4 Ways to Shop Sustainable Fashion

I have loved fashion and everything it inhabits for many years. An avid Vogue and Pinterest skimmer, I dream of one day sitting on the sidelines of fashion week in Paris or New York. Reality hits when I look in my bank account and find that my balance doesn’t exactly resemble the amount for the next Gucci bag or Louboutin shoes, so I begin looking for cheap alternatives.

We’ve all found ourselves in the awkward and challenging situation of realising that some of our favourite brands aren’t quite as ethical as we thought.

The moment I realised the true price my £2 top was paying was when I was living in India and working for Brass Tacks, a small boutique in Chennai.

Brass Tacks charged much more than the average in Chennai, but this wasn’t because they wanted to be the biggest selling market in India. Instead, they wanted to pay their seamstresses well and provide a safe space to work. I learned quickly that unfortunately, this is not the story for other facilities in Chennai and across India.

I was inspired by Brass Tacks; they sold beautiful clothing and ensured beautiful results for those who made them. In turn, I realised my speed to get the next best thing at the cheapest price was having a cost that I didn’t have to face, and I made the decision to turn towards slow, sustainable fashion.

The change wasn’t immediate. At the time I began this journey, I was living on a very low wage, so if I ever needed new clothes, I wasn’t able to afford anything above dirt cheap. However, along the way I learned of 4 simple, yet effective methods to combat this cycle. 

Good On You 

This application rates a company on how it affects human lives, animal lives, and the environment, and provides a score of “Great”, “Good”, “It’s a Start”, or “Not Good Enough”. One of the best things about Good On You is that if you discover one of your favourite brands is unfortunately “Not Good Enough”, you will be shown suggestions of similar brands, at similar prices, with a higher ethical awareness.

Thrift Shopping

I think I just heard you sigh and roll your eyes. I know, it can be a pain. It can be a slow process. It can beunsuccessful. Believe it or not, 90% of my thrift shopping experiences have turned thrift-sustainable-clothingout hopeful. Not necessarily because I found the exact thing I was looking for every time, but instead, something else catches my eye and I find myself staring at a coat that should be £120 and I’m buying it for £20. Mind. Blown.

Hand Me Downs

Again, I know that even the title alone has you thinking of jeans that your sister once wore and stained with bleach then passed onto you thinking that somehow you’d gone blind and wouldn’t notice the dishevelled look. But, I’m telling you, about 60% of my wardrobe is hand me downs. I’ve been to many a “swap shop”, or had friends and family mention, “Oh, I’m throwing some clothes out if you wanna take a look?” There are always hidden gems. Trust me. 

Small and/or Ethical Businesses

While there is not always a guarantee that smaller businesses are more ethical, their smaller teams generally produce a more ethical environment. Some of my personal favourite small and ethical businesses include: 

The transition to sustainable fashion is exactly that. Slow. In no way should your first response to learning about injustice in the fashion world be burning all the clothes that you think could have been unethically sourced. 

Maybe though, taking some little steps to reducing your consumerism of fast fashion could have you wearing your clothes with pride. Not only because you look smokin’, but because you know that those threads were woven by someone who is going to bed healthy and happy. And you get to share in that with them. 


Ffion is a world traveler and adventure seeker with a passion for creativity. She is currently based in Hereford, UK where she works, studies, and lives with some of her best friends.


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