How to choose sustainable fashion

Much like fast food, fast fashion can be cheap, produced according to dubious ethical and environmental standards, made to be worn a few times then replaced. If you choose fast fashion, you buy so much more often. And there are many human and environmental costs.

As consumers we see the end of the production line - the final product. We don't see the land, water, non-renewable energy and other resources being used to grow the plants that make the fabrics. We don't see the fossil fuels burned to make and transport the plants, fabric and clothing. We don't see factory workers that make our clothes, nor the conditions they work in.

It's easy to avoid thinking about how our clothes are made. But when fast fashion options are all around us, we can choose to consume thoughtfully and reduce our impact on the environment. Have a read of our suggestions below - and remember every choice counts, no matter how small!


Have a look through the clothes you already have, pick out the pieces that have potential and get creative! Spend some time altering, redesigning, repairing and restyling. It may be a good activity to do with friends as you can get ideas from each other.


If there are clothes you absolutely do not want to keep, you could sell them or donate to a charity shop. Someone may see something in them that you did not and give them another life. If you have some clothes that are not in good condition, think about how you could repurpose them. An old t-shirt could be cut up to use as cleaning rags or to tie up your tomato plants.

Buy second hand

When you do need clothes, fossick through op shops or second hand stores first. It may take some time but you can find some absolute gems for a lot cheaper than buying first hand. Production has the largest environmental impact - buying used saves on the resources and labour required to produce new clothes and cuts things like air pollution that may result from the production process.

Do your research

How do you spot brands that practice slow fashion? Look for sustainable and ethical practices and policies, locally made items, certified organic fabrics, fair trade, environmentally friendly fabrics and so on. This way you can be sure your money is contributing to a better world.

Buy quality over quantity

Don't try keep up with ever-changing trends. Choose quality pieces that outlast them. You may find that this way is kinder to your wallet in the long run as you buy fewer items.

Take care of your clothes

Taking better care of your clothes can extend their life and save you buying more. Make the most of renewable energy sources like solar and wind and use the clothesline. Part of the environmental footprint of your clothes is the washing, drying and ironing, so only do these when you really need to. Wash on the cold cycle to save on energy used to heat the water. And lastly, when you are buying a new machine check the eco efficiency rating and don't forget to use the eco function if there is one!