Ethical sustainable children’s clothing is rarely as cheap as big High Street fast fashion brands so if our budget is small we need to ensure we get as much value as we can for our money. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘cheap’ ethical fashion brand, simply because it would be impossible to produce sustainable fashion items at an extremely low cost.
However, there are ways to shop as affordably as possible and within your means. Of course, the first choice is just to use what you already have in the wardrobe, but as we know kids grow quickly so even the most frugal of us on that front will eventually need to restock.
Here I run through my top sustainable fashion brands in the UK that I believe can be affordable if you shop in the right way:
The best sustainable fashion brands in the UK that are affordable
- Snuggy Bunny Clothing
- Yes Bebe
Babipur isn’t a brand in itself but they stock a variety of items including zero waste products, sustainable toys and ethically-made children’s clothing. Brands they stock include Duns, Maxomorra, Frugi and Piccalilly. They ensure the products they stock are made with organic cotton and because they stock a variety of brands they inevitably regularly have sales of items (as I type this, Duns and Maxomorra are currently on sale, for example). These type of sites are worth a look as you may well find a brilliant bargain.
Boden design clothes to last, the quality is high ensuring it’s not an item your children will wear a few times then have to throw away. Fast fashion brands are notorious for their poor quality because their clothes are made as cheaply as possible with the view they will only be worn once or twice before the consumer moves on to the next in style.
Their prices vary and, as with other companies, a sale is always a good opportunity to grab a bargain! Boden are often seen on the second-hand sites like Facebook Marketplace and Ebay too meaning you can be sure to get some money back once the clothing has been outgrown.
Frugi are regularly bringing out new fun fresh colourful designs. Well-known for their ethical fashion and sustainable way of manufacturing clothing they also have frequent sales offering big discounts . . . what’s not to love? As I write they have items reduced from £32 to £16 and many more also at half price. Sign up to their newsletter to be kept up to date on sales, or check in regularly with their website.
Frugi is a further brand that sells extremely well second-hand, they have quite a following so look out for the bargains and be sure to sell yours on to help the environment and get some extra money towards your next purchase.
- You can also find some cool Frugi designs on Amazon
Subscribe to their newsletter and you will get 10% off your first order, so that’s a good start.
JECO is a one-woman business set up by Justine initially to make items to raise funds for a local cancer charity.
All products are hand-made by her and designs are therefore never mass produced. Items include dungarees, dresses, hats, t-shirts, harem pants and shorts. JECO’s fabrics are ethically made in India by a GOTS certified organic manufacturer and the clothing is as affordable as any other ethical fashion brands out there, sometimes more so when she has a good deal on. The GOTS certification ensures a high standard of workers’ rights, including working conditions and a fair liveable wage. This is at the very heart of the values that JECO has established and they continue to support charities where they can.
In addition to ordering items that are listed on their website you can also use the bespoke handmade service by Justine with a 14-day processing time. You can choose your own organic print and coordinate exactly what you want.
You may find businesses similar to JECO in your locality; one big advantage to this is you are supporting a local small business and the mileage to get clothing to you is much less. You could try asking for recommendations through social media groups to find someone.
Handmade clothing also has a very good second-hand market. If you search for “WAHM Clothing” on Facebook you should find any relevant groups. WAHM basically means a Work At Home Mum and is often how these handmade items are marketed, and of course who they are made by – after all, kids are a business inspiration for many mums who remain at home!
5. Snuggy Bunny Clothing
Snuggy Bunny Clothing is another one-woman business hand-making children’s clothing in an ethical way. She designs some of her own prints, like the 2020 Christmas dogs outfits pictured below (and in my daughter’s wardrobe!). She also has sales and deals from time to time, such as the recent offer of £10 leggings.
The prints are vibrant and fun, just like Jeco they are not mass-produced. Some items are only available for a limited time so if you like clothes that won’t be what everyone else is wearing, this is the place to shop, supporting a local small business along the way.
Something else to consider when looking into affordability is that these smaller brands are sometimes on the lookout for brand ambassadors. So if you can take a good photo and are happy for pictures of your children to be used in the company’s marketing it may be a way of obtaining their clothes at a more affordable price – it never hurts to ask.
Maxomorra say: “We love fun prints and the environment! Maxomorra is a GOTS certified Swedish brand that makes colourful clothing for little humans and curious adventurers.”
Initially established in Sweden in 2008 because the founders couldn’t find any fun patterned clothes for their son, Maxomorra have gone from strength to strength. They have become a popular brand with ethical shoppers due to their belief in being kind to the planet, surroundings, and all the wonderful people they work with.
In 2012 Maxomorra became GOTS Certified, they explain “GOTS is short for Global Organic Textile Standard and is essentially the gold star when it comes to being a sustainable fashion brand. It’s the internationally recognised and leading independent textile processing standard when it comes to organic fibres. All sides of sustainability are taken into account for the entire textile supply chain considering the highest ecological and social standards. In order to be GOTS certified, we’ve had to get a tick in all kinds of different sustainability boxes, such as working with organic materials, using non-toxic colours and dyes, providing decent working conditions, and paying fair wages”.
A very popular brand in the second hand market you know you’ll be able to sell on items making them more affordable in the long run. Even well worn items are sought after and usually labelled “playwear”. What I love about their clothing is that they are designed to last, many items will in fact outlive a 4 year old who likes to roll around in the mud in her clothes!
Meyadey is the sister company of Maxomorra. They have the same wonderful ethics and environmental values but more whimsical designs. I currently love their Strawberry Fields and Ice Cream & Confetti designs, they have a beautiful charm and sophistication and most excitingly come in adult sizes too – you could try some matchy matchy with the kids!
As I type Babipur (mentioned above) have 40% off many of the Meyadey items making them much more affordable – always look out for the sales, they can happen any time!
8. Yes Bebe
Yes Bebe is a family eco and sustainable shop. Another place where you can shop a variety of eco-friendly brands and where they have regular sales.
I love the ethos behind Yes Bebe. They say:
“Our perspective has been forever changed by our little one, the need for worrying about the quality of what we wear on our skin and put in our mouths, as well as the environmental impact of it all, has taken a forefront in our minds. That is why we have started this little shop and we hope that you feel as passionately about it as we do.”
They are now a team of 8 hard-working mums and dads all of whom are dedicated to living environmentally friendly lives and passionately dedicated to the cause. They share a love of nurturing children; both in play and education and run Facebook groups which include support groups for parents.
On their site in addition to clothing you will find toys, reusable nappies, arts & crafts and eco & home lifestyle products. The ethical fashion brands they stock include DUNS, Kite, Piccalilly, Moromini and Maxomorra. As I type they have items with around 40% off.
Affordable sustainable fashion brands in the UK: Final thoughts
You can do it!
In summary, brand new cheap ethical clothing is something you’re unlikely to come across, however by using the above websites to look out for sales, signing up to newsletters for initial discounts, looking for second-hand purchases and re-selling your own items you can certainly make ethical clothing a lot more affordable for you.