Ethical Fashion: The Fashion Trend that’s Not Going Away


With the internet and social media, shopping online for clothes has never been easier. With a few clicks, you can buy clothes from anywhere around the world. The variety is indefinite and there are always newer and cheaper fashion brands coming out. Within these emerging brands and shops, a new and very important fashion category has emerged, Ethical Fashion. Similar to any fashion brand, Ethical fashion is expanding every day, as consumers become much more aware of the effect that fashion brands and corporations have on the people and the planet. The importance of ethical fashion is on a rise. Ethical fashion is a fashion trend that is not going away and should be the new standards for the fashion industry. Learn more about ethical fashion and why we need more of it!

What does Ethical Fashion mean?

To break it down simply, ethical fashion means the process of designing, making and selling fashion items such as clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry and so on are held up to certain ethical standards. These ethical standards include but not limited to safe working conditions, properly paying workers, using properly sourced materials, making green initiatives to reduce environmental impact (water usage, toxic chemicals, waste etc.), being sustainable, incorporating fair trade, animal welfare and so on. The main idea is that the companies and brands are conscious of their actions, their process, and doing better for the people, and the planet through fashion.

Why is Ethical Fashion needed?

Ethical Fashion means better working environment for many people
You might be thinking, shouldn’t fashion brands and corporations already follow ethical standards? Unfortunately, the answer is often no, many of the big corporations and fashion brands don’t follow ethical standards or have found loopholes. Due to these loopholes and unethical practices out there, ethical fashion is deeply needed. Over the years, many fashion brands have been exposed to their unethical actions, such as exploitative behavior of smaller designers or factory workers. Child labor, foreign sweat shop and unsafe working conditions are some of the issues that the big fashion corporation are dealing with. In order to combat such issues, we need more brands that are willing to do the right thing, that’s where ethical fashion comes in. Ethical fashion should be normalized, providing safe working conditions for factory workers should be standards, paying workers the appropriate amount should be normalized. These are some reasons that consumers should support ethical fashion. Ethical fashion allow us consumers to shop ethically without the cost of someone else or the planet we live on.

Ethical Fashion is the next big thing

A good thing is that more and more companies and fashion corporations are becoming aware of the importance of ethical fashion. There is an increase in consumers becoming aware of ethical fashion and choosing them over the fast fashion retail stores. Many consumers are researching ethical fashion brands, and then aligning their ethical standards and stances. Many consumers like the idea that the clothes they buy are doing good for society and the environment. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the impact they have on the market, after all, it is a demand and supply model. So if there are more demands on ethical fashion, the brands will supply. With ethical fashion slowly gaining traction, it is important we, consumers keep on showing support to ethical fashion brands. That way more and more ethical brands can survive the competitive fashion market and other brands and companies can join the ethical movement and do better. Us as consumers choosing ethical fashion brands over fast fashion retailing stores is a sign and is a power that can change the industry standards.

How to be Fashionable and Ethical at the same time?

Organic Cotton shirts
For those of you, that worry about ethical fashion can not fulfill your fashion style or don’t have what you want or maybe it is too expensive. You will be surprised at how versatile ethical fashion brands are. Supporting the idea of ethical fashion is more than just shopping at ethical fashion brands, there are other ways you can support ethical fashion.

Ethical Fashion Brands

There are many amazing ethical fashion brands out there right now. There is a wide range of different kinds of ethical fashion items, from organic cotton t-shirts to locally made ethically sourced lingerie. With Google, you can easily find many ethical fashion brands that will have clothes that suit you.

Here is a quick list of some of the bigger brands that are ethical:

Patagonia (mainly outdoor clothing)
Price: $$
Origin: USA
For: Both Gender
Main focus: Fair Trade, Organic Cotton, Environmental Sustainability
People Tree
Price: $ ~ $$
Origin: UK
Main Focus: Fair Trade, Biodegradable Material, Organic Cotton
For: Women
Price: $
Origin: USA
For: Both Gender
Main Focus: Fair Trade, Organic Cotton
Alternative Apparel
Price: $
Origin: USA
For: Both Gender
Main Focus: Ethical Produced, Fair Labor
Levi’s (Denim Apparel)
Price: $ ~ $$
Origin: USA
For: Both Gender
Main Focus: Ethically Sourced Cotton, Give Back, Recyclable Denim, Environmental Sustainable Action (reduce water usage…)
United Blue
Price: $$
Origin: USA
For: Men + Children
Main Focus: Organic Material, Environmental Sustainable Actions (removes trash from ocean)

There are many more ethical fashion brands out there. You will be surprised by how many amazing ethical fashion brands there are.

Vintage or Thrift:

Ethical fashion, shop secondhand and sell
Thrifting and shopping secondhand or vintage is a great way to be stylish and ethical, you are actively reducing the buying from non-ethical brands and reducing waste. You will be surprised at how many hidden gems there are in thrift stores or vintage stores. In fact, many ethical fashion brands are incorporating vintage fashion items or repurposing them. Thrifting and vintage clothing can be affordable or expensive depending on the item and how well they are preserved. Fun fact, there are many small ethical fashion stores on Etsy that provide both new ethically made clothing and vintage clothing. While Depop let your sell your own secondhanded clothes and buy secondhanded too! Etsy and Depop are great places to shop ethically and fashionably!


If shopping for new clothes is out of your budget, don’t worry, you can always repurpose your old clothes. In fact, there are many tutorials and videos online that show you how to repurpose your old clothes into something new. This way you are being ethical and making the best out of your old clothes. This is a great way to be ethical and fashionable at the same time. Even though you are not actively supporting ethical fashion brands, you are part of the ethical fashion club that is fighting to make the planet a better place. Every small step counts!

Final Tip:

I understand that all this information is a lot and can be quite hard to comprehend all at once. It is ok to take some time and slowly transition to shopping at ethical brands. In fact, you should definitely do some research by yourself. It is important that we, as consumers, are aware of the issues and doing our research. We don’t need to throw out all our old clothes and buy new ethical clothes. We need to be aware and be actively making changes, doing good, and continue to learn more about how to be more ethical and ethical fashion is one way. I hope you found this article somewhat helpful, and are ready to do some ethical fashion research or maybe even learn more about ethical shopping.

Interested in eco-friendly fashion? Or how about check out some zero waste fashion brands?

Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!