The world of fashion is constantly evolving, and with the rise of sustainable and ethical fashion, it’s never been easier to look good while doing good. Sustainable dresses are the perfect way to make a statement and show your commitment to the planet-friendly movement. From eco-friendly materials to fair trade practices, there are plenty of ethical dress brands that promise to deliver all the style you crave without any of the guilt.

At Sustainable Jungle, we take our recommendations seriously. We independently research every brand and ask them to confirm their claims to ensure that we only recommend the best. We also test products on an as-needed basis to avoid waste. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this by clicking the link in our bio.

The Best Sustainable Dresses On Our Responsible Runway

1. prAna

prAna’s selection of affordable sustainable dresses is sporty-inspired and functionally-fun. Their range is varied, from lightweight travel mini dresses to sustainable winter dresses, like the oh-so-cozy looking South Rock Sweater Dress. prAna combines their expertise in sustainable outdoor clothing and style in creating their range of active-friendly dresses that are versatile enough for a summer BBQ kickball game.

prAna’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

PracticesDescription
MaterialsprAna’s lighter ethical summer dresses are made of eco-friendly materials like TENCEL™ lyocell or modal, hemp, recycled fabrics, and small percentages of spandex or elastane. Warmer options are either made of 100% organic cotton, or a blend of that with merino ethical wool and recycled polyester. As a bluesign® systems partner, most are tested for toxic chemicals.
Supply chain & labor practicesEach prAna partner bears a Textile Exchange membership and opts for fair trade certified factories wherever possible (moving toward a 100% goal). You can filter for only their fair trade dresses.
Green business practicesFounders of the Responsible Packaging Movement, prAna succeeded in their goal of eliminating all consumer plastic packaging waste. Their new project is the OIA Climate Action Corp and a pledge to reduce emissions by 30%. In 2016—2021, they recycled and repurposed 56,000 pounds of textiles through the Renewal Workshop.
InclusivityprAna is adding plus-size options to their lineup of sustainable yoga clothes, but dresses currently only come in sizes XS-XL (US 1-14/16).
Community & charitable givingprAna supports Outdoor Outreach, a program designed to help disenfranchised urban youth experience the great outdoors. Their sponsored athletes get additional support for individual charitable endeavors.

2. Passion Lilie

New Orleans-based Passion Lilie is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and the Ethical Fashion Forum Fellowship 50. Their designs blend 40s, 50s, and 60s class with the fashion inspiration found in ancient Indian artisanal techniques. With long sleeves for winter, short skirts for summer, and elegant cuts—like the Diana sustainable cocktail dress—Passion Lilie has a dress for all style passions.

Passion Lilie’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

PracticesDescription
MaterialsPassion Lilie uses only organic materials in the form of 100% organic, non-GMO cotton. Traditional techniques like block printing with sustainable dyes bestows them with their fun patterns.
Supply chain & labor practicesThese fair trade cotton dresses are made in either World Fair Trade Organization-certified or family factories in India, specifically Bangalore, Jaipur, Tirupur, and Hyderabad. They provide disadvantaged workers with long-term, meaningful employment opportunities, fair wages, health care, and loans.
Green business practicesManufacturing is almost completely non-mechanized, including hand ikat weaving and hand block printing. The fabrics are hand washed and dried in the sun and leftover fabric scraps get reused for accessories and other handicrafts.
InclusivityThese affordable sustainable dresses run in sizes XS-XL.
Community & charitable givingPassion Lilie empowers others to give by helping you organize a trunk show to donate to any charity of your choice.

3. Reformation

Reformation’s eco-credentials are extensive, as is their dress selection—including more formal options like ethical evening dresses, prom dresses, and wedding dresses. If you’re in need of a new little (sustainable) black dress, we’re loving the flirty look of the Ezra Cotton Knit Mini dress almost as much as we’re loving the fact that it’s 100% organic cotton.

Reformation’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

PracticesDescription
MaterialsOur favorite Reformation sustainable dresses are made with either TENCEL™ lyocell, linen fabric, organically-grown cotton, and REPREVE® or other recycled poly. Less eco-friendly fabrics include viscose or rayon fabric. Their sustainable wedding dresses largely feature either 100% silk or viscose. For finishing, 56% of their dyeing partners are bluesign® or OEKO-TEX-certified.
Supply chain & labor practicesFor most of these ethical and sustainable dresses, USA factories are responsible for the fair manufacturing. Ref actually owns 32 in LA and a handful of others in India, Turkey, and China. While not fair trade certified, their code of conduct is based on fair trade equivalent criteria.
Green business practicesPart of the Circular Fashion System Commitment, their goal is recirculating

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Why Choose Ethically-Made Dresses?

Ethically-made dresses offer a sustainable and fair alternative to fast fashion. By purchasing these dresses, consumers can support artisans and garment workers who are paid fairly and work in safe conditions. Ethical fashion also promotes sustainability by using eco-friendly materials and reducing waste.

In addition to being environmentally conscious, ethical fashion brands often give back to communities and support fair trade practices. Ethical dresses are often handcrafted and size-inclusive, promoting equity and diversity in the fashion industry.

Choosing to buy ethically-made dresses means supporting woman-owned businesses and promoting slow fashion. By investing in high-quality, timeless pieces, consumers can reduce their environmental impact and create a more fulfilling life for their clothing.

Overall, choosing to buy ethically-made dresses is a conscious decision to support sustainability, fair wages, and ethical practices in the fashion industry.

How We Discovered These Sustainable & Ethical Dress Brands

When looking for sustainable and ethical dress brands, it can be challenging to determine which ones are genuine and which ones are not. To ensure that only the best sustainable dress brands are included, a set of sustainable and ethical fashion criteria was used.

Materials

Sustainable materials are fabrics that have a low impact from raw production to end-of-life. Therefore, natural fabric dresses made of organic cotton, hemp fabric, and linen should be the first choice. If they are made of 100% natural fibers, they are compostable.

Silk is a natural fabric, but unless it is peace silk, there may be ethical concerns. Semi-synthetic silk substitutes like closed-loop fabrics from the TENCEL lineup (lyocell fabric, modal fabric, and EcoVero) and Cupro fabric can still provide that flattering drape.

Lastly, recycled synthetic materials made of things like deadstock or plastic waste are also considered. Although they may not be biodegradable, they do put material that already exists to second use.

Certifications such as bluesign®, OEKO-TEX®, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are also taken into account.

Supply Chain & Labor Practices

Certified fair trade dresses, USA manufacturing, and small controlled supply chains are some ways companies can demonstrate that they care about treating workers fairly. Third-party certifications like B-Corp also provide reassurance that they are not just greenwashing.

Brand transparency is also examined to see where and how the clothes were made and if the workers are paid fairly and have safe working conditions. Certifications such as B Corporation, SEDEX, fair trade, and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) are also considered.

Green Business Practices

Sustainable practices that reduce carbon footprint, carbon offset, product recycling programs, low waste packaging, and slow, sustainable manufacturing are all factors that are taken into account.

Inclusivity

Inclusivity is also an important consideration. Sustainable plus-size clothing options that promote diversity and a healthy body image are sought after. Companies that do not exclude body types or sizes are preferred.

Community & Charitable Giving

Brands that give back through charitable endeavors or cultivate an empowered, involved community of wearers are also favored.

Final Thoughts On Ethical & Sustainable Dresses

By wearing a sustainable dress, individuals can model the world they want to live in. Not only do these sustainable and ethical dresses help individuals look good, but they also make them feel good. However, using what one has, borrowing, renting, or thrifting online or at a local thrift store is always more sustainable.

Individuals looking for sustainable formal dresses for an upcoming gala can share this article to help support the sustainable clothing brands that are changing fashion for the better.