A Quick Guide to “Buying Better” This Fall

fall clothing

The last few years have seen a major rise in socially conscious brands. Whether that’s driven by the success of pioneer companies like TOMS or simply a desire to improve industry practices, it’s a win. The trend has made an impact on everything from home goods to eyeglasses, and they’re providing a real, “shop better and give back” mentality for consumers.

So, as we’re entering a new season, here are eight brands to spark your creativity and leave all buyers’ remorse behind:

1. Zady

Clothes that fit. Clothes that feel great. Pieces that inspire. That’s their mission and they’re sticking to it. Just takes one scroll through their homepage makes us realize modern elegance is alive and well. So let’s harken back to the time where fashion was a long-term investment and not a fad-of-the-day situation.

What to look for: Chunky sweaters, lightweight trench coats, layering basics.

A Quick Guide to "Buying Better" This Fall | DARLING

2. Nisolo

[W]e want to do fashion in a way that connects and benefits both consumers and producers. Nisolo empowers local artisans to excel at their craft and participate in a global marketplace, free from horrible conditions or unfair trade. So it’s evident in every step of the process that their pieces are handmade with love (and serious talent).

What to look for: Chukka boots, ankle heels.

3. Vetta Capsule

Versatile Designs | Eco-Friendly Fabrics | Made Responsibly in NYC | Wholesale Prices. Ever wanted a capsule wardrobe but didn’t know where to start? Enter, Vetta Capsule. They’ve got five pieces and thirty outfit combinations to keep you styling day after day. No wastefulness here—it’s all about deliberate, sophisticated style.

What to look for: It’s only five pieces, so let’s go out on a limb and just say look for them all!

4. Matt and Nat

Being inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure means exploring the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other. This is where vegan meets vogue. Their collections combine eco-friendly materials with ready-to-wear styles that fit any lifestyle. And it includes items for both women + men with no shortage of stylishness.

What to look for: Chic backpacks, weekender duffle bags, do-it-all clutch purses.

5. Everlane

Modern basics. Radical transparency. This brand is all about knowing costs—whether that’s in dollars and cents or based around the working conditions within factories. No compromise will suffice and that goes for their products as well. From clothing to bags to shoes, you’re in for tailored greatness here.

What to look for: Classic shirt dresses, slouchy tees, slip-on loafers.

A Quick Guide to "Buying Better" This Fall | DARLING

6. Naja

[A] love for beautifully designed things, a bit of rebelliousness, and a deep desire to make the world a better place. Naja reevaluated every step of the lingerie industry. From employment standards to marketing campaigns, their holistic approach brings confidence (back) to the table. This company prioritizes the well-being of their workers and the integrity of their consumers.

What to look for: Lace bralettes, printed high-waisted underwear, cheeky knickers.

7. Slumlove Sweater Company

To create quality, stylish clothing that is making the world a better place. This brand sees fashion as a powerful force for change. With pieces all handmade in Nairobi, they employ workers from poverty-stricken areas providing solid conditions with fair wages. And they go one step further with donating a portion of proceeds to non-profit organizations. There’s no limit to the good they want to impact.

What to look for: Knit tanks, relaxed tees, cotton cardigans.

8. Cienne

Globally sourced, locally made. Minimally designed, thoughtfully considered. Tailored to this crazy life. With sourcing from around the world, Cienne collections are all made in the heart of New York City. Their small batch production style offers exclusivity with the highest quality. And versatility is the name of the game with their understated yet endlessly fashionable designs.

What to look for: Wide leg pants, textured ponchos, striped statement pieces.

What brands would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments!

Images via Maddie Greer

Based just outside of Boston, Leslie is the creator of one brass fox, a lifestyle blog exploring the dynamism of fashion, influence of beauty, and power of creativity. She adores brands focused on conscious consumerism, lives off hummus in all flavors, and makes a home with her husband, baby boy and two kittens.

  • Jessica Proctor October 28, 2016

    M.M. LaFleur – Quality and beautifully made clothes designed and made in NYC.

  • Marie October 8, 2016

    Thanks for the great list! I’m a huge fan of Jungle Folk, a fair-trade & ecofashion brand based in switzerland but with international shipping. http://www.junglefolk.com

  • Marie Therese October 5, 2016

    Always very fun to discover new brands that make you look good and that you can feel good about, too. The prices are high and that’s a bit of a bummer, but hopefully, when the demand increases, the prices might become more affordable. Here’s hoping! 🙂

  • Emma Ruth October 3, 2016

    Thank you so much for giving us more sustainable and ethic resources for clothing! I love Everlane and just learned of the Emma Watson collection with Zady. Love Darling!


  • Angela Chadwick October 3, 2016

    Thanks so much for posting this. I want to be a more informed shopper and an active participant in creating change.

    http://31bits.com is a great one for jewelry! I am so impressed with the quality of product and the story behind the company.

  • Lavues October 1, 2016

    Looking great here! Their materials are well made too, nice post 🙂

  • Rudye September 30, 2016

    It’s a bit upsetting that all of these stores have high prices ( all above $45 for the simplest of clothing),I understand you pay for what you get, and that they use good materials, but I think you should be able to get these things without breaking your wallet.

  • Raegan Messinger September 30, 2016

    I’d love to add The Deeply Co! http://www.thedeeplyco.com is a retailer that specializes in beautiful and purposeful clothing, sourced responsibly, and built for the capsule-like wardrobe. They as a company also celebrate creativity in the everyday and partner with creatives all over the country in small gatherings to show one another off to our communities!

  • Natalie September 30, 2016

    Love Matt & Nat! I’ve had my eye on this one bag for far too long, just got my fingers crossed waiting for sale season to come around

    – Natalie

  • Hannah September 30, 2016

    I would add the root collective for shoes and style saint for affordable basic tees also the giving keys for jewelry that gives back.

  • Lars September 30, 2016

    Its a bit disappointing that there aren’t any larger sized options. In the future I would like to see options for beyond just XL.

    • Anonymous September 30, 2016

      Hi Lars,

      My ethical fashion company, Sotela, offers larger sizes for our three dresses. Here is the link if you’d like to check it out! https://sotela.co