Okay, let’s hear it one more time.
We have to rethink the way we think about fashion and the way we consume.
Well, that sounds easy, but how do we do that? It is actually easier than you might think. Maybe you are already doing more than you realize – and maybe there is room for improvement.
But no matter what I got your back. If you don’t know where or even how to implement sustainability in your everyday life, here are 10 sustainable fashion tips to get you started!
1. Shop vintage clothes and second-hand items
Last year I decided that I was only going to buy vintage and preloved clothes. This was because of two reasons. First of all, I wanted to lower my impact on the environment and welcome sustainability into my wardrobe and secondly, I found that I was able to find more unique and personal pieces to spice up my wardrobe!
The best part about vintage shopping is that shops with preloved items are popping up everywhere – also on the internet. So if you haven’t joined the vintage wave yet, then jump right on it and let the hunt begin.
One of the things I love the most about vintage shopping is that you never know what rare and unique items you are going to find. It is like going treasure hunting – sometimes you are very lucky and sometimes you are not.
But, I personally think that a piece of clothes with a story and a uniqueness to it is much cooler than buying mass-produced items.
2. Choose sustainable fashion materials
Okay, so now that we know where and how we are going to shop, let’s look at what kinds of materials to look for.
If you are going to look at which materials are sustainable, you also have to look at what isn’t. I personally like to look at the downside first and the great news second, this way I can move on with my day in a great mood. So let’s have it. If you love big furs or tight leather pants I am sorry to be the barrier of bad news.
Click to view our full guide to the terms sustainable fashion
Because leather and fur are definitely not sustainable materials – quite the opposite. More and more brands, both high street and luxury brands are ditching leather and fur in their collections, simply because it is so bad for the environment and animal rights.
But I promised you good news, and I stand by my word. Sustainable fashion brands are experimenting with new types of materials that are better for the environment. This includes recycling new resources and finding brand new materials. Did you for example know, that pineapple leaves are used to make vegan leather pants now?
Choose organic materials
If you want to make sure the clothes you wear have had as little impact on the environment and agriculture as possible you should choose clothes made out of organic and natural materials.
Sustainable and GOT certificated cotton has become a mainstream part of the fashion industry. Evey seems to be using organic cotton, which is great. For cotton to be organic it has to be produced according to organic agriculture standards.
But cotton is not the only organic, natural fabric. Organic linen is just as great an option, if not better.
If you want to learn more about sustainable materials you can check out all our eco-textile guides here.
3. Choose fashion brands with transparency
Imagine this: You have bought a T-shirt you think is made with organic cotton, produced under fair working conditions, and with as little effect on the climate and earth as possible.
You have a clear conscience because you have been shopping with sustainability in mind.
But it turns out, that the T-shirt wasn’t actually produced under fair working conditions and the cotton wasn’t as organic as you thought. You feel like you’ve been tricked into buying something that didn’t really live up to what you thought. The problem is was that you chose a brand with low transparency and who is greenwashing.
This is exactly why it is important to look at the brand’s policies and values before buying your clothes from them, especially if you want to be a more sustainable shopper.
Transparency in fashion is about whether brands choose to tell you where their products are made, how they are made, and who is making them. You should always be aware of these factors when looking at a brand’s website or policy and choose the brand that is actually telling you their factory information and the journey of their products.
This will, in the end, benefit both you and the climate since you know where the products are coming from, who made them, and how they are actually made. This way you can choose a brand you feel is doing a different and reward them with your buy.
4. Invest in quality, not quantity
Take a fast fashion break. Instead of jumping on the fast fashion train every season and ending up spending a great amount of money on 10 pieces of bad quality clothes invest in one or two high-quality pieces instead.
Maybe there is a jacket or bag you have been dreaming about for a while, but you don’t feel like you have the money for it? Well, have you looked at how much you spend on impulse shopping? We often don’t realize how much we are spending when we buy a 15$ t-shirt here and a 20$ sweater there.
But if you add it all up, you often realize, that you actually were able to afford the item you wanted – unless it is a brand new Chanel flap bag …. in that case you probably have to add up all your impulse shopping for the whole year (or decade).
Let’s be honest, have you ever worn that printed shirt with the big puff sleeves you thought looked good in the store because it only costed 15$ and looked trendy in the model?
The best thing about all of these sustainable fashion tips I am giving you now – is that you can combine them. So if you have decided to invest in a quality piece instead of rushing off into the fast fashion lane, you can find some high-end pieces for great money in one of the many vintage stores or on one of the many second-hand sites online.
So put on your treasure hunter outfit and start searching for the quality gold out there.
5. Repair your clothes and shoes
I know what you are thinking: Repair my clothes? I don’t even know how to sew and it is much cheaper and easier to buy a new T-shirt than repair the old one!
Well, it isn’t exactly cheap for the planet if you buy a bunch of new clothes every season. And regarding your lacking sewing skills, don’t worry – Youtube is your best friend in this case.
In the video below you’ll find tutorials on how to fix your clothes by hand – no sewing machine needed. If you are doubting your own creative skills, I believe in you.
6. Swap clothes with your friends
If your friends are in on the “let’s be more sustainable” idea invite them to a clothes swap day. This is great in so many ways. You get to clean out your own closet and swap clothes you may have given up on – and your friends get to do the same.
I have done this with my friends many times, and it is always such fun because you also get to revisit all the memorize that often stick to the clothes.
Especially if you have known each other for multiple years, it can be quite funny to look back at your old clothes together – just think Sex and the City, Carrie doing the “keep or not” catwalk. This time you just don’t throw the clothes out, you swap them.
And imagine swapping one of your old dresses for that one top you always have been admiring. This way both you and your besties feel like you get a whole new wardrobe without spending a single penny or affecting the climate. What’s not to like?
7. Stay informed about sustainability
This is probably the easiest tip you will get all day: Simply just keep on reading.
One of the best things to do when you want to learn about a new thing or follow a new “lifestyle” is to seek information on the topic.
And today you are able to find information about sustainable fashion without leaving your couch. You can find information about the area in great books, research papers, and science websites.
Or you can choose to read all the amazing blogs out there on the topic. If you for example are interested in learning more about sustainable fashion and ethical fashion then check out our guide on the topic.
Just remember to use your common sense when you are browsing. Since everyone can post something on the internet, you have to be a little cautious about what you read and consider hard facts.
8. Buy recycled clothes
Clothes made out of plastic bottles, sweaters made out of pre-used wool, and dresses made out of old T-shirts. There are plenty of examples and even though you may not think you have come across recycled clothes, I can almost guarantee you that you have. Because it is everywhere. Just check the labels before you buy anything. You’ll be surprised what your clothes are made of.
9. The ex-boyfriend test
This is probably one of my favorite sustainable fashion tips because it is so easy to follow. And no, this is not about recycling all the clothes your ex-boyfriend forgot at your place by sewing them into one big carpet or robe.
It is a tool you can use when you are standing in the dressing room trying on a shirt that, let’s face it, you are trying on because it was a good bargain. But while you are standing there, not really sure whether or not you are ever gonna put this shirt on more than that one time ask yourself this:
Would I be happy bumping into my ex in this shirt?
If the answer is no put the shirt back where you found it and walk out of the shop. This way you are able to avoid bad purchases that end up in the back of your closet anyway.
10. Wash your clothes less
Sustainable fashion is not only about how you buy your clothes but also how you take care of it after it has found its way to your wardrobe.
Thinking about how you wash your clothes is actually a huge part of that. Washing your clothes on an eco-friendly program will make the clothes last longer, keep their shape, and the colors stay bright.
By turning the degrees down from 40 to 30 you will actually reduce the use of energy by up to 40%!
Most washing machines actually have an eco-friendly program you can use when washing your clothes, but another thing you can do is to wash your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees. Just turning the degrees down from 40 degrees to 30 degrees will actually reduce the use of energy by up to 40%.
But not only are you reducing your use of energy by turning the degrees down on your washing machine you are also making your clothes last longer!
If you really want to spoil your clothes, let them air dry. The dryer can be really harsh on your clothes which will shorten the lifetime of your favorite dress. Not very sustainable right? So if you have the option to air dry your clothes do it. It will also get a much nicer structure and smell.
All the sustainable fashion tips summed up
If you didn’t have the time to read the whole post, here is a quick summary of all the sustainable fashion tips you can use to make your wardrobe more sustainable and ethical.
1. Shop second-hand clothes
2. Buy clothes made with sustainable materials
3. Choose fashion brands with transparency
4. Invest in quality not quantity
5. Repair your clothes
6. Swap clothes with friends
7. Stay informed
8. Buy clothes made of recycled material
9. Do the ex-boyfriend test
10. Wash your clothes less
All of these sustainable fashion tips are easy to follow and a great way to help you make your wardrobe more sustainable.
You can pick and choose between them as you like, and some of them can already be implemented today. Others may take a little longer. But no matter what these sustainable fashion tips are an easy way to kickstart your ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe!
Last comment on sustainable fashion tips
These are some of my favorite sustainable fashion tips and I hope you found some of them useful. If you happen to have any useful sustainable fashion tips, then share them down below! And as always leave a comment down below if you have any questions!
Do you want to learn more? Then check our guides on sustainable fashion and slow fashion that will help you get a better understanding of what those two terms mean.