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The 411 on swapping fast fashion for ethical clothing

Like me, you might have grown a conscience over the past few years and suddenly found yourself sick of buying fashion brands who prioritise sales over the livelihoods of their staff or the planet. You might have just begun the journey into veganism and want to take it beyond just food, or maybe you just want to buy clothes that are ethical. Whatever the reason, you seem to have found yourself looking for ways to swap fast fashion for slow fashion, an ethical and sustainable alternative. However, this switch can be difficult and one that requires much research. This is where I step in. I have compiled a list of alternatives and a few companies that allow you to buy clothes you love whilst helping to save the planet.

# 1 Charity shops

Charity shops (are a great place to start. Not only are you not buying into the world of fast fashion, but you are giving to charity all in one go – plus things tend to be a reasonable price. Often you can go into a charity shop and find something great as it is or even a piece of clothing that you can upcycle – something I will talk about later.


# 2 Depop

Depop is another good option for those not wanting to splash too much cash when it comes to buying sustainably. Often sustainable brands are a bit pricier to allow for the better materials and the more appropriate labour wages which is exactly what we want, however as a student I know that you don’t always have the cash. Using Depop means you can find clothes that often have barely been worn or have been upcycled (there’s that word again) meaning the fast fashion companies are not getting your money, and therefore decreasing the demand.

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# 3 Ebay

Ebay is great – when you have the time that is. Often with Ebay you have to really sift through the options to find something good, but when you do it’s great. You can easily get a new pair of jeans for under £5 without buying into the big brands that can only do this by paying their employees ridiculously low wages.


# 4 Upcycle

Finally, to that word I’ve mentioned a few times. If you don’t know what upcycling is, it’s very simply taking old things and turning them into something new. For example, if you have a funky shirt you cannot wear for whatever reason, instead of throwing it out, cut parts off and sew them onto your jeans pockets and make your jeans new, unique and ethical. Another way of upcycling is by taking a dress and turning it into a top. This is a fantastic way to cut down on buying new clothes and wasting old ones.


# 5 Lucy and Yak

Lucy and Yak are a UK based company that are famous for their unisex dungarees but also sell fleese’s, jeans, trousers, shorts, underwear, tops and more. They are a small company founded by Lucy and Chris that uses organic fabrics created in India, has their clothes made there also, and then uses 100% biodegradable bags to send the clothes out to customers. It’s not only the clothes that get the ethical treatment though; the staff employed in the UK are all paid the living wage and the 30 or so staff in India are paid four times the state minimum wage.

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    # 6 We are Tala

    We are Tala is a UK based activewear company created by Grace Beverley and spearheaded by her and her team. This company creates comfortable, inclusive activewear that has the mission of being 100% upcycled and according to them, they are 92% of the way there already. Not only is the clothing made from recycled and upcycled materials, the packaging is both recycled and recyclable and – my favourite part – the tag even contains seeds so you can plant it.


    # 7 PACT

    Pact are an organic clothing brand focused on the basics. You’ll find everything from underwear to hoodies from this company. PACT offer clothing for both men, women, kids and babies. They pride themselves on using organic cotton, zero harmful chemicals, being Fair Trade Factory Certified and using ‘processes that use significantly less water than conventional cotton’.


    # 8 Mayamiko

    Mayamiko is a slightly pricier brand, but offers some amazing pieces of clothing. From simple dresses to tie front tops, you’ll find something perfect for a special night out. The textiles are hand picked from a fabrics market in Malawi and they only ever buy enough fabric to produce the pieces they need in order to cut down on waste. The pieces are also made on demand, so they don’t over-produce.

    Now that people are becoming more aware of the damage that the modern fashion industry is having on our planet, more and more are seeking to find alternative, ethical and sustainable ways to get new clothes. This list definitely doesn’t contain even a quarter of the amazing ethical clothes brands out there, but it definitely will help kick start your journey into guilt-free fashion.





    Masters student at the University of Aberdeen!
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