7 sustainable alternatives to urban outfitters

In this article, we discuss some of the sustainable alternatives to urban outfitters, and what aspects of urban outfitters makes them less sustainable.

What are some of the sustainable alternatives to urban outfitters?

Here are some sustainable alternatives from across the globe that will be just as edgy, fun, and hip, and, most importantly, considerably kinder to the environment, people, and animals:

  • Lev Apparel
  • Yes And
  • Groceries Apparel
  • UncommonGoods
  • Whimsy + Row
  • tonlé
  • Christy Dawn
  • WIILDS
  • MUD Jeans
  • Phyne
  • Afends

How sustainable are Urban Outfitters?

With its on-trend and cheap apparel marketed at young adults, the American fashion retailer Urban Outfitters has built a reputation for itself. 

It attracts customers with its highly groomed, Insta-worthy image, which it affectionately refers to as “metropolitan hipsters.” Is its ethics, however, as gleaming as its brand image? Is Urban Outfitters ethical?

Urban Outfitters has nearly 200 locations in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is owned by retail behemoth URBN, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People. 

However, as one of the most popular shops in North America, it’s tempting for customers to get caught up in the brand’s hype rather than consider its commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.

We shall use Good On You’s rating of Urban Outfitters to understand the brand’s ethicality in terms of environmental sustainability, labour rights, and animal welfare.

Environmental sustainability

For the environment, Urban Outfitters is ‘Not Good Enough.’ There is no proof that it reduces textile waste in the production of its products. 

To lessen its climate effect, it employs some renewable energy in its direct operations, but no major effort has been done to reduce or remove dangerous chemicals. There is also no indication that it engages in water conservation efforts.

Labour rights

Urban Outfitters is proud of its UO Community Cares project, which encourages workers and consumers to volunteer in their communities. 

But how much does the company care about the people who work in its supply chain? 

Urban Outfitters describes some of its labour standards in its response to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, including its third-party auditing methods and commitment to not using child or slave labour.

However, there is little evidence to back up any of these allegations. 

For example, one would like to know how frequently its factories are audited, which portions of its supply chain are examined, and who its suppliers are and where they’re situated.

Furthermore, no documentation was discovered that demonstrates if Urban Outfitters pays a living wage in its supply chain, or that the firm has any procedures or controls in place to protect suppliers and workers from the effects of COVID-19.

Despite having a policy that states it “…does not knowingly carry products that use cotton originating from Uzbekistan”.

Urban Outfitter received the lowest possible score on a survey conducted by the Responsible Sourcing Network in 2014 that measured brands’ actions to ensure cotton originating from Uzbekistan was not used in their products.

Urban Outfitters is no stranger to controversy; in 2015, the company was involved in a labour rights incident in which employees were urged to work for free on the weekend under the premise of a ‘training day.’ 

Unsurprisingly, people find Urban Outfitters to be ‘Not Good Enough.’

Animal welfare


There is no indication that Urban Outfitters seems to have an animal welfare policy, which also gets a ‘Not Good Enough’ rating. 

It does not include any fur, down, angora, or unusual animal skin, but it does contain leather, wool, and exotic animal fur from unknown sources. 

There is no indication that it ties any animal products back to the beginning of the manufacturing process. This is problematic since neither the animals’ nor the employees’ wellbeing can be ensured.

Overall review

Urban Outfitters doesn’t do much to assist the environment, its employees, or our furry pals. There is little proof that its “policy” on labour and supply chain transparency are really implemented.

Urban Outfitters has a long way to go before it can be deemed a sustainable and ethical brand, despite the fact that its collections are typically intended to appeal towards open-minded and progressive young people. 

As a multibillion-dollar store, it could certainly do a lot more to set itself apart.

Sustainable alternatives to urban outfitters


If you like the Urban Outfitters atmosphere, here are some sustainable alternatives from across the globe that will be just as edgy, fun, and hip, and, most importantly, considerably kinder to the environment, people, and animals. 

You’ll discover businesses that cater to diverse trends like streetwear and cottagecore/boho, different budgets, and different sizes among these ethical alternatives to Urban Outfitters, so you’re sure to find one you enjoy.

These alternatives are:

  • Lev Apparel
  • Yes And
  • Groceries Apparel
  • UncommonGoods
  • Whimsy + Row
  • tonlé
  • Christy Dawn
  • WIILDS
  • MUD Jeans
  • Phyne
  • Afends

We shall discuss the crucial aspects of these alternatives which makes them more sustainable in more detail below.

Lev Apparel

Ethically manufactured clothing that empowers and celebrates women of all shapes and sizes. They believe that empowered women encourage other women, thus all of their employees are adequately compensated and treated.

Yes And

Yes And seeks to dispel the myth that sustainable fashion has to lose style, quality, fit, colour, comfort, or price in order to be sustainable. 

You can have everything with this US-based brand: it’s certified organic, low-impact coloured, and ethically produced. Most products are available in sizes XS to XL.

Groceries Apparel

Simple, elegant clothing created entirely of organic and repurposed materials. At their ethical manufacturer in Los Angeles, Groceries Apparel is focused on supply chain transparency and creating well-paying employment.

UncommonGoods

Thousands of one-of-a-kind and distinctive items created with care by independent artisans. 

UncommonGoods handpicks unique, useful products with immaculate design, from amusing jewellery and fashionable accessories to imaginative home décor and cooking supplies.

Whimsy + Row

Whimsy & Row is an eco-friendly lifestyle business founded on a passion for high-quality products and environmentally friendly procedures. 

Its objective has been to deliver ease and elegance for the modern, environmentally conscious lady since 2014. 

Whimsy & Row uses deadstock fabric and limits each item to a small run size, reducing packaging waste and conserving vital water resources. Most items are available in sizes XS-XL.

tonlé

tonlé uses a zero-waste design approach to create ecologically sustainable women’s clothes. 

For its trim and accessories, the business employs waste textiles from big manufacturers, as well as recycled threads and salvaged wood from local vendors. It comes in sizes ranging from XS to 3XL.

Christy Dawn

Christy Dawn is a minimalist store that sells locally manufactured vintage-inspired women’s clothes and footwear. 

The American label receives a “Great” rating, making it a fantastic bohemian alternative for your collection. Standard sizes XS-XL are available, as well as Extended and Petite collections.

WIILDS

WIILDS is a surf company based on Australia’s east coast that offers high-quality products. 

As a consequence of working only with ethical, ecologically conscientious suppliers, virtually all of the brand’s goods are organic (GOTS Certified). The series is available in sizes S-2XL.

MUD Jeans

MUD Jeans, a Dutch denim company, is really all about sustainability. It offers not only a repair service but also a rental business where you can rent a pair of trousers for up to one year. 

MUD Jeans features a blend of organic cotton certified by GOTS plus post-consumer repurposed cotton. 

MUD Jeans come in a variety of sizes, with women’s sizes ranging from W25 L30-W33 L32 and men’s sizes ranging from W28 L34-W36 L34.

Phyne

Phyne is a sustainable German company that creates simple streetwear for the future. 

All of its clothing and accessories are created from organically grown natural fibres, in compliance with the globally recognised Global Organic Textile Standard’s environmental and social standards (GOTS). Phyne clothing is available in sizes XS-2XL.

Afends

Afends is a popular brand among many individuals. Their items are all quite grungy and edgy, yet of extremely good quality. 

One of their nicest features is that they sell so many unique cord items, as well as pants that are all quite flattering.

Afends, on the other hand, is a fantastic brand for both men and women’s fashion. They’re also constantly upgrading their ethics – and are quite open about the fibres they use.

Conclusion

Urban Outfitters doesn’t do much to assist the environment, its employees, or our furry pals. There is little proof that its “policy” on labour and supply chain transparency are really implemented.

If you like the Urban Outfitters atmosphere, there are many sustainable alternatives from across the globe that will be just as edgy, fun, and hip, and, most importantly, considerably kinder to the environment, people, and animals. 

You’ll discover businesses that cater to diverse trends like streetwear and cottagecore/boho, different budgets, and different sizes among these ethical alternatives to Urban Outfitters, so you’re sure to find one you enjoy.

FAQs

Is Urban Outfitters’ Renewal Line sustainable?

Yes, Urban Outfitters’ Renewal Line is sustainable, in comparison to their mainstream products.

Repurposing and reimagining sustainably-sourced antique pieces, Urban Renewal is UO’s method of making old fresh again, according to their description. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t much in this range for males (at the time of writing), but maybe that will change.

Is unspun a sustainable alternative to Urban Outfitters?

Yes, unspun is a sustainable alternative to Urban Outfitters. Through a zero-inventory and low-waste approach, unspun is working to create a denim world that cuts global carbon emissions by 1%. 

Its product size is completely adjustable, ensuring that you always get the optimum fit.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment