Sustainable fashion options are becoming more necessary with every passing year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed the climate crisis as one of the most urgent of our generation, impacting human lives and health in every aspect. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause around 250,000 additional deaths per year, with US$2 billion to US$4 billion of direct damage costs to health.
Because of this, it’s important for everyone — regardless of age and location — to start making changes to how we consume. Unfortunately, fast fashion ventures have created a market that makes this incredibly difficult. Since 2000, clothing sales doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year. By contrast, the average number of times each item was worn decreased by 36%. A big chunk goes to waste — filling up landfills at a scary rate.
This has created a profoundly unsustainable fashion environment. Fast fashion — with its high turnover rate — makes it easy for clothes to be thrown out and replaced instead of reused or recycled.
Yet, it’s hard for cash-strapped students to turn to more ethical fashion brands. The main reason behind this? Fast fashion is cheap, while sustainable brands are often more expensive as they need to pay decent wages to workers and use better materials that do not damage the earth.
Fortunately, more sustainable fashion brands are beginning to pop up, opening up our options. These have the benefit of being at the same price point as popular retailer websites such as ASOS and Shein, without contributing to the growing waste of fast fashion. It’s a win-win situation for all.
4 great sustainable fashion brands to shop from
If you’re looking for an alternative to ASOS, Urbankissed is the retailer for you. Over 100 eco-conscious brands are featured on this one-stop sustainable fashion destination. All are vetted through its Slow and Ethical Index, of which brands must meet at least two listed values.
Shop for clothes and bags, as well as natural beauty products, eco-friendly shoes, active- and swimwear, handcrafted homeware and ethically-made jewellery. The best part? A tree is planted with every delivery — making for an entirely carbon-neutral shopping experience.
Pact is a sustainable fashion brand that centres around creating soft, comfortable clothing for children and adults. It’s an especially great option if you’re looking for the basics, such as undergarments, sleepwear, and more.
At Pact, all products are made with sustainability in mind, from growing and harvesting organic cotton to shipping them out. To ensure this certification, it partners with Fair Trade USA, Global Organic Textile Standard and SimpliZero — all of whom ensure the products and processes are created and advertised as ethically as possible.
The Folklore is focused on sustainability as well as the empowerment of African designer brands. While its office is based in New York, its partners are located in Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Europe, Milan, Morocco and the wider US region. This allows for easy access to international markets.
Here, you can browse products from African and diasporic designer brands in one central location. Find sustainable clothing, accessories, beauty and home brands — creating an all-in-one shopping experience that benefits the planet.
After purchasing from VETTA, you’ll never worry about what to wear ever again. The brand offers an innovative wardrobe model: you can buy a five-piece capsule collection that can give you over 30 outfits. These are designed to last for a long time whilst allowing you to be fashionable and current.
All fabrics chosen to create VETTA products are sustainable, recycled or deadstock. Its LA factory receives 70% of its energy from solar power. It empowers workers internationally, too — its factory in Mumbai, India trains and provides employment to women from the slums, as well as educational sponsorships to their children, health insurance, and training in savings and finances.