Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students


Fashion Revolution II: Top tips for turning your fashion ethical & eco

Who ever said you can’t be ethical and fashionable? Waving fast-fashion goodbye doesn’t mean you can’t rock your favourite styles, look awesome – and be mindful of our planet, its people and animals too. I do it every day (so I think).

After getting involved in environmental movements and discussions, I began to think long and hard about the environmental impact of my clothes. Did you know that the fashion industry comes second in the amount of pollution it leaves behind, right after oil? Also, I rather support a fashion that respects my fellow women (85% of garment workers are women, working in unsafe conditions and being paid very little) in other parts of the world.

Basically, I agree with the sentiment that our fashion says quite a lot about us. So I want my clothes and my style to say a thing or two about the values I hold so dear to my heart.

If you want to learn more about the fashion industry then check out our previous blog. Today, I’m here to share some tips to help you transition your wardrobe and shopping habits. I’ve also got some super amazing ethical brands that are passionate about change. Are you ready?

My Top 5 Tips

Tip #1: Educate yourself and don’t be shy

Don’t be shy to go into a store and actually ask, "What does this brand do to be sustainable." I’ve spent the last year sending a lot of emails. And vague answers are often pretty self-explanatory! We have the right to demand from every single brand to be transparent. Also, watch The True Cost – you won’t regret it.

Tip #2: Remember, this is a journey

Don’t expect your entire wardrobe to be replaced with Organic Cotton and bamboo overnight. It’s expensive and the point isn’t to buy more. I do recommend opting for a more minimal wardrobe and donating the items that don’t enhance your fashion or you no longer need. And over time, you can curate the wardrobe that defines you – with fewer but better pieces (makes getting ready in the morning SO much easier too!).

Tip #3: Say NO to fast-fashion

In my opinion, no good comes out of it. Most (if not all) fast-fashion brands are unethical and don’t have the quality you’re after. The clothing industry uses a lot of our resources (water, land etc.) and leaves our planet polluted – so choose well-made pieces that last. And if you’re really into change, then check out charity and vintage shops and buy second-hand clothes. This way, you’re using what has already entered the waste stream (and saving lots of money too!).

Tip #4: Some favourite brands

And now, some of my favourite clothing brands: I have chosen these brands based on accessibility and price.

They’re obviously not cheap because a T-Shirt shouldn’t cost the same as a latte.

But these brands are affordable. There will be items you won’t want to buy second-hand or items you can’t find in a vintage shop. When it comes to those, I opt for ethical brands – but also, it feels pretty nice to support companies that really do try and care!

  1. Fatface
  2. People Tree
  3. Patagonia
  4. Veja (Shoes: they have vegan options too!)
  5. Wills Vegan Shoes
  6. Matt & Nat
  7. Beyond Skin
  8. The Great Beyond
  9. Miik
  10. Luva Huva

Don’t forget to share your favourite ethical tips and brands with us!

Read Part I: Are you ready for Fashion Revolution Week?

About the author: Zahra Khosroshahi

I’m a PhD student at UEA, looking at the representation of women in Iranian cinema. When I’m not consumed by films, I like to write about environmental issues. I believe we all need to take better care of our shared and only home.

Follow me on Instagram for more zero-waste and eco inspiration: @zahra_livinglifenatural