Ethical, Sustainable Alternatives to Urban Outfitters

Kindom convertible upcycled gingham top worn by a woman wearing black pants and sitting on a bench - sustainable 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 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

ethical alternatives to urban outfitters - Lisa Says Gah shirt with yin yang print

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)

Shop Lisa Says Gah

woman stands amid flowers with white backdrop wearing lime printed jumper from known supply

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.

Sizes XS-4XL

Shop Known Supply

ethical alternatives to urban outfitters - Big Bud Press denim jacket with floral yoke

3 | Big Bud Press

With ethical production in LA, Big Bud focuses on unisex and size-inclusive offerings in fun, on-trend styles.

Sizes XXXS-7XL

Shop Big Bud Press

ethical alternatives to urban outfitters - LOTI dresses worn on two women standing in field of yellow flowers

4 | LOTI

LOTI makes their collection of dresses, blouses, and bucket hats with upcycled men’s shirting. The brand focuses on ethical production and recycled materials.

Sizes XS-XL

Shop Loti

woman stands in field wearing one-shoulder blouse and straw har

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.

Sizes 0-12

Shop Valani

ethical alternatives to urban outfitters - Tamga Designs dress in red worn on a woman standing in a field

6 | Tamga Designs

Made in vibrant colors with beautiful, sustainable tencel, Tamga Designs makes dresses, separates, and more.

Sizes XS-XXL

Shop Tamga Designs

macrame hanger with pocket for plant

7 | EcoVibe Style

EcoVibe is a West Coast boutique offering vegan, sustainable, and independent brands. They carry clothing, accessories, and household goods.

Shop EcoVibe

white blouse with embroidery that says "Good trouble" from Kindom

8 | Kindom

Kindom offers fair trade and artisan goods, with special PRIDE, gender-free, and indigenous collections.

Sizes XS-XXL

Shop Kindom

graphic with peach background and text that reads "Sustainable alternatives to Urban Outfitters -" Bottom half of image shows storefront that reads, "Urban Outfitters"

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

More ethical alternatives.

Leah Wise

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.

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