You’re looking for the same up-to-date styles that H&M offers (plus their great basics range) but without the ethical conundrum, right? Well, it’s not an easy task. With more people becoming concerned with fast fashion outlets like Zara, it’s only natural to look for alternative places to shop. So, I’ve created a short list of some not-so-fast fashion brands that are basically places to shop like H&M.
Even with the five brands below, the eco-friendliness of the products partly relies on you. Yes, buying high-quality clothes made in ethical factories is important, but unless you take care of your clothes and aim to wear them long-term (not just for the season) then it’s a wasted effort.
Furthermore, I like to think of fast fashion and ethical fashion as a scale. It’s not as simple as ‘good v bad’ and you also need to take everything with a pinch of salt. For most companies, you are relying on their word. Sure, any business can say they uphold ethical standards and use organic cotton, but are they really doing that in practice?
Even with the ethical considerations out of the way, there are some very good reasons to ditch H&M for these alternative shops. First, you are often supporting small businesses and UK-based businesses, which support our economy. The clothing items offered by these brands will also be of higher quality, so in theory, they should last longer. And finally, you are far less likely to run into someone wearing the same outfit!
Here are my five best shops like H&M for your consideration.
1. Flax & Loom – Jeans, Dungarees and Linens
Flax & Loom create denim that’s designed to last decades, not seasons. They have a great range of jeans as well as dungarees and other trousers made from cotton and linen fabrics for both men and women. If you usually buy your jeans from H&M, they are a fantastic alternative.
Yes, the prices are higher than you’d expect, but you really are paying for the quality and longevity of the clothing. If you are looking to buy several pairs of jeans for under £100, look elsewhere. On the other hand, they are certainly cheaper than designer brands. I’d consider Flax & Loom to be at the top end of the high-street when it comes to price. Not bad at all!
The transparency and number of ethical/eco-conscious certifications this brand already has is impressive, but I’m also excited to see their progress this year. You can see their list of achievements and future goals on the Flax & Loom website.
2. Noctu – Comfy Basics
Next, if you’re looking for cosy nightwear and loungewear, then choose Noctu over H&M. Specialising in organic cotton, they have a great range of comfy clothing from PJs to socks to nighties and even some yoga-style trousers. All of their clothing is made in the UK from 100% organic cotton. Their fabrics are certified by GOTS and OEKO-TEX.
I often purchased PJs, cosy sweatshirts and hoodies, as well as leggings to wear around the house from H&M. But honestly, after a few washes they were already starting to show signs of wear and tear. Noctu basics, on the other hand, are extremely well-made and designed to last. If you work from home or simply live in your PJs when you aren’t at work, then swapping your H&M clothes for cosy Noctu clothes is a wise swap. As well as their official website, you can also find them on Not On The High Street.
3. SANS MATIN – Handmade Shoes
If you purchase footwear from H&M or other fast fashion outlets, then swapping your shoes for a better (but not perfect) brand is not an easy task. A lot of eco-friendly or ethical shoemakers are a bit… wild. They either opt for high fashion designs that just aren’t good for everyday use, or they go down the eco-warrior route and sacrifice all style in the name of the planet.
But fear not, I have found another option! SANS MATIN are all about creating everyday footwear that looks great wherever you are – at home, going to the shops, at work, or even on a night out. Their sneaker/trainer-style shoes are handmade in family-owned factories and they employ some sustainable and ethical practices. All their materials are sourced within 2 hours of their atelier. They also use 60% natural rubber soles.
You can find their elegant and classy footwear on the SANS MATIN website.
4. Fanfare Label – Contemporary Fashion
Fanfare Label is a great place to shop if you need a statement piece of clothing or like to shop at H&M for office clothing. Of course, at H&M you can probably afford to purchase three or four colourful tops or fashionable jumpers – the quality is good enough to last the season or maybe even a couple of years if you take care of it… but nothing beyond that.
Fanfare Label, with its contemporary fashion and high-quality production, works to ensure its line of clothing is as slow as possible. They repurpose a vast amount of textiles in the production of their clothes and carefully select new fabrics for their longevity.
The fashion at Fanfare is bold. Explore it on their official Fanfare Label website if you’re looking for a shop like H&M.
5. ALIGNE – General Fashion
I am hesitantly adding ALIGNE to my list of shops like H&M. Although they claim to be an ethical company, their website page explaining their eco-friendliness reads suspiciously like greenwashing. They go to lengths to tell you that their clothing labels are made from recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester… which isn’t the brag they think it is. They also claim that half of their collection is “100% planet friendly” which is a claim that’s impossible to verify and is quite meaningless if you think about it for more than 60 seconds.
But of course, I have no evidence either way. Perhaps they are the ethical brand they claim to be. Perhaps not. I will let you decide that before you shop their clothing. ALIGNE produce clothing just for women, including some denim dresses and suit sets that remind me of H&M. You can browse their full range of clothing at ALIGNE.
If you know of another shop like H&M, I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below and read my list of shops like Fatface next.