The conscious brands I loved first

Wanted to take some time to share the conscious clothing brands that got me started on my journey to a more thoughtful closet!

Although it might seem like I suddenly became really into conscious, ethical and sustainable fashion, I actually started slowly adding ethical pieces to my closet around two years ago. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was building a more thoughtful closet, I was just trying to find good quality items that would look polished for work and would last after being disappointed in the quality of inexpensive, fast-fashion items.

The following brands are the ones I fell in love with first – some you probably know, some you might not.


Cuyana is based on the philosophy of buying fewer, better things and inspiring “intentional buying through pieces that are crafted with integrity.” Cuyana’s clothing and accessories are manufactured in the U.S., Europe and South America, and the company supports the Lean Closet Movement, which was created to give victims of abuse a fresh start. By selecting Lean Closet at checkout, Cuyana will send you a linen bag to fill with the things that are no longer of use to you. Mail the bag back and for every donation you make, you will receive a $10 credit towards your next Cuyana purchase.

The first piece I bought from them was the classic leather tote in stone, with my initials monogrammed in gold. The most recent thing I bought is the ribbed open back sweater in ecru.

cuyana tote

cuyana sweater

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Free Label

Free Label is a Canadian brand focused on basics and activewear, also championing the buy less but better message. Free Label manufactures its clothes in small batches using sustainable materials such as bamboo, organic cotton and wood pulp. Clothes are made locally in Toronto and Vancouver by employees who are paid fair wages.

The first piece I purchased from them is the black Andie reversible bra. The most recent piece I purchased from them is the black tulip tee (can you tell I really like open back clothing? They work for so many seasons depending how you layer them!)

free label andie bra free label tulip top

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Ah, Patagonia – the beacon of ethical and sustainable fashion! (In my humble opinion). There probably isn’t much I can say here that you don’t already know, but to reiterate: Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Its products are fair-trade certified, the company can trace its supply chain, it pays workers a living wage and uses sustainable, reclaimed and recycled materials.

The first Patagonia piece I ever owned was a gift from my parents a few years ago – the gray Better Sweater.

The most recent item I purchased from Patagonia was a gift for my husband, the Refugio pack. He used it for our honeymoon, since we did a lot of outdoor activities.

patagonia better sweater

patagonia refugio pack

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Eileen Fisher

I first discovered Eileen Fisher as part of a job search. I was familiar with the brand at the time, but didn’t fully understand its commitment to sustainability and producing clothing ethically. I was blown away when I started to research and learn more! Eileen Fisher clothing is about “simplicity, sustainability and great design.” The brand’s Vision2020 initiative makes several commitments in regards to production by the year 2020 – to use all organic cotton and linen, to have 30% of products bluesign certified, for U.S. operations to be carbon positive, to map its suppliers and to recycle one million of its used garments.

The first item I bought from the brand is no longer available, but it was a black jersey cardigan, somewhat similar to this (but not as long). I haven’t bought anything from the brand recently even though I love its items, as the price can be a bit prohibitive for me at times. Though the items are definitely well worth the price if you have the funds available.

eileen fisher jersey cardigan

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So there you have it – the brands that paved the way for me to be as passionate about ethical fashion as I am today! I hope you learned something new, and will consider checking them out.


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