Welcome to the Ethical Directory!
On this page, you’ll find out:
- What does ‘ethical’ mean?
- Where can you shop ‘ethical’?
What does ‘ethical’ mean?
The below is a glossary of terms you’ll find on this blog and elsewhere in the universe of ethical fashion and lifestyle blogs, news, and discourse.
- Ethical | i.e. ethical products, ethical brands, ethical shopping | has a fundamental focus on morals, avoiding activities or impacts that do harm to people, the environment, and to animals.
- Cruelty-free | refers to those products that are made without using animal products or harming animals.
- Conscious consumerism | also: mindful consumerism, thoughtful consumerism | is the concept of recognising the impact that the ‘fast fashion cycle’ of producing and disposing of goods has on people and the environment, and intentionally making efforts to acquire only ethically-produced products, and/or to acquire fewer products at a slower pace.
- Eco-fashion | is a focus on producing products in an environmentally-friendly way with fewer toxic processes, dyes and materials and may also include reductions in energy input and closed loop waste disposal to reduce the ecological impact of the garment’s lifecycle. May also take into account the health of the consumers who will be wearing the clothes.
- fair trade | describes the general concept of a type of trade that ensures producers work in safe environments, with reasonable conditions and fair compensation for their work in order to help provide livlihoods for those workers to lift themselves out of poverty.
- Fair Trade | is the specific definition of the concept of ‘fair trade’ based on the ‘Fair Trade principles’, which are contained within the Charter of Fair Trade Principles. The Charter and principles were developed by two non-government, not-for-profit organisations called the World Fair Trade Organisation (or WFTO) and Fairtrade International (also known as Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International or FLO). “Fair Trade” can also refer to a certification and labelling system by Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA).
- Fairtrade | is a certification and labeling system by FLO for fair trade products that meet the minimum standards.
- Minimalism | is intentionally living with fewer material possessions, promoting the products we most value and use. Those products may not necessarily be ethical. The focus of leading a minimalist lifestyle is for the benefits that having fewer possession has on the consumer (by increasing freedom, clarity and contentment) and not necessarily on the effect that over-consumption has on workers or on the environment.
- Responsible fashion | is to act in a responsible fashion when it comes to consuming fashion, by being cognisant of and accountable for your role (as a consumer) in the demand and supply of short-life cycle products that harm people and the environment; and to choose to purchase in a way that encourages transparency and change in the fast fashion industry.
- Slow fashion | is a movement promoting designing, manufacturing, buying and caring for garments on the bases of quality and longevity, which grew to counter the disposible culture of the fast fashion model which promotes variety, trends, and the rapid acquisition and disposal of garments. Slow fashion often also has a focus on handmade unique pieces, including helping marginalized members of the society by sustaining a dying craft such as handweaving or block printing.
- Social justice | is based on the concepts of human rights and equality for all in terms of access to food, clean water, education, health care, meaningful employment and – more broadly – the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges.
- Sweatshop-free | are products made in a healthy and safe working environment which is free from coercion and in which the workers are fairly compensated for their work. ‘Sweatshop-free’ can encompass locally-made products and is variously used to describe products made in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the US and UK.
- Sustainable | i.e. shopping, products, processes, brands | is based on the principle that how we currently acquire, use, recycle and dispose of products will irrevocably damage the planet and exhaust natural resources; and focuses on reducing consumption levels and changing production patterns by ensuring the type and amount of resources we use, are recyclable, non-polluting, and conserve energy and resources.
- Vegan | are products that use or contain no animal products.
- Zero carbon | also: carbon neutral | refers to balancing the release of any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during a production process with a carbon offset, such as planting trees.
- Zero waste | is a philosophy that avoids single-use packaging or products and emphasises reusing, rather than replacing, items and storage to avoid sending waste (especially non-biodegradable waste) to landfills.
Here’s what you just read, in overly-simplified table form.
|Social impact||Environmental impact||Animal welfare impact
|Fair Trade –||✓|
|fair trade –||✓|
I say ‘overly-simplified’ because, in reality, it’s all connected. ‘Zero waste” may prioritise the environmental impact over the social impact, but we know that waste, environmental degradation, and climate change hits people living in poverty hardest of all. Similarly, “Fairtrade” may prioritise the social impact, but it also includes minimum environmental standards, in recognition of the fact that the pursuit of social justice is not worth much if it’s at the expense of the environment.
That’s why this blog increasingly focuses on ‘ethical’ as an umbrella term capturing impact reduction in the most general sense.
For completeness, here’s what others think ‘ethical’ means:
What is ethical? 7 terms you need to know from Style Wise Blog
Ecodictionary from A Boy Named Sue shop
How 10 ethical bloggers define ‘ethical fashion’ from Eco Warrier Princess
Ethical clothing: what does that mean? from Fairtees
Responsible shopping glossary from StyleBee
Where can you shop ethical?
The below is a dynamic, non-exhaustive list of places to shop for ethical beauty, fashion, accessories, food and drink.
When I first started compiling this list almost four years ago, I struggled to populate each category. Today, with an abundance of ethical brands, retailers, tools and resources to choose from, I struggle to curate this list! I needed to draw a line somewhere, and so the criteria for inclusion in this list is brands and retailers that I have shopped from or I have wanted to shop from; and tools and resources that I have personally found useful.
Consider this list mere launching pad into the world of conscious consumerism! The aim of this list is to demonstrate the breadth of options and make shopping ethically a little easier and a little more accessible.
Things to note in considering this list
As we’ve seen, there are a lot of spins on what makes a product ‘ethical’. As such, each of the below brands have their own unique approach to and interpretations of ‘ethical’, and prioritise different factors. For me personally, I prioritise social impact, followed by environmental impact (now might be the time to point out that this isn’t a Vegan blog… see my policy to buying leather here). For consistency, I’ve included a note on how I personally view these brands to be ‘ethical’. For more information on how I personally evaluate brands and business, please refer to my Fairtrade Spectrum on what I consider to be best, also good, and not-so-good when it comes to ethical shopping.
Not every item made by the below brands may be made ethically – you can verify by doing your own research, checking tags, reading the product descriptions available online, or writing to/tweeting the brand.
Curated online stores stocking a number of ethical brands
A Boy Named Sue Shop (Hong Kong) | $$-$$$
ASOS Eco Edit (Global) | $-$$
Elborne Living (US) | $$
Ekoluv (Australia) | $-$$$
Ethos Collection (US) | $$
Fashion-Conscience (UK) | $-$$
Love Justly (US) | $ (discounted ethical fashion webstore)
MadeFAIR (US) | $-$$
Modavanti (US) | $ – $$$
Shift to Nature (Australia) | $-$$$
Shop Ethica (US) – $$$
Thread Harvest (Australia) – $-$$
Well Made Clothes (Australia) – $ -$$$
Zady (US) – $$-$$$
Image: Amour Vert
Amour Vert (US) | silk dresses & shirts, breton tees, cotton tees, trousers, jackets; accessories | Sustainable, Made in USA | $$
A Question Of (Europe) | women & mens graphic tees, cotton shirts & shorts | Ethical, GOTS certified | $$
Beaumont Organics | basic dresses, tunics, knits; scarves & beanies | Sustainable, Made in England & Portugal | $$
Bon Label (Australia, ) | luxury everday organic cotton tees & dresses | Made in Australia, GOTS certified | $$
Bibico (UK) | knits, garden party-style dresses, denim, breton stripe tees | Made fairly in Kenya | $$
Everlane (US) | large variety of modern classics for men & women in silk, cotton, wool & linen; known for their transparent model | Responsible fashion; Sweatshop-free | $-$$
Good & Fair | cotton tees, socks, scarves for men & women | Fair Trade certified, made fairly in India | $
Komodo (Europe) | large variety for men & women; breezy shirts, dresses, skirts in neutrals & bright colours, suiting, tees | GOTS certified (Indonesia factories); made fairly in Indonesia, China and Nepal | $-$$
Kowtow (NZ) | unique, oversize cotton basics | Fairtrade certified, GOTS certified, made fairly in India | $$
Lalesso (UK) | silk dresses & playsuits with bold colours & patterns; swimsuits | Eco-fashion, Ethical, Sustainable, Made fairly in Kenya and South Africa | $$-$$$
L’Herbe Rogue (France) | classic basics, denim for men & women | Eco, Ethical, Sustainable | $$
Monkee Genes (UK) | chinos & denim for men & women | Made in the UK, Soil Association certified | $-$$
Nobody Denim (Australia) | denim | Made in Australia, some organic cotton | $-$$
Nudie Jeans (Europe | mens or unisex denim | Sustainable (organic cotton, offer free repair service, resell second hand products, and recycle worn out products); Responsible fashion (made with transparency) | $$
Pact Organic (US) | men & womens tees; loungewear, undergarments & athletic apparel | Fair Trade certified | $
Patagonia (US) | mens & womens denim, dresses & shirts; outdoors & activewear | Responsible Fashion (made with transparency); Fair Trade certified sewing | $-$$
People Tree (UK) | large variety of workwear, casual tops, skirts, trousers; accessories | World Fair Trade Organization, Fairtrade certified | $$
The Fable (Australia) | silk shirts | Responsible fashion; Made fairly in India | $$
Vege Threads (Australia) | casual tees, dresses; swimsuits | Made in Australia (Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation) | $$
Upcycled leather apparel
Deadwood (Europe) | men & womens reworked leather jackets, tees, denim; hats & bags | Eco-fashion, Sustainable (upcycled leather, pre-consumer waste cotton) | $$
Pelechecoco (Europe) | men & womens reworked leather jackets, bags & denim | Eco-fashion, Sustainable (upcycled leather) | $$$
Activewear & outdoors wear
ALAS (Australia) | men & womens shorts, tees, tights, crop tops; sleepwear & apparel | GOTS certified | $$
Bhumi (Australia) | men & women’s activewear, & apparel | GOTS certified | $$
Eleven44 Streetwear Bali (Australia) | leggings, shorts & tops using organic cotton with geometric, greyscale patterns | Ethical, Eco-fashion, fair trade | $$
From Clothing (UK) | yoga pants & bras | Eco-fashion, GOTS certified | $$
Naja (US) | activewear; underwear, swimwear | Ethical, Made fairly in Peru, Sustainable (some using recycled polyester) | $-$$
Pact Organic (US) | men & womens athletic apparel; loungewear, tees & undergarments | Fair Trade certified | $
Patagonia (US) | mens & womens outdoors & activewear; denim, dresses & shirts | Responsible Fashion (made with transparency); Fair Trade certified sewing | $-$$
People Tree (UK) | limited range of yoga wear; apparel & accessories | World Fair Trade Organization, Fairtrade certified | $$
PrAna (US) | men & womens outdoors & activewear | Sustainable, Eco-fashion, Fair Trade Certified, or Responsible Fashion (made with transparency and traceability) | $$
Underwear, loungewear & sleepwear
ALAS (Australia) | patterned cotton pyjamas sets & nighties, underwear | GOTS certified | $$
Luva Huva (UK) | lace pyjamas sets, nighties & bras | Sustainable, Made in the UK | $$
Mighty Good Undies (Australia) | classic cotton underwear | Fairtrade, Made fairly in India | $
Naja (US) | variety of basic bras & underwear, patterned sets, lace sets; swimwear & activewear | Ethical, Made fairly in Peru, Sustainable (some using recycled polyester) | $-$$
Pact Organic (US) | loungewear, undergarments, tights | Fair Trade certified | $
People Tree (UK) | cotton pyjamas sets | World Fair Trade Organization, Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Swedish stockings (Europe)| hoisery | Sustainable, Eco-fashion (recycled yarn) | $-$$
Thunderpants (NZ) | bright & patterned organic cotton underwear, boxer shorts & socks | Sustainable, Made in New Zealand | $-$$
Tightology (Australia) | organic cotton tights, socks | Sustainable, Made in Australia & Italy | $
Baiia (Australia) | Super fashionable bikini separates in bright colours | Sustainable, Eco-friendly (recycled plastic); Made fairly in China, Responsible Fashion (made with transparency) | $-$$
Naja (US) | patterned and plain bikinis, one pieces; underwear & activewear | Ethical, Made fairly in Peru, Sustainable (some using recycled polyester) | $-$$
Good Studios (Australia) | sleek black one pieces & separates; apparel & linen | Made in Australia, Eco-fashion (upcycled nylon) | $$
Lalesso (UK) | swimsuits in bold colours & patterns; silk dresses & playsuits | Eco-fashion, Ethical, Sustainable, Made fairly in Kenya and South Africa | $$-$$$
Vege Threads (Australia) | solid coloured bikinis; apparel | Made in Australia (Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation) | $$
Etiko (Australia) | converse-style sneakers, flip-flops | Fairtrade certified, GOTS certified | $
Gideon Shoes (Australia) | sneakers | Vegan, Fairtrade certified cotton, Made in Australia | $$
Nisolo (US) | leather oxfords, loafers, sandals, ballet flats; accessories | Made fairly in Peru | $$
Obliberte (US) | artisal loafers & boots | Fair Trade certified, made fairly in Ethiopia | $-$$
Sseko (US) | Tie-up sandals, leather slides & sandals, loafers & oxfords; bags & jewellery | Made fairly in Ethiopia | $$-$$$
Veja (France) | a huge variety of fashionable, sleek sneakers | Sustainable, fair trade, Vegan (some) | $$
Hats, beanies & scarves
Image: A Peace Treaty
A Peace Treaty (US) | gorgeous printed scarves, bandanas & cover ups in luxury materials (silk, cashmere, alpaca & cotton), & jewellery | fair trade, Made in cooperatives in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Turkey and the US | $$$
Beaumont Organics (Europe) | scarves, beanies & other womens apparel | Sustainable, Made in England & Portugal | $$
Deadwood (Europe) | wide brim hats & beanies; reworked leather jackets, tees, denim & bags | Eco-fashion, Sustainable (upcycled leather, pre-consumer waste cotton) | $$
Krochet Kids (US) | men & womens scarves, beanies, headbands, bags & other womens apparel | fair trade, Made in Peru & Uganda | $
Loup + Co (UK)| scarves, shopping totes & jewellery | fair trade, Made in Kenya & the UK | $$
Pachacuti (UK) | all kinds of men & womens hats, from classic Panama to wide brim | World Fair Trad Organization | $$
Round + Square (US) | silk scarves & bandanas | Sustainable (recycled water bottled), Made in Italy | $$
Bureo (US) | classic wayfarer and cat-eye shapes in black and brown | Sustainable (recycled nylon fishing nets), Made in Italy | $$
Dick Moby | sustainable sunglasses brand in a range of styles | Sustainable (recycled), Made in Italy | $$
Proof (US) | men & womens classic, fashionable & sports sunnies in a variety of shapes & colours | Sustainable (the Eco collection is entirely biodegradable, using plant based acetate, & FSC-certified wood) | $
Sticks & Sparrows (Australia) | fashionable sunnies in a variety of shapes & colours | Sustainable (plant based acetate, bamboo & cork) | $$
Bags, camera & latop accessories
Angela Roi (US)| classic, clean designs in many colours & shapes | Vegan, Made fairly in Korea | $$-$$$
FashionABLE (US) | leather totes, crossbody bags, wallets; jewellery | fair trade | $$
JOYN India (US) | a variety of leather & woven bags | Made fairly in India | $$
Kancha (Europe) | wallets, laptop and camera bags and straps | Made fairly in Kyrgyzstan | $$-$$$
Kayu Design (US) | stunning handwoven structured clutches in bright colours | Sustainable (locally-sourced natural straw, shell and recycled wood), Made fairly in the Philippines | $$$
Krochet Kids (US) | beautiful weekender bags, backpacks & totes; men & womens scarves, beanies, headbands, & other womens apparel | fair trade, Made in Peru & Uganda | $-$$
NV London Calcutta (UK) | men & womens leather bags | Made fairly in India | $$-$$$
Purse & Clutch (US) | Leather clutches, totes, crossbody bags, camera straps; cushions | Made fairly by weavers & seamstresses in Guatemala & leather workers in Ethiopia | $$
Raven + Lilly (US) | a variety of stunning metal necklaces, rings, ear cuffs in different sizes and styles; apparel, bags & homewares | Fair Trade, Made fairly in Ethiopia, India & Kenya | $$
Sseko (US) | Leather totes, crossbody bags, backpacks, clutches, purses & weekenders | Made fairly in Ethiopia | $$-$$$
Jewellery & watches
Image: Berg + Betts
Berg + Betts (Canada) | classic watches with leather bands in a variety of colours | Sustainable (made using surplus leather), Made fairly in Hong Kong & Canada | $-$$
Brilliant Earth (US) | engagement & wedding rings | Ethical (conflict-free), Sustainable (recycled-gold) | $$$$
Edge of Ember (UK) | variety of metal bangles, necklaces, rings & earrings, inlays in marble & quartz | Made fairly in Cambodia, Indonesia & Thailand, Sustainable | $$$
FashionABLE (US) | a large variety of delicate necklaces, rings, bracelets & earrings in geometric and classic designs; leather bags | fair trade | $$
Loup + Co (UK)| dainty necklaces, stud earrings & bombshell bracelets; scarves & bags | fair trade, Made in Kenya & the UK | $$
Made (UK) | artisal statement necklaces, dainty necklaces, studs & rings | Made fairly in Kenya | $-$$
Mata Traders (US) | beaded artisan jewellery; sundresses, casual shirts & shorts | Ethical, Made fairly in India and Nepal | $-$$
Noonday Collective (US) | a variety of beaded & metal necklaces, rings, bangles, studs & drop earrings | Fair Trade | $-$$
Raven + Lilly (US) | a variety of stunning metal necklaces, rings, ear cuffs in different sizes and styles; apparel, bags & homewares | Fair Trade, Made fairly in Ethiopia, India & Kenya | $$
Zoe Pook (Australia) | engagement & wedding rings | Ethical (conflict-free), Sustainable, Fairtrade certified gold | $$$
GIFTS & HOMEWARES
Curated online stores
Connected Goods (US) | $$-$$$
Global Goods Partners (US) | $$
Greenheart Shop (US)| $$
Oxfam (Global)| $-$$
Oz Fairtrade (Australia) | $-$$
Serrv (US) | $$
Shift to Nature (Australia) | $$-$$$
Ten Thousand Villages (US) | $-$$
The Little Market (US) | $$
Image: Urban Couture
Armadillo&Co (Australia) | handwoven rugs | Made fairly in India | $$$
Glo Organics (US) | linen | GOTS certified, Fairtrade, Made in the US | $$
Good Studios (Australia) | amazingly soft hemp bed linen | Made in Australia, Eco-fashion | $$
Plover Organic (US) | cushions & bedding | GOTS certified | $$
Prosperity Candles (US) | candles | Handpoured in the US | $-$$
Acure (US) | facial care | Eco (renewable, biodegradable, organic) | $
Alaffia (US) | shampoo & conditioner, bodywash & lotions, soap, body care | Fair for Life certified | $
Dr Bronner (US) | shampoo, soap, facial care, toothpaste, hand sanitiser | Fair Trade certified | $$
Fable Naturals (Canada) | body lotions, soap, lip balm | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Fair Naturally (UK) | handwash, hand cream, cleanser, moisturiser | Fairtrade certified | $$
Fair Squared (Europe) | body care, facial care, sunscreen, lipbalm, condoms | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Lush (Global) | a wide variety of soaps, hair shampoo & conditioning bars & perfume | fair trade | $$
Odylique by Essential Care (UK) | makeup | Soil Association certified, Fairtrade certified | $$
The Body Shop (Global) | a wide variety of makeup, facial care, body care, perfume | fair trade | $$
FOOD & DRINK
Alter Eco (France) | chocolate, quinoa, rice, sugar | Fairtrade certified | $$
Ben and Jerry’s (US) | icecream | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Cadbury (Global) | chocolate | Fairtrade certified ( Dairy Milk only) | $
Choice Organics (US) | tea | Fair Trade certified | $-$$
Divine (UK) | chocolate, cocoa | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Equal Exchange (US) | chocolate, cocoa, tea, nuts, olive oil, bananas | Fair Trade certified | $-$$
Frontier Natural | spices, cocoa, sugar, tea, vanilla | Fair Trade certified | $$
Green&Blacks (subsidiary of Cadbury) | chocolate | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Hampstead Tea | tea & iced tea | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Jasper (Australia) | coffee, cocoa | Fairtrade certified | $$
Jelly Bean Factory (Ireland) | jelly beans | Fairtrade certified | $$
Karma Cola (Australia) | cola, lemonade, ginger beer & other craft sodas | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Lindsay & Edmunds (Australia)| gourmet chocolate | Fairtrade certified | $$-$$$
Miss Tease (Australia) | tea | Fairtrade certified | $$
Numi Tea (US) | tea | Fair Trade certified | $-$$
Republica Organic (Australia) | coffee, cocoa | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Rishi Tea (US) | tea | Fair Trade certified | $-$$
Oxfam (Global) | coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, condiments | fair trade | $-$$$
Pukka Herbs (US) | tea | Fair Trade | $-$$
Sacred Grounds (Australia) | coffee | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Seed and Bean (UK) | chocolate | Fairtrade certified | $-$$
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea (US) | tea | Fair Trade certified | $-$$