If you've become aware of the impact your shopping choices make on the environment, you're not alone. A recent study by ecommerce platform Nosto found that 75% of consumers want the fashion industry to become more sustainable. 92 million tonnes of textile waste is created each year, so it's easy to see why more of us are falling out of love with fast fashion—and it seems more brands are taking note too, with many big high street names finally sitting up and taking responsibility of their impact on the environment.
The first step in building a sustainable wardrobe is to stop buying clothes that you don’t need or that aren’t right. Choosing items of quality in colours and styles that suit you will give your clothing more longevity in your wardrobe. This one change can make a significant difference. It is quite an effort to keep up with the seasonal and often monthly fashion trends, so get off that fast fashion consumer treadmill, and your wallet will thank you too. Afterall fashion is what is thrown at you four times a year, and style is what you choose.
The best sustainable fashion aims to protect agriculture by using organic fabrics which don't require pesticides, avoids the use of toxic chemicals, minimises waste (both water and materials) and uses recycled, recyclable or biodegradable packaging to reduce single-use plastic.
However, with so many brands releasing sustainable collections while still operating on high bulk business models it can be challenging to know where to shop more consciously—especially when also looking to ethical factors such as fair wages and cruelty to humans and animals.
To get you started on your journey to shopping more sustainably, I’ve put together a guide and a selection of brands doing great work to minimise their impact on the planet.
Buy garments you will over again Ask yourself how often you will wear something and how it will fit in with other items in your wardrobe. Think about cost per wear.
Mix and match: Choose pieces that can coordinate, can be worn in different ways and go with some things you already own. Don’t buy it unless you can think of 3 different ways to wear it.
Quality over quantity Fast fashion items are made to only be worn 7 times. They will fall apart. Look at the fabric and stitching for quality. Read the labels!
Care for your clothes If you look after your clothes, they will last longer. Wash at a lower temperature and use less water.
Research the brands you want to buy from and make sure they follow sustainable practices and use ethical production processes.
Reuse and recycle Think about the life cycle or each garment. Clothes should never be thrown away. Donate, sell, or recycle it.
Support local and handmade clothes Support local businesses producing sustainably.
Second Hand Buy second hand from shops, ebay and Vestiaire Collective.
Borrow, swap or rent Especially if it’s for one occasion only. Organise a clothes swap with your friends.
Some sustainable brands
From sustainable fabrics to fair wages, there are some amazing eco brands making positive changes to challenge the world of fast fashion
Allbirds produce sustainable footwear and apparel using only natural, sustainable fabrics and recycled materials.
Thought is an all-natural company that produces timeless fashion using organic cotton and sustainable fabrics.
Laara Swim, a Danish company, is one of the 100% sustainable designer bikinis brands. They use fabric made from regenerated plastic waste that is found in the North sea, Adriatic sea and Mediterranean.
Vitamin A produce sustainably made swimwear and leisure wear clothing using recycled nylon and natural fibres.
Nudie Jeans is an environmentally conscious Swedish fashion brand that use organic cotton to produce sustainable denim jeans.
People Tree is one of the pioneers of affordable sustainable clothing brands and for more than twenty years has been producing ethical clothing using Fair Trade workers and farmers.
Beaumont Organics is a British based Organic and Ethical clothing company that was started in 2008. They create contemporary conscious clothing for the modern woman.
Soul Flower is an Organic Boho Hippy Clothing Range that is based in Minneapolis, USA. You can respect our planet while at the same time expressing your bohemian spirit.
ELV Sustainable denim.
Boody Great sustainable basics.
BAM Bambo cotton gym wear.
JW PEI Best vegan handbags.
We Are Thought Men’s, women’s sustainable clothing.