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9 Fast Fashion Alternatives For That Slow Fashion Style | Sustainable Fashion

There’s no such thing as ethical fast

*This post contains affilate links


It’s time we hit the brakes on our clothing consumption. 

Slow fashion is the only answer because, simply put, there’s no such thing as ethical fast fashion. And cheap ethical fashion is an oxymoron. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. 

Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Even better, you’ll feel great about investing in a brand that’s changing the fashion industry from the inside. 

Curious about why the following brands made the cut?

Head to the bottom of the article to see why or check out our guide on ethical fashion (i.e. what it means to not be a fast fashion brand).

  • Ocelot Market
  • Reformation
  • Pact
  • Amour Vert
  • Organic Basics
  • Synergy
  • Beckons
  • Ecovibe Apparel
  • Threads 4 thought

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Ocelot Market #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021701″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainabilitystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style-1.jpg”>
Image by Ocelot Market

As one of our favorite ethical online stores, Ocelot Market is the place to go (virtually, not literally) for some of the most unique men’s and women’s fashion

The conscious curation of products is designed to “uplift communities, small businesses and small makers around the world.” You can feel confident that your shoes, jewelry, bags, and clothing have been made by artisans and brands who are fairly supported.

Materials:

With a range of artisans and small brands, you can expect to find a variety of materials. We tend to favor the natural ones (i.e. organic cotton, linen, alpaca).

You’ll also see virgin synthetics like rayon and acrylic, which we try to avoid.  

Supply chain & labor practices:

There are a lot of supply chains to mention when it comes to OM, as they work with many, many different brands. Some, like Zig Zag Asian Collection support their internationally-based artisans with fair trade conditions.

Others, like AROOP, use a range of upcycled materials like quilts and books in order to minimize waste.

Whoever you’re shopping with, you can feel confident that the brand / artisan in question is supported with fair and respectful working conditions and uses a small supply chain with “natural, locally-sourced, upcycled, recycled and never over produced” materials.    

Green business practices:

Most products come in recycled and biodegradable packaging. 

Inclusivity:

Sizes vary between brands, but we’re happy to see that most come in a XS-XXL range. 

Community & charitable giving:

With every purchase, a tree is planted in Madagascar. 

Available: Ocelot Market

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Reformation #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021705″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755642_905_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Reformation

Reformation is committed to reforming the fashion industry from the inside out. Not only does the brand offer an alternative to fast fashion clothing, but they’re also about making fashion accessible (which is why they’re one of our favorite plus-size clothing brands).

Reformation’s got something for every woman, and for every occasion. From weddings to basics, they’ve helped thousands of fashionistas answer the hardest question: but what should I wear?

Materials:

Like most other brands, Reformation uses a mixture of mostly good and some bad materials. 

You can expect to see fabrics like TENCEL lyocell, model, and REFIBRA™, which are made from responsibly managed trees or recycled textiles. You can also see a lot of recycled and organic cotton in their pieces. 

Reformation has a list of restricted substances and currently, more than half of their dyeing partners are certified by either Oeko-Tex 100 or bluesign® to be free of toxic chemicals. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Three cheers for local supply chains. Reformation owns 28 factories in downtown LA, which are responsible for the production of more than 65% of their line.

They also have manufacturing partners in China, Turkey, and India—all of which adhere to a strict Code of Conduct and meet international standards for fair labor conditions and labor rights. 

Oh yes, and 100% of their employees earn a living wage. 

Green business practices:

Reformation offsets the entire carbon footprint of their products and is a Climate Neutral business. They’re also a member of the Circular Fashion System Commitment and are well on their way to recirculating their garments. 

In addition, they use product impact counters, have an office that’s powered by renewable energy, and are a certified Green Business.

It’s worth having a look at their Sustainability Report to understand how much they do. 

Inclusivity:

We love that every body is catered for with Reformation—petite or plus size.

They’ve recently begun including a focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their Sustainability Report and are making a significant effort towards racial justice. 

Community & charitable giving:

Between offering paid volunteer days for employees and donating to a variety of social and environmental justice organizations, it’s safe to say that Reformation wants to reform more than just the fashion industry. 

Available: Reformation

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Pact #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021704″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755642_642_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Pact

You can’t talk about affordable fast fashion alternatives without mentioning Pact, makers of Earth’s Favorite™ Clothing. 

Pact has certainly left their imPACT on us. They’re one of our favorite sustainable men’s clothing companies.

They also make a large range of garments (underwear, sleepwear, hoodies, tops, pants, leggings, and dresses) for women and even have a range of clothing for kids and babies. 

Materials:

Everything Pact makes starts with Earth’s Favorite™ Fiber: organic cotton. Theirs is Fair Trade certified and certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). 

In some products, you’ll find a bit of spandex. In others, like leggings with an elastic band, the elastic bit can be removed so that the leggings are 100% compostable. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

74% of Pact’s organic cotton is sourced from India, where they support the farmers and ecosystems with natural farming processes that are better for people and the planet. 

They only work with Fair Trade Certified factories to ensure that their workers experience safe working conditions, earn additional wages to uplift their communities, and benefit from sustainable livelihoods. 

Green business practices:

Because organic cotton is their OG material, Pact is able to save 95% of the water typically required to produce cotton. They also use energy-saving practices during production and do their best to reduce the amount of waste material they produce. 

Customers also have the option to offset the carbon footprint of their shipping and post-consumer recycled paper envelopes and boxes are used, along with a biodegradable plastic poly bag. 

Inclusivity:

We love that their motto is #JustWearYou but while they only offer the standard range of sizes (S-XL), we think they could do better about including some larger sizes. 

Community & charitable giving:

Through their Give Back. Wear Forward. program, you can return your gently used clothes (from any brand) to them and they will be donated to inspiring nonprofits in need.  

Available: Pact

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Amour Vert #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021698″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755642_834_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Amour Vert

We’re in love with how green Amour Vert is. No, literally! Their name in French means “green love” so it’s no wonder that they’re one of our favorite sustainable fashion brands. 

AV’s classic staples are all made in the USA and features an impressive range of women’s tops, tees, blouses, dresses and jumpsuits, sweaters and sweatshirts, bottoms, outerwear, denim, and more. They also have a smaller selection for men and even offer a maternity section.

Materials:

You’ll see several different fabrics used in Amour Vert’s range—some of which also happen to be our favorite sustainable fabrics like TENCEL™ modal, organic cotton, recycled elastane, ECOVERO™ LENZING™ viscose (a sustainably sourced silk alternative), cupro (made from recycled cotton), and linen. 

There are also some fabrics that we typically leave out of our conscious closets—but in AV’s case are only used minimally, like spandex. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

One of the best things fast fashion alternatives can do is keep their supply chains simple, and Amour Vert does exactly that. More than 97% of their product line is produced in one of their California-based factories. 

They’ve got six factories, all located within just a few miles from their San Francisco office. 

Green business practices:

60% of the environmental impact of a garment is associated with the fiber it’s made from.

AV minimizes this by choosing fabrics like TENCEL™ modal—which is the creme de la creme for the brand as it’s sustainable, soft, and long-lasting. Plus, it’s made from FSC-certified forests and is biodegradable. 

AV also only uses compostable bags to protect their garments and they use recycled packaging that’s been printed with soy-based inks. 

Inclusivity:

We feel good seeing a diverse range of models on AV’s website, we just wish that some of the sizes were more inclusive (only 24”-32” waist sizes for denim).

Community & charitable giving:

For every tee purchase, AV plants a tree in North America through their partnership with American Forest. So far, they’ve planted 320,830 trees. 

Available: Amour Vert

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Organic Basics #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021702″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755642_631_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Organic Basics

Organic Basics is on this list of alternative fast fashion brands because they understand the score: “the fashion industry is a dirty bastard.”

That’s why sustainability is the basis behind all that they do. They choose the best fabrics and factories to make products that last and are made in a way they feel proud of. 

They’ve got an impressive selection of men’s and women’s undergarments and overgarments(?) like tees, shirts, bottoms, and activewear. 

Materials:

Realizing that materials are one of the most important considerations to be one of the best fast fashion alternatives, OB has a pretty impressive list of materials. 

They prioritize organic GOTS-certified organic cotton, but also use recycled nylon, TENCEL lyocell, recycled wool, SilverTech (made with sustainably-sourced silver), recycled cashmere, and Polygiene (a bluesign® approved, recycled silver fabric). 

For stretch, you might see a teeny tiny bit of elastane added to some garments. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

We go pretty crazy over some good transparency, and apparently OB does too. You can see a lot about not only the factories they work with, but also specific details (like overtime, vacation days, etc.) for their workers. 

Green business practices:

Not only are their clothes designed to last, but OB garments are also designed to require less washing (which plays a big role in the environmental impact of clothing). 

They offer carbon neutral shipping (for free). Their offsets support a wind farm in Turkey. 

Check out their Impact Report for more green goodies. 

Inclusivity:

OB has a full range of sizes (XS-XL) and does a great job of using models to match. 

Community & charitable giving:

If you’re living in Europe and operating an environmental organization, you have a shot of winning an Organic Basics Fund grant. 

Available: Organic Basics

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Synergy #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021707″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755643_116_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Synergy

For almost three decades, Synergy has graced the world with some of the most eco-friendly garments out there. 

It’s therefore no surprise that they’re one of the most popular fast fashion alternatives.

Founder Kate Fisher was inspired to create sustainable and ethical clothing after she witnessed the side effects of the fast fashion world in Nepal. Surrounded by an abundance of talented artisans—all faced with unsafe working conditions and unfair pay.

So, Kate and Synergy have changed that with their range of women’s outerwear, activewear, tops, bottoms, sweaters and even facemasks. 

Materials:

You’ll see a range of materials used in Synergy’s range, but here are a few key takeaways: GOTS certified organic cotton is where the clothes start. Then they’re treated with low impact dyes. 

The garments are blended with a range of other materials including: recycled polyester, TENCEL Modal, and tiny bits of spandex.

Supply chain & labor practices:

The organic cotton is grown in India, and loomed there in a Fair Trade Certified factory before being processed in a Nepalese factory (that abides by fair labor practices). 

Each artisan responsible for a Synergy garment is paid a living wage and protected from unsafe working conditions. 

For obvious reasons, Synergy is a certified B Corp

Green business practices:

Not only can you see the footprint calculator for each product, but Synergy is also a member of the Organic Trade Association and certified by both the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program and as a Green Business by Green America. 

They have a garment recycling program where old Synergy garments can be sent back to Synergy (for a discount).

Inclusivity: We love seeing diversity among the Synergy models, and there’s a pretty inclusive size range (XS-XL) to boot.

Community & charitable giving:

Synergy’s list of fundraising partners is impressive. Take a look for yourself to see organizations like The Urban School, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Farm Discovery. 

Available: Synergy

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Beckons #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021700″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755643_48_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Beckons

Becky Prater is the yoga teacher behind the ethical activewear brand, Beckons. She uses some of the best natural fabrics and the powers of attraction to help someone feel beautiful—both inside and out.

For alternatives to fast fashion that are durable enough for a good workout, check out Beckons’ range of women’s tops, pants, and undergarments. They have men’s pants and a great selection of plus size fast fashion alternatives, too.

Materials:

Beckons has been at the beck and call of one of our favorite sustainable fabrics—organic cotton. Certified by both the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the USDA, the material is found nearly-exclusively in all of their products. 

It’s blended with just a little spandex to keep things as flexible as you as you do your sun salutations.  

Supply chain & labor practices:

Control IMO certifies Beckons’ factory in Denver, Colorado to ensure that it’s doing things in a socially and environmentally friendly way. 

They also support organic farmers in countries like China, India, Turkey, and the US. 

Green business practices:

Organic cotton is where sustainability starts for Beckons, but they keep it rolling with their use of recycled and recyclable shipping boxes and their choice not to use poly bags. 

Inclusivity:

We’re very happy to see Beckons’ Plus Shop (they also have a Tall Shop, too!). Expect to see S-L sizes for most of their range. 

Community & charitable giving:

Giving back is important for Beckons, and they do a lot to support the yoga community. They regularly provide funding to YogaSlackers and donate their unsold garments to organizations like the Samburu Tribe of Africa as well as Women’s Resource Network. 

Available: Beckons

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by EcoVibe Apparel #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021709″ width=”300″ height=”450″ https://sustainablereporter.com/topics/fashion_apparel/”>Apparel-683×1024.jpg 683w, https://www.sustainablejungle.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Imge-by-EcoVibe-Apparel-200×300.jpg 200w, https://www.sustainablejungle.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Imge-by-EcoVibe-Apparel-768×1152.jpg 768w, https://www.sustainablejungle.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Imge-by-EcoVibe-Apparel.jpg 1000w” data-lazy- src=”https://www.sustainablejungle.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Imge-by-EcoVibe-Apparel-683×1024.jpg”>
Image by EcoVibe Apparel

EcoVibe Apparel is the product of the combined visions of Len and Dre Allen. Doing what we should all do a bit more of, they took the time to consider how things are made, who makes them, and what they’re made with. 

With that in mind, EcoVibe supports minorities, women, family-owned businesses and local designers. You can find their #ECOVIBESTYLE in their range of home goods, women’s apparel (tops, dresses, jumpsuits, leggings, cardigans), accessories, and gifts. 

Materials:

In EcoVibe’s large range, you’ll see just as many materials—both bad and good. 

We suggest you stick with options like cotton and modal and steer clear of elasterell-P (polyester), lycra, nylon, spandex, viscose, and rayon.  

Supply chain & labor practices:

With each garment coming from dozens of different designers and brands, it’s hard to be certain of their labor practices. 

However, there are some pieces that are made in the USA. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, you can stop by the brick-and-mortar shop and ask for yourself. 

Inclusivity:

EcoVibe has a few plus size options, so there’s something for everyone. 

Available: EcoVibe Apparel

There’s no such thing as ethical fast <a href=fashion. If we’re not paying a fair amount for a garment, then someone somewhere is. Fortunately, you can still look great with these fast fashion alternatives. Image by Threads 4 Thought #fastfashionalternatives #alternativestofastfashion #sustainablejungle” class=”wp-image-3021708″ width=”300″ height=”450″ data-lazy- src=”https://sustainablereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/1606755644_187_9-Fast-Fashion-Alternatives-For-That-Slow-Fashion-Style.jpg”>
Image by Threads 4 Thought

Hailing from NYC, Threads 4 Thought (T4T) wants us all to tread lightly and #ThreadLightly. So T4T creates products that assist “in changing the narrative and understanding of ethical standards within the fashion industry.”

Realizing the choices (votes) we have in our wallets, they encourage all of us to support the brands who align with our values. 

For this reason, we can feel good about the quality fast fashion alternatives from T4T, like their range of men’s and women’s clothing (tees, shirts, pants, and hoodies) and accessories.

Materials:

T4T is thoughtful about their materials. Expect to see fabrics like cotton and Tencel modal (which we looked at in our deep-dive into sustainable fabrics).

They’ve even got a ReActive line which is activewear that’s been made from regenerated and repurposed materials. 

They do use some fabrics that aren’t as earth-friendly—like rayon—so try to avoid these if you can.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Ethics is important to T4T which is why they work with factories that are covered by various certifications, like Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production and Fair Trade

You can even check out their list of factories to see where they’re located and what they produce. 

Green business practices:

T4T works with factories that use less than half of the amount of water typically spent on processing a garment. They also use 80% recycled / reused wastewater which saves more than 500 million gallons of water each year.

They also reuse 95% of materials to eliminate textile waste. 

Inclusivity:

Not only does T4T offer interest-free payments to make their products more affordable, but they also come in a range of sizes—XS-XXL in most styles. 

Community & charitable giving:

A portion of their profits is donated to the International Rescue Committee, which is dedicated to help refugee communities. 

Available: Threads 4 Thought

When we know how to avoid fast fashion—mass-produced garments made from (mostly) virgin synthetics in factories that don’t respect workers or the environment—then we know what we need to look for when it comes to fast fashion alternatives. 

Our guide on sustainable and ethical fashion was our yardstick on what to look for in these slow fashion brands. 

Materials:

Instead of cheap-to-produce virgin synthetics, we’re willing to spend more on natural materials that are better for our skin, better for our planet, and better for our wallets over time. 

Organic cotton, recycled cotton, linen, and semi-synthetics made from trees are more durable and they’re able to be produced without the toxic inputs as is required for synthetics. In most cases they’re able to be returned to the earth after their life cycle comes to an end. 

If we do decide to wear synthetics, we opt for those that are recycled. There’s certainly enough plastic on this planet to reuse—so we’re happy to wear it instead of see it floating around in our oceans. Just be sure to wash any plastic based garments using a guppy bag to prevent microplastics escaping into our water systems. 

Supply chain and labor practices:

Can fast fashion be ethical? We don’t think so. 

If you were to ask a huge fast fashion brand where a specific product came from, they probably wouldn’t be able to provide a straight answer (and if they do, be wary of greenwashing). 

Transparency is what sets apart fast fashion alternatives to fast fashion disasters. Most of these brands can trace their products to a specific factory—and are able to share employee and workplace details too. 

These brands also have either certifications or Codes of Conduct in place to ensure that their workers are treated fairly and work in safe environments. 

Green business practices:

Fast fashion is focused on profit. These alternatives to fast fashion are focused on planet. 

We’re thrilled to see that these brands are doing their part to transform the fashion industry to one that is conscious of its environmental footprint, and taking action to minimize waste, prioritize recycled / recyclable packaging, and offset carbon emissions. 

Community & charitable giving:

This is where a brand goes above and beyond. Not only do these brands support their workers and a healthy planet, but many of them also contribute to their local communities through donations or volunteer days. 


Asking the question – is fast fashion sustainable? is about as rhetorical as – is fast food healthy? 

We know both may sound good at the time, but we also know too well that icky buyers remorse we get straight after.

Fast fashion is cheap. That’s its only merit. And while you won’t find a $5 t-shirt on this list, it’s important to realize that you shouldn’t be able to find a $5 t-shirt anywhere, and if you do, you can be sure that someone somewhere is on the losing end of that “great deal.” 

Now, we’d love to know what your best fast fashion alternative is? Let us know in the comments below.


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