Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog – it still exists!
Today, we’re going to be talking about sustainable and ethical brands that you can shop from, at multiple price points.
I’ve used ‘sustainable’ as a blanket term here, because some of these brands preserve handloom textile, almost all of them have transparent labour practices, and some do their bit towards reducing waste in the manufacturing process. All of these practices are categorised differently, but to simplify the title, I called them all as ‘sustainable’. I’ll explain the practices of the brand as I list them, so that you can know the right terminology.
The glossary of terms is provided at the end of the post. I’ll also list if menswear is available.
When it comes to a brand for every budget, sustainable fashion mostly starts at a higher price point than fast fashion – and for good reason! Better labour and environmental practices have a monetary cost associated with them, hence the final product ends up being a bit more expensive.
Nevertheless, I’ve tried to include a wide range of budgets, and the brands in each budget have been put there based on an estimate of the average price of clothing.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to do here is to show you sustainable fashion has variety, and diversity in its offerings.
Sometimes, it can seem boring because many brands use hand-block print, similar silhouettes, etc. But hopefully this (non-exhaustive) list changes your mind, because it changed mine!
The Forever21 Budget: Rs. 599 – 1499
This is a tough category due to aforementioned higher prices for sustainable brands. But I’ve tried to be creative about it, so here’s what I found.
Rossbelle | 🌱 Sustainable ⚖️ Ethical
A Chennai-based brand, they create clothing out of sustainable materials, dead-stock (excess) fabrics, and re-purposed vintage fabrics – which would be trashed otherwise. Simple patterns make them wearable to work, and on weekends – think shift dresses, off-shoulder tops, and asymmetrical tunics. Fashionable, with less impact on the environment – my dream come true. rossbelle.in
The Yellow Label Co | 🔴 Slow Fashion ✋ Hand craft
Indian hand block printing meets bell sleeves, ditzy patterns, and wrap silhouettes? Count me in! Providing livelihood to block printers in India, The Yellow Label Co uses only cotton (hence, natural) and takes care in sourcing all materials – from threads to buttons. Categorised as slow fashion, because it takes time to create the fabric by hand. An affordable, slow fashion two-piece set? Sign me up. www.theyellowlabel.com
Adah by Leesha | ♻️ Zero Waste ✋ Hand Craft ✅ Menswear
An Instagram store, they work with Indian handloom fabrics and techniques to create modern, fun pieces – ikat shirts, bow-ties, women’s suspenders, to name a few. They also are committed to zero waste, and upcycle scrap fabric into statement earrings – which I love, and would be a great pop of colour to a white shirt + blue jeans + black sandal ensemble. instagram.com/adah_by_leesha
The H&M / Zara Budget: Rs. 999 – 2999
Inde Rooh |🔴 Slow Fashion ✋ Hand Craft 🍃 Natural
Inde Rooh was started with a goal to preserve Rajasthan block printing, and at the same time provide genuine and authentic garments at a reasonable and fair price. With a range of women’s cotton clothing in lovely Indian prints, I think they’ve managed to hit their goal. For the record, they make some of the best cotton clothing I’ve ever tried – thick, but not heavy, soft to touch, and doesn’t lose colour or newness after washes. inderooh.com
Dressfolk | 🔴 Slow Fashion 🌱 Sustainable ⚖️ Ethical
Currently focusing only on the Dabu craft, Dressfolk works directly with artisans, and uses only natural materials in its dyeing process. They provide fair pricing, without hefty markups, and pay their workers fairly. Natural, modern, and unique in their offering, their clothes work for days, nights, offices, and weekends. Boxy crop shirts, yes please! dressfolk.com
No Nasties | 🌱 Sustainable 🌿 Organic ⚖️ Ethical ✅ Menswear
Fair Trade certified (read about that here), and not nasty to the environment or their workers, No Nasties does everything right. From transparent practices, organic, rain-fed farms, upcycling, recycling, no heavy metals in their inks, they wanted to do more, so they are planning an entire grove (10,000 trees), with one tree planted for every sale, every email signup, and every day in business.
Their clothing includes menswear and kidswear, and for women – think tank dresses, slouchy tops, jumpsuits, and boxy tees. Their sale prices make a compelling case, too. Brb, signing up for their newsletter. nonasties.in
Boheco | 🌱 Sustainable ⚖️ Ethical ✋ Hand Craft 🍃 Natural ✅ Menswear
The Bombay Hemp Company (or Boheco for short) began with a will to change people’s perceptions on the cannabis plant in India. Hemp fabric, that is woven out of the plant, uses 400x less water than cotton, and is also one of the strongest natural fabrics. Boheco has a range of clothing – t-shirts, skirts, dresses, mens’ shirts, jackets – in simple cuts and naturally dyed colours, making them great staple pieces for your wardrobe. They even carry some organic collections – and all this while backing Indian hemp crop research, and fair prices & employment to all those involved. boheco.org
The special occasion budget: Rs. 2999 – 4999
Jodi Life | 🔴 Slow Fashion ✋ Hand Craft ♻️ Zero Waste ⚖️ Ethical ✅ Menswear
Jodi was started to give a new lease of life to local Indian craft techniques. They release only capsule collections (i.e. small quantities), and draw inspiration from a wide range of sources – nature, films, culture, etc. Their clothes are eclectic, colourful, and easy to wear. They also upcycle fabric scraps into scrunchies, patchwork quilts, headbands, and jackets. I love that they present Indian block print techniques in unique colours and patterns – such as this ruffle asymmetrical skirt. Also, I love their funky menswear. thejodilife.com
Aapro | ⚖️ Ethical ✋ Hand Craft ✅ Menswear
A recent find on my radar, Aapro makes fashion-forward clothing with an emphasis on Indian craft techniques. This is one of those brands that defies the convention of ethical fashion being boring. From Sari pants, and bandhej (bandhini) pantsuits, to t-shirt dresses and spaghetti tops, every piece is well thought-out, and crafted to perfection, with ethical labour practices. And for men (and Queer Eye fans), there are printed shirts, bomber jackets – honey, can you believe? aaprolabel.com
The Summer House | 🌱 Sustainable ⚖️ Ethical 🌿 Organic
One of the most well-known sustainable brands in India, The Summer House uses only sustainable and organic fabrics, and all their clothing is created in-house, ensuring they can control the workmanship. Their ethics are reflected in the statement, “at no point is financial gain given precedence over physical and mental health”, which is provided on their own website. Their pieces are timeless, with small details that would make it a pleasure to wear. One of my favourite collections was their swimwear line, made out of Econyl ® – a fabric made out of reprocessing nylon fishing waste left in the sea. thesummerhouse.in
There are definitely brands above Rs. 4999, but I needed more research so I stopped here – maybe a future post? But in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this one.
As a reminder: you can always start small with incorporating sustainability in your wardrobe, because it can be a daunting concept. For your next purchase, look to these brands first before going to fast fashion. Even one purchase from a sustainable brand can make a difference, and you can resolve to buy every fourth or fifth item from such brands.
What brand caught your eye? Comment below and let me know! 🙂
⚖️ Ethical: relates to labour practices, good working conditions, living wages, fair working hours, and transparency in their supply chain. I’ve only provided an ethical label for those who I could confirm are transparent about their labour.
🌱 Sustainable: Minimising environmental impact through choice of fabrics, and style of processing & operation – this can be anything from using innovative fabrics, to renewable energy in factories, or creating a product while using less resources.
🌿 Organic: Natural fibres, fabrics, and materials grown without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.
🍃 Natural: Only using natural fabrics, and not synthetic. Note: Natural does not necessarily mean organic.
✋ Hand Craft: Involving use of manual handiwork – such as block printing, weaving, embroidery.
♻️ Zero Waste: Reducing/removing the waste created in the design process, especially fabric scraps.
🔴 Slow Fashion: Clothing and accessories manufactured at a slower pace, and creating lesser quantity than typical factory-made outputs – which is better for the environment because it uses less resources, and is likely to create less waste. Actually, I’d say almost all these brands are slow fashion, as they’re boutique made, and not mass-manufacture.