With big brands like Zara, ASOS and Boohoo ruling the roost of low-priced fashion with £5 tees and £12.99 jeans, just HOW can the small, sustainable and ethically minded small fashion brands stand a chance?
And how do we, tame our desires and go against that tempting urge to visit any high street store and grab that cheeky £6 top to make your outfit pop, make you feel good, or nail that all important interview.
How did we get here?
Fast fashion has crept up on us since the 00s.
90s grunge was the last decade of slow fashion. A decade of ONE trend that lent itself well to sustainable living. You just didn’t buy that often.
And what you did buy, lasted longer – a lot longer!
Now, trends change constantly. It’s consumerism at its best. Huge corporations capitalising on the love of a quick fix, celebrity influencers, and the need to feel good and be at the top of your game.
And as we all know – it has a devastating effect on the environment.
The garment industry accounts for up to 10% of global carbon emissions and around 15% of the world’s plastic use.
It’s estimated that 92 million tonnes of textiles are dumped annually, with over half a million tonnes of microfibres being released into our oceans every year.
Not to mention the millions of oversees workers who are low paid and exploited, and the countless animals that have to suffer.
So what can we do?
The good news is there’s much we can do.
Sustainable brands making waves.
Building your list of go-to sustainable brands and websites can be a game changer.
And it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on price, style or that fresh feeling of wearing a new outfit!
There are 100s of UK brands with owners that are genuinely passionate in producing leading fashion, whilst being sustainable and ethical in all areas of their business.
From where they source their raw materials to the way they produce their products.
Yes Friends dub themselves ‘The hottest collection of ethical and sustainable clothing on the internet’. Using Fairtrade organic cotton, renewable energy, and selling t-shirts for £7.99.
Rapanui operates a circular economy using organic cotton, producing affordable fashion in real time in their Isle of Wight factory. They also invite customers to return their worn items to be recycled into new ones.
Moray Luke a 26-year-old Porthcawl designer who has recently showcased her work at London Fashion week, designs bags using fish leather, made from organic Scottish salmon skin which would otherwise be discarded to landfill.
Brothers We Stand sells a wide-range of stylish and sustainable men’s clothing, with the ethos of standing by the men and women who make the clothes.
Mud Jeans and Beyond Retro both scored highly for being sustainable and ethical in their practices – by Ethical Consumer, a consumer organisation that has been researching the social and environmental impact of companies since 1989.
Loanhood is a fashion rental app targeted at Gen Z empowering users to create a more sustainable fashion future by owning less and loaning more.
A sprinkling of the many sustainable and eco-minded brands in the UK.
Small designers and vintage finds.
Etsy is a treasure trove of small designers, up-cyclers and vintage sellers. Search ‘sustainable clothing’ or ‘vintage clothing’ and you’ll discover 100s of small sustainable shops and crafters in the UK.
Perfect for that unique find.
To be sure sellers are truly sustainable, seek out their websites online to find out more. Look at how transparent they are in all areas of their business from where they source their materials from, to who makes them.
Finding what you want on eBay, Vinted or Depop can be time-consuming for the best of us. However, you can find some bargains. Use filters to make searching easier.
If you’re on Instagram or Tik Tok follow #sustainablefashionuk and #sustainablebloggers for style tips and sustainable brands.
For vintage inspiration and a reminder of why ethical fashion is important follow Ruth MacGilp, a campaigner for Fashion Revolution – a global organisation that was founded in wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster.
They fearlessly campaign to put people and the environment ahead of growth and profit.
Get creative and rework existing outfits.
Finally (and for the fun part!) get creative with your own clothes.
Dig out those tailored trousers and quality items that are sitting in your wardrobe. Pair them with something you normally wouldn’t to make new outfits, and rework existing items with new ones.
Got dresses that you’ve forgotten about – go 90s and wear them in the day with chunky boots!
Try mixing different textures and styles. Jeans with a soft or floral shirt, or tailored black trousers with a slouchy jumper and trainers.
Whatever your style, spend some time to mix and match new outfits.
Whether you’re Gen-Z or you’ve been around a wee bit longer and stock-piled a few decades worth of clothes! Shopping mindfully is smart.
You’ll support ethical businesses, and create your own capsule wardrobe that will set you apart from the crowd AND save you money in the long-term with longer lasting pieces. It’s a win 😊
I hope you enjoyed my blog.
If you would like me to blog for your website (I write on a range of topics) please do get in touch for a chat.