Live colourfully! Here’s the ethical clothing brands I love for a vibrant look
Bland fashion? We don’t know her. For many people, one of the biggest barriers to shopping with more ethical clothing brands is the (understandable) misconception that sustainable equals beige boringness. It’s my personal mission to prove to you this isn’t the case.
In this post I’ve summarised the brands that I personally love for creating ‘maximalist’ bold and bright outfits, without compromising ethics. From everyday basics in vibrant hues (hello, loungewear inspo!) to the most attention-grabbing pieces, this list should have your wardrobe needs sorted. It’s worth checking out my ethical activewear roundup too, as those brands also offer colourful options.
However, before we go on, I should mention that there are a few alternatives as a bold fashion lover to buying any new clothing. My biggest tip? Shop secondhand! These garments are already in existence, so they aren’t adding to massive environmental impact creating new garments (even relatively ethical ones) creates. Plus, chances are, if you’re a colour lover you also like unique clothing. This is where shopping secondhand (and particularly vintage) definitely has its advantages.
Alternatively, you could work with a personal stylist to find fresh takes on pieces you already love in your wardrobe. Sometimes all it takes in some inspiration on how to wear colours together in different combinations, or advice on how to get the most out of prints. A stylist can help provide direction so that you know exactly the new clothes to invest in from ethical brands to bring together the wardrobe of your dreams.
Colourful ethical clothing brands available in the UK
I’ve already shared some of these ethical clothing brands in my free ‘How to Dress Colourfully’ eBook (click the pop-up on my homepage to sign up) but there are so many bright and brilliant ethical brands I want to share with you that I thought it best to make a whole post dedicated to it!
The list below is by no means exhaustive, and I’ll add new brands whenever I encounter one that really impresses me. Happy shopping!
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Meet Zachary, our new Limited Edition dungaree! ✨💕💚💥⠀ ⠀ Designed in-house by our wonderful print designer @elspeth_lucyandyak. With a love of bold prints, abstract shapes and experimenting with bright colour combinations, her background is in print design and she has been hard at work designing lots of lovely prints for our new collections! This is the very first of her dungaree designs to come through and we're so happy to introduce you to the amazing Zachary!⠀ ⠀ With it's pink geometric background and fluid, abstract neon and cobalt accents, this is a truly eye-catching design drawing inspiration from the shapes and patterns of the 80's and 90's, and looks great with so many colours underneath! 🎨⠀ ⠀ Printed on an 100% Organic Cotton twill, this is in the slightly thicker twill of our more recent LE's, with more shape and texture. The colours are deep and really pop! 💥⠀ ⠀ These are our classic cut dungaree – an oversized fit with signature adjustable tie straps, 3 front pockets and a tapered leg, perfect for rolling up for a slouchy look.⠀ ⠀ See in New In or swipe up on stories to shop!
Lucy and Yak
Recommended for: fun and youthful fashion, comfy everyday standout pieces
If you’ve not heard of Lucy and Yak yet then where have you been?! Definitely one of the most high-profile ethical fashion brands in the UK, Lucy and Yak are famous for their colourful dungarees, boilersuits and high-waist jeans, but there’s a lot more to the brand than that. Personally I love the funky organic cotton tees and crop tops, as they’re affordable and colourful. Ethics-wise, traceability is key for Lucy and Yak, and they provide a comprehensive list of their suppliers on the website. I love that their dungarees have a number sewn into them which tells you which tailor crafted them!
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@charmsie looking like a star in the multi reef jumpsuit! So AMAZING and full of colour! Only a couple left now! 🌈🌈🌈 . . . During COVID times, it’s important to not forget that the environment is the most pressing long term issue of our lifetime and there’s much work to do. We’re supporting our favourite environmental @ejfoundation, so when you buy one of our SS20 garments, £1 will be donated to @ejfoundation Save the Sea campaign! . . . #organiccotton#screenprinted#summerwardrobe#jumpsuit#coolprint#printjumpsuit#cotton#cottonjumpsuit#comfy#comfyoutfit#savetheseas#ejf#ethicalfashion#ethical#sustainablefashion#sustainable#colourful#savetheearth#holidaying#holiday#holidayoutfit#summeroutfit
Lowie/ Miss Pom Pom
Best for: vibrant print-seekers of all ages
It’s a two-for-one deal with Lowie, which also owns the equally colourful Miss Pom Pom. Think of Lowie as the sophisticated yet stylish older sister, and Miss Pom Pom and the younger sibling who loves to make a statement! As well as offering up a list of its suppliers, and working hard to meet comprehensive sustainability targets, one of the things I love most about Lowie is they offer free repairs for life. As we know, to be sustainable a garment should last us for years and years, and Lowie has shown it’s against throwaway culture with this brilliant initiative.
Best for: Flattering and fabulous capsule pieces
Whenever I find a brand that’s colourful, quirky, and handmade in the UK I do a happy dance. Stidston Studio is exactly that. This brand started out making swimsuits from Econyl (that’s regenerated nylon crafted from consumer waste found in the ocean), and you’ll still find their swimwear for sale online. However, I was particularly drawn to Stidston’s clothing collection, which is a capsule collection of mix and match separates and jumpsuits, all with a 1970s-inspired silhouette (think bell sleeves and flares). Garments are crafted from tencel and linen, which are two particularly comfortable and breathable natural fabrics. While Stidston is still a small brand, I’m excited to see where it’ll grow to next.
Best for: Basics in all the colours of the rainbow
I first came across Kettlewell when I was learning about colour analysis and colour seasons (I’m a spring BTW), and it felt like all my clothing prayers had been answered. Comfortable, colourful basics, crafted from natural fibres? Sign me UP! Kettlewell’s website is designed to be searched via ‘season’, but if you don’t know (or care) about that it’s still a great place to find basics in specific colours. I’ve loved wearing my mock turtle necks (the yellow one is pictured on the cover photo for this post), and found them to be a great base for colourful outfit building. Ethics-wise, Kettlewell works with small, family-run factories in Portugal and Turkey, and uses natural fibres.
Saturday by Megan Ellaby
Best for: Retro=inspired tops and tees
Bold style lovers will know the struggle of finding a nice top that isn’t boring, but still goes with plenty of looks. Saturday by Megan Ellaby could be your solution, offering colourful, quirky tops and jumpers, designed to be layered. The label was created by influencer Megan Ellaby, and her trademark 70s-inspired style is prominent. The brand doesn’t strictly market itself as ethical, although I do consider it to be a good choice for conscious shoppers. Only natural fibres are used, and garments are manufactured in accredited factories in Portugal (although there isn’t currently any specific factories named on the website). I have a star print high neck viscose top from Saturday by Megan Ellaby which is SO comfy and breathable, although I would say the sizing runs small.
Best for: Minimalist loungewear in vibrant hues
Who says I can’t do minimal?! If you’re looking for sustainable, comfortable sportswear-inspired clothing in a rainbow of colours, then you need to check out Pangaia. This is a new ethical clothing brand on my radar, and I can confirm I’ve never encountered any quite like it! Describing itself as a ‘materials science company’, Pangaia markets heavily on saving the planet/ the future of fashion, and its website reads as much like a scientific resource as an e-commerce store. Essentially, the focus is on using environmentally dyes on natural fibres, including seaweed and organic cotton. Pangaia is unisex too, which means a good range of sizes is available.
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Just over two hours until this babe is back 💗 I’m flooded with Q’s on the regular about the Leah and I cannot wait for her to be back on the website for you babes to get yours 🌈✨ This rainbow gingham design is made from organic cotton poplin, which is digitally printed with my very own rainbow gingham print I designed just for the Leah. She’s also great for the environment and also comfy AF. REASONS SHE RULES ✨ 🍓Made to order 🍓Organic cotton poplin 🍓Rainbow gingham print 🍓Sweetheart neckline 🍓Fitted bodice 🍓Elasticated shoulders and cuffs 🍓Invisible zip closure She’ll be made by hand, just for you. We make everything totally to order and because we’re working to a very strict order capacity limit, we’ll only be accepting a small amount of orders, this means your very own Leah will be handmade and shipped out to you within 10-14 working days. 6PM (5.30 if you’re on my mailing list)✌️🌈
By Megan Crosby
Best for; Made-to-measure statement pieces
It’s no secret that I LOVE Megan Crosby and everything she’s doing with her brand! She crafts each piece herself in the UK with her team of four assistants, using organic cotton fabric. The brand has a cult following on Instagram now, and Megan Crosby is known for her rainbow gingham prints and puff sleeves. As each item is made-to-order, it’s possible to have custom styles created that are totally unique. Best of all, because each style can be made to your individual measurements, By Megan Crosby is truly size diverse, which is a quality that is often lacking in sustainable brands.
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If a monkey is amongst dogs, why won’t it start barking – Nigerian proverb. When I was growing up, my father used Nigerian proverbs to speak to me about my life's choices. Whenever he did not approve of who I was hanging out with, he shared this proverb with me. I guess he was trying to say the people we hang out with have tremendous amount of influence on how we behave. Good or bad . That is true. As my daughters are becoming more independent, I have started speaking to them in proverbs too just like my parents did. They just roll their eyes but they get it. They are smart girls. Whatever you do today. Shine Bright. Stay fabulous and blessed. Wear your crown. Yvonne xxx
Best for: ‘Wow’ dresses and skirts you’ll wear for years to come
If you love a good print, then I have the brand for you! Kemi Telford is another ethical clothing brand that’s a bit of an Instagram sensation, and with good reason. The label is known for its maxi skirts and dresses in bold prints that are true to founder Yvonne’s Nigerian heritage. Yvonne describes her designs as “encouraging women to take up their rightful place. They encourage them to stop shrinking themselves”, which explains why the brand is so popular with women of all ages! Kemi Telford work hard to ensure the people making their clothes are treated fairly, and to minimise their environmental impact. You’ll find styles made from organic cotton and recycled polyester, as well as a ‘seconds’ section on the site where not quite perfect items and fabric surplus is used to create a more affordable range of products.
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C O M I N G I N H A W T!⠀ ⠀ This weekend our stock finally arrives in the UK! (YAAAAAS!!!) Our emerald green Mom Suit has been SUPER popular in our pre-order sales. So if you were sitting on ordering, now’s the time! As usual all our pieces are ethically made and limited edition 💚. ⠀ ⠀ OUR PROMISE: ⠀ All our fabrics are hand sourced from surplus fabric markets, warehouses and factories in Delhi India. We don't produce ANY fabric, instead we save and reuse waste fabric left over from other fashion brands supply chains. Saving on thousands of litres of water and greenhouse emissions every year ♻️⠀ ⠀ DM for enquiries 💕
Ilk & Ernie
Best for: Funky, versatile pieces
Fabric waste is a huge issue in the fashion industry, and Ilk & Ernie are working to create beautiful designs that fights against this problem. There’s something so wonderful to me about brands who only work with deadstock, as this type of excess fabric is known. It just feels so creative to base a collection around the material available, rather than the other way round! Ilk & Ernie’s capsule collection features comfortable and contemporary silhouettes with some funky prints and bold colours thrown into the mix. Of course, ethical manufacture is essential to the brand’s founder, Jess, and the website has the cutest bio section of the staff who work in India where the garments are made.
Best for: Youthful festival wear
How much is too much? According to Shop Fluffy, the answer is never! This properly maximalist brand was created with young festival goers in mind, and rainbow crochet patterns are the cornerstone of its designs. What started as a one-lady show is now produced ethically by a small group of craftspeople in Indonesia, who crochet each piece by hand, Workers also benefit from the ‘Fluffy Fund’, where the company pledge’s that a percentage of every item sold will go directly back to the families of the team members who made them. Shop Fluffy has a huge Instagram following and is a favourite with Gen Z fashion lovers, but as each piece is made by hand in small batches be prepared to wait for restocks of the most popular styles.
What other, colourful, ethical clothing brands are you loving right now? I’d love to hear about them! Send me a message on Instagram @styledbyalicex with your suggestions.