Bristol is celebrated for its independent, eco-conscience spirit and has a long association with the green movement. As well as being the first UK city to win the award of Green Capital in 2015, Bristol is the UK’s first cycling city, and home to the pioneering Sustainable Fashion Week

In stark contrast to ‘fast fashion,' over-consumption of plastic and factory farming, more and more people and independent businesses all over Bristol are upping their ethical game. We shine the spotlight on sustainable clothing and ethical shopping in the city...

Ethical clothing and shopping in Bristol

Wapping Wharf

Better Food Company 

Better Food Company has branches at Whiteladies Road, Wapping Wharf, Gloucester Road and St Werburghs. They sell organic and local food and have a big emphasis on how to shop without filling your house with plastic and packaging. Each store has a café serving up nutritious, organic and seasonal food, and the staff are always happy to cater for different dietary requirements. 

A man browsing the store at Better Food, Wapping Wharf on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Hey What
Image: Better Food Wapping Wharf, credit Hey What

The Other Space and Loop Massage

The Other Space and sister company Loop, (housed in the cargo container next door), were born out of a wish to give busy Bristol people an urban retreat. Both businesses are very mindful of the environment and carefully source the products they use, and both are vegan friendly. The Other Space is able to offer a fully vegan nail salon, a host of holistic treatments from wellness practitioners and a carefully curated Natural Beauty shop, to introduce you to a more mindful way to look after you skin.

The Bristol Cheesemonger

The Bristol Cheesemonger supplies cheese from within the UK, with a strong focus on locality and Somerset. All their cheeses are wrapped in cheese wax paper which is not only ensures the product is in the best possible condition, it's also plastic-free and completely recyclable. And what's the perfect accompaniment to cheese? Wine! Which they also supply on Tap. The organic wines change seasonally depending on flavour and style and are provided in a refillable bottle or bring your own to refill!

An aerial view of people dining alfresco at Wapping Wharf on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Jon Craig
Image: Wapping Wharf, Credit: Jon Craig

Clifton

Ruby & White

With the air of a countryside farm in an urban setting, Ruby & White offers a modern twist on the traditional butcher's shop. Passionate about the provenance of their produce, the butchers take extraordinary care over the origins of everything they sell. Working directly with a small group of local farmers and breeders means they can trace their produce from field to fork, as well as guarantee that each cut of meat sold is ethical, sustainable and of the highest quality. Alongside the meat counter, the shelves of this Whiteladies Road shop are bursting with locally-grown vegetables, free range eggs, artisanal cheeses, wines and charcuterie selections from home and further afield.

Gloucester Road - Bristol's Independent District

Gloucester Road is the longest street of independent shops in Europe and is packed with independents doing good things. We’ve listed some of them here:

7th Sea – An independent Emporium of Bristol Art

Cheltenham Road merges into Gloucester Road near ‘The Arches,' as the area is locally-known. 7th Sea is an emporium of handmade creations made with love by local artists and designers, selling everything from T-shirts, prints and cards through to unique ceramics and jewellery.

Paper Plane

This shop is run by designer-maker Alice of Rolfe & Wills and Alice Rolfe Illustration and her mum. Both have a keen interest in supporting young designers and brands, and currently feature over 30 emerging designers, makers and artists. 

Bristol Co-LAB

Co-Lab's message is loud and clear ‘Shop Social, Shop Local.' Inside, its edgy clothing, jewellery, cards and books offer a taste of Bristol’s art and makers’ scene. 

Shop fronts on Gloucester Road, Bristol - credit Anne-Louise Perez
Image: Shop fronts on Gloucester Road

Preserve Foods

Gloucester Road's zero waste shopping experience. Bring your empty containers and weigh out vegan-friendly goods, shampoo, eco-friendly washing liquid, conditioner, soap, vinegars as well as organic rice, cous cous and flour. You can even make your own nut milks from the ingredients, recipe and blender onsite. Pick up a range of plastic free toiletries like hard bar shampoos, bamboo toothbrushes, environmentally-friendly fire lighters and lots more.

Scoopaway Health Foods

Scoopaway has been at the forefront of eco retail for a while, reducing packaging and food waste by making their bestselling lines available loose, so customers can scoop as much or as little as is needed. They are well known for their organic, natural whole foods, extensive range of herbs spices and detergent refills.

Harvest

Co-operative Harvest’s raison d'être is to provide ethically-assured, healthy and fairly-traded products that consumers can trust. The carrier-bag free shop sells a variety of foods in dispensers and detergent refills. All products are vegetarian and GM free.

Green Woods Furniture

Find beds, wardrobes and made-to-measure items made from ethically-sourced wood, plus organic mattresses.

Room 212

Room 212 sits on Gloucester Road. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of local arts and craft in independent art shop and gallery Room 212, which stocks art and craft from over 50 Bristol artists. As well as paintings, affordable prints, jewellery, cards and gifts, Room 212 is a real community hub, organising events such as the Gloucester Road Central Mayfest and Christmas Street Party as well as creative workshops and activities. Artists help with the running of the shop and there’s always the chance to meet creative people when you visit.

Shop fronts on the Pigsty Hill section of Gloucester Road in North Bristol

Image: Room 212

Stokes Croft

That Thing

‘That Thing’ houses around 50 independent, Bristol-based designers, as well as the shop’s own in-house line, also called ‘That Thing’. Their ethos is to present a fresh and eclectic mix of unique pieces, affordable luxury street wear, vintage clothing and lifestyle products. The store also stocks homewares, gift items, club night tickets and graffiti spray paint, and is well known for supporting the creative arts scene in Bristol.

Stokes Croft China

Renowned for its street art and its alternative thinking, Stokes Croft is an area of Bristol which has always resisted convention. Run by The Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft, the Stokes Croft China shop sells ‘subversive’ English Fine Bone China, graffiti teapots, T shirts, books, cards, original art and prints.

The exterior of the People's Republic of Stokes Croft art shop in Bristol - credit Visit Bristol
Image: People's Republic of Stokes Croft 

Redland & Cotham

Wild Oats Natural Foods

Wild Oats Wholefoods and Deli is an independent health foods and natural remedies shop. All products are natural, organic and Fairtrade and many are also gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free. The deli stocks delicious gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free plant-based and raw cakes by the Bristol-based sister duo Little Roar. There is also a range of natural beauty and body care products, natural remedies and supplements, chilled and frozen foods.

Earthbound Bristol Health store

A well-stocked little shop selling organic produce, some vegetarian food, vegetables and fruits, plus a deli.

Bristol Shopping Quarter

Beyond Retro

Beyond Retro’s vintage shop in Bristol’s Shopping Quarter is packed with 10,000 one-off wonders from street style staples from the 80s, 90s and 00s as well as rare retro pieces from the 50s, 60s and 70s. The store offers a huge, handpicked and sustainable range and makes a conscious effort to stay green in all elements of the business, from packaging to shipping, to minimise any impact on the environment. 

Clothes rails inside the independent Beyond Retro clothing shop in Bristol's Shopping Quarter - credit Beyond Retro
Image: Beyond Retro

Lush, Broadmead

Fresh handmade cosmetics using only vegetarian products, never tested on animals. Bath and hair, skin care, fragrances, soap and gift boxes – all look good enough to eat!

Mabboo, The Galleries

A proudly independent team based out of Bristol, doing business globally. Their products are made from bamboo, which means, kinder for the environment.

Southville & Bedminster

Zero Green

Bedminster’s packaging-free store invites customers to bring their own containers (jars, cloth bags etc) to fill up on cereals, pasta, grains and rices, nuts, seeds, spices, flours, vegan treats and more for greener living without the extra plastic consumption. They also sell a variety of non-food items such as plastic free deodorants, water bottles, coffee cups, bamboo cutlery sets and stainless steel straws. 

Independent Design Collective

Chitra Tarling owns and runs The Independent Design Collective gift shop, located in the heart of Southville. She designs and makes a broad selection of her own products, under the name Karve Design, which you’ll find on sale in the shop alongside work from some of Bristol's most in demand designers.

Markets

St Nicholas Market

All sorts of independent retailers can be found at St Nicholas Market. The Glass Arcade is a hive of food outlets, florists and textiles sellers and each week additional markets join the offering – see our Markets page for more information. 

The interior of St Nicholas Market in Bristol's Old City - credit St Nicholas Markets
Image: St Nicholas Markets 

Over Here

This stall, based in St Nicholas Market, specialises in ethically-produced, hand-printed T-Shirts that are mainly organic or made of bamboo. All are designed and printed in Bristol.

Tobacco Factory Sunday Market

The Tobacco Factory Sunday market is a great place to discover exceptional foods, crafts and produce, made and grown in the local area. There are around 40 stalls to explore, featuring an exciting range of eco-friendly, fair-trade and organic produce – from artisan bread and shellfish to hand-made clothes and jewellery.

A family workshop at the Tobacco Factory market in South Bristol - credit Tobacco Factory
Image: Tobacco Factory Market

Charity shops

Bristol is jam-packed with charity and vintage shops. Gloucester Road has a high concentration where you can pick up some fantastic preloved bargains. 

A woman browsing clothes on a rack at a charity shop in Bristol - credit Becky Barnes
Image: Browsing in one of Bristol's charity shops, credit Becky Barnes

Online

Antiform

Antiform creates ethical, sustainable and fashionable designs by using reclaimed materials and mixing stylish shapes with heritage craft (think Yorkshire tweed accented pencil skirts). All materials and workmanship involved in the production of Antiform clothing is sourced within the UK, and local to their studio if possible. Buy online or at stockists That Thing in Stokes Croft.

Read more: