Fashion & Beauty

The 6 Best Fast Fashion Alternative Brands [Shopper’s Guide]

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You might be wondering, what is fast fashion? Fast fashion is a term used in the industry to describe apparel that is intended for short-term use and is cheaply made. Fast fashion brand alternatives focus on sustainably and ethically made clothing during the full life-cycle of the product.

From design to production, to the life of the item after it is sold, sustainable clothing brands use organic cotton, cut down on water usage and waste, and promote the longevity of their items.

Sustainable clothing doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg, either. There are plenty of companies that offer affordable clothing and use ethical practices in production and more are popping up every year as they fight against fast fashion becomes more apparent.

Here are the 6 best fast fashion alternative brands.


Everlane is changing the way people think about clothing. They focus mainly on ethically made apparel and transparency on the cost of manufacturing.

Everlane goes so far into transparency; they calculate their markup process for each item on their website so you know the exact cost of the item you are purchasing. Breaking down the cost by labor, materials, transportation and duties for each item.

They’ve spent months researching and finding the best factories in the world. You might be surprised to hear that some of these factories work with top designer labels as well.

But Everlane goes above and beyond by conducting a complete in house audit that evaluates not only the environment but the wages and hours the employees are working to produce their clothing. Providing their customers with truly the most ethically sourced clothing options.

Alternative Apparel

Focusing on organic cotton and recycled materials, Alternative Apparel is known for their closet staples such as t-shirts, sweatshirts and leggings.

Their items have a vintage worn-in feel and never go out of style. The factories follow strict ethical guidelines and use sustainable packaging. They follow the motto, #dogoodfeelgood by upcycling their cotton, without diluting the texture or hold.

This upcycling clothing model keeps fewer pesticides and herbicides getting into the landfill because they are not growing new cotton. They also a handful of hemp-blend products that is so soft and durable you’ll want to update your entire wardrobe.

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With Levi’s Water<Less collection, the brand focuses on cutting down the water used in manufacturing their jeans. It is known to take approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce just one pair of jeans. Levi’s Water<Less collection cuts that down by up to 96%!

Every little bit helps, and by having such a big player in the denim industry doing such sustainable practices, it can really make an impact!

Levi’s is a brand you can trust and has been a jean staple for many years, but their designers take pride in developing a way to still produce the same quality you are looking for with less waste.

With water scarcity on many people’s minds, they were able to make 69% of their jeans in 2019 with Water<less. We are excited to see what 2020 holds!

H&M Conscious 

Unlike the standard H&M brand, the Conscious line focuses on lessening their environmental impact with organic cotton and recycled polyester.

The apparel is also very affordable; items start at just $10. H&M also does its part in sustainability by offering a discount if you bring in your unwanted clothing items. The unwanted clothing items are then donated or recycled and made into other items.


This ultra-stylish brand that you would never suspect to be ethically made, focuses on the environmental impact of each garment by using what they call the “Refscale.”

This calculation is based on carbon dioxide emissions, water usage and waste during production. They evaluate their clothing in 5 different categories (A-E) ranging from Allstars, Better than most, Could be better, Don’t use unless certified and Eww, never.

They shoot to make 75% of their items fall in the A-B range.

Like Everlane, they are very transparent about the fibers and materials they use to make their clothing. They are great at reusing old textiles as well and almost 15% of their clothing is made up of “deadstock” fabrics.

Reformation is also size-inclusive and offers sizes from 0 to 24 as their mission is to celebrate every single feminine figure. Reformation also can create new lines and pieces of clothing within a month, which is significantly faster than most brands, that take about 12-18 months to roll out a new line.

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is a different type of fast fashion alternative.

If you’ve never heard of the company before, they offer a variety of clothing options for rent. This is a great choice for an upcoming wedding, gala, graduation or a fancy themed party. Why buy a dress you plan to wear once when you can rent one?

Using a clothing rental company or another second-hand shopping avenue such as ThredUp, eBay or Goodwill to purchase your clothing is a great way to cut down on the cost of clothing and a great way to be sustainable.

Rent the Runway offers plans from new items once a month, twice a month or unlimited depending on your style needs!

Whether you are buying new or used clothing, it’s important to cut down on waste for the environment. Sustainable fashion does not need to cost a fortune, and if you calculate cost per wear, buying from these fast fashion alternatives may actually save you money in the long run. 

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Lacy Rhomberg

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