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Can Sustainable Fashion Be Affordable?

14 January 2023 | 4 Min Read

You’ve heard all about it and want to delve into making your entire clothing collection sustainable. But, you’re looking at the price tags and starting to wonder “can I actually afford this?”. Don’t worry, that’s the growing concern consumers have as the demand for sustainable fashion grows. So, why is that the case, and can we get some bargain basement deals somewhere? Is a slow fashion brand selling items at fast fashion prices? Let’s explore! 

Table of Contents

    What makes an item of clothing sustainable?


    With greater due diligence on the production process, comes greater costs. We’re used to the idea of cotton, linen, silk, nylon, lycra, polyester, and other fibers that are oil, or naturally based appearing in our clothing and washing instructions, but the unique factor for sustainable varieties of clothes is the way these materials are sourced or considered. 


    Let’s take for example a t-shirt company. You’d immediately be reaching for cotton as the go-to product to produce this. It’s relatively cheap, abundant, easy to manufacture, and consumers like it. But is that enough to be sustainable? Well, not quite. There are layers to of this to explore when it comes to making your winter layers. 


    Where the fiber is sourced from, how it’s produced or grown, its carbon footprint, the ethical charters of that supplier, how much you pay your people, what your carbon footprint is, and the social responsibilities taken by the manufacturer can all play a massive part into whether a piece of clothing can be considered sustainable. 

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    Why does sustainable clothing cost more?


    Here’s the thing - modern business practices have almost always leaned towards favoring the lower-cost raw material providers. This leads to a race to the bottom for these primary-level suppliers, and with that comes corner-cutting, some of which is unethical. 


    If a cotton farmer could choose to pay laborers the bare minimum without benefits, and get the same price for the cotton, they’d be incredibly tempted to do so, and be rewarded with greater profits. The clothing producers still make their shirts and items with the same costs and volume of cotton, and can pocket a profit when they sell to consumers like us. 


    Sustainably sourced materials and brands, taking triple-bottom-line principles into consideration, with have to spend more time, effort and money to find producers who don’t go for the cheapest, and potentially damaging practices. 


    So, even when you buy expensive sustainable clothing, just think that what you buy helps people in third-world countries potentially live a better life, or even people in your local community benefit from initiatives that the brand may advocate and invest in. 


    Who’s making affordable sustainable clothing?


    You’ve read enough already, so I guess we’ll cut to the chase and share some of the top brands making stuff that’s good for people, the planet, and our pockets 👇

    Earth Wardrobe

    A UK based brand, Earth Wardrobe has nailed an efficient supply chain to make ethical and sustainable apparel a reality. Now, it may not be flashy, but everything looks good on you when it’s good for the planet 😉 
    Organic cotton and rPET standards are met for many of their items.
     

    KOTN

    Everything is under $100, and that’s not a bad place to start when it comes to spending money on clothes! Plus, they’ll carbon offset your purchase if it totals over $150, which is also a mega initiative we love <3 

    Quality, comfort, ethics, is their motto after all! Check out KOTN.
     

    Standards & Practices

    Like the name suggests, they’re the ones hitting the mark for fit, price and sustainability. Every pair of indigo jeans are produced with Ozone Technology which reduces the carbon footprint of every pair of eco-chic denim jeans you buy! You can find their website with the full range of products HERE!
     

    SAYE

    A brand from Spain that's all about upcycling! Your next pair of sneakers could be from recycled materials, helping your carbon footprint shrink with every step! Show your support by visiting their website.

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    VEJA

    You've probably seen them about in your streetwear stores and online shops already, but Veja are the Brazilian brand making waves in the sneaker world, only sourcing goods from sustainability-checked suppliers, and having sturdy, great-quality, recycled materials to boot too! If you haven't already, check them out > www.veja-store.com

     

    Alternative Apparel

    Shipping worldwide from Georgia USA, Alternative Apparel have a plethora of organic cotton and recycle material clothing for you to choose from, all while staying within reasonable clothing budgets for many of us! There's loads to choose from, so go check them out - alternativeapparel.com 

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