7 Sustainable Alternatives to Big-Name Brands

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written by:  Anna Shuster

editor's note:

I used to go to the mall with my friends to go shopping because it was the most obvious option. Now that I've done my research I prefer to shop at these stores where I feel better about where my money will be going.

Sometimes we buy from big-name brands because, well, we don’t know where else to go. We covet symbols and logos that we recognize on others and hope to mimic. But standing out and standing up for our values, that’s what we’re all about! With the brands that we highlight in this piece, we hope you’ll discover some places that are making transparent strides towards change.


1. VETTA

Compared to:

Forever 21

Pricetag Difference:

Hearty Investment

Our Take:

VETTA is made for the chic, professional, and stylish woman you know you are. They have 5 different capsules to choose from to best suit your personal style and you can check out how to create a customized wardrobe.
5 Items at VETTA make up a capsule wardrobe priced $479, however, they can be styled into 30 different outfits. This ends up with each outfit at $20 (oftentimes how much a T-shirt will cost at Forever 21!). VETTA’s versatile and quality-made items help offset landfill build up and greenhouse gas emissions.


2. Patagonia

Compared To:

Lululemon

Pricetag Difference:

Nothing

Our Take:

Patagonia is unreservedly more dedicated to serving the environment than Lululemon whose signature materials are rife with microplastics. Take Patagonia on your adventures instead and the Earth will reward you.
While these two brands price their activewear virtually the same, Patagonia is the one that is dedicated to returning their profits back into grassroots organizations that make positive impacts on our environment. Their transparency as a company should also serve as a role model as a way to pioneer social change and the business field.


3. Online Thrift Stores

Compared To:

Fashion Nova or Boohoo

Pricetag Difference:

The Same (Subject to Seller)

Our Take:

Choose the more sustainable option of buying clothing that has already been made without giving the funds to allow for the continuation of cultural appropriation, unethical production, and environmental pollution.
Fashionnova takes ideas from independent fashion designers and artists for profit. They also profit off of the mistreatment of a workforce made up of predominantly women of color. Thredup, Goodfair, Poshmark, and other online thrift stores all have vetting systems for quality items that are exactly what you are looking for. However, they come with a bonus perk: minimum greenhouse gas emissions.


4. Boody

Compared to:

Victoria's Secret

Pricetag Difference:

None!

Our Take:

This brand was a hit for our Scouts who loved how soft it was and how they have a range of nudes available so everyone can feel comfortable in their apparel.
Boody uses eco-friendly materials such as repurposed bamboo that isn’t harsh on the skin or environment. They also carry loungewear for men and babies so they cater to a larger audience than Victorias Secret making a shopping splurge family-friendly!


5. The Real Real

Compared To:

Nordstrom

Pricetag Difference:

You End up SAVING on the Same Designer Wear

Our Take:

Secondhand can be luxurious. The Real Real is proof of that.
The Real Real is authenticated pre-loved luxury wear that is sure to last. Whether you need a dress for a wedding but don’t want to splurge or you just can’t afford to buy new designerwear, The Real Real is a cheaper more environmentally friendly option.


6. Tradlands

Compared to:

Zara

Pricetag Difference:

Investment Worthy

Our Take:

Tradlands builds staples made to last, from those who are just looking to get dressed and run out the door to those who are waiting to make a statement in a new dress.
Zara used to be my go-to for structured, yet cute, professional clothing. However, knowing how they treat their workers and the pollutants they release always made me think about the negative impacts I was having instead of the positive changes I am capable of. When I discovered Tradlands, I was really excited about the same simple chic prints from a company that values the people who made my clothes just as much as I do.


7. Grounds and Hounds

Compared to:

Starbucks

Pricetag Difference:

None

Our Take:

Sure, ordering your favorite cup of coffee at Starbucks is easy, but offsetting that plastic build-up is not.
It's cheaper to buy coffee grounds in bulk and make it at home. Not to mention, if you buy from Grounds and Hounds, a portion of the money you spend will go directly back to animal rescue initiatives.

1. VETTA

Compared to:

Forever 21

Pricetag Difference:

Hearty Investment

Our Take:

VETTA is made for the chic, professional, and stylish woman you know you are. They have 5 different capsules to choose from to best suit your personal style and you can check out how to create a customized wardrobe.
5 Items at VETTA make up a capsule wardrobe priced $479, however, they can be styled into 30 different outfits. This ends up with each outfit at $20 (oftentimes how much a T-shirt will cost at Forever 21!). VETTA’s versatile and quality-made items help offset landfill build up and greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Patagonia

Compared To:

Lululemon

Pricetag Difference:

Nothing

Our Take:

Patagonia is unreservedly more dedicated to serving the environment than Lululemon whose signature materials are rife with microplastics. Take Patagonia on your adventures instead and the Earth will reward you.
While these two brands price their activewear virtually the same, Patagonia is the one that is dedicated to returning their profits back into grassroots organizations that make positive impacts on our environment. Their transparency as a company should also serve as a role model as a way to pioneer social change and the business field.

3. Online Thrift Stores

Compared To:

Fashion Nova or Boohoo

Pricetag Difference:

The Same (Subject to Seller)

Our Take:

Choose the more sustainable option of buying clothing that has already been made without giving the funds to allow for the continuation of cultural appropriation, unethical production, and environmental pollution.
Fashionnova takes ideas from independent fashion designers and artists for profit. They also profit off of the mistreatment of a workforce made up of predominantly women of color. Thredup, Goodfair, Poshmark, and other online thrift stores all have vetting systems for quality items that are exactly what you are looking for. However, they come with a bonus perk: minimum greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Boody

Compared to:

Victoria's Secret

Pricetag Difference:

None!

Our Take:

This brand was a hit for our Scouts who loved how soft it was and how they have a range of nudes available so everyone can feel comfortable in their apparel.
Boody uses eco-friendly materials such as repurposed bamboo that isn’t harsh on the skin or environment. They also carry loungewear for men and babies so they cater to a larger audience than Victorias Secret making a shopping splurge family-friendly!

5. The Real Real

Compared To:

Nordstrom

Pricetag Difference:

You End up SAVING on the Same Designer Wear

Our Take:

Secondhand can be luxurious. The Real Real is proof of that.
The Real Real is authenticated pre-loved luxury wear that is sure to last. Whether you need a dress for a wedding but don’t want to splurge or you just can’t afford to buy new designerwear, The Real Real is a cheaper more environmentally friendly option.

6. Tradlands

Compared to:

Zara

Pricetag Difference:

Investment Worthy

Our Take:

Tradlands builds staples made to last, from those who are just looking to get dressed and run out the door to those who are waiting to make a statement in a new dress.
Zara used to be my go-to for structured, yet cute, professional clothing. However, knowing how they treat their workers and the pollutants they release always made me think about the negative impacts I was having instead of the positive changes I am capable of. When I discovered Tradlands, I was really excited about the same simple chic prints from a company that values the people who made my clothes just as much as I do.

7. Grounds and Hounds

Compared to:

Starbucks

Pricetag Difference:

None

Our Take:

Sure, ordering your favorite cup of coffee at Starbucks is easy, but offsetting that plastic build-up is not.
It's cheaper to buy coffee grounds in bulk and make it at home. Not to mention, if you buy from Grounds and Hounds, a portion of the money you spend will go directly back to animal rescue initiatives.



written by:  Anna Shuster

editor's note:

I used to go to the mall with my friends to go shopping because it was the most obvious option. Now that I've done my research I prefer to shop at these stores where I feel better about where my money will be going.

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