The 25 Most Sustainable and Ethical Luxury Fashion Brands

Image credit: Maison de Mode

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Luxury fashion is a tough term to define. It could mean something different for everyone.

It could refer to a high price, exclusivity and uniqueness, high-quality materials, design, or craftsmanship. Because of these associations, and the assumption that people will naturally buy fewer luxury items than mass-market items, luxury fashion can appear as inherently conscious. But is it really?

Well, beyond just selling products, these brands sell an identity, and consumers typically partake as a way to be a part of the perceived affluent elite. That desire for the appearance of luxury can sometimes outweigh the factual quality of so-called luxury products.

For many, the label “Made in Europe” has been synonymous with very high ethical standards. But a series of investigative reports (with the latest in 2020) by the Clean Clothes Campaign found “an immense gap between the legal minimum wage and the estimated minimum living wages” in European countries where Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani produce their collections. To put it another way, these brands were paying less than workers need to live a decent life. The research revealed that in 2014 this wage “gap tends to be larger in Europe’s cheap labor countries” — Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Romania — than in Asia.

It turns out that paying more for clothing and accessories doesn’t directly correlate with higher pay for workers on assembly lines and in cotton fields. In Italy, the head of a company was arrested in 2019 on charges of allegedly employing “dozens” of undocumented garment workers for luxury brands, including Armani, Saint Laurent, and Fendi. (All brands associated denied they had contracts with this factory, and the outcome of the trial remains unknown).

In 2018, the New York Times exposed Italy’s luxury sector for having seamstresses produce fashion garments on a piece-rate basis from their homes for local factories without a contract or insurance and paid in cash monthly. “Though they are not exposed to what most people would consider sweatshop conditions, the homeworkers are allotted what might seem close to sweatshop wages,” The New York Times said. There is not a statutory minimum wage in Italy, but roughly €5-7 per hour is considered an appropriate standard. “In extremely rare cases, a highly skilled worker can earn as much as €8-10 an hour. But the homeworkers earn significantly less, regardless of whether they are involved in leatherwork, embroidery, or another artisanal task.”

In some instances, luxury goods are no different than mass-market ones. Some luxury products are expensive because the material is rare and luxurious, and the craftsmanship takes hours or even days. (Loro Piana’s vicuña sweaters come to mind.) But some “luxury” items are just plain t-shirts. As HighSnobiety reported, a $15 t-shirt isn’t so different from a $500 one with a luxury logo — same materials, wildly different price.

So, is it possible to buy clothes that are both luxurious and responsible? Yes.

More fashion-forward buyers are holding brands accountable for their clothes’ impact on the planet, as they view brands as an extension of their values and identity. A growing number of ethical and sustainable luxury brands are offering both high-quality and beautiful pieces. And pioneers such as Stella McCartney are demonstrating that you can be a pioneer in sustainability and luxury — and use that higher margin to invest in innovative sustainable fabrics and transparency initiatives.

Today, most luxury businesses are now rethinking their value chain and trying to ensure their product is environmentally and ethically sound. This goes beyond conscious materials to the work of embedding inclusivity within the brand DNA while empowering consumers to shop luxuriously but responsibly.

Here’s what truly sustainable luxury fashion looks like:

Skilled artisans and traditional craft: Identify if the brand engages in responsible manufacturing and commits to protecting the welfare of its workforce. Ideally, it’s also trying to preserve rich, traditional customs, such as embroidery, beading, leatherwork, jewelry making, weaving, block-printing, and dyeing techniques. Start by checking out how forthcoming and detailed the brand is regarding its suppliers and supply chain. You can review how much of the information available is backed up with third-party certifications such as Nest.

Natural and heritage materials: The production of luscious natural materials, such as silk, alpaca, vicuña, cashmere, camel, wool, yak, khadi cotton, and more is a fundamental source of income for smallholder farmers in many countries, and it’s one of the many ways luxury brands can offer value to their customers.

Close attention to fit and details: As opposed to mass-market brands, luxury brands invest time and money to design a well-made item that feels bespoke by paying attention to detail and craftsmanship. The item should feel perfectly designed for a real body, as opposed to a hanger or a computer-generated model.

Hands-on service: Luxury fashion goes beyond creating and selling a well-crafted item; it becomes an experience. With a high-price item comes attentiveness, excellent customer experience, and personalized services, such as help in choosing the right item and aftermarket care and repair. This can also reduce the volume of purchases by reducing returns and ensuring you keep each purchase for a decade or more.

Sustainable yet high-end packaging: Notice the quality and eco-friendliness of the materials. For example, glossy paper can’t be recycled; neither can mixed-material packaging. Look for brands that favor FSC-certified paper over plastic, use natural, non-toxic dyes like soy instead of traditional petroleum-based ink, or offer backyard compostable packaging.

Inclusivity: Many luxury brands have faced scrutiny due to their insensitive messaging that have offended and excluded communities. For example, Prada settled with New York City to increase its diversity after being called out on its culturally insensitive imagery. And Dolce & Gabbana offended all of China with its racist advertising. Pay attention to both the brand’s messaging and its hiring practices — do they reflect the mistaken belief that only white people deserve luxury fashion? Or do they balance price exclusivity with image inclusivity?

In the end, if a luxury item is worth it or not would depend on your discretion. It comes down to the cost-per-wear, and if you consider the expense a smart investment. Knowing all that, if you only wear the very best, here are some of our favorite sustainable luxury fashion brands:

Aether Diamonds creates positive-impact diamonds and is the world’s first B Corp diamond producer. Its stones are made from air, as it uses a direct air capture technology to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with quality among the top 2% of all diamonds on the planet. Every Aether jewel is made in the U.S. and comes complete with an IGI grading report with a unique number that details the individual characteristics of your particular diamond. You can find a good range of engagement and wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Maison de Mode is a luxury online ethical fashion retailer founded by Amanda Hearst that specializes in unique ready-to-wear, fine jewelry, accessories, and home goods. The product icons indicate recycled, organic, made in the USA, artisan-made, etc., allowing you to easily shop according to your values.

Designed and made in NYC, Lâcher Prise’s dynamic, unisex designs can be worn in a variety of different ways. All of its fabrics are plant-based and naturally processed, or recycled and come from trusted suppliers in the U.S. It uses natural and biodegradable materials like Tencel and implements responsible practices into its process wherever possible, such as only releasing a small number of new designs per year. The brand’s products are wrapped in home compostable poly bags and shipped with 100% recycled poly-mailer.

Another Tomorrow creates modern, sensual, high-quality, and timeless products with only organic natural materials that support soil health, ecosystems, and communities. It uses forest-based fibers from responsibly managed forests with zero net contribution to deforestation. The brand also offers resale to further extend its garments’ life and reduce raw material usage.

Nicholas K creates timeless designs that are made in a socially and environmentally responsible way. It chooses natural and renewable materials over synthetic alternatives. The brand does not use fur and uses eco-friendly, low-impact certified dyes.

As one of the world’s most desirable fashion houses, Gucci claims that its “eclectic, contemporary, romantic products represent the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship.” The brand is committed to environmental benchmarks and guarantees that it will make 95% of its raw material traceable. Gucci is also committed to the sustainability objectives set out by the parent company Kering, which states several sustainability strategies including reducing its environmental footprint and choosing responsible and well-managed supply sources. While Good on You gives it a mere “it’s a start” rating, according to Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index, it is the most transparent brand in the luxury category, coming in 28 out of the 250 large brands assessed. If you’re looking for a recognizable luxury logo that is more ethical than the rest, then Gucci would be the way to go.

Caravana’s versatile, free-spirited and Mayan-inspired resort wear is handmade in Mexico by artisans honoring traditional techniques, each taking many hours to create. The brand uses a homemade dye manufactured in Mexico, which means less of an environmental impact on nature.

Founded in 1952, Chloé is a ​B Corp certified ​French luxury brand that creates free-spirited femininity bags, shoes, ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. The brand plans on increasing its lower impact materials (organic, recycled and deadstock) and fair trade sourcing across all categories by 2025.​ For Gabriela Hearst’s, the newest creative director,​ ​Autumn-Winter 21 ​debut collection, more than 80% of its cashmere yarn was recycled, with more than 50% of silk derived from organic agriculture.​ ​100% of its product teams​ is trained on lower impact materials and circularity.​

Lauren Manoogian’s knitwear collections are ethically crafted in Peru, where traditional craftsmanship intersects with experimental techniques. Offering small, specialty-focused seasonal collections, Manoogian’s focus ranges from signature hand-loomed wool, cashmere, and organic cotton knits to vegetable-tanned leather accessories.

Gabriela Hearst launched her eponymous label, a luxury women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories collection, in 2015. Each garment is constructed with conscientious materials, including silk, cashmere, linen, and wool from her family’s Uruguayan ranch. The brand uses biodegradable TIPA packaging and is committed to being plastic-free and investing in zero-waste stores.

Stella McCartney’s eponymous label designs ethical and high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories with a responsible, honest, and modern ethos. Its sustainable and cruelty-free designs lead the brand to pioneer new alternative materials, pushing towards circularity and sustainability. Stella McCartney measures and reports its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions with an approved science-based target to reduce them.

Marine Serre is a French fashion designer that launched her namesake brand in 2017 and won the LVMH Prize the same year. Her designs blur couture and sportswear lines, which include underwear, versatile garments, elaborate designs and artisanal vestures. The brand uses upcycled and recycled materials. Today, around 50% of its collections are composed of upcycled products. The other half is composed of innovative and sustainable fibers, including organic cotton and recycled polyester.

Since 2006, B Corp brand Arnsdorf has been creating ethical clothing in their own factory in Melbourne using only organic and biodegradable fibers. Each product description includes not only the material breakdown but also a cost breakdown to help customers understand the real cost of ethically made clothing. You can also find out the machinist and wider team involved in making each Arnsdorf piece. Every collection is produced in limited runs that can be tailored in their Melbourne store to fit precise measurements. Arnsdorf also offers lifetime repairs on all its products.

Autumn Adeigbo designs colorful, fashion-forward clothing for women who like to stand out in a crowd. As a proud, Black, female business owner, Autumn is devoted to positively impacting women’s lives across cultures by utilizing female-owned production facilities in the U.S. and providing global artisans with meaningful employment and fair wages. From sourcing to delivery, Autumn embraces sustainable practices by purchasing in limited quantities and producing only what is ordered, minimizing fabric waste, excessive manufacturing, and surplus stock. Which means her collections are eco-friendly and exclusive.

Made in Africa, Studio 189 is an artisan-produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that creates African-inspired apparel. It works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques, including natural plant-based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving, and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs, supporting education, and skills training.

Angel Chang is a zero-carbon womenswear line handmade by indigenous mountain tribes in China that follow ancient techniques. Its traditional craftsmanship includes organic and all-natural raw materials like cotton, ramie, flax, and hemp, making its wastewater chemical-free and non-polluting.

So Good To Wear creates luxury, cashmere essentials by employing artisans in a fair-trade knitting factory in Nepal. Its cashmere knitters are well trained, well-compensated, and work under fair and safe labor conditions. A portion of each item’s sale is saved in a special fund, contributing to Nepal’s rebuilding after the earthquakes.

Collectiva Concepcion is a socially conscious, accessible luxury brand that creates feminine apparel rooted in Mexican design. The brand supports women-led micro-economies in Mexico and donates a percentage of its sales to them.

Responsibly made in New Zealand, Maggie Marilyn creates feminine, luxury ready-to-wear and accessories. The brand publishes a Bi-annual sustainability report aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in which outlines the multiple sustainability strategies the brand has achieved or plans on improving. A recent report states that 100% of Maggie Marilyn’s “synthetic fibers are now from post-consumer waste” and that “100% of its virgin sourced fabrics are Oeko-Tex certified,” meaning they are free from harmful chemicals. Maggie Marilyn prides itself on being transparent and shares on its website details of all its makers, suppliers, and where possible, farmers.

Founded in 2016, BITE is a contemporary, luxury womenswear label with a mission to create sustainable yet thoughtfully designed clothes. Each piece is handcrafted and tailored to ensure the perfect fit. It sources natural organic fibers and recycled and low-impact fabrics with environmental and social certifications.

Founded in 2016, Ziran uses Xiang Yun Sha silk to create its sustainable garments. The founder discovered this type of silk while researching ancient Chinese techniques in college and instantly fell in love with its luxurious beauty and cultural significance. The silk is natural, wrinkle-resistant, and its production is only made four months out of the year. All of the Zian pieces are hand-cut and sewn in Downtown Los Angeles.

Each of Roopa’s vibrant, one-of-a-kind clothing pieces is designed as a future heirloom, to be thoughtfully handed down from one generation to the next, reinterpreted over and over again. All manufacturing processes occur under one roof in Bangalore, India, where skilled artisans collaborate on each collection and ensure the skills and craftsmanship like beading, embroidery, weaving, dyeing, and printing continues to grow, flourish and evolve. Natural fabrics, such as silk and recycled cotton, are dyed and block printed using natural, eco-friendly dyes.

Founded in 2012, VOZ is a B-certified ethical fashion company that pays living wages for every textile and sewn garment. It uses sustainable fibers and processes to create its elegantly cut and free-spirited apparel and accessories collections. The company collaborates with politically and economically marginalized women to create fashion collections and provide design leadership, training, and opportunity for indigenous women in the rural regions where they reside.

enVie takes “oldtimer fur” (aka vintage) and turns it into something that is modern, luxurious, eco-friendly, and less toxic than faux furs, which are mostly made from petroleum. The brand also works carefully with hunters and trappers but never sources its fur from breeding animal farms. You can also send enVie your own old vintage fur to be recycled into something new.

This respected designer has almost all of her collection manufactured in NYC with eco-friendly fabrics. Her designs are characterized by their timelessness, ease, and modern take on luxury. The company is owned and run by women, which the team continuously looks to develop special collaborations with women artisans around the world.


The Folklore is a New York City-based multi-brand online concept store and wholesale showroom that allows U.S. based and international customers to easily shop exclusive styles from Africa and the diaspora’s top luxury and emerging fashion brands like Andrea Iyamah, MaXhosa, Loza Maléombho, Orange Culture, Simon and Mary, and Pichulik. Exclusivity and sustainability is key for The Folklore, so each season, it carries a limited stock of each luxury item. Most of the fashion, accessories, and homewares available were handmade by local artisans based in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, and Cote D’Ivoire.

YOOXYGEN is a division within YOOX that is dedicated to featuring a curation of responsible fashion. It chooses its selection based on the brand’s transparency, and if its products are created while being mindful of the planet, people, and animals.

11 Most Coveted Luxury Fashion Brands for Gen Z to Resale and Shop Vintage

Thanks to the Internet-driven high tide of vintage and designer clothing, pieces from luxury fashion brands are now being passed down to another generation (and in amazing condition) regardless of family ties. Vintage shopping — once a niche, novel way to upgrade one's wardrobe — is now the norm, especially for Gen Z. Resale is now officially part of the mainstream style game. It's gotten to the point where even brand new luxury items purchased today are bought with potential resale value in mind. TikTok is full of videos advising which luxury items and brands maintain value over time — and there's no wonder why.

On January 13, retailer The RealReal released its 2022 Luxury Consignment Report, which, as its name suggests, examines trends and stats on luxury consignment and we can confirm: the facts definitely reflect that rise in vintage resale. “Resale has undeniably gone mainstream, and the luxury sector has one distinction that sets it apart: every demographic actively participates in luxury resale," Rati Sahi Levesque, President of The RealReal, says in the report. “From Gen Z to the Silent Generation, every demo increased its adoption of secondhand luxury in 2021, and nearly every brand saw rising resale value as a result.”

If you are looking into investing, shopping vintage (for sustainability or other reasons), or are simply fascinated by the ever-changing resale world, below we have highlighted some of the all-time popular luxury fashion brands and on-demand ones for Gen Z, according to The RealReal's report and in no particular order.


With Alessandro Michele at its helm, Gucci has really been the design house of the generations, both young and old, in recent years. Since 2016, the brand has adopted celebrity muses like Harry Styles, EXO's Kai, and Billie Eilish — all complete rockstars who speak the style language of young people — while maintaining its loyal customers, too. No wonder The RealReal spotlights it as the no. 1 brand in luxury resale across all ages.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton's iconic LV emblem is one of the most recognizable and copycatted signets in the world. Gen Z love it for a reason — it is so instantly recognizable and classic, but it has also taken on this ability to be edgy and new with the help of people like the late Virgil Abloh and the celebrities chosen to represent the brand, like supergroup BTS and Squid Game's breakout star Hoyeon Jung — both global ambassadors for the luxury brand.


The 2021 Prada customer is such a unique shopper — the look is classic, straightforward, functional, and sleek. Think anyone from Frank Ocean to Anna Wintour to even Sydney Sweeney's character in Euphoria. (ICYMI: Cassie rocks white Prada pumps during the second season premiere of the HBO hit series. Yes, including that intense bathtub scene.)

Vintage Prada

Yes, they are different things. Vintage Prada is a hot commodity. Per The RealReal, its value has increased 38% over the last year. Notably, that increase aligns with the comeback of Prada's nylon.

Jean Paul Gaultier

The '90s haven't gone anywhere. The RealReal report shows that Jean Paul Gaultier's resale value has increased 70% in the last year, making it one of Gen Z's top niche choices — which makes total sense. The mesh, printed body con garments, and rock and roll sensibilities are so present in current trends. (And yes, Zendaya rocked some vintage Jean Paul Gaultier during Euphoria's second season, too!)


Chanel has been pretty consistently one of the biggest players in the resale game, the garments even gaining value over time. Chanel's celebrities have been women like Kristen Stewart and Kaia Gerber.

Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone is one of Gen Z's and millennials' favorite contemporary brand to resell. It's known for beautiful, well-made classics and wardrobe staples.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood's influence on modern fashion is so very palpable. Between the printed corsets as seen on faves like Bella Hadid to the highly coveted spaceship emblem charm necklaces to the fact that every K-pop girl is rocking these days, it makes complete sense that the brand's resale value has risen 26% this year.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch is one of the top brands sold by shoppers of every generation. Tory Burch was one of the biggest contemporary brands in women's fashion toward the end of the decade in the '00s.

Thierry Mugler

The RealReal reported that iconic designer Thierry Mugler saw a 70% gain in resale value this year. Vintage Thierry Mugler has been worn on recent red carpets by celebs like Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, and Cardi B.


If you're That Girl, you might know about Missoni. The Italian luxury house increased in resale value by 20% this year, especially for its knitwear.

Honorable Mentions: Sneakers

Yes, sneakers are very much luxury items now — at least when it comes to resale value. Resell sneaker culture is infamous, so, of course, they were bound to make The RealReal's report. The retailer highlights that sneaker collaborations, especially those by New Balance and Nike's Jordan, are highly coveted this year. The Dior x Jordan 1 still reigns supreme, with some reselling for as high as $13,000. (That hurt to type, not going to lie!)

The report also notes that New Balance collabs sell for up to 387% of their retail price, illustrated with an image of the sought-after 550s. (Pro Tip: New Balance is constantly restocking the non-collab versions of this silhouette so keep an eye out if you want to avoid these intense resale mark-ups!)

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Maryan Barbara
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