The 7 Forms of Sustainable Fashion

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Are you still thinking about hopping on the sustainable fashion bandwagon? Maybe considering creating your own capsule wardrobe? Yey! I’m proud of you!

If you have read this post on sustainable fashion, you already know what to look for in the perfect piece of eco-friendly and ethical clothing. But finding your path to a more sustainable closet can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start.

Look, I want to show you something:

forms of sustainable fashion buyerarchy of needs

This brilliant buyerarchy of needs by Sarah Lazarovic got me thinking.

We have unending options at our fingertips to make more sustainable fashion choices. Yet we keep trying to convince ourselves that these alternatives are far too expensive and just unattainable.

*sigh*

You don’t have to break the bank, or to wear ratty old flannels from the second-hand shop to be more sustainable.

Sustainable fashion is a beautiful thing that comes in all shapes and sizes. There is something for every body, every style, and every pocket.

If you want to learn more about sustainable fashion…

Anyway, enough with the rambling. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

The 7 forms of sustainable fashion

1. Buy from sustainable brands

You are mainly looking for three things when you buy from sustainable brands:

  • Environmental consciousness. Let’s call it eco-friendliness – if that is even a word
  • Respect to social issues (ethics)
  • S l o w n e s s

They are the hero the fashion industry needed, the guardian angel environmental fashionistas always yearned for. *Not dramatic at all*

My favourite sustainable brand at the moment is People Tree. They’re the rockstars of ethical and eco-friendly fashion right now – they are Fair Trade certified, PETA vegan certified and work exclusively with organic materials and Tencel. You can learn more about their amazing story and mission on their website.

Most of these brands are both environmentally friendly and ethical, but actually each of them is as unique as can be.

Are you looking for organic fibres? Or rather clothing made out of recycled materials? You have it. Maybe locally based? Or based overseas with a strong manual of ethics? Ask and you shall receive.

I know, I know. You’re picturing your credit card weeping. It is true that SOMETIMES these brands are pricier than any of your typical fast fashion labels.

But think about what you’re paying for. In simple terms, you’ll be investing – not only in a beautiful dress, yes – in a better world where everyone can work safely and the environment won’t be compromised because of fashion.

This will help you be more mindful of the way you spend your money. Instead of buying three dresses that will last one season before they fall apart, why don’t you get a unique dress made with care, love and quality materials?

Not to mention that you’ll be investing in a fair fashion industry.

anna lappe sustainable fashion cast a vote

2. DIY – or get it done by someone else(GID?)

Damn, I love this one.

My mama taught me how to sew and knit when I was just old enough to hold a needle without being a hazard for myself or others. Still today it’s a hobby of mine.

Really. There are few things that bring me as much joy as knitting a new sweater for my boy or wearing the top that I made when I was a teenager.

eco fashion diy

You’re not handy? No problem!

You can always find someone, maybe even a skillful friend, to make custom clothes for you. What a luxury!

3. Buy second hand

If there is somewhere you can find epic fashion pieces, it’s in a vintage shop. Don’t fight me on this.

via GIPHY

Vintage, second hand or thrift shops – whatever we want to call them – are essentially fashion melting pots.

Is there something better than thrifting and finding the perfect preloved dress? You get the chance to give it a new life – go pair it with your favorite shoes and your favorite belt from your BFF, get creative! How magical is that?

You can find a myriad of unique pieces – trust me, no one will have the same look as you at a party ever again.

You can also choose from different styles, price ranges, etc. it’s just a matter of finding your perfect store.

4. Swap

Aah, the essence of circular economy.

Why don’t you organize a post-spring cleaning clothing swap get-together with your friends?

Everyone will bring what they don’t want any more and all of you will leave happy and with new lovely additions to your wardrobe. I guarantee you will find some gems – and this time you spend together doubles as the perfect moment to catch up with the girls!

And maybe it’s the perfect opportunity for you to declutter your closet and start your very first capsule wardrobe. 

But things don’t end there! You can also exchange clothes with people you have never met! There are apps and websites that allow you to swap clothes with anyone anywhere – like Swancy App, which is something like a fashion Tinder.

5. Borrow

Do we get to pick favourites? Because out of all forms of sustainable fashion this one might be mine.

sustainable borrowed fashion

There is nothing that I love more than rummaging around in the treasure chest that guards my mom’s old clothes at the beginning of each season.

I can lose my sense of time and spend hours and hours lost in front of a plethora of clothes from the 80s, looking for what always becomes my new favorite new piece of the season.

So steal something from your mom, or shamelessly ask your friend for that blouse of hers you love for your work brunch.

You don’t need to spend money buying stuff that you’ll wear only once. Been there, done that. I’ve bought many things fooling myself into thinking that it would be a new fav piece. But spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

Don’t be like me, borrow stuff from your lovely ladies.

6. Rent

I talk about renting clothes more in detail in this post, so definitely have a look!

Think about clothes for special occasions we only wear once: a fancy dress, those impossible shoes,… You name it.

We all have that kind of thing in our closet – and kudos if you don’t!

In these cases, renting is the most sustainable alternative to buying because you won’t be responsible for the emissions that come with the production of new clothes.

You’ll take something that already exists, and after you use it, it will go on to other women to give them joy!

Click here to learn about the most sustainable clothing rental services. 

7. Shop your closet!

Sometimes we just get obsessed about wanting the latest fashion and newest items out there that we forget that what we have is more than enough.

Next time you’re going through your closet, rethink every single piece you own. You’ll be surprised about how many additional uses you can find for literally everything. Mix and match and see how many killer looks that you’ll find.

Be creative and add some pizzazz to what you own. That je ne sais quoi that makes your style yours. Of all forms of sustainable fashion, this one must be the easiest one.

And…did I mention it’s free!

If after reading this you still think sustainable fashion is restrictive, come fight me.


Now let’s talk about those clothes that don’t bring us joy anymore…

It is very important to know what to do with your clothes once you don’t want them anymore. Because the way you treat your clothes while using them and the way you dispose of them has a huge impact on the environment as well.

There are other options to consider before you decide to throw them away:

  • fix them if possible
  • repurpose them: turn a t-shirt into a cleaning cloth, for example
  • donate/swap /sell them

As your last resort, throw them away, but always make sure you’re recycling them correctly so that they don’t end up taking space and polluting on a landfill.

Get information about your options in your local community and spread the word to friends and family to make sure they’re doing the right thing as well!

So tell me, out of these 7 forms of sustainable fashion, which is your favourite one?

Oh, and go save the world – and make it fashion.

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