dorsu

Top 10 Ethical + Affordable Clothing & Accessories Brands for Fall

Top 10 Ethical and Affordable Clothing and Accessories Brands for Fall on stylewise-blog.com This post contains some affiliate links

Lucky for us, there are now hundreds of ethical clothing brands making cool clothes in all sorts of innovative ways. But just because it's ethical doesn't mean it's practical. And just because it's practical doesn't mean it's affordable.

To make life a little easier for you as you fill out your fall wardrobe, I've narrowed the list down to my top 10 ethical and affordable clothing and accessories brands. Every brand on this list makes items that are both fashion forward and versatile enough for a busy life, whether you're a student, a mom, a freelancer, or anything else.

All brands offer items priced well below $200, with most items averaging around $40-80.00. When you consider that these items have been made by people who receive a fair wage and work in safe factories using organic and sustainable textiles, that's not too shabby.

CLOTHING:


1. Everlane

Tees, blouses, dresses, backpacks, and shoes made with transparency. Everlane is my go-to for knit cotton tees and dresses.

2. Amour Vert

Minimalist and feminine silhouettes made with ecologically sustainable textiles. I love Amour Vert's contemporary-cut tops.

3. Synergy Organic Clothing

Versatile, organic cotton tops, skirts, and dresses made fairly. Synergy is my first stop for easy-to-wear skirts and dresses. Take an extra 50% off sale items through Labor Day with code, laborday.

4. LA Relaxed

Laid-back tees, skirts, and dresses made with ecologically sustainable textiles. LA Relaxed is for cool girls (and obviously we're all cool girls).

5. Dorsu

Mix and match separates made with factory remnants in Cambodia. Their tees have a great drape.

6. Braintree Clothing

Vintage-inspired tops, bottoms, dresses, and accessories made fairly with ecologically sustainable textiles. Braintree's patterns and textures liven up a basic wardrobe.

ACCESSORIES:

7. FashionABLE

Contemporary jewelry and sustainably-sourced leather bags. $5 off your first purchase when you click through the link above.

8. Sseko Designs

Versatile sandals, loafers, boots, and bags made ethically in Uganda and Ethiopia. My pick for loafers.

9. Etiko

Converse look-a-likes out of Australia made with sustainable rubber, organic cotton, and vegan glues. Their high tops are just what I've been looking for.

10. Oliberte

Fair trade certified flats, loafers, and boots. Try their super comfy boots.

For me, it's important that the clothes and accessories I buy have at at least something in common with the rest of my closet. Having access to brands that know how to make flattering, modern, comfortable pieces makes my life a lot easier.

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Did a miss a brand? Give me suggestions in the comments. 

My Ethical + Sustainable Back-to-School Wishlist

ethical and sustainable back to school shopping list

I haven't gone back to school in 5 years, but living in a college town (with a grad student husband) forces me - and probably most people in town - to organize their lives around a school schedule. Summers in Charlottesville are quiet; the normally crowded roads clear out and the student hangouts are suddenly populated by townies who were too shy to venture out during the school year. But things rev up again in early August and you can't help but get wrapped up in the back-to-school excitement.

So, I created my ideal "Back-to-School" closet update made up of ethical and sustainable items. Of course, I don't have any need to purchase 10 items in one go (and I own versions of some of these things already), but it's fun to think about what would supplement my current wardrobe and mentally narrow down this list to a few key pieces.


1. OESH La Vida Sneakers, $110.00

Made in Charlottesville with injection molded soles and nontoxic glue

2. FashionABLE Monochrome Choker*, $38.00

Made in Nashville, Tennessee

3. Sseko Designs Caramel T-Strap Sandals*, $59.99

Handmade in Uganda under fair trade principles, leather sources from small scale meat industry

4. Dorsu Rolled Sleeve Crewneck in Plum, $37.00

Made in Cambodia out of factory remnants under fair trade guidelines

5. Dorsu Roll-Neck Dress, $60.00

Made in Cambodia out of factory remnant under fair trade guidelines

6. Monkee Genes Indigo Denim Skinnies, $85.00

Made in England with organic cotton

7. Synergy Organic Clothing Sahara Full Skirt, $44.00

Made in Nepal under fair trade guidelines using GOTS certified organic cotton

8. Komodo Black Floral Skirt via MadeFAIR, $53.24

Made of sustainable tree cellulose (rayon) under fair trade guidelines in Indonesia

9. Braintree Clothing Latifa Hemp Skirt, $65.00

Made from sustainable hemp and organic cotton under fair trade guidelines

10. Everlane Dipped Mini Zip Backpack, $70.00

Made with transparent manufacturing and pricing in Dongguan, China


Are you going back to school? What items do you look for? I would love to see your wishlists and compare notes.


the moral wardrobe: Dorsu Slip-On Dress

oversized dress from dorsuminimalist ethical outfit from dorsu
Dorsu makes easy, well cut basics using remnant fabric sourced from Cambodia's clothing manufacturing industry. When I saw that they were doing a fundraiser a few months back to scale their business and build out their workshop, I decided to donate as a sort of reverse birthday present to myself. They were kind enough to reach out and send me a few items to review on Style Wise.

As the years roll by, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the things I purchase. Worker welfare is absolutely important, but we can't really say something was "made ethically" if we're disregarding the ecosystems and natural resources people rely on to flourish. That's why I love that Dorsu has intentionally filled a gap in the industry by setting up shop close to where remnant fabrics in the global supply chain go to die: right in the heart of a major manufacturing center...

We purchase fabric remnants leftover from garment factories who discard off-cuts during production. In the past, this waste was dumped into landfill or burned, however, it is now recovered and sold into a local market chain. Buying this fabric allows us to support the prevention of unnecessary waste in Cambodia, keep our supply chain as close as possible and contribute to local economy.

dorsu slip-on dress review

Here I'm wearing the Slip-On Dress in a taupe and black colorblock design. I like the relaxed fit - it looks just as good worn as a tunic as it does as a dress. Admittedly, it was warm enough this weekend to go sans jeans, but I think the layering adds a nice edge to the look. I had this balled up in my suitcase for days, too, and it's only a tiny bit wrinkled. The site says it's made of cotton, but it feels silky like rayon.
  ethical color block dress from dorsu
Ethical Details: Dress - c/o Dorsu; Flats - old and upcycled; Necklace - c/o Hands Producing Hope

Dorsu's site shows prices in AUD, but you'll be happy to know that they ship to the US and that the conversion rate is quite good! The Slip-On Dress sells for 49.00 AUD, which is about $36.00 USD (you'll have to add about $25.00 for flat rate international shipping, so keep that in mind). There are also a number of domestic shops that sell Dorsu, so I encourage you to hunt around or ask your local fair trade shop if they carry Dorsu.

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