Life & Style

Fashion, Life & Style

Ethical High Street Shops

ethical high street

Ever wondered how ethical and environmentally friendly our high-street shops are?  Ethical Consumer have put together an interactive table of ethical high street shops, rated on their environmental, ethical, and political performance.  I’ve personally found that it is really useful when making decisions about where to shop.

Ethical High Street Shops?

ethical high street shops

I strongly believe that as consumers it’s our job to be as informed as we can, so I’ve found this table on ethical high street shops quite enlightening and surprising.

Here’s the full rundown:

ethical high street shops

I do have an updated version of this ethical guide to the high street here.

As far as ethical high street shops go, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that Sainsbury’s fairtrade clothing would be rated lower than Primark.  That is a huge surprise. 

I also wouldn’t have guessed that John Lewis would be rated only 0.5 points above Primark.  Again, John Lewis is one of those shops that I would have expected more from.

And most surprising of all – that New Look would be one of the most ethical performers on the High Street.  And Bon Marche?  I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot in a Bon Marche shop.

Where Is The Best Place to Shop?

Of course, this isn’t to say that New Look is ethical.  Ethical Consumer say any score below 10 is considered poor.  This suggests that the high street is still has a very long way to go on ethics. I personally would try to stick to shopping for secondhand clothes, or for ethical brands, where possible. Although I do realise ethical clothing isn’t always the most accessible – both in terms of inclusivity and in terms of price. If you do need to shop on the high street then it’s certainly not something to feel guilty about.

Were there any surprises here for you?

PS: Found this post useful?  Since I initially put this post together back in 2013 I’ve written extensively about shopping ethically.  Here’s a guide on how to shop ethically, a guide to men’s ethical clothing companies, and a guide on how to shop ethically on a budget.  I’ve also got information on where to buy ethical sleepwear, ethical tights and socksethical shoes, and even men’s underwear and women’s underwear!

Fashion, Life & Style

Where to Buy Ethical Wedding Dresses

where to buy vintage wedding dresses

Looking for eco-friendly and ethical wedding dresses? I’ve got you covered with these gorgeous sustainable suggestions.

So, let’s chat about ethical wedding dresses. If you are have arrived on here through a search engine, then first let me offer my congratulations to you and your partner! And also, let me congratulation you on your intention to put some ethical consideration into your big day.

Image from Cambridge Vintage Bridal* on Etsy

The wedding industry business is massive – think £14.7 billion sized – and geared towards excess. A lot of resources go into just one day. Of course, it’s not any old day, it is your one big day. However, that’s not to say that your big day has to leave a big footprint on the planet.

The Guardian has calculated that the average wedding in the UK will produce one-third of a metric tonne of solid waste and 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one day. Looking to make your wedding more ethical and sustainable is to be applauded.

I’ve got lots of sustainable wedding ideas, but your wedding dress is a great place to start. Here are some gorgeous ethical wedding dresses that prove that sustainable doesn’t have to mean frumpy.

Ethical Wedding Dresses

where to buy vintage wedding dresses

Say yes to the dress with these shopping options for sustainable and ethical wedding dresses:


At a time when the average cost of a wedding is £24,000, opting for a pre-loved wedding dress isn’t just good for the planet, but good for your pocket too. eBay* has a wealth of secondhand (but not second-best) wedding dresses for sale. Make sure you select the ‘used’ option in the filter, otherwise you will be presented with a load of wedding dresses that are made in China.

eBay can be overwhelming, but I have some really useful eBay buying tips to help you really narrow down your search to exactly what you are looking for. And even if you can’t find what you are looking for in your first search then there is even a handy email alert function for when your dream dress finally appears.


ethical wedding dress uk

Etsy* has a fantastic selection of both vintage and handmade ethical wedding dresses in a vast variety of styles and sizes.  This beautiful vintage 1970’s number, above, is from Cambridge Vintage Bridal* on Etsy. At Cambridge Vintage Bridal prices for preloved dresses range from £100 to £500.

Does Etsy overwhelm you? Again, Etsy has a really useful filter, where you can specify all sorts of variables. From the maximum price you want to pay, to item specifics such as hem and sleeve length, colour, neckline style and more. Get to know the filter, and you can really hone in on your dream wedding dress.

Oxfam Online

oxfam online sustainable wedding dresses

Oxfam Online* has a great selection of secondhand preloved ethical wedding dresses. And if buying a wedding dress online gives you the fear then try charity shops, one of Oxfam’s 12 specialist bridal boutiques across the country. You could even get a talented tailor/dressmaker to customise your preloved dress for something really unique and special.

Vintage Wedding Dress Shops

Finally, depending on where you live, you may have a vintage wedding dress shop near you. My closest one is Those Were The Days in Edinburgh, which sells beautiful dresses like this vintage number above. Here they stock vintage wedding dresses which span from the Edwardian era to the 1990s. Each and every item is expertly cleaned and restored before it arrives in the store, meaning you won’t find any nasty surprises.