Children, Families

How to Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Have you just forked out a small fortune on school shoes? Me too. The good thing is I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take care of your kid’s school shoes, so they last longer.

It’s back-to-school season. You’ve got the school uniform, the school supplies, and then you’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on school shoes. Whilst kids are not known for their respect for footwear, the good news is that with a little bit of love and care, you can make your kid’s school shoes last as long as they fit in them.

How To Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Picture of school shoes on desk with stationery, and a blue text box that says how to take care of school shoes so they last longer.

Here are six tips I use to prolong the life of my kids’ shoes:

Label Them

Kids are notorious for losing stuff. When it comes to PE time, it’s easy for shoes to get lost or mixed up with others. Add a name label to the inside of each shoe, or simply write their name using a permanent marker on the inside. When this starts to fade, make sure to re-write their name. This is the first step in this guide because you can’t care for your school shoes and make them last longer if they are lost!

Use A Waterproof Spray To Make Them Last Longer

Waterproofing your school shoes is essential to help keep the elements out, and to keep them looking their best for longer. Water causes leather to shrink and it may dry the leather out over time, so it really pays to waterproof them.

Before you reach for any old waterproofing spray, bear in mind that some waterproof shoe sprays are better than others. Look for a PFC-free and fluorine-free waterproof shoe spray.

PFC stands for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, that are used to weatherproof clothing and shoes. This sounds innocuous, however, these chemicals accumulate in the environment. In fact, for some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to both the hormonal and reproductive systems in both humans and animals, as well as being carcinogenic. They’re often referred to as forever chemicals, because of how persistent they are in the environment. Greenpeace has written more on the issues of PFCs if you wish to find out more.

I’ve been using this PFC-free spray from Wildling Shoes. In the interests of full disclosure, this was gifted to me as part of a previous campaign I worked with them on but was under no obligation to include them in this post. I reapply this spray on a regular basis for best results: it’s not something you can spray on once.

If They Do Get Wet, Dry Them Properly

Kids’ shoes get wet, these things happen. When their shoes do get wet, don’t dry them on a radiator or other heat source, or in a tumble dryer. Instead, the best way to care for your kid’s school shoes is to crumple up sheets of newspaper into balls, and pop them into the shoes. Then allow the shoes to dry naturally. The newspaper will absorb the water, and won’t cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Care for Your School Shoes with Polish

School shoes get scuffed. It’s a fact of life. The easiest way to care for them is to buy a scuff cover. These products quickly and easily cover scuff marks, and help restores colour and shine, to help keep your shoes looking smarter for longer. I don’t have any specific recommendations yet – I’m trying out a few different ones. However, I will update in due course which ones I feel work the best. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!

Tackle Nasty Niffs Naturally

If your kid’s shoes start to develop an unpleasant odour, then fear not. You can tackle these bad smells naturally with bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle in a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (enough to cover the insole). The next morning, empty out the bicarbonate of soda. The odour should be gone.

Keep Them Clean

To care for your kid’s school shoes, don’t let dirt and mud settle on them. Giving them a good wipe, with a soft damp cloth, at least once a week (or more) helps the dirt from becoming ingrained. Occasionally you may want to bust out the leather cleaner. I’m working on a homemade leather cleaner as we speak. In the meantime, shop-bought leather cleaners can easily be picked up. I like to use a soft brush and cloth, in conjunction with the wax to really get them clean and keep them conditioned.

Any further tips on taking care of kid’s school shoes? Do pop them in the comments below!

Fashion, Life & Style

40+ Women’s Ethical Clothing Brands for 2021

Looking for the best ethical clothing brands for women? I’ve got over forty brands here for you today, with some exclusive discount codes for Moral Fibres readers. I also update this list frequently so do check back whenever you need to buy new sustainable, eco-friendly or ethical clothing.

The ethical fashion market is growing.  In fact, it’s never been bigger thanks to increasing demands from customers wanting more ethical and fair clothing in response to increasing knowledge on the impact of fast fashion on the environment and on fast fashion garment workers. Especially with increasing knowledge that poorly regulated sweatshops aren’t just found abroad, but in the UK too.

I always say that the most sustainable clothing is the clothing you already have. Therefore, wearing our clothes for as long as possible, and repairing them when need be is key in building an ethical wardrobe. The next most sustainable option is to shop secondhand. Here’s my guide on where to buy secondhand clothes online.

However, sometimes our clothes do wear out, and you can’t always find what you need secondhand. It can be daunting knowing where to start looking for new ethically conscious clothing. To help you out, I’ve listed as many UK ethical clothing brands I know that cater to women.  

I’ve also included sizing information for each brand.  The ethical fashion world is notorious for not being particularly size-inclusive.  While many brands aren’t, some are making steps in providing plus-size ethical fashion. I, therefore, want this guide to be helpful for those looking for specific sizes.

where to buy ethical clothing uk

First off, here are the quick links for women’s ethical clothing brands in case you just want to visit the site of a particular brand. Scroll down past this section if you want more information about each ethical clothing brand, including a price key. Some ethical brands have also offered exclusive discount codes for Moral Fibres readers, so keep reading for these too.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Antiform (size 8 – 18)

Asquith* (size 8 – 16)

BAM* (size 8 -16)

Baukjen* (size 6 -18)

Beaumont Organic* (size 8 – 20)

Bibico (size 8 -16)

Birdsong* (size XS – XL)

Boody* (size 6 – 16)

Celtic & Co (size 6 – 18)

Christy Dawn (sizes XS – XL)

Earth Kind Originals (size 8 – 22)

Ecoalf* (size XS – XL)

Finisterre (size 8 – 16)

 Frugi* (size 8 – 18)

Girlfriend Collective* (size XS – XXL)

Greenfibres (size 8 – 18)

Gudrun Sjoden (size 6 – 24)

Hiut (size 6 – 18)

Howies (size 8 – 16)

Kemi Telford (custom sizing)

Kitty Ferreira (size 6 – 26)

Know the Origin* (size 8 – 16)

Komodo* (size 8 – 16)

Kowtow* (size 8 – 14)

Lost Shapes* (size S – XL)

Lowie (size S – L)

Madia & Matilda (size 6 – 18)

Mayamiko (size 8 -14)

Monkee Genes* (size 24″-36)

Morcant* (size S – XL)

MUD Jeans* (size 26″ – 36″)

Nancy Dee (size 6 – 18)

Noctu (size S – L)

Nomads* (size 8 – 18)

Nudie Jeans (24″ to 38″)

Origin Africa* (size XS – XL)

Outsider Clothing (size 8 – 16)

Palava (size 6 – 28)

Patagonia (size XS – XL)

People Tree* (size 6 – 18)

Riyka* (size 8 – 18)

Seasalt* (size 6 – 28)

Thought* (size 6 – 20)

 THTC (size 8 – 18)

 Totty Rocks (size 6 – 16)

The White T-Shirt Co (size 8 – 18)

The Best Women’s Ethical Clothing Brands for 2021

guide to women's ethical clothing brands

Here’s more detail about each of the ethical clothing brands listed above.

The price range key for this guide is:

 £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+

On to the brands!

Antiform

Budget – ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Fashion-forward Antiform sources all of its materials and workmanship within the UK, and local to their Bristol-based studio if possible.  They are also big on the use of reclaimed materials, with many items made from 100% reclaimed fabrics.


Asquith

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for sizes: 8 – 16

Asquith* produces stylish and ethically made yoga wear and loungewear in the finest quality organic cotton and bamboo fabrics.  Their ethos is sportswear without the “sporty” look, so their pieces make for great, comfortable working from home or weekend wear. 

Read more about Asquith in my post here.


Bam: Bamboo Clothing

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes: 8 – 16

Bam: Bamboo* sells sustainably sourced activewear made from bamboo.  And new for Autumn 2020: low impact jeans.  It takes around 7600l of water to make a conventional pair of jeans. Bam: Bamboo instead says their jeans require less water to make.

Rather than just stopping there, Bam: Bamboo is also seeking to be impact positive.  As such, they are making great steps to minimise their impacts on climate, waste, water, chemicals, humans, and land use. You can find out more about BAM’s work here.


Baukjen

Caters for: sizes 6 – 18

Price range: ££

Baukjen*, a certified B Corp, offers a wide selection of stylish women’s ethical clothing. Ethically manufactured in Europe, these include the use of more environmentally friendly fabrics, such as Lenzing EcoVero, organic cotton, and Tencel.

Use the exclusive discount code MORALFIBRES15 to take 15% off full-price orders.


Beaumont Organic

ethical clothing brands - beaumont organic

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for: sizes 8 – 20

Working only with factories that are within the EU, pay fair wages, and provide good working conditions, Beaumont Organic’s range of GOTS-certified clothing* is perfect for casual wear.


Bibico

Budget: ££

Caters for: sizes 8 – 16

I would describe Bibico as laidback fairtrade fashion that’s simple yet stylish, and very wearable.  What’s more, all of Bibico’s items are made from natural materials.  As such, you won’t find any synthetics in their range.

Sign up for their newsletter and you’ll even get 10% off your first order.  They also run regular sales which are worth keeping your eye out for.


Birdsong

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes XS – XL

Birdsong* produces ethically made organic cotton unisex slogan t-shirts.  All of their clothing is made in East London by talented women paid a fair wage.


Boody

Budget: ££

Cater for sizes 6 – 16

Boody* produces high-quality basics, with a stringent focus on sustainable materials and ethical and planet-friendly practices.  They’re a great go-to for staples such as leggings, activewear, and loungewear.  Sign up for the Boody newsletter for 10% off your first order.


Celtic & Co

Budget: ££-£££

Caters for sizes 6 – 18

Based in Great Britain, Celtic & Co specialise in shoes and clothing made from ethically sourced natural fibres.  Focusing on quality and design, rather than seasonal trends, Celtic & Co pieces are designed to last a long time.


Christy Dawn

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes S – XL

When it comes to high-end women’s ethical clothing, look no further than Christy Dawn. The Christy Dawn team shun new fabrics. Instead, they spend their time rummaging through piles of leftover and discontinued fabric – what’s known as deadstock. When they find the fabric they love, their team of artisans cuts, sews, and finishes each piece in their Los Angeles factory. Making limited-edition runs from existing fabric means each version of a style has a very limited number. This means there’s little chance of being seen in the same dress as anyone else.

Find Christy Dawn in the UK via Content Beauty*.


Earth Kind Originals

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 22

Earth Kind Originals is a women’s ethical clothing brand that specialises in fairly made laid-back leisure ware.


Ecoalf

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes XS – XL

A certified B Corp, Ecoalf* produces sustainable and ethically made clothing, designed to last.  They don’t follow trends and focus on longevity, meaning your purchase won’t look dated in one year’s time.


Fever Few Clothing

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 16

The Fever Few Clothing* make beautiful jacket style tops to order. Each piece is designed, cut, and sewn in their Bristol studio. Their aim is to create pieces that will become wardrobe favourites, that will be long lasting and well worn, encouraging a connection with your garment as it is worn through the seasons.


Finisterre

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes 8 – 16

Finisterre is an ethically made and sustainable outdoor clothing brand, which even offers a repair service.  New for autumn 2021 is a trade-in service, where you can trade-in your old Finisterre clothing for money off new online purchases. They’ll revive and re-home them, or recycle the materials. Finisterre is also a great choice for swimwear.  Find my full guide to ethical swimwear here.


Frugi

ethical dress from frugi

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Yup, Frugi*, the ethical kidswear brand, is now making ethical clothing for women! Their focus is mainly on maternity wear, however, they do offer a small non-maternity range that is bright and fun. Their clothes are made from 95% GOTS certified and Soil Association certified organic cotton jersey fabric.


Girlfriend Collective

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes XS – XXL

Girlfriend Collective* is an ethical clothing brand that makes ethically made activewear from recycled materials, which are dyed using eco-friendly dyes.  What’s more, in true circularity, they take back your old Girlfriend pieces to turn them into brand new Girlfriend pieces.


Greenfibres

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Greenfibres produce ethically sourced and responsibly made organic cotton basics. Think t-shirts, vests, and other wardrobe staples.


Gudrun Sjoden

eco friendly fashion brands

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes 6 – 24

Gudrun Sjoden makes colourful eclectic clothing made ethically, and often organically.  I also appreciate their use of diverse models.  It’s such a refreshing change.  What’s also refreshing is their more comparatively inclusive sizing.


Hiut Denim

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes 6 – 18

Hiut ethically makes beautiful bespoke jeans, handmade in Cardigan.  These are expensive jeans, but whilst the initial outlay might be high, expect a pair to last forever.  Hiut stands by their jeans even when they fail you. As such they offer free repairs for the life of your jeans, with just one rule. You have to send them back washed.

They cater for waist sizes from 28″ to 40″, and offer a range of leg sizes.  


Howies

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 16

Howies make high-quality organic and recycled outdoor clothing designed to last.


Kemi Telford

black ethical clothing brands uk

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for: see website for details on their sizing

Black-owned brand, Kemi Telford, designs and sells beautifully bold Nigerian-influenced clothing, with a western twist.  Sustainability lies at the heart of the brand.  What’s more, conscious of waste, remnants from the clothing are made into colourful hair bows or gift bags.

Check out my full guide to Black-owned ethical fashion brands here.


Kitty Ferreira

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes 6 – 26

Another Black-owned brand, Kitty Ferreira makes stylish sustainable clothes perfect for work or special occasions. 

All of their clothing is made in London using upcycled and hand-dyed fabrics. Here, they use natural dyes, created using pomegranate and onions skins for a low environmental fooprint.  And in a very welcome move, the clothes go up to a size 26 – which is good news for customers looking for plus size ethical clothing.


Know The Origin

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 16

Know the Origin* make ethical basics.  Think soft and comfortable cotton t-shirts, jumpers, and dresses. These are ethically made from 100% organic fairtrade cotton sourced from fairtrade producers.


Komodo

komodo fashion

Budget: ££

Cater for sizes 8 – 16

Komodo* sell ethically sourced, organic, and natural fibre fashion that’s every bit as stylish as ethical.


Kowtow

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes 8 – 14

Kowtow* was one of the earliest starters in the sustainable and ethical fashion movement – founded in 2007. They are committed to creating positive change by using only renewable and sustainable fibres, as well as ethical manufacturing. What’s more, Kowtow has also recently earned an A+ in the Tearfund / Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Survey.  This New Zealand women’s ethical clothing brand sells in the UK via Content Beauty.


Lost Shapes

Budget: £

Caters for sizes S – XL

Lost Shapes* sells organic cotton Earth Positive t-shirts hand-printed with water-based inks. The quality is second to none and from experience, I can personally attest that each item washes really well.


Lowie

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes S – L

Lowie makes stylish heritage-inspired clothing for women, fairly made from organic cotton, recycled cotton, or ethically sourced wool.  They even offer a free repair service for life on all items from their current and past seasons.


Madia & Matilda

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 6 – 18

Madia & Matilda make stylish ethical clothing, that’s made in the Cotswolds.  They specialise in upcycled and sustainable fabrics, and they say minimising wastage is at their core.  Madia & Matilda also say they create clothing that is high quality and timeless.  As they are not trend-focused, their pieces are ones you can truly invest in.  Whilst their clothing range generally extends to a size 18, they do say for more sizes to email them. 

As a bonus, if you sign up for their newsletter you can receive 25% off your first order.  


Mayamiko

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 14

Mayamiko clothing is ethically made in Malawi and combines contemporary design with traditional African techniques.  Part of their profits also goes towards the Mayakiko Trust.  This helps some of the most disadvantaged people in Malawi by providing skills training, education, nutrition, sanitation, and promoting fairer trade practices.  

Prices range from £19 upwards for tops, and £35 upwards for dresses.  As well as being at the more affordable end of the scale, you can also receive 10% off your first order by signing up for their newsletter.


Monkee Genes

Budget: ££

Caters for: tops size XS-L; jeans waist sizes 24″-36″

Monkee Genes* are purveyors of organic bamboo jeans, made in England, that are beautifully soft.  My only gripe is that Monkee Genes only come in two leg lengths – regular and long.  The regular leg length is 31″, so if you’re on the shorter side you may struggle with the fit.


Morcant

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for sizes S – XL

Morcant* is a gender-neutral essentials label founded in Sheffield. Their aim is to make functional everyday clothing using high-quality & long-lasting premium fabrics. With sustainability at the core of the brand, each piece of their organic collection is crafted using certified eco-friendly materials and ethically manufactured in Bangladesh.  


MUD Jeans

Budget: £££

Caters for waist sizes 26″ – 36″

MUD Jeans* make jeans from recycled denim, avoiding waste and cutting down on water and CO2 use.  At the moment their jeans contain 40% recycled denim.  However, keep an eye out as MUD aim to launch the first jeans made from 100% post-consumer recycled denim.  The other good news is that once your jeans are worn out send them back to MUD for recycling.


Nancy Dee

ethical fashion brands for women

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 6 – 18

Nancy Dee offers British-made fashionable ethical clothing for every occasion.  Their pieces are made ethically with sustainable eco-friendly fabrics.  What’s more, join their mailing list to get a generous 15% off your first order.


Noctu

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes S – L

Noctu make ethically made sleepwear and loungewear that’s both fairtrade and made using 100% GOTS certified cotton.  Specifically interested in loungewear and sleepwear?  See my guide to ethical pyjamas for more brands.  


Nomads

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Nomads* make bohemian-inspired stylish ethical clothing.  All their pieces are designed in the UK and fairly made in India using GOTS-certified cotton.


Nudie Jeans

Budget: £££

Caters for sizes 24″ to 38″

Nudie Jeans make 100% organic jeans made with sustainability in mind.  And if your Nudie jeans need mending you can pop into their London shop for a free repair service.  Don’t worry if you are not London-based, they can send you a repair kit free of charge.  And once your jeans are finally worn out, you can send them back to Nudie and they’ll recycle them into new jeans.


Origin Africa

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes XS – XL

Origin Africa* is the UK’s first 100% not-for-profit fashion brand, making contemporary ethical and sustainable unisex garments.  These are produced using 100% organic cotton and vegan-approved water-based dyes.  What’s more, profits are used to fund social enterprises in Africa.  These include projects around improving child health through proper sanitation, and female empowerment through skills training and education.


Outsider Clothing

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes 8 – 16

Outsider Clothing makes beautiful, timeless clothes ethically made by this ethical clothing brand using sustainable materials, such as hemp, hemp silk, organic cotton, naturally coloured cotton, peace silk, and more.


Palava Clothing

sustainable clothing brands

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes 6 – 28

Palava’s uniquely printed dresses and skirts are made from organic cotton in Europe and the UK. These seriously beautiful ethical clothes are high up on my wishlist!  Keep your eye out for sample sales.  As a bonus, take 10% off your first order by signing up for their newsletter.


Patagonia

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes XS – XL

Patagonia* makes responsibly-made outdoor clothing designed to last and to be repairable.  Their website also gives advice on how to repair all Patagonia items, which is seriously useful.  And for any clothing that can’t be repaired then you can drop it off at a Patagonia store for recycling or repurposing. 

I’ve included Patagonia in my guide to ethical coats, in case you want to browse other coat retailers.  


People Tree

Budget: ££-£££

Caters for sizes 6 – 18

People Tree* sells fairtrade basics, leisurewear, workwear, and occasion wear, often in 100% organic cotton.  They often work in collaboration with designers, such as Orla Kiely and Zandra Rhodes, to produce some original prints.  As such this ethical clothing brand is one of my first stops when looking for ethical clothing.  Do keep an eye out for regular sales if you’re shopping on a tight budget.


Riyka

Budget: ££ – £££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Riyka* is an ethical clothing brand that sells a small collection of fun and colourful wardrobe basics.  All of these are designed in the UK and made in a fair-wage, sustainable atelier in Bulgaria.  Riyka says they use reclaimed, organic, and/or British-made fabrics where possible.  What’s more, all of the organic cotton they use is GOTS certified.


Seasalt Cornwall

sustainable clothing brands Seasalt Cornwall

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for sizes 6 – 28

Seasalt* specialises in beautiful timeless clothing and stunning prints.  Through their Locally Made project, they are actively increasing the number of products they manufacture locally in the South West, Guernsey, and across the UK.  In particular, look out for GOTS-certified organic cotton products and waterproof fabrics made from organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles.


Thought

Budget: £ – ££

Caters for sizes 6 – 20

Thought* makes easy-to-wear fairtrade clothing made from bamboo, hemp, and/or organic cotton, often in beautiful prints.  Keep your eye out for regular sales.


THTC Clothing

Budget: ££

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

Short for The Hemp Trading Company, THTC is an ethical clothing brand.  In particular, they specialise in eco-friendly organic and ethically sourced and produced politically-conscious streetwear.


Totty Rocks

Budget: £££

Cater for sizes 6 – 16

Edinburgh-based Totty Rocks produce stylish retro-inspired clothing, all of which are designed and made in Scotland.


The White T-Shirt Co

Budget: £

Caters for sizes 8 – 18

The White T-Shirt Co produces simple wardrobe basics in 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.  As such, if you’re looking for the perfect ethical white t-shirt then step this way.  And take 10% off your first order if you sign up for their newsletter.

Looking For Specific Types of Ethical Clothing for Women?

If you have a specific item that you have in mind, then I’ve put together lots of separate guides, which have all been updated for 2021:

I also have a handy guide on what to look for when shopping for ethical clothing.  It covers topics such as what fabrics to look for and explains what all the different eco-labels mean if the ethical fashion jargon bamboozles you.

What Can I Do To Make Women’s Ethical Clothing Brands More Accessible?

To make the ethical fashion movement more inclusive to all, then it’s important to take action beyond your wallet.

To help make ethical fashion more affordable, things that you can do to help engender change include asking High St brands who make their clothes (see Fashion Revolution for their great resources).  This will help press for transparency and sustainability on the High Street, making ethical clothing much more accessible for all.

You can also support Clean Clothes Campaign’s Pay Up drive, whereby they are pressing the global fashion brands that have refused to pay for over $16 billion worth of goods ordered since the outbreak of COVID-19. Big brands cancelled all orders placed before the crisis – some of which had already been shipped. This financially devastated factories since they had already had to pay for fabric and other production costs for these orders. Many were left with no money to pay workers’ wages.

Here are also some other ideas on how to support the ethical fashion movement from the bottom up.

Representation in Ethical Clothing

Sustainable fashion also lacks diverse representation.  Particularly in terms of race, and of the LGBTQ+ community.  However, there is also a lack of a range of sizes which leaves a large swath of potential would-be customers behind. Asking your favourite ethical clothing brands to make their clothes in a wider range of sizes is a great first step, as brands won’t consider making their clothes in wider size ranges until there is consumer demand. Asking brands to use more diverse models, beyond a size 8 able-bodied 20 something white woman) is another way to help broaden the appeal of ethical fashion.

Have I missed any brands?  Do let me know!  And have you found this guide to ethical clothing brands useful?  Then why not pin it for later?

Image displays naturally coloured clothes on a rack with a blue text box that says 40 plus stylish women's ethical clothing brands