Where do you even get started when it comes to shopping for sustainable fashion?
Look around the major shopping centres and you might be a little hard pressed to find a brand that ticks all of the sustainable fashion boxes. No matter how well intentioned you are – making sustainable choices all of the time is hard. Sure vegan leather is great? But then it won’t biodegrade…
At the end of the day, it comes down to shopping based on your values and gradually making yourself aware of the pros and cons of all facets of the fashion industry.
Have you ever heard of the phenomenon that we only see what we’re looking for? Once you start to open up your awareness to the sustainable alternatives out there – you will see that there is so much opportunity to buy from fashion designers with a future focused mindset.
When we make a purchase we take a vote for the type of world we want to live in. Thoughtful design combined with business has a unique power to create change and build out a beautiful world around us.
So if you’re interested in learning how to shop for sustainable fashion, then read on!
1. Online Tools and Apps
There are a number of digitally savvy greenies who have set up really useful online directories and apps that help you find sustainable fashion online.
The Good On You app helps you to shop according to your values and rates over 2000 fashion brands on how they treat people, the planet and animals. It’s an easy way to discover new brands and also school up on the steps that brands can take to become more sustainable. For example, I just checked out Country Road and learned all about their carbon emissions, packaging commitments and supply chain trace-ability.
Whip the app out any time you’re out shopping and are feeling unsure. Check out how the brand measures up to your own values to help you decide on your purchase. If you are so inclined, the app even encourages you to create change by sharing positive or negative feedback to brands.
Baptist World Aid shook up the fashion industry when they started publicly rating fashion retailers on their ethics. They go about finding out exactly how they protect their workers and give them ratings from A – F. The great news for you is that you can explore their online directory of major retailers and check out their grading.
You can also just filter them by A-Grade ethical brands and only shop from the best! Each fashion retailer is rated based on their ethical policies, knowing their suppliers, auditing and supplier relationships.
2. Follow Sustainable Fashion Blogs and Magazines
There is no shortage of great publications sharing insights into how to live sustainably. From learning about shopping locally, to avoiding single use plastics and participating in clean ups – there has never been more advice out there on how to live more naturally and sustainably.
Eco-Warrior Princess shares the latest news and advice on fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. If you want to take a more discerning look at sustainable fashion – this is the place to do it. The editor, Jennifer Nini is quick to call out green-washing and takes an objective approach to fashion journalism.
Pick up a copy of Peppermint Magazine any time that you want to get inspired and restore your faith in the world! Their magazine and blog talks style, sustainability and substance, with a strong focus on telling stories about people who do good things in the world.
They have so many great DIY hacks for living green; from slow food, to ethical fashion, health and beauty. Also check them out for inspiration on diversity, social entrepreneurship and natural living. Their beautiful imagery, motivating words and community spirit are always food for the soul.
I love it when the latest interview from Locally Made gets delivered to my inbox. Locally Made shares beautiful interviews and stories from you guessed it – home grown sustainable fashion designers. The site is a fantastic advocate for conscious consumerism, slow fashion, sustainability and ethical production from Australian fashion designers.
Interviewing everyone from growers, to makers, designers and menders – Locally Made is bursting at the seams with new creative approaches to sustainability. I rely on Locally Made to discover new sustainable brands, keep up to date on the industry and source my own design inspiration!
3. Check Out Sustainable Fashion Markets and Local Events
If you’re getting sick of those terrible down lights in shopping centres – there are other options out there!
Finders Keepers has developed a cult following for their curated fashion and independent art. Shop with the smell of fresh coffee and grab a bite with their delicious food trucks. Heading out to a Finders Keepers market is the best way to meet fresh sustainable fashion talent and lovely local makers. Live music is always a plus too! Their events in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney absolutely go off with the best ethical brands in Australia.
Can’t make it to an event? Check out their design directory featuring everything from ethical ceramics, to pet accessories, fashion, jewellery and books! They’ve basically got your whole ethical lifestyle covered!
This is where I love to sell my own fashion wares in Brisbane. Expect quality artists, makers and designers in a raw industrial setting. Celebrating the people who add creativity to the city, the monthly events are perfectly curated for everything eye catching and ethically made.
4. Shop from Online Marketplaces
My favourite sustainable fashion marketplace is Well Made Clothes. They’ve got well-intentioned designers all in rounded up for you in one place. Beautifully curated and styled, it makes shopping according to your values seamless.
They showcase eight sustainable fashion values for you to shop from: Sustainable, fair, transparent, vegan, gender equality, handcrafted, local and minimal waste.
It’s really difficult for any fashion brand to tick all of these boxes, but Well Made Clothes displays the values that drive each brand on their products. That means, you can then also buy clothes that encompass the values that are important to you.
5. Buy Pre-loved and Vintage!
You can’t get more sustainable than buying pre-loved fashion! Restoring beautifully made garments from the past only reduces our demand for new clothes. Plus, clothes used to be made to last – so you will be amazed with the quality you can find! The longer the shelf life of a garment, the more sustainable it is.
A beautiful online location to buy and sell luxury pre-loved clothing. Luxury fashion doesn’t have to be completely out of reach and let’s definitely not let any of it go to waste!
The best vintage shopping in Brisbane goes down at Arkive Vintage. Stocking original vintage pieces dating from the 1930s to the 1990s – they always come in a quality state. Paying homage to bygone decades, this is your source for European vintage pieces that are well crafted and timeless.
I can’t believe I’m giving this one away- but I just came across ppeached__ on instagram. Her vintage finds are so romantic and a lovely addition to any wardrobe. There are lots of vintage sellers popping up on instagram and their attempts to clear out their wardrobe are only our gains!
So there you have it – a beginners guide on how to shop sustainable fashion. Enjoy getting started on your journey and remember that small collective changes really do have the biggest impact!
Want to learn more about sustainable fabrics? Read up on the benefits of linen!