Cheap and Ethical Fashion: Is It Possible?

25 August 2020

In a perfect world, all our clothes would be affordable, ethically made, beautiful and sustainable. Of course, we do not live in a perfect world. Unfortunately, the cheapest clothes available usually cost a lot more in morals than they do in dollars. Every year there are new scandals from clothing companies using unfair wage labor and shocking factory conditions, just to provide their customers with the cheapest cuts. The ethics behind every brand is very hard to keep track of, and most of us inadvertently buy unethical products without even realizing it.

So what is the solution? Do cheap clothes exist that aren’t bad quality and terrible for the planet? Here is your definitive guide to finding out.

Finding The Middle Ground

Let’s face it: the cheapest of cheap outlet mall clothes are not ethically made. There is just no way that can happen. If you spend $3 on a shirt imported from overseas, there is no hope of an ethical track record, is there? If you can afford to spend a little more on your clothes, the likelihood is, you probably should. There is no shame in having to shop in clearance sections, and this post doesn’t intend to judge anyone’s choices. Just know that there are ethical choices that can be made, if you find the middle ground.

Many of the highest price items such as big designer brands are often unethical, too. Using farmed fur and leather, these brands often compromise the planet and animals for their fashion. So where is the middle ground? Well, it usually lies in small, independent businesses who do not exist on a global scale. Local stores and sole traders who make clothes and accessories are mostly ethical, because they have no reason to import on a huge scale from overseas. These are not often the absolute cheapest options, but are usually pretty affordable for most people.

Finding Deals

One other way to find affordable clothes and accessories which are ethical and good quality is to shop the deals. If you know a company is ethical and high quality, but their items are out of price range, wait for offers to show up. Follow this link for a great example of a brand working hard to make sustainable items at low prices. 

Less Is More

2020 has been the year of doing less. Stuck in quarantine, most of us were forced to slow down and reduce our busy schedules dramatically. While this pandemic has been devastating for our world, the positive outcome has been a reduction in harming the planet, and a simplifying of our often overflowing lives.

Try to transfer this mentality to your clothing, too. If you bought half the items you usually buy, you could afford to buy better quality, right? This kind of compromise helps you declutter your space, help the planet, and have beautiful, high quality clothes you can enjoy for years to come.

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