What is sustainable fashion?
Ethical fashion is a term often used to describe equitable and sustainable production of clothing, focusing specifically on issues surrounding labor exploitation, environmental waste, and animal welfare. Although many of us would love to support ethical or sustainable fashion brands on a regular basis, it can often be challenging, expensive, and inaccessible for the average consumer to start.
Today we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to ethical/sustainable fashion, with a few helpful tips on where to start, how to buy, and the best ways to start a more accessible and sustainable consumption of fashion.
Start Shopping Locally
Sustainable fashion can start at home, starting with local thrift stores, consignment shops, or independent sellers in your city. The act of giving new life to an old piece or purchasing pre-worn clothing helps to prevent waste and allows you to support a local brand rather than directly supporting a fast-fashion company, and you can always find a hidden gem or a new staple from a local business or consignment shop.
Learn to Love Pre-Loved
In areas where thrift stores or curated consignment stores are sparse, online secondhand shopping is here to save the day! Not only have secondhand web stores drastically facilitated the process of searching through clothing racks, websites such as ThredUp, Poshmark, and Depop allow you to shop clothing by brand, style, size, and more to find exactly what you’re looking for–and usually for a fraction of the price. Pre-loved clothing is available at the touch of a button, and you can easily find vintage scores or modern trends with the abundance of consignors on new second-hand clothing websites.
Support Independent Designers and Brands
Independent designers and brands often handcraft, consign, or independently sell their own clothing, meaning that their clothing, jewelry, and more can be produced more ethically (without foreign or unfair labor) than that of an industrialized, fast fashion factory. Curated vintage brands such as Shop Suki, Pêche Vintage, and other independent Instagram brands are easily accessible curated vintage stores where you can buy new styles directly off the app. Rather than buying the same style from a chain store, try supporting smaller brands who recycle, repurpose, or resell the same beautiful vintage styles.
New Sustainable Brands Are Everywhere
With the recent popularity of sustainable fashion, many modern clothing brands have built gorgeous pieces around environmentally and ethically conscious production practices in mind. Take a look at stores with redefined modern classics such as Cloud Hunter Co, Whimsy + Row, and Reformation, who produce clothing that is locally sourced, ethically produced, and are made with sustainable materials.. As the new wave of eco-friendly fashion arises in mainstream clothing brands, you’re bound to find an ethical fashion store to replace a fast-fashion habit.