There are so many amazing clothing brands out there, that have yet to be discovered because they’re being squashed by the competition of major fast fashion brands. We’ll outline some fast fashion alternatives that are ethically and environmentally superior. To begin, let’s define fast fashion. According to TheGoodTrade.com, fast fashion is “a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing”. There are many negative consequences that occur when a brand shifts towards a fast fashion business model. Fast Fashion brands will often compromise quality, or more importantly, ethical production, for cheap and quickly-produced apparel. In order to keep their prices low and to offer styles with the latest trends, fast fashion brands often rely on cheap labor, even unethical options such as sweatshops, or factories where workers are paid unfair wages.
While these big brands like Urban Outfitters, Zara, and Zaful are often the go-to because of their accessibility, women.net is making it easier than ever to access alternatives to fast fashion in the form of women-owned brands! With so many other more ethical, eco-friendly, and charitable brands to choose from, there’s really no reason we should still be supporting fast fashion. Next time you’re shopping for some new clothes whether that be a tee-shirt like you might find at Urban, or a beautiful dress like they have at Anthro, we encourage you to consider some of the following women-owned alternatives instead, and support women while you shop!
Alternatives to Urban Outfitters
Amour Vert is a sustainable fashion brand that makes classic staples for all parts of your wardrobe. Amour Vert teams up with American Forests, to plant a tree for every tee you buy. Almost all their products (97%) are ethically produced in small quantities in California. The brand always strives to use the most sustainable fibers and raw materials available, giving you high-quality products that are guaranteed to last much longer than your fast fashion alternatives.
Takeaways: Sustainable, plants a tree for every tee you buy, zero waste, ethically produced in small batches
Alternatives to Mango
Apparis is a vegan clothing brand dedicated to cruelty-free designs, sustainability, and most importantly–empowerment. They’re very well known for their luxurious faux-fur coats and jackets, which come in an array of colors and are softer than you can imagine. Apparis sells an array of outerwear, loungewear, knitwear, and even men’s and children’s apparel as well. You can rest assured that any piece you buy from them was ethically manufactured, and is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Takeaways: All apparel is 100% vegan and cruelty free, go-to place for coats & outerwear, ethical manufacturing
Alternatives to Dolls Kill
Tunnel Vision is a super small business run mainly by two women in California. All clothing on their site is either vintage, or their own house brand designs which are made in small-batch, sweatshop-free environments, providing living wages for workers! They also fund monthly donations to Equality California (an LGBTQ+ rights organization) and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Takeaways: Vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces, sweatshop-free, donates to charities
Alternatives to Zaful
Love Street is a Florida-based brand with a wide variety of clothing options. Some may argue that Love Street is indeed fast fashion because of its wide variety of options and new styles. We kept them as a good alternative, considering the information given in their FAQ section assures that their apparel is not produced unethically, and they’re on their way to producing their own goods. Also, the company uses eco-friendly packaging and donates its returns to Breast Cancer Research.
Takeaways: Eco-friendly, affordable, plentiful options, outsources their apparel production
Alternatives to Anthropologie
Christy Dawn is a Los Angeles-based apparel brand offering gorgeous handmade pieces that will last you a lifetime. Their apparel is handmade in small batches from deadstock and sustainably-sourced materials. They’re a “farm-to-closet” company, meaning their clothing is made to be good for you, and good for the environment. Their dresses are inspired by vintage clothing, with timeless elegant looks that you can wear forever.
Takeaways: Handmade, sustainable, high-quality, farm-to-closet, vintage inspired, go-to place for dresses
Alternatives to LuluLemon
Instead of promoting the need to constantly update and refresh your wardrobe like fast fashion brands do, Outdoor Voices design their products through “the lens of longevity and circularity”, in order to reduce their environmental impact. OV is committed to using packaging that is both recycled and recyclable, and their fabrics are made with recycled, sustainable alternatives. Their line of unique and versatile activewear is a perfect alternative to LuluLemon.
Takeaways: Environmentally friendly, sustainable, unique & versatile athleisure
Girlfriend Collective is an athletic and loungewear apparel store focused on sustainability, inclusiveness, and ethical production. By choosing Girlfriend instead of a fast-fashion brand, you help divert waste from landfills and support an ethical work environment for the people who make your clothes. Not only do they make clothes from recycled materials, but they also allow you to send back your old Girlfriend pieces to turn into new ones! We love that Girlfriend just released a line of gender-neutral clothing!
Takeaways: Sustainable, ethically produced, recycled materials, lounge wear and active wear, gender-neutral options
Alternatives to Madewell
If you’re looking for an ethical, sustainable alternative to Madewell’s popular accessories, look no further. Abby Alley is a “people-first, planet-focused, fashion brand” that offers high-quality jewelry and bags that are “brought to life through long term, mutually empowering relationships with [their] artisan partners in East Africa.” All jewelry collections and leather bags on Abby Alley adhere to their principles of “exceptional quality, timeless design, collaborative spirit, and authenticity”.
Takeaways: Jewelry and leather bags made by artisans in Africa, high quality, sustainable
ABLE is a slow fashion brand that ethically produces women’s apparel that’s high quality, soft, comfortable, and fashionable. We love their brand’s mission to provide opportunities for women in the fashion industry. At ABLE, they “invest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive”. ABLE has all kinds of options from clothing to accessories, to shoes, so make sure to check them out next time as a good, ethical, women-owned alternative!
Takeaways: Provides opportunities and fair wages to women, ethical production, options for any part of your closet (jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc).
Alternatives to Zara
OhSevenDays is a slow fashion “mindfully made womenswear label creating sustainable staples from deadstock fabrics based in Istanbul Turkey”. They offer everyday clothing that’s understated and beautiful and can be worn on any day or occasion – their designs are similar to the fashion you’d find at Zara, just much more ethical and sustainable. All of their production is done in-house by their team of 4 tailors, who you can actually meet right here! These small-batch designs are guaranteed to be ethically created, and of the highest of quality, much longer-lasting than a fast fashion item.
Takeaways: Sustainable, uses deadstock fabric, elegant, everyday designs, high quality and produced in house
Alternatives to O-Mighty
Happy Monday is an online clothing store featuring handmade Kawaii options. Check out their affordable and adorable anime, kawaii, and generally, adorable clothing pieces ranging from crop tops, to full sets, to sweatshirts. They provide worldwide delivery and even welcome made-to-order requests if you have a specific vision!
Takeaways: Kawaii “cute” fashion, affordable, handmade, worldwide delivery
Couldn’t find what you’re shopping for in this list? Stop by women.net to search through our full directory of women-owned businesses to find a women-based brand to fill your needs! Furthermore, if you own or represent a women-owned business, be sure to add your business listing to our directory, completely free of charge! Let’s continue to support women together.