A Student’s Guide to Sustainable and Ethical Fashion

Abigail Adewole, commonly known as Abi Christina, is a student from London currently studying a Bsc Psychology degree. Since 2016, Abigail has been blogging about books and fashion on abichristina.com. After learning about how fast fashion impacts workers and the environment, Abigail’s fashion blog posts have evolved into discussing why ethical fashion and sustainability is important while also aiming to make ethical and sustainable fashion inclusive and accessible.

So you want to consume fashion more sustainably and ethically? As a student, it may look difficult trying to navigate the fashion world through a sustainable, ethical lens. But, contrary to what many people might say, it’s not impossible. It’s actually achievable and these steps will show you how.

1 – Understanding Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

Ethical and Sustainable fashion are often used interchangeably, but they refer to separate things. Ethical fashion is concerned about the workers who make it possible for clothes to be sold in shops. Many garment workers and farmers do not work in safe conditions and get fair pay, but ethical fashion brands make sure that this doesn’t happen with their workers. Sustainable fashion is concerned about the production and consumption of fashion. Many fast fashion brands use cotton and polyester to make garments that require mass amounts of water and billions of barrels of oil, which contributes to global warming. Sustainable fashion is mindful of the environment by using eco-friendly materials to make garments and avoiding overproduction.

2 – Consuming Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Content

Learning about ethical and sustainable fashion is a great way to understand its importance and why fast fashion is harming the environment. Whether you prefer reading books or blogs, watching documentaries or listening to podcasts, there are many resources to help learn more about ethical and sustainable fashion. Notable resources to check out are Fashion Revolution, How To Break Up with Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo, The True Cost documentary, and Common Threads podcast.

3 – Consuming Less Fast Fashion

Now that you understand the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion, the next step is to consume less fast fashion. Going cold turkey and completely cutting off fast fashion is difficult to do, especially when you’re surrounded by student culture where buying a new dress for every night out is normalised. Remember, this process is gradual and as a student, it’s understandable that you might still buy a few items from fast fashion brands because they’re accessible and convenient. Start with deleting those temping fast fashion apps. After that, try unfollowing the influencers who haul £500 worth of fast fashion clothes often and encourage you to do the same. You’ll start realising that you don’t need to buy into every popular fashion trend!

Most importantly, rewearing the clothes you already have is the best way to consume less fast fashion. It only requires finding ways to mix and match what’s in your wardrobe, which could help evolve your own personal style!

4 – Find a way to consume more ethically and sustainably

Buying from ethical and sustainable brands is ambitious with a student budget. So, as a student, an easy, less expensive way to buy ethically and sustainably is by buying second hand. Depop is a very popular app for this and Vinted is a recent app on the rise too. You could also pop into charity or vintage shops around your area, you might find some hidden fashion gems there!

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