Woman examining clothing racks for quality and affordable clothing in store.
May 1, 2024
 in 
Slow Fashion

12 Quality Clothing Brands that are Affordable and Sustainable for Slow Fashion on a Budget

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he slow fashion movement is gaining momentum; chances are you have come across the term in media covering fashion. The question here then becomes, “What is slow fashion?” 

Slow fashion describes the beliefs, actions, and lifestyle decisions that come together to reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact. Unlike fast fashion practices, where the need to meet sales goals has led to the promotion of buying many cheap, poorly manufactured clothes designed to last through a fad with no concerns for the environment or ethical manufacturing, slow fashion promotes the reconsideration of overconsumption and overproduction and advocates for sustainability in fashion. 

Slow fashion, therefore, takes a closer look at every aspect of the fashion industry: sourcing raw materials, producing fabric and clothes, and marketing these items to ensure environmental and social justice and sustainability.

Table of  Contents

What is High-Quality Clothing And Why Is It Considered Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion is high-quality clothing made from strong, mostly natural materials like cotton, wool, and silk.  These garments are crafted carefully by skilled artisans who design them to be durable so you can get more “mileage” from them. Such skilled artisans will most likely work in establishments that respect ethical manufacturing practices.

High-quality clothing is a characteristic of slow fashion because the garments are mostly meticulously crafted and made to last, reducing the need to dump the pieces after a few uses. 

Opting for high-quality pieces that last is a better choice. Due to fast fashion and unsustainable clothing production and consumption practices, tonnes of clothes end up in landfills and find their way into the ocean yearly. Since not all materials used to make these clothes are biodegradable, dumping clothes to buy more is significantly polluting.

Distinguishing Between Fast Fashion Vs. Sustainable Fashion in Affordable Quality Clothing Brands

Woman evaluating a whether a piece of clothing is fast fashion or slow fashion in store.

Stock size and movement

One major characteristic of fast fashion is how frequently their stock and collections change on their websites and other marketing platforms. The items on offer will be trend or fad-driven and in and out of the stores in a flash, depending on how long the items are considered trendy or how long the fad is on. Fast fashion is focused on quantity over quality.

On the other hand, slow fashion brands will manufacture small batches of clothes that are sometimes pre-ordered and rarely engage in large-scale manufacturing. The items will likely be limited editions of classic styles not influenced by trends or fads. Slow fashion brands seldom get involved in significant discount events like Black Friday or massive frequent clearance sales. Slow fashion focuses on quality over quantity.

Materials used

Fast fashion thrives on cheap and synthetic fabrics; where natural fabrics are used, little effort is put into sustainable sourcing. This practice leads us to the practice of greenwashing. Greenwashing is misleading marketing used to deceive consumers into believing that an organization is involved in environmentally friendly practices.

Slow fashion thrives on quality, primarily sustainable and, in many cases, responsibly sourced fabrics. Slow fashion brands also rely on recycled textiles and will minimize wastage.

Sustainability

Fast fashion brands do not share transparent and traceable data about their production practices. Information regarding clean or green practices will be challenging to find on their websites because chances are they are not doing the things that could give them sustainability brownie points. 

Fast fashion is about doing things quickly and cheaply with the expectation of maximum profit. This will mean unsustainable sourcing of materials and also outsourcing manufacturing to sweatshops in parts of the world where work conditions are not controlled, and employees work for a low wage in dire situations. 

Continuing to buy fast fashion products causes consumers to be complicit in destroying the planet by selling them items manufactured unethically from materials extracted using methods harmful to the environment.

Slow fashion brands will most likely be more transparent and honest about their supply chains and other aspects, contributing to positive sustainability statistics. Materials used are natural, recycled, and upcycled. The production uses processes that minimize waste and steer clear of harmful chemicals. 

Slow fashion brands pay workers good wages and provide good working conditions.  Their carbon footprint is also significantly reduced by the fact that they will use local materials and labor. One essential point is that slow fashion brands will design garments that are made to be durable and remain stylish, meaning a wardrobe filled with timeless, sustainably made clothes.

How We Evaluate High-Quality Clothing Brands That Are Affordable

Unsurprisingly, slow fashion products are manufactured for sustainable longevity, and style will make them costly. To offer you more affordable, high-quality clothing, we evaluated several brands based our evaluation on four factors - sustainability, quality, cost, and fit as follows:

Sustainability

A significant point of sustainability is minimized waste. A fashion brand can reduce waste in two ways - manufacturing processes and a recycling policy for when consumers decide they have used their garment enough. 

This is one point to look out for when picking high-quality clothing brands. In evaluating clothing brands for quality, looking into the materials used is essential. High-quality clothes will be made of sustainably sourced materials that are treated with non-toxic chemicals using manufacturing processes that minimize waste.

Quality

When evaluating high-quality clothing brands, the things to look out for when checking for quality will be the type of materials used. We will be looking for natural fibers that ensure solid garments and are also kind to the environment. These fabrics should also feel luxurious and have a reasonable thickness. 

Most good quality fabrics will retain their shape easily and ensure your garment lasts for a long time. Particular attention is put into how the materials are produced and in what conditions they are crafted into the garments you will eventually buy. Evaluation should involve checking for certifications and memberships to groups that help regulate ethical production.

Cost

Knowing the kind of care that high-quality fashion brands take to develop their garment collections, it would not be surprising if you think they are expensive. They will cost more than fast fashion items in most cases, but remember you are getting your money’s worth as the article you purchase will probably last you a long time, keep you stylish, and increase your confidence. Some high-quality fashion brands offer fair pricing without compromising the sustainability of their products.

Fit

High-quality brands pay close attention to details like how a garment fits. Through professional, highly skilled cutting and flawless seaming, the craftspeople who make high-quality clothes ensure that they fit well and last for a long time. 

12 High-Quality Clothing Brands That Are Affordable And Sustainable

As mentioned before, high-quality clothing tends to cost more than fast-fashion clothing. This should not discourage you from getting involved in sustainable fashion for the good of the planet. Though your initial investment might seem high, you will soon realize that it is worth it because your high-quality clothes will stay in great shape for a long and you will enjoy them for a longer time than you would have a cheaper low-quality fast fashion item.

The following are our picks for high-quality clothing brands that you will not need a fat wallet to buy. These brands also practice sustainability and are eco-friendly. 

1. Quince

This brand brings quality sustainability while maintaining affordability. These are the three values upon which this brand is based according to their website. On offer is a wide range of high-quality clothing for women, men, and kids. They also have accessories, bags, shoes, home products, and a pet collection. A bold statement of commitment to sustainability is among the information on the company's website regarding its sustainability policy. Quince is a must-visit if you are looking for high-quality essentials at an affordable price.

Product range: Dresses, jumpsuits, pants, shirts, menswear, kids clothes, suitcases, accessories, bedding, pet clothes and equipment.

Sizes: XS to XL, kids sizes too. Pet sizes are also available.

Prices: From $15

Sustainability stats: Goods shipped directly from the factory using 100% compostable poly bags and recyclable plastic mailers. Organic materials are used to make garments. Ethical production ensures fair wages and conditions that reduce environmental impact.

2. Asket

Asket is the answer if you are looking for sustainable, high-quality menswear.  Although they are mainly known for their menswear, they also offer womenswear. Their strong point is their dedication to transparency. They have a ‘permanent collection’ that features fewer sustainable, high-quality pieces.  They offer free shipping for purchases above $150 and free exchanges.

Product range: Variety of menswear, including swimwear, linen pants, cotton shirts, sweatshirts, and a wide variety of womenswear featuring knitwear, sweatshirts, and beanies.

Sizes: - XS to XXL

Prices: Starts from $50 

Sustainability stats: A website dedicated to transparency - there are sections with information on costs, craftspeople, and resources going into their products, and an offer to help buyers care for their garments and even take them back for recycling and reselling—100% recycled materials used.

3. Yes Friends

Yes Friends is in the business of making affordable eco-friendly garments. This brand has been known to produce items based on results of polls seeking to identify what their fans want to wear.  Their interactive model aims to make high-quality, eco-friendly clothes that people want to wear and, most importantly, can afford. Their first poll was for t-shirt designs, which remains their main product.  Available in a wide range of sizes, including a kids’ collection.

Product range: T-shirts, Beanies, Hoodies, Underwear, Sweatshirts, Tank Tops, 

Sizes: XXS to 4XL

Prices: From $8

Sustainability stats: Fair Trade solar-powered factory. Organic cotton is used. They offer a bonus program for garment workers to ensure excellent wages.

4. The Slow Label

This label has an expansive collection consisting of timeless and versatile pieces. They specialize in elevated basics and keep their collection limited in line with their conscious consumerism cause.

Product range: Women’s separates, dresses, swimwear, coats, accessories and more

Sizes: XXS to XXL

Prices: From $48 to $215

Sustainability stats: The website has complete transparency information, including production, material, and price breakdowns—organic certified and degradable fabrics. 

5. ALMINA Concept

Almina Concept is the best candidate for this list. It was created for those seeking high-quality, tastefully trendier clothes at mid-range prices. They stock contemporary wardrobe staples for women.

Product range: Shirts, shorts, cardigans, coats, trousers, vests and skirts. 

Sizes: XS to L

Prices: From $50 to $200

Sustainability stats: Almina Concept works with “mom and pop” factories from Korea - some of which have 20 to 30 years of experience in the sewing business. These craftspeople work in factories built to foster good working conditions and eliminate waste. Recyclable paper is used for packaging to reduce the amount of plastic needed.

6. L L Bean

This brand is not only well-known for quality classics that can last several seasons, but it is also heavily invested in sustainable practices in line with greening the planet.  They are one of the top brands for outdoor clothing, trusted by many for over 100 years. Adventure buffs looking for quality activewear without breaking the bank will love this brand.  Their activewear accommodates various body sizes and types, including regular, petite, plus, and tall.

Product range: Sweaters, hoodies, swimwear, windbreakers, jackets, jeans, sleepwear, insulated jackets, snow jackets and much more.

Sizes: XS to XL

Prices: From $20

Sustainability stats: Use of 100% Responsible Down and increased use of Responsible Cotton and recycled nylon and polyester.  Recycled paper packaging is used to transport 75% of goods. Up to 87% of waste has been recycled in some facilities. Gives back through activities like funding research programs.

7. Katla

The raw nature of Iceland inspires this brand. Garments combining timeless style with luxurious eco-friendly fabrics are crafted using processes that minimize waste. With the use of unique, innovative fabrics like seaweed blends, Katla demonstrates that it is a brand that is dedicated to sustainability. A wide range of clothes, including children’s styles, are available.

Product range: Hoodies, shorts, skirts, tops, sweatshirts, dresses, jumpsuits.

Sizes: XS to XL

Prices: From $60

Sustainability stats: Vegan silk, Seaweed blends, and Organic cotton are used to produce garments. Traceability is enhanced by tracking numbers on garments that can be used to access its story—small batch manufacturing in following ethical practices.

8. Universal Standards

With claims of being the “World’s Most Inclusive Brand,” one already feels that what they want will be found. Universal Standards set out to create a uniform fashion shopping experience for everyone, regardless of size. They focus on essentials that can work very well for a capsule wardrobe.

Product range: Athleisure, Dresses, Denim, Workwear, Pants and Bottoms, Swimwear and more

Sizes:00 to 40

Prices: Starting from $100. It can go below $100 for sales.

Sustainability stats: Sustainably sourced utility fabrics that are designed to last long.

9. Pact 

Pact offers fine-textured basics that are Fair Trade compliant.  Pact carries a family-friendly range; there is something for everyone.  They are big on comfort, and their garments are versatile enough to be worn year-round. 

Product range: Dresses, Jumpsuits, Tees, Joggers, Jeans, Jacket

Sizes: From Children to Adults. Maternity included.

Prices: From $24

Sustainability stats: High-quality organic clothing. Eco-friendly packaging. Items can be returned after use and donated to those in need.

10. Boden

Boden is a leading British fashion brand known for its sustainability. It offers an expansive fashion collection with options for the whole family and will also ship worldwide. 

Product range: Workwear, swimwear, special occasion garments, casual separates.

Sizes: Starting from children’s to Adult sizes, in different size groups, like petite.

Prices: From $30

Sustainability stats: Fair Trade production following the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code. Offers recycled packaging for shipments. Sustainably sourced materials are used to make Boden garments in ethically sound factories. The brand supports community initiatives to conserve the environment.

11. Tentree

This brand is a superstar because it believes that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve our planet. And they lead by action - ten trees are planted for every item bought! With such credentials, it is easy to forget that they are a clothing brand dealing in ethically crafted and sustainably produced garments. 

Product range: Tees, activewear and outerwear.

Sizes: XS to XXL

Prices: From $40

Sustainability stats: Regreening the planet through their plan to plant one billion trees by 2030, so far, they have planted 105 million. Sustainably produced garments respecting ethical manufacturing.

12. ABLE

What is more planet-loving than being dedicated to ending poverty? This brand’s sustainability plan is to create more economic opportunities for women in the fashion industry. The clothing items are made by women worldwide with an overcoming story to tell. You can find the right fit for you through virtual styling.  The option of free exchanges within a year is available.

Product range: Denim, jumpsuits, shoes.

Sizes:XS to XXXL

Prices: From $45

Sustainability stats: Sound poverty eradication program. Items ethically sourced from 

different craftswomen worldwide. 

You Can Slow Fashion On A Budget

High-quality clothes are pricier, but with creativity and resourcefulness, everyone can be a part of the slow fashion movement. As we demonstrated in this article, there are ways to ensure you can find affordable garments that are high quality, sustainably, and ethically produced. You could also:

  • Buy vintage and pre-loved clothing or rent the pieces that you will only wear a few times.
  • Subscribe to newsletters from the websites of high-quality fashion brands. This will ensure you know about the latest offers and any conservation activities they get involved in. 
  • Some brands will have launches and sample sales when they begin. Keep your eyes and ears open for high-quality, eco-friendly garment start-ups in your area so you can be clued in when these sales happen.
  • Join slow fashion groups online. You will find information regarding events and recommendations for good deals there. Using pointers from other group members, you can build a sustainable, stylish wardrobe to suit your needs.
  • Building a capsule or minimalistic wardrobe of high-quality items while showing the planet some love is possible.

Remember there is no one size fits all so the key is to take these steps mindfully, at your own pace, and geared towards your own lifestyle. This will ensure long lasting changes that will work for your particular style and value system. So get inspired, and join in the slow fashion movement as it improves the environment, and enjoy expertly crafted, high-quality, durable garments that will last a long time.