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Fashion April 15, 2014 posted by

Ethical Fashion On A Budget

Ethical Fashion On A Budget

Ethical clothing – it can’t be done on a budget?  Or can it?  As a fairly thrifty mrs I like to think so: here are my top tips for shopping ethically without breaking the bank!

Do The Ground Work

It’s not really groundbreaking, but before you buy anything new have a good sort through your wardrobe.  Donate any items of clothing you don’t wear to charity.  It’s a little known fact that you can also donate worn out clothes to charity shops – just put them in a separate bag marked rags, and the charity shop gets money for it from the rag trade.  The rags then get recycled – look, no landfill!

Once you’ve had a good sort through, look at the items you have left, and ask yourself if there anything that you really need?  If so, make a list (and stick to it!).  At this stage it’s also a good idea to set a budget.  When shopping, particularly secondhand, it is easy to get caught up – a £5 top here, a £3 dress there, a £15 coat there – it all starts to adds up.  Set a firm budget and stick to it.

Shopping Secondhand

ethical fashion on a budget

The most ethical way to shop for the items you really need is to shop secondhand.  There are quite a few ways that you can shop secondhand:


eBay is a second hand clothing goldmine (some of the time!).  I love shopping on eBay, I’ve found so much good stuff on there (and at the same time a load of rubbish) so I’ve put together a guide on tips for buying clothes on ebay to help you navigate it’s murky waters!

Asos Marketplace

Asos Marketplace is another good option for buying pre-loved items.  It can be a bit overwhelming, but I find browsing by category and setting my maximum price on the slider makes it a bit easier to deal with.

Charity Shops

Charity and vintage shops are always an excellent port of call, however if you don’t have the time or inclination to mooch round charity shops in the hope of striking gold Oxfam* sell secondhand clothes, shoes and accessories online (and are currently having a 50% off sale).  I’m also currently putting together a guide to buying clothes in charity shops so do watch this space!

Vintage Shops

Living in Edinburgh I’m quite spoiled for choice when it comes to vintage shops – we have some amazing reasonably priced ones such as Armstrongs.  If you don’t happen to have any vintage shops near you, or your nearest ones are astronomically priced (like some of the London ones I’ve visited) then Armstrongs sell online via their Armstrongs eBay store.

Other online options include Asos again, which has 225 vintage shops operating in it’s vintage marketplace, 199 of which are UK based.  Beyond Retro also have a good fairly affordable selection on their website (loving this 80′s dress!).  Etsy is another veritable gold mine for vintage clothing.  The majority of it is US based, however you can filter your search to only show UK items to avoid getting stung on postage fees and import duties.  It does have a UK sister site – Folksy – but it’s vintage selection isn’t particularly great and I find their search function a bit rubbish to be honest.

Wardrobe Swapping

Another option is wardrobe swapping – check the internet to see if there are any wardrobe swapping events near you.  If not, then online you could try Swap Style or Swishing.co.uk.  I haven’t used either so can’t report back on how good they are, but if you’ve used them to do let me know how you got on!

Ethical Fashion Retailers

people tree

Buying new is less ethical than buying secondhand.  However, if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for secondhand then buying new from an ethical retailer online is a good next step.

Some of my favourite ethical retailers for men and women include People Tree*, Braintree Clothing and Seasalt.  Dedicated womens ethical retailers include BibicoAnnie Greenable, Nancy Dee and Think Boutique.  All are reasonably priced for ethical clothing.  If they’re still out of your budget then all of these retailers do run amazing sales periodically throughout the year.   You can sign up to their mailing lists and be notified of when their sales are.  As an added bonus quite often when you sign up to their mailing lists you can get money off your first purchase – for example Nancy Dee offers a whopping 20% of your first order when you sign up (although not redeemable on sale items)!

And a top tip for keeping on budget: it’s easy to get carried away in the sales.  Keep a list of the items of clothing you really need and so when the sales swing round you know exactly what you’re looking for.

In case you’re wondering why ethical retailers, like People Tree, are able to have sales and still pay workers a fair wage, then this blog post by People Tree is quite a good read.

Ethical Fashion on the High Street

marks and spencer ethical

If you prefer shopping in bricks and mortar stores, then it is possible to shop comparatively ethically on the high street, on budget, with a bit of research.  The Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer are great places to research high street shops, and find out how your favourite shop ranks on ethics. It does get a bit confusing as the Good Shopping Guide and the Ethical Consumer do contradict each other a little, but generally in the UK Marks & Spencer*, Monsoon, Bonmarche (who, to be honest, I hadn’t heard of) and perhaps more surprisingly, New Look, are all a bit more ethical compared to their high street counterparts.

Although least ethical in the grand scheme of ethical shopping, these retailers do seem to be doing a bit more than other high street retailers.  I’ve previously put together a handy guide to shopping ethically on the high street – it includes four simple questions to ask yourself before shopping to help avoid those impulse fast fashion fixes!

So there we go, I hope this helps you shop ethically on a budget!  If I’ve missed something or you want to add anything do let me know in the comments section below!  And if you’re interested in finding out more about the need for ethical fashion then Raising For Rana is a good place to start, especially as we approach the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.  Fashion Revolution Day is also happening on the 24th April – keep your eye out for that!

PS: the £100 ethical fashion giveaway with Bibico ends tomorrow at 12pm, so make sure you enter now!

Images: 1. My Own / 2. Ladybird Twill / 3. People Tree / 4. Marks & Spencer

* denotes an affiliate link.  Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

weekend links April 12, 2014 posted by

Weekend Links

Weekend Links

Hello!  It’s the weekend – pour yourself and nice glass of wine and put your feet up!  Got much planned?  My partner and I have a babysitter lined up, and are going out on the town this weekend (we don’t get out too much these days with a toddler in tow!), so I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one for us!

I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes on the blog this week – I realised it was a bit hard to find all of my food waste tips and energy saving tips, so I’ve added them to the menu bar at the top!  Under ‘Home & Garden’ you’ll now find a section devoted completely to energy saving, and under ‘Food & Drink’ you’ll now find a section devoted entirely to food waste tips!  If you ever think of anything that will make your life easier on here then do let me know – I love a good tinker!

Read this post on the need for ethical labelling, then sign the petition which hopes to enforce mandatory labelling of clothing, stating the work conditions of the people of make them.

The first refugees of climate change were forced to move from their island home for good back in 2009.  I did not know about this at the time – not sure why it wasn’t a bigger story?

I’m not a knitter (despite the best efforts of my mum to teach me!), but if you are a knitter then you’ll love One Sheepish Girl’s blog.

I’d never in a million years thought of an eco flower carrier, but Shruti Barton has!  Better than those single use carrier bags!

If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of meat and fish you eat, you might want to consider taking part in Meat Free May.

Loving Scottish artist Cheryl Smith’s sculptures made from reclaimed materials.

Apparently ladies’ legs are damaging the environment.

Have you stocked up on the £13 ethical jeans?  Mine arrived yesterday and I love them (although they are a little long for me!).

From the Moral Fibres archive: if you’re spring cleaning then here are some tips to declutter sustainably; also how to make your own chemical free cleaning products.  And my first ever Moral Fibres post – some inspiring allotments!

Enjoy your weekend!


Photo by jimmedia.


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