This post contains affiliate links and I may receive commission should you choose to purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you
Is Urban Outfitters ethical?
While Urban Outfitters has a vintage and secondhand feel, a majority of their in-house brands are produced in unregulated factories, with sweatshop violations even within the US.
Similar to Shein, they’ve also been accused of copying the designs of independent artists (there are so many articles relevant to this problem that I’d suggest a google search).
But one advantage of Urban Outfitters is that they have an in-house, upcycled brand which makes use of deadstock and secondhand clothing for new designs.
The Urban Renewal Collection is comprised of original vintage, upcycled and reworked vintage, and domestically produced items made with deadstock fabrics.
As some of you know, I am a huge proponent of incorporating vintage and upcycled garments into one’s wardrobe. The prints of the 60s and 70s, the silhouettes of the 80s, the grunge of the 90s. No matter which direction you go, when combined with contemporary favorites, you end up with a style that is all your own.
Of course, Urban Outfitters sells thousands of products that encompass many styles – not just vintage – including streetwear, lounge, cottagecore, and more.
If the Urban Renewal collection isn’t your thing, you can shop sustainable and ethical brands with a variety of aesthetics. The brands I share below are forward-thinking upcycled brands, sustainable boutiques, and companies that focus on independent designers.
8 Ethical and Sustainable Alternatives to Urban Outfitters
1 | Lisa Says Gah
With a focus on independent designers, Lisa Says Gah offers eccentric, colorful, and one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories.
Sizes XXS-6X (varies by brand)
2 | Known Supply
Known Supply makes fashion forward, GOTS-certified cotton garments, including jumpsuits, tees, and sweats. They work closely with the makers to ensure fair and safe labor.
3 | Big Bud Press
With ethical production in LA, Big Bud focuses on unisex and size-inclusive offerings in fun, on-trend styles.
5 | Valani
Using sustainable fabrics in their collection, Valani is also committed to zero waste production practices. They find ways to use fabric scraps instead of tossing them, incorporating them into scrunchies and stuffed animal stuffing.
6 | Tamga Designs
Made in vibrant colors with beautiful, sustainable tencel, Tamga Designs makes dresses, separates, and more.
7 | EcoVibe Style
EcoVibe is a West Coast boutique offering vegan, sustainable, and independent brands. They carry clothing, accessories, and household goods.
8 | Kindom
Kindom offers fair trade and artisan goods, with special PRIDE, gender-free, and indigenous collections.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for other conventional brands to cover!
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.