12 Women-Owned Sustainable and Ethical Companies [2022]

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Ever since the 1960s, the fashion industry has seen a pick-up in their pace to stay “on-trend” and affordable.

This culture of constant stock supply and design replication while staying within the margins of reasonable price points has given way to the term “fast fashion.”

Several large retail companies have followed this wasteful business model and environmental and sustainable communities have called them out to rally for a shift in the fashion industry.

Alternatively, from the community of conscious-minded activists have arisen several brands that adhere to a more mindful way of consuming clothing.

These “slow fashion” companies take care to be respectful of our environment, from the production of fabrics to the parcels that packages are shipped in. 

Fashion has always been a form of self-expression and art, so why not do it in a conscious way?

The core of sustainable brands’ purpose is to eradicate this culture of constant consumerism. Trends come and go, as do the clothes bought during the frenzy. Taking the time to pick and choose quality garments that will last a long time over a large quantity of on-and-off again “trendy” clothing will alleviate the fashion industry’s harmful impact on the earth.

These brands have also taken it a step further to provide their employees with fair wages and worker’s rights. They treat those who are employed by the company with respect and strive to ensure that all workers are compensated fairly, regardless of what part of the world they live in.

12 Women Owned Sustainable Brands

These brands take extra care to provide exceptional quality through sustainable and ethical measures.

This is not by any means a comprehensive list of all the ethical and sustainable brands out there, but it’s a good starting point for those who are interested in consciously cleaning up their wardrobe and who want to support women-owned businesses.

1. Karma

karma

A luxe sustainable swimwear and resort wear brand created by sisters Antje and Julienne Worring, this sister-owned company was created because they felt a passion and calling to create a brand that is all about quality, without compromising ethical labor production standards or affordability.

Staying true to quality over quantity, Karma’s bikinis are produced on a limited production cycle, they don’t reorder styles when they sell out.

Antje and Julienne strive to bring awareness to social and environmental injustices through the products they create.

Karma also donates 7% of their profits to ocean conservation efforts.

2. Knickey

Knickey sustainable women owned brand

Knickey is an organic women’s underwear brand that’s run by the two co-founders, Cayla and Lauren.

If you need new underwear, Knickey is going to be your go-to.

They use organic, fair-trade materials so every item is free from any pesticides, toxins, or synthetic-based fabrics.

The dyes used in all Knickey underwear is Oeko-Tex cerfieid, so you’ll have zero toxic chemicals touching your skin.

They also have a recycling program to help you safely recycle used underwear so they don’t end up in the landfill.

You can buy individual items, but they also make handy starter sets, so you can try on different styles, risk-free.

3. Girlfriend Collective

girlfriend collective

Girlfriend Collective makes eco-friendly activewear out of recycled materials.

Founded on the belief that “good things come to those who don’t waste,” Girlfriend Collective CEO Ellie Dinh realized that the very items clogging landfills and polluting oceans could be repurposed into something beautifully wearable.

From their products to their packaging, they ensure that everything that comes from them is 100% recycled and recyclable.

4. Back Beat Co.

back beat co

A lifestyle California-based brand that brings us back to the basics.

Founder Isadora Alvarez combined inspiration from California ‘surf’n’skate’ culture and streetwear to create the effortless but cool vibe that Californians (and lovers of Back Beat Co.) are known for.

5. Selva Negra

selva negra

Founded in 2016 by designers Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero, Selva Negra is a collection that aims to support women and their individuality.

Their fabrics are sourced from Los Angeles, and some imported goods from Japan and Turkey. Their clothes emit a sense of urban chic through minimalist color palettes and muted patterns.

6. Wasi Clothing

wasi clothing

An L.A. based company that puts Bolivian culture at the forefront through textiles sourced from South America to Bolivian-inspired design.

Wasi Clothing is a one-woman business run by Vanessa Acosta. She designs and sews everything on herself and makes products as orders come in.

The limited quantity of her products are to eliminate waste and over-production, a problem often dealt with in fast fashion. Through her brand, Vanessa hopes to shed a spotlight on her roots while also adding in a modern twist.

7. Package Free Shop

package free shop

Package Free was founded by Lauren Singer, a pioneer of the zero waste movement.

The mission of her company is to provide a place that offers everything you need in order to live a “zero waste” lifestyle.

Singer recognized that living waste-free is no easy task on your own, and wanted to create a brand that merged convenience and environmental consciousness.

Since opening, the brand has kept over 4 million plastic straws, over 3 million plastic bags and over 1.5 million non-recyclable bottles and cups out of landfill.

8. Proclaim

proclaim bralette

Proclaim is an L.A. based inclusive lingerie line created by Shobha Philips and founded on the principles of representation and an eco-conscious mindset.

Proclaim uses materials like Tencel and Reprieve Recycled Polyester.

They strive in paying attention to detail, because in doing so these can add up to make a big difference.

9. Raven + Lily

raven + lily

This is a sustainable brand based in Austin, Texas.

Looking to nature for their inspiration, Raven + Lily creates products that last more than just a season.

Like nature, they’re inspired by the timeless, classic environment we are surrounded by.

They involve women in every stage of their business, and make sure that they focus their efforts on responsible and ethical production every step of the way.

10. Birdsong

Birdsong sustainable women led brand

Birdsong is a sustainable, ethical brand based in the UK.

Their eclectic and unique collection comprises of several handmade items-from pieces that will stand out, and complement any wardrobe.

All the women that Birdsong works with are paid a London living wage and their partnership with Traid helps their efforts in sustainability, and ensures that their garments are made from second hand fabrics to minimize landfill.

11. milo+nicki

milo and nicki

milo+nicki is a cruelty-free, ethically-designed sustainable womenswear line.

Nicki Patel founded the brand (with inspiration from her pup Milo) drawing on Indian and Zambian roots. Her creations are handwoven and made with natural fibers.

12. VALANI

Valani owned by Vanni Leung

VALANI is a sustainable, ethical, vegan clothing line based in California, run by the founder Vanni Leung.

The line was created for women who want a dreamy, flirty and beautiful wardrobe without harming the planet. VALANI only uses non-toxic, low impact dyes and plant based fabrics in all of their products— which include tops, bottoms, dresses, and accessories.

VALANI features hemp, TENCEL, and banana fabrics to create comfy, breathable timeless pieces to make you feel and look gorgeous. As well as that, one tree is planted for every garment sold.

Wrapping Up: Female-Owned Sustainable Brands

We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and have discovered some new sustainable women owned brands.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading our guides on the best sustainable sneakers and sustainable dresses.

If you have any recommendations of women-owned brands you think should be featured, let us know in the comments below.

Bella Villanueva
Bella Villanueva

Bella is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. Though she moved around frequently growing up, she considers Tokyo, Japan to be her hometown. Bella has held several positions concentrating on navigating through the social media and digital landscape in several different industries: a news publication, a salon, an on-campus fashion organization, and a swimsuit company. Her dream job is to work at a fashion, entertainment, or travel communications agency. In her free time, Bella enjoys baking, cooking, watching old films, spending time with her family and dog Yuki, and playing the guitar.

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