What is the price of ethical clothes in France?

On the internet I often read stories of people telling they can’t afford to dress ethically, with fair trade, green and/or locally made clothes. Yet I know people who dress ethically on a budget. So I had the idea to write this article about the price of sustainable fashion.

Today I still have few ethical clothes but I’m intested in ethical fashion and I share here some information I have found on the internet and while shopping. This article will focus on brands you find in France because I know them more and tackle all budgets, from high to low.

What can I buy with several hundred euros ?

Ethical fashion brands are high end or middle end brands. Within high end brands, there are designers such as Suzie Winkle, Honest by or Valentine Gauthier who sell dresses under 200 €.

Middle end brands’ prices are cheaper than prices of low end brands. They are also higher than prices of low end (and not ethical) brands like Zara or H&M but the quality is not comparable.

What can I buy with less than 100 euros ?

With less than 100€ , you will find something that suits your taste among ethical fashion brands such as Ekyog or People Tree or brands that manufacture in France such as Mars Loves Her or Bleu de Paname (for men).

However, to optimise your purchases, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions before buying anything. For example: Is it of good quality? Is it my style? When will I wear this garment? Does it make you stand out? Is it comfortable?
And the most important question: Do I need it?
In short, it’s worth taking a few minutes to thing so that you won’t regret your purchase after.

In order to spend less, be on the lookout for sales (“soldes” in French) and special offers.

drawing of a woman wearing an organic made in France T-shirt and black leggings

an organic and made in France outfit by Post Diem, spotted under 100€ on special offer on le dressing du cocardier

Here are some exemples of prices of items on sale I have seen:
a pair of Veja fair trade sneakers for the price of a pair of Nike sneakers
organic cotton jeans at AlterMundi for the price of Levis jeans
an organic cotton Mr. Poulet T-shirt for 22€
an Artisans du monde silk scarf for the price of a Monoprix supermarket silk scarf
a pair of Bleu Forêt socks made in France for 7,5€

What can I buy with less than 10 euros ?

Let me be straightforward: you can’t have an ethical T-shirt for 5 euros.

With less than 10 euros, you still can find small ethical things: an Artisans du Monde fair trade hair slide or a Marron Rouge upcycled clutch bag for example.

But if you want more, the solution is the second-hand market. Buying second-hand clothes it’s recycling so it’s ecological.

You can find second-hand clothes on the internet, in second-hand clothes shops (“friperies” in French), in consignment shops (“dépots ventes”) or in “vide greniers” (which are a mix of garage sale and flea market). I’m always impressed by the treasures that shopping experts find for a few euros in second-hand clothes shops. It’s worth mentioning charity shops such as Emmaüs, Oxfam or Bis boutique solidaire.

And what if my budget is closer to zero ?

I you have no budget to allocate to clothes, keep in mind that not consuming is the most ecological thing to do.

drawing of two women in a café. One says: I did something for the environment: I bought an organic cotton skirt. The other one answers : I did something for the environment too: I bought nothing!

Nevertheless if you feel like renewing your wardrobe, you can take advantage of a resource you have: you already have some clothes! Those clothes, you can wear them, fix them, transform them. If you don’t like them any longer, you can also sell them, swap them or lend them. Showing imagination can help to make good use of what we have.

As a conclusion

Whatever your budget, there are solutions to dress more ethically.

And if you’re still worried about your wallet, follow environmental journalist Lucie Siegle savvy advice: only buy a piece you can commit to wearing 30 times.

Other articles about ethical fashion on this blog:
Ethical fashion shops in Paris
How to buy clothes without feeling guilty

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Livia Firth, activist and entrepreneur

dessin de Livia Firth

For my series of inspirations and inspiring people, I have taken an interest in Livia Firth unusual career. She is an entrepreneur in the luxury industry but also, in her own words, a ‘professional agitator’.

Livia Firth was called Livia Giuggioli and was a production assistant when she met actor Colin Firth during the shooting of a mini-series. One wedding and two children later, Livia Firth produced documentary films and founded Eco-Age, a sustainability consulting company, with her brother Nicola.

Livia Firth got in the spotlight as the wife of a famous actor. So she had the idea to take advantage of her exposure to defend a cause. In 2010, partnering with journalist Lucy Siegle, she took up the ‘Green Carpet Challenge’. She succeeded in wearing ethical and sustainable evening dresses during all the awards season, at the Golden Globes, Academy Awards etc.

Thereafter she has convinced other stars such as Meryl Streep or Cameron Diaz to join the Green Carpet Challenge and she has also convinced brands such as Armani or Lanvin to create some ecological outfits. In parallel, her company Eco-Age advises brands on sustainability strategies. For example, Eco-Age has helped Chopard to source fairmined gold and diamonds for its ‘Green Carpet Collection’ of high jewellery and for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm.

Through all her projects, Livia Firth shows that fashion can be both magnificent and ethical. What I find amazing too is that she managed to invent a job that matches her values.

For more information:
Eco-Age website
the Green Carpet Challenge original blog hosted by British Vogue

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2014 Fashion Revolution Day: Who made your clothes?

drawing of a woman wearing a tank top and shorts inside-out for Fashion Revolution Day

I have already written about Fashion Revolution Day, this international mobilisation on April 24th for a more transparent and ethical fashion. Today my small contribution is this drawing of a woman wearing a tank top and shorts inside-out and wonders who made her clothes.

You can participate too now by taking a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out. Share the picture on social media with the hashtag #insideout.

You can follow the international campaign on Fashion Revolution website.

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Denim shirt and Fashion Revolution

drawing of a woman wearing a shirt inside-out for Fashion Revolution Day

I only have a few ethical clothes but fortunately my illustrated characters can wear all the clothes I spot on the internet.

So my illustration is wearing a shirt of the French sustainable brand L’Herbe Rouge, worn inside-out.

Why inside-out? Because this blog supports the ‘Fashion Revolution Day’ which will take place on April 24th. One year after the Rana Plaza tragedy, we can join this international movement so that our clothes are finally produced in good conditions. It’s very easy to participate:

1. Take a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out

2. Share the picture on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc.) with the hashtag #insideout.

3. Contact the brand and ask ‘Who made my clothes?’

The aim of this campaign is to initiate a connection between consumers and the people who made their clothes. When you wear a garment insideout, you can see the label on it and learn where your clothes were made. When you write to a brand, it’s to let them know that their clients want to know how their clothes were made and who made them.

I have played the game and sent an email to l’Herbe Rouge to ask where this shirt was coming from. They have quickly answered me that it is made in Europe:

– the buttons are made in France

– the fabric is made in Spain and ‘made in green’ certified (manufactured in factories which respect the environment and the rights of workers)

– the shirt is sewn in Romania by a workshop specialized in sustainable clothes and dyes

It would be nice if all brand were as transparent as them. The problem is that many brands subcontract and don’t even know where the clothes are made. But they will find out if the consumers ask them.

Besides taking a picture of you wearing an item of clothing inside-out, you can follow the international campaign on Fashion Revolution website.

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Olga Kurylenko wearing a pink dress at the 2014 Academy Awards

I have drawn actress Olga Kurylenko’s pink dress at the Academy Awards. It’s a sleeveless garnet-colored long gown. A piece of pleated fabric is sewn at an angle on the chest of the dress and spreads on the shoulder.

drawing of Olga Kurylenko wearing a pink eco-friendly long dress at the 2014 Academy Awards

Besides being elegant, this dress is also ecological : It’s made from GOTS certified organic peace silk. Peace silk is produced without killing the pupae. The fabric has been dyed with natural dyes: sappanwood and madder root.

The dress has been designed by Alice Elia, a French fashion student who won Red Carpet Green Dress competition. This competition is organised every year on the occasion of the Academy Awards.

For more information, see Red Carpet Green Dress website

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Ethical fashion shops in Paris

If you go to Paris, you may buy clothes in some of its numerous fashion stores. And if you are interested in eco, sustainable or fair trade fashion, I have found that there are also a lot of ethical fashion shops in Paris. Below are a Paris map with a list of ethical fashion shops I have spotted by arrondissements (= Paris districts). The directory is not exhaustive and will be completed according to my discoveries.

Click here to see a larger map on google map

1st arrondissement

Bleu de Paname
68 Rue Saint Honoré
Métro station : Les Halles
Made in France clothes for men

140 voie Georges Pompidou (on the road along the riverbank)
Métro : Pont Neuf
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

3rd arrondissement

5 Boulevard du Temple
Métro station : Filles du calvaire
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
Métro : Saint Sébastien Froissart
solidarity-based concept store. NB: not all their products are ethical.

7 Boulevard du Temple
Métro : Filles du calvaire
second-hand clothes, solidarity-based company

Front De Mode
42 rue Volta
Métro : Temple
Ethical designers’ clothes for women, men and kids

Twins for Peace
5 rue Commines
Métro : Filles du calvaire
Shoes for women and men

4th arrondissement

Monsieur Poulet
24 Rue de Sévigné
Métro : Saint Paul
organic cotton T-shirts

23 Rue des Francs Bourgeois
Métro : Saint Paul
Clothes for women

5th arrondissement

Eclats de Nature
9 rue le Goff
Métro : RER Luxembourg

Au Vieux Campeur
Métro : Cluny – La Sorbonne
Sportswear for women, men and kids
NB: not all their products are ethical but you can find some sustainable brands such as Patagonia, Vaude, Icebreaker or prAna.


6th arrondissement

Le 78
78 bis rue de Rennes
Métro : Saint Sulpice
El Naturalista ecological shoes

9th arrondissement

le sourire multicolore
13, rue Maubeuge
Métro : Cadet, Notre dame de Lorette or Anvers

Altermundi Martyrs
17 rue des Martyrs
Métro : Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

30 Rue Tronchet
Métro : Havre-Caumartin
Clothes for women

19 rue Lamartine
Métro : Cadet
second-hand clothes, solidarity-based company

10th arrondissement

Ekyog stock
33 rue Beaurepaire
Métro : République
Clothes for women

22 – 24 rue des Vinaigriers
Métro : Jacques Bonsergent
made in France and organic clothes and accessories for women

Centre Commercial Kids
22 rue Yves Toudic
Métro : République
Clothes and accessories for kids

11th arrondissement

Altermundi Charonne
39, rue de Charonne
Métro : Ledru Rollin
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

7-9 rue de Charonne
Métro : Ledru Rollin
Clothes for men and women

54 rue de Charonne
Métro : Ledru Rollin
Charity shop. Second-hand clothes for women, men and kids

La Botte Gardiane
25 rue de Charonne
Métro : Ledru Rollin
made in France shoes

Le labo de l’Abbé
25-27 rue Oberkampf
Métro : Oberkampf
Charity shop. Second-hand and upcycled clothes.

13 rue Oberkampf
Métro : Oberkampf
ecological shoes

Valentine Gauthier
88 boulevard Beaumarchais
Métro : Chemin Vert
Clothes for women

15th arrondissement

96 Rue Saint-Charles
Métro : Charles Michels
second-hand clothes for women, men and kids, solidarity-based company

16th arrondissement

Altermundi Passy
87 rue de Passy
Métro : Muette
fair trade clothes for women, men and kids, accessories and decorative items

17th arrondissement

Altermundi Lévis
8 rue de Lévis
Métro : Villiers
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

18th arrondissement

Altermundi Ordener
135 Rue Ordener
Métro : Jules Joffrin
fair trade clothes, accessories and decorative items

89 rue des Martyrs
Métro : Abbesses
Clothes for women

55, rue d’Orsel
Métro : Abbesses
Wedding and cocktail dresses. Kids wedding clothes

More shopping addresses in Paris:

Among the animals blog’s favorite second-hand shops (in French)

Drawing of a woman searching her handbag and saying: All right, I have the most important: the list of ethical fashion shops !

Ready to shop!

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Ethical evening dress

I have drawn a colorful ethical evening dress I have spotted but meanwhile I have realised that the dress’ brand has shut down. It’s a pity but fortunately there are other ways of finding nice ethical evening dresses:

* You can buy a second-hand dress (the advantage : there is no chance you will wear the same outfit as someone else).

* Some sustainable fashion brands such as People Tree or Honest by make elegant evening dresses. I can more easily mention French ethical brands: Ethos, Ekyog, My Philosophy or fashion designer Valentine Gauthier.

* If you can sew, you can make a custom gown.

* The most ecological and economical solution is to borrow an outfit or to reuse an outfit that you already have. Then you can play with some accessories to get a new look. I think that if a need a party outfit, I will first go through my drawers.

drawing: the same dress but with different accessories

the same dress but with different accessories

And you, have you already worn an ethical evening outfit? Do you have good tips to share?

drawing of a woman wearing a raspberry pink strapless dress with a ethical two-tone stole

On the drawing:

  • Raspberry pink strapless dress
  • Silk fairtrade Soieries du Mekong two-tone stole made in Cambodia

Black pantsuit and red blouse

I have spotted this ethical black jacket that is plain but also sharp with a line of imitation leather on its pockets and shouders.

Combined with black trousers and a red blouse, you get a business suit that is assertive but not too much thanks to Mary Jane shoes.

drawing of a woman wearing a black pantsuit and a red blouse by a sustainable brand

  • Fairtrade Ekyog (website in French) jacket and trousers in lyocell (biodegradable fiber made from eucalyptus)
  • Silk fairtrade Ekyog (website in French) blouse
  • Bleu Forêt socks made in France (in the Vosges)
  • Leather El Naturalista shoes. El Naturalista is committed to complying with human rights and respecting the environment.

A pair of jeans for the weekend

I have drawn an ethical weekend outfit to get some fresh air. To go for a walk in the woods, I combine jeans, sneakers and a long-sleeved T-shirt. The outfit is blue with a touch of pink on the sneakers.

drawing of a woman wearing jeans and sneakers leaning against a tree

  • Cotton fairtrade Misericordia jeans
  • Organic and fairtrade cotton Ethos long-sleeved top
  • Fairtrade Veja sneakers. Organic cotton and wild rubber soles
  • Bleu Forêt socks made in France (in the Vosges)

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Summer look

Lately, I have done some research to know how to dress more ethically. I have found some brands and even shops specialized in Ethical Fashion. I have also spotted nice clothes and done some shopping. I will tell you more about my purchases after I test them.

I don’t buy all the clothes that I spot (it wouldn’t be reasonable, would it?) but I have found a way to solve this problem: when a garment catches my eye, I draw it and it joins my virtual fashion collection. After drawing streetstyle, fashion show and red carpets, I start a new series of ethical fashion drawings. I begin with a seasonal outfit to lounge on a deckchair.

drawing of a woman relaxing on a deckchair

  • Organic and fairtrade cotton Tudo Bom orange shorts
  • Organic and fairtrade cotton Monsieur Poulet T-shirt, illustrated by Tony Riff.
  • K.Jacques sandals made in France (in Saint Tropez)

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