Ethical Fashion Tips

For those of you who are looking for little ways to be more ethical in your buying habits and would like a bit of help, here are some small changes and tips to use so you can reduce your impact on the environment.

Minimise Your Wardrobe & Donate Back

It sounds like a cliché fashion move but, becoming more minimal will help you to really assess what you need in your wardrobe and what you’re just hoarding away for that one day you loose/ gain a stone. If you haven’t worn it in the past 6 months, chances are you probably never will. Likewise, don’t just throw your clothes away, donate them to charity or even companies like cash4clothes who send them to eastern Europe, where there is need for clothing.

Thrift & Vintage Shops

Another cliché tip but it really does work and you don’t have to dress like your stuck in a time warp either. Most trends from the 60s/70s/80s and now even 90s come back around in some form or another. Why buy mass produced 70s style maxi dresses when you could just go to a vintage shop and get the real thing?  Sites like COW vintage, Oxfam online and eBay have an amazing mix of items and all for good prices. Another way to get good quality vintage and used clothing is to use apps like Depop and follow fashion bloggers. They are gifted so many items that they never have chance to wear so many re-sell clothing after photo shoots – your getting latest fashion pieces but second hand.

Buy Locally Made Products

Locally made means less miles travelled. Look for independent boutiques or designers in your area and pay them a visit! Sites like Etsy are good for finding independent businesses and people who make their own jewellery/lingerie/clothing etc and that way you know your money is going directly to the person who made it and not to some faceless company.

Buy Organic

Organic cotton is widely available and ig grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticide chemicals making it environmentally friendly. Other fabrics include bamboo, hemp, wool, cashmere, silk and tencel, just check your label when buying fast fashion or buy from mid market level brands who use these fabrics. Although they cost more the better the quality of the fabric the longer they will last.

Look Where It Is Produced

Similarly, to the last point, checking where your garment is manufactured gives an indication as to the conditions it was made in. For example, garments made in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, France etc. have high wages and therefore high production costs. Garments made in countries such as China, Thailand, Poland and Mexico are cheaper to produce because of lower wages, however these countries have been producing clothing for some time and due to pressure on the government the national wage has been increased. This causes a spike in the cost of production and so companies move their business elsewhere. Currently the countries with the lowest wage are Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, turkey, and soon to be Africa, but at what cost does do these low prices come at? It is often said that any needle work such as beading or sequins on fast fashion items is an indication to child labour as there is no machine that can sew sequins on and smaller hands are easier to work with beading.

Mend Instead Of Throwing

Make do and mend. Learn from your granny and repair clothing rather than throw it away. If you buy anything from charity or vintage that you almost like but its too long/ don’t like some detail/ too big, alter it. It seems a foreign concept now or even is looked down upon to customise clothing because were so used to everything being exactly how we want it when it comes from the shops.


Jeans are a main offender in this category, they do not have to be washed as often as you think they do, neither should you dry clean a suit too often probably only every other month! Washing too often causes shrinkage, loss of dye, warping of the fabric and can mean your clothes do not last as long as they should be.

Buy From Ethical Designers and Companies

Lastly, it seems so obvious, but if you do want to buy brand new clothes then buy from an ethical source! With sites like ASOS green and ASOS Africa launched it is becoming harder to use the ‘no where to shop’ excuse. From ethical brands such as People Tree, to independent ethical designer brands and vegan leather alternatives from brands such as Matt + Nat for bags and accessories there really are so many options available.

 It is easier to find alternatives to fast fashion once you start looking there are so many options out there! I hope this helps happy shopping!

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About the Author

Rebecca Challinor, fashion blogger and ethical fashion advocate studying BA International Fashion Business at Nottingham Trent University, looking for ways to spread awareness and change views on fast fashion.

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  1. Pingback: Ethical Fashion: A beginners guide - Trusted Clothes

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