Ethical Alternatives to Urban Outfitters + The Urban Renewal Collection

ethical alternatives to urban outfitters

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Is Urban Outfitters ethical?

While Urban Outfitters has a vintage and secondhand feel, a majority of their in-house brands were produced in unregulated factories, with sweatshop violations even within the US. 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 girl power 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.

Urban Outfitters has an aesthetic advantage over other popular fashion companies, because their items have always fallen a bit on the vintage, grunge side of the spectrum. This has allowed them the freedom to dream up upcycled goods that revel in their originality and imperfection. I know this won’t be everyone’s style, but maybe you’ve got a little room in your heart for experimentation this coming season?

Here are some of my favorites from the Urban Renewal Collection:

If you’re looking to branch out, I’ve also included brands with similar aesthetics: some upcycled, some sustainable or (more) ethical.

8 Ethical Alternatives to Urban Outfitters

NeoThread Co.

Upcycled clothing for women


Upcycled Levi’s denim


Clothing made with deadstock fabrics

Educated Earthling

Vintage-inspired tees with environmental messages and botanical prints made with nontoxic dyes and printed to order.


Fashion forward ethical clothing made with transparency


With increasing references to vintage clothing of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Everlane has become a good alternative.


With an abstract website and basics in great colors, Entireworld is in the design wheelhouse of U.O.

Alternative Apparel

Known for their easy cotton basics, loungewear, and California-inspired goods.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for other conventional brands to cover!

More ethical alternatives.

Looking for more? Shop 100+ sustainable and ethical brands with my Sustainable Brand Directory.
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