ustainability is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot these days. And, hey! I’m all for making more sustainable decisions, however, the best way to start your path to sustainability is through—you guessed it!—money! Shopping more sustainably can be really hard and really expensive. But, it can also be super simple and really cheap. Sustainability encompasses a couple of things for companies to do. According to good on you, a sustainability journal that rates brands on how ethical and sustainable they are, there are three main areas of sustainability and ethical shopping: Planet, People, and Animals.
The “Planet” rating comments on how good the company is regarding resource consumption and proper climate crisis mitigation. The “People” rating has to do with how well the company treats their workers (wages, hours, conditions, etc.). And, finally, the “Animals” rating rates the brand on their treatment of animals!
Based on the tools on good on you, I’ve curated a list of far more sustainable swaps based on some common places to shop! Remember, sustainability starts with small changes in your “normal” routine so start looking up brands to see if they practice sustainability before shopping with them!
Love H&M? Try Organic Basics
H&M has some great, and very cheap basic clothing items which is awesome. However, for just a little bit more in price you can shop at the far more sustainable Organic Basics. The Denmark based company offers very similar basics with much better, sustainable practices! There clothes are simple and clean. AND, you can save money by buying bundles (which they call packs)!
Love Lululemon? Try Girlfriend Collective
I have to be completely honest… most of the time, I practically live in workout clothes most of the time since I workout twice a day and can get away with wearing leggings at my job. I really like Lululemon’s clothes! But, it’s really expensive to be supporting unethical fashion. However, Girlfriend Collective is a whole other story. Girlfriend Collective is sustainable, size inclusive, and constantly features non-White models for their products. Not to mention the athletic wear is so cute. And, they come in like 100 different colors!
Love The North Face? Try Patagonia
I know that I’m not making some huge revelation by recommending Patagonia, but I feel like their products are unmatched. AND, the company is super focused on bettering the climate crisis as well as treating their employees very well! According to good on you, the North Face isn’t doing anything atrociously bad, but they also aren’t doing anything to really make matters better either. Since they tend to be situated at relatively similar price points, definitely opt for shopping from Patagonia.
Love Urban Outfitters? Try Hope For Flowers
I’m obsessed with the dresses and tops from Hope For Flowers. They give me serious Urban Outfitters vibes (back when Urban Outfitters had cute stuff). The quality of these pieces is so much better than Urban Outfitters and the company is a sustainable Black owned business!!
Love Frankies Bikinis? Try Arrow + Phoenix
Frankies Bikinis is a long-loved bikini brand that took Instagram and Tumblr by storm. However, Frankies has never proven to be an ethical or sustainable brand. Arrow + Pheonix on the other hand is ultra sustainable and just as (if not MORE) cute! Arrow + Pheonix is a Black-owned swimsuit shop that commits to sustainability and inclusivity. They have the cutest suits and they go up to XXL!
The next time your thinking about buying that “super cute” Shein top, check Depop and thredUP! Online thrift stores have revolutionized sustainable clothes shopping. It is now so easy to get re-used clothes so you don’t have to waste resources on new clothes.
Pro tip: a lot of people complain that these sites are too expensive, but if you filter by price and set a high and low, you’ll be able to find something in your price range.
And, of course, shopping from vintage and regular thrift stores are always a great alternative to buying new!