Shein has become one of the most popular fast fashion brands in the world, with millions of customers and a huge social media presence. But what is the actual cost of buying from Shein?
The fast fashion business model prioritizes low prices, high speed, and high volume, but it comes at a high cost for people, animals, and the planet.
Fast fashion workers often face poor working conditions, low wages, and exploitation, and Shein is no exception. The brand has been accused of stealing designs from independent artists, using unethical labor practices, and selling products that are low-quality and potentially harmful.
Let’s explore 10 better alternatives to Shein that offer stylish and affordable clothing. These fashion brands prioritize style as well as ethical and sustainable practices.
Is Shein Ethical or Unethical?
Shein is one of the most popular fast fashion brands in the world, but it is also one of the most unethical. It has been accused of stealing designs from independent artists, exploiting workers in sweatshops, using animal fur and leather, and harming the environment with excessive waste and pollution.
Also, Shein is not the only fast fashion brand that is unethical. Other fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, and Boohoo have also been criticized for similar practices.
Supporting unethical brands like Shein has significant implications. It fuels a system that disregards the well-being of workers and the environment in the pursuit of profit and fast fashion trends.
There are better alternatives to Shein that are way more ethical and sustainable. Here are our top 10 picks for alternatives to Shein that you should check out:
What Are the Best Alternatives to Shein?
Here are our top 10 picks for alternatives to Shein that you should check out:
Reformation focuses on creating stylish and sustainable clothing for women. Their product categories include dresses, tops, bottoms, and accessories. The brand prioritizes sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing practices, and transparent supply chains.
Although, compared to Shein and most fast fashion brands, Reformation is significantly higher priced with dresses between $150-$280.
Patagonia is a niche clothing brand that makes ethical sporting gear and accessories. It uses recycled and environmentally friendly materials to make its products.
The Take Action initiative by Patagonia also demonstrates its commitment to environmental sustainability. It connects you to grassroots environmental organizations, allowing you to actively contribute to promoting sustainable practices.
Everlane is known for its timeless and minimalist aesthetic. It retails a wide range of products including clothing, shoes, and accessories for both men and women.
The brand also prioritizes transparency by disclosing the actual cost of clothing production and partnering with ethical factories. Unlike most ethical fashion brands, Everlane is relatively affordable, with prices ranging from $30 to $150, and offers free shipping on orders over $75.
4. Lucy and Yak
The Lucy and Yak brand focuses on comfortable and sustainable clothing, particularly dungarees (overalls) and other relaxed-fit clothing. You can get colorful dungarees, jeans, tops, tees, skirts, shorts, jackets, accessories, and more from its website.
It uses organic and recycled materials and is transparent about its employee compensation and policies.
ADAY is a women’s clothing brand that aims to simplify wardrobes with versatile and timeless pieces. Some of its product categories include dresses, tops, pants, jackets, and activewear.
It uses high-quality and sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and technical silk. It also prioritizes transparency, responsible sourcing, and zero-waste production.
Aday products are within the typical price range for ethical brands, $70 to $230. It also offers free shipping on orders over $150.
People Tree has been in sustainable and ethical fashion for over 30 years, promoting fair trade and protecting the environment. The brand works closely with artisans and farmers in developing countries to create ethical fashion that supports local communities and promotes environmentally friendly practices.
It uses organic cotton, Tencel, hemp, and other eco-friendly materials. You can shop for both casual and stylish clothing including loungewear, dresses, tops, skirts, denim, nightwear, and accessories.
If you meet the People Tree’s free shipping, you can get free shipping to the UK and other EU countries. The price range is $12-$189, which is pretty standard for an ethical brand that uses high-quality materials for its production.
Tentree is a brand committed to reforestation efforts and environmental sustainability. The brand is on a mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2030. So, for every item purchased, the brand plant ten trees in different regions around the world.
Tentree also uses sustainable and recycled materials such as hemp, organic cotton, Tencel, and REPREVE. The brand is also focused on making relaxed-fit, functional, and durable clothing.
Some of its product categories include sweaters, jackets, t-shirts, dresses, pants, and hats. Its price range is from $20 to $200 and they offer free shipping on orders over $50.
Pact is a leading brand in sustainable and ethical fashion that uses organic cotton and fair trade-certified factories. It offers a stylish and sustainable collection of clothing, accessories, as well as lifestyle items for women, men, and kids.
The price is between $15-120, which is almost the same as Everlane. So, it’s one of the most affordable ethical alternatives to Shein.
10. Thought Clothing
This is a family-run business that began in 1995 to create sustainable and timeless clothing. It uses natural fabrics like bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton and creates its own prints in-house.
The Thought Clothing collection includes versatile pieces for both men and women, from casual wear to formal attire. You can get dresses, jumpsuits, knitwear, trousers, Tops, and accessories such as socks, scarves, and bags.
The brand also prioritizes fair trade practices, transparent supply chains, and minimizing their environmental impact.
How to Make Your Fashion Choices More Ethical and Sustainable
- Shop your closet: Rediscover the clothes you already have and give them some love.
- Transform your old clothing: Get creative with upcycling, mending, or customizing your clothes.
- Sell, trade, or donate your clothes: Extend the life of your clothes by passing them on to someone else who will appreciate them.
- Use thrift stores: Find unique and affordable pieces that are already in circulation and reduce waste.
- Find sustainable fashion brands: Look for brands that use eco-friendly materials, minimize carbon emissions, and pay workers fairly.
The Bottom Line
Fast fashion brands like Shein have a lot of customers because they sell trendy and very affordable clothing. However, these companies tend to have poor ethical and sustainability practices.
Shopping with ethical alternatives to Shein helps you protect the environment, and fair trade, and wear high-quality clothing. Get started by shopping with the ethical brands we highlighted in this article.