In the market for a new coat for autumn? The good news is I have been doing some research and I have eight ethical coats for your perusal today.
The bad news is that the ethical coat and jacket market is small. Teeny tiny small. And that ethical coats don’t come cheap. If you get change of £200 then you are dong well.
With ethical fashion, the goal of course isn’t to replace clothing every year, as fast fashion would dictate, but to invest in quality items that you would be happy to wear year after year. Think cost per wear! I appreciate this isn’t great when your current coat or jacket is on it’s last legs and you don’t have £200 spare, but we’ll come on to that after the coats:
If your style is outdoorsy then Finisterre offer classic outdoors wear. This Alto jacket (£195) has a recycled polyester outer shell, and is insulated with recycled fabrics. It’s wind and water resistant and will keep you cosy well into winter.
Meanwhile, the stylish Solus Parka (£225) looks like something you could take on all the world has to throw at you in it. Built to last, and waterproof, it’s again filled with recycled insulation to keep you cosy on cold autumn and winter days.
Patagonia also have a solid reputation as an ethical retailer, and this Radalie Parka (£160) is another good bet for the colder weather ahead. Water repellent, with a 100% recycled nylon outer shell, it’s insulated with 92% recycled polyester.
Gudrun Sjödén’s padded down coat (their website doesn’t allow you to link to a specific product but it’s the second product in the search results) (£399) is made of both recycled polyester and recycled down for a super sustainable and incredibly cosy coat. There are different colour options available if bright isn’t your thing.
If your style is less outdoorsy, then People Tree’s offering is this Yvette fleece coat (£119). This is a transitional piece for autumn and spring, and the snuggly fleece nature of it would be like a perpetual hug.
Thought has a couple of stylish non outdoorsy options. This Hartley organic jacket (£79.90) is another autumn and spring coat, but it is pretty darned stylish.
If you’re after something more practical to beat the rain showers then this water resistant number (£44.90) made from recycled PET might do the trick. It’s not lined, so wouldn’t keep you warm. It would be more something you keep folded up in your bag for any wet weather emergencies:.
Komodo are one of the longest running of the ethical retailers. Their seasonal ethical coats offering is this Elda Jacket, which I have found currently on sale at Ethical Superstore for £139.96, down from £175.
What if your budget doesn’t allow for an ethical purchase?
If your budget doesn’t stretch that as far as one of these coats, then I would recommend opting out of the fast fashion model that dictates that you should buy a new coat every year. Instead find the best quality coat you love at a price you can afford. Look for a style that won’t date, in a dark shade (light coloured coats are stain magnets, trust me!) and commit to wearing it for as long as possible.
Last year I needed a good outdoors jacket for braving the school run in all weathers, but my maternity leave budget didn’t stretch very far. I bought a simple cosy water and wind proof (and dark brown!) coat that was 50% off in the sale from an outdoor retailer.
The trouble with outdoor retailers is that ethical ones are few and far between. I’m not going to endorse the specific retailer I bought from as I doubt it was the single most ethical purchase I’ve ever made. What swayed me was that the jacket came with a lifetime warranty. If I’m going to buy something I want it to last a long time, so this gave me some reassurance that if it develops a fault the company will fix or replace the coat. It seems sturdy, looks good as new going into it’s second year of wearing, and looks like it will go the distance, so fingers crossed!
Alternatively, if you want to stay resolutely ethical on a small budget then eBay is also a great place to look. My previous coat was one that I’d picked up secondhand on eBay seven years ago, and wore for seven consecutive winters. I was quite sad when it came to an irreparable end – it felt like a part of me!
I have less luck with charity shops when it comes to coats, but perhaps you might have better luck than me!