating a high quality product that will last. 

Ethical Fashion brands

Our detailed guide to ethical clothing brands recommends 28 different brands, with 21 Best Buys for their organic, Fairtrade and recycled options. 

It’s great that there’s so much choice, but if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start read on to find out a bit more about each of these 28 top ethical clothing brands.

A to Z of ethical fashion brands

About: Amberoot is an online retailer selling women's and men’s clothing and accessories. They have developed their own tool for measuring and ranking the environmental sustainability of materials and use the most natural and least harmful fabrics, and only sell clothes with less than 5% synthetic material. Read more about the founder and the company’s ethics in our Q&A with her.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Sells Amberoot brand as well as others including MUD Jeans.

Types of clothes: Full range for women and men.

Website: https://amberoot.com

About: Beyond Retro began in 2002 in East London and has expanded to stores in Brighton and Bristol, along with four in Sweden, and also sells online. It sells second-hand and retro clothing. It also has its own clothing label, reusing old clothes to design and make new ones. These clothes are made in a Beyond Retro factory in India which they say is a global hub for the world’s used clothing. Online you can shop by brand as well as by type of clothing. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Sells branded vintage clothing and its own re-made brand. 

Types of clothes: Full range for women and men.

Website: www.beyondretro.com

About: Started in 2007, Bibico mainly works with two women’s cooperatives in India and focuses on slow fashion with items made to last. The collections are designed by the founder, Snow (Nieves) from Spain. Sells online and from their shop in Bath.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own label

Types of clothes: Women’s, full range (no underwear)

Website: www.bibico.co.uk

About: Birdsong clothing is made in London with a focus on wardrobe staples which are ethical and sustainable. Their workers are all paid a fair wage and the clothes come packaged with the signature and portrait of the women who created the items. It was founded by two women in 2014, employs skilled women across London, and is a social enterprise.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Women’s basic

Website: https://birdsong.london

About: Brothers We Stand was founded to bring together the growing number of small ethical designers creating sustainable clothing for men. Items are designed to be practical, stylish, and made to last. Find out more about the company in our Q&A with founder Jonathan.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own and other brands including Living Crafts and MUD

Types of clothes: Men’s, full range

Website: www.brotherswestand.com

About: Earthmonk’s focus is ‘clothing with soul’, with an emphasis on ‘going beyond’. The founders seek to create artwork that captures timeless spiritual philosophy and wisdom. They use organic cotton (and non-mulesing wool) with most items made in Portugal. They give 10% back to projects in the Amazon Rainforest. Find out more in a Q&A with the founders.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Men’s, women’s and children’s tops, some jewellery and gifts

Website: https://earthmonk.guru/ 

About: Based in Cornwall, Finisterre are inspired by the sea and driven to protect it. They started in 2003 with designs to meet the needs of hardy British surfers. They focus their designs on functional and sustainable items with lots of outdoor wear. They have nine stores across the UK as well as an online shop, and also offer a repair service. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range of men's and women’s items

Website: https://finisterre.com/

About: Greenfibres has been making and selling organic textiles since 1996. The environment and the health and wellbeing of the workers are central to the brand. Owners Gabriela and William Lana have a shop in Totnes as well as the online store. As well as clothing they sell other organic textiles such as bedding including mattresses.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand and other brands

Types of clothes: Underwear, leisure wear etc, for women, men and children. 

Website: www.greenfibres.com

About: Howies was founded in west Wales in 1995, and although it was temporarily bought by Timberland, it was bought back in 2011 and is owned and run by its employees. They focus on active clothing and everyday wear from organic cotton, merino wool (non-mulesed) and plant-based Modal fibres.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Active wear, underwear, accessories, jeans

Website: https://howies.co.uk/collections

About: Know The Origin founder Charlotte was deeply affected by the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, and was determined to be part of the solution. Starting with a cooperative of organic cotton farmers in Hyderabad (India), her supply chain can be traced from cotton seed to sewn garment. Know The Origin has now expanded work with other like-minded sustainable brands, all of whom meet a set of standards around planet, people and purpose. Watch a short video with Charlotte.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own and other brands

Types of clothes: Full range for women and men, as well as other products

Website: https://knowtheorigin.com

About: With a strapline of “The Original Ethical Brand Since '88”, Komodo are one of the earliest ethical clothing companies and focus on natural fibres including wool and organic cotton. They also use recycled PET from plastic bottles. They are stocked in many places around the world, and online.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range of women’s and men’s clothing

Website: www.komodo.co.uk

About: Kuyichi are based in the Netherlands and began after seeing the pollution and poverty of cotton production in Peru. Their first organic denim clothing launched in 2001. They focus on timeless wardrobe essentials that are made fairly and to last. All products are made from organic and recycled materials, by carefully selected suppliers. All suppliers and partners are named on the website.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range of women’s and men’s clothing 

Website: https://kuyichi.com

About: A pioneer in sustainable and fair trade organic clothing and organic home textiles for the whole family, Living Crafts have been operating since 1985. Based in Germany they have stockists throughout the world, as well as their online site. They are committed to the environment and social benefits and currently one production partner in South India is powered 100% by wind power - this is included on the product label. They use a range of fibres including wool and silk.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range for women, children and men, and home textiles 

Website: www.livingcrafts.de/en

About: Founded by Tasmanian Bronwyn Lowenthal in 2002, Lowie began at London's Portobello and Spitalfields markets as a knitwear accessories brand and now is a sustainable womenswear label, manufactured with low energy consumption, and working closely and fairly with manufacturers. The clothing is described as “feminine, fun, and functional” and uses organic and natural fibres along with upcycled and recycled materials. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Women’s clothing

Website: www.ilovelowie.com

About: Yak was a campervan where the brand started, selling vintage clothing. Lucy and Chris’s ideas expanded to designing their own dungarees, working closely with one partner in India. Success has followed, and Lucy and Yak has expanded to a full range of clothing for men and women and two more manufacturers. Everything is handmade, with an emphasis on organic cotton, and a living wage for all workers. They have a shop in Brighton and sell online, and are also committed to increasing sizing options up to UK22, and to UK32 in some designs.  

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own

Types of clothes: Full range of men's and women’s clothing

Website: https://lucyandyak.com

Woman holding pile of jumpers

A to Z of ethical fashion brands (from M to Z)

About: Monkee Genes was founded in 2006 to offer eco-friendly and ethical denim which was “fresh, vibrant, and youthful”. Their jeans are made from recycled fabric from old jeans, in ethical factories across India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey. They use organic and Fairtrade cotton and all their products are vegan. They are stocked in a variety of shops across the UK and Europe, on Ethical Superstore and via their own website.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Jeans, trousers and tops for women and men.

Website: https://monkeegenes.com

 

About: MUD was founded in 2012 by Bert van Son in the Netherlands. MUD emphasises the circular economy and focuses on jeans, partly as they are one of the most polluting fashion items, given the resources needed and size of the market. They created a ‘lease’ model, use organic cotton and currently their jeans contain 40% post-consumer recycled cotton. Stocked by UK and Europe stores and available online.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Jeans, trousers and tops for women and men.

Website: https://mudjeans.eu

About: Ninety Percent is a womenswear company founded in London in 2018 by Para Hamilton and Shafiq Hassan, and which shares 90% of its profits. As well as specific charities and ‘those who make our collection happen’, you can vote for your chosen cause using a code on the garment’s care label. The clothes are designed to be long-lasting ‘luxury basics’ with an emphasis on planet-friendly fabrics (including one from seaweed).

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range for women

Website: https://ninetypercent.com

About: Nomads has been operating since 1989, an early pioneer in fair trade clothing and handicrafts, originally selling items on a Camden market stall. Nomads Clothing can now be found in 350 shops all over the world and in their own boutique in Cornwall. Full transparency in the production process is vital, as is following the 10 principles of fair trade. There is also no wool, silk, leather, fur or feathers anywhere in the collections.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range for women and men.

Website: www.nomadsclothing.com

About: As the name suggests, Nudie make jeans from 100% organic cotton, along with other items of clothing and other fabrics such as wool and Eri silk (where the silk worm has left the cocoon first). They have a repair scheme where jeans can be taken to be repaired, and offer money off another purchase when returning old/unwanted jeans. They recommend not washing your jeans very often to save water and help the garments last longer. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Jeans and full range for men and women

Website: www.nudiejeans.com

About: Outsider has been selling sustainable womenswear since 2009, with a focus on longevity, high quality fabrics and an ethical supply chain. Londoner Noorin Khamisani founded the company after working for large fashion companies, and seeing first hand the impact of the garment industry on workers in Cambodia, India and Pakistan. Outsider uses a range of fabrics including organic cotton, hemp, bamboo as well as Merino wool and silk.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Essentials, tops and bottoms for women

Website: www.outsiderfashion.com

About: Oxfam’s second-hand clothing can be found in its shops across the UK as well as online. Buying second-hand helps reduce demand for new clothing and so helps reduce the environmental impact of the garment industry, and your payment goes to support charitable causes. If you have something specific in mind browsing the online shop may be useful - bricks and mortar shops have potluck surprises. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Multiple brands

Types of clothes: Full range for children, women and men, in all types of fabrics.

Website: https://onlineshop.oxfam.org.uk

About: James and Safia Minney founded People Tree in 1991 and were early pioneers of fair trade fashion. They are committed to the principles of fair trade, fair wages, good working conditions, transparency, environmental best practice and gender equality. The collections feature artisan skills such as hand weaving, hand knitting, hand embroidery and hand block printing and use a range of fabrics including organic cotton and responsible wool. They were the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation product label. Their items can be found online and in shops around the world. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold:  Own brand

Types of clothes: Full range for women

Website: www.peopletree.co.uk

About: A key driver for the founders of Rapanui is waste, or rather reducing it. They are focused on a circular economy, and their clothes can be sent back to them to be remade into something else. Their UK factory is powered by renewable energy and items are sent in renewable non-plastic packaging. Rapanui print all their t-shirts at the point of order, on the Isle of Wight with other factories in India (also powered by renewable energy) and Europe. They also operate Teemill which enables anyone to create their own branded clothing.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: T-shirts, hoodies, socks, underwear for men and women.

Website: https://rapanuiclothing.com

About: Founded by a former diplomat, SU-stainable Clothes only uses Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester to make the clothes. They work mainly with factories in India, where the cotton comes from, with full traceability, and their factories are signed up to Fairtrade Minimum Standards and their own Ethical Trading Pledge. Waste elements from production are reused in tags and packaging materials.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Sweaters, hoodies and school uniforms.

Website: https://su-stainable.com

About: Thought was started in Australia in 1995 with a desire to make contemporary clothes from natural materials which would keep people cool in the heat. Originally known as Braintree Clothing, the founder then established pop-up shops in London in 2002 and the company has grown internationally since then. The focus is on natural and sustainable fibres, responsible sourcing and reducing waste - their mantra is ‘Wear Me, Love Me, Mend Me, Pass Me On’ - and they work with TRAID on their recycling programme.

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Multiple brands 

Types of clothes: Full range of women's and men’s clothing

Website: www.wearethought.com

About: THTC (The Hemp Trading Company) has been making ethical clothes primarily from hemp since 1999 and have recently started to work with Rapanui/Teemill, with their branded organic cotton t-shirts printed on the Isle of Wight. They use plastic-free packaging, and their t-shirts can be sent back for the materials to be recovered and remade into something else. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts

Website: https://thtc.co.uk/

About: Founded by Jo in 2013, as the brand name suggests, fully traceable clothes are central to Where Does It Come From?. Everything is fully traceable using a code printed on the label, and can be linked as far back to the cotton growing in the field. They use organic cotton, bamboo, peace silk and hemp, and have stopped using plastic buttons (note some are wooden, some shell) and are removing plastic from packaging and other processes. 

Own brand label or multiple brands sold: Own brand

Types of clothes: Adults’ shirts and scarves, and basics for children

Website: https://wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk

What else can consumers do?

Greta Thunberg’s interview with Vogue Scandinavia highlighted not only what is wrong with fast fashion brands, and their greenwashing, but also that whole systems and structures need to change. 

As well as buying from more ethical brands like the ones above (either directly or through sites like Ethical Superstore), other actions you can take include:

  • Buy less, and wear for longer. This avoids the disposable fast-fashion model.
  • Avoid fast fashion, and find out why it’s so bad for people and planet
  • Buy second-hand
  • Repair items, either through learning basic skills or take to local clothing repair shops or individuals
  • Upcycle by creating something new out of the material
  • Join campaigns such as Clean Clothes Campaign who are seeking to change the fashion industry for the better.
  • Read our top 10 tips to turn your back on fast fashion 
  • Look into the packaging of online items - many of the ethical brands use recycled and recyclable materials.