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Styling Responsibly: Sustainable Fashion That Won’t Hurt Your Wallet

One of my resolutions for this year was to be a more ethical consumer. During the infamous lockdown of 2020, online shopping was all too easy, and I found myself feeling guilty each time I purchased fast fashion, however cheap or trendy the item is. If there’s one thing this past year taught me, it’s the impact our actions have on complete strangers. 

Since the year started, I have been trying my hand at thrifting and WOW do I need practice! Being a sustainable consumer is so difficult when prime ordering and inexpensive fashion behemoths are all the rage, especially for us broke college students. I took it upon myself to compile a list of affordable brands and stores that help save the planet AND make you look good doing it!

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0. Good On You

Okay, so Good On You isn’t actually a brand. It’s a website that rates brands according to their environmental impact! Each rating tells you how well a given company works with the environment, fair labor standards, and animals. I fell down quite the rabbit hole looking up everyday brands on this website, and it is kinda startling how stores I shopped in quite frequently do VERY bad things for the planet. This website is my new go-to before I shop anywhere.

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1. Plato’s Closet

I had to start off with a thrift store! As an inexperienced thrifter, I spend SO much time mindlessly wandering through racks looking for anything made in this century. Plato’s Closet makes it easier since the store has to review items to ensure quality and trendiness before buying and putting them on the shelves. My first time at Plato, it took me only 10 minutes to find a sweater and romper that I LOVED! If you’re looking for a jumping off point to becoming a thrifter, Plato’s is the way to go!

[bf_image id="jx4zqrnfk4x6rhn34h8xk84t"] 2. Happy Earth

This is a sustainable brand that I am absolutely OBSESSED with! All of Happy Earth’s apparel is made with recycled material with the lowest environmental impact, including plant-based leggings that are to DIE for! Not only do their clothes promote activism, but the brand practices what they preach, supporting and donating to environmental organizations around the world! My favorite part- their slogan: “GIVE A DAMN”.

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3. Patagonia

Okay, fine. Maybe Patagonia isn’t the cheapest place out there. But if you’re looking for a popular name brand that uses fair trade AND sources sustainably produced raw materials for their products, then Patagonia is perfect for you! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t LIVE in my pullover during the winter months. Their website also contains resources for you to get involved in environmental activism and support green energy. Patagonia is super high quality, and it feels good knowing you are being both responsible AND trendy! 

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4.) Tentree

As the name implies, every time you purchase a Tentree item, the company vows to plant 10 trees. To date, they have planted over 55 million! The company uses a multitude of environmentally conscious fabrics including hemp, recycled polyester, TENCEL, and more! The site features a wide variety of clothes as well, from trendy summer getups to workout attire. Tentree also sells what they call Climate+ packages, which you purchase in order to offset your daily carbon output as a consumer. As a timely example, the “Fast Fashion Retailer for One Day” package is a startling $419, citing the industry as the third largest polluter behind oil! Scary, right? 

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5. Boody

Boody uses bamboo to make apparel for your booty! Along with super comfortable undergarments, Boody also sells essential clothing like t-shirts, leggings, athleisure, accessories, and more where that came from. The brand uses their own organic bamboo, grown without pesticides and using recycled rainwater. They also have a wholesome lifestyle blog that is SO cute!

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When you’re wearing clothes that you know helped save the planet, the feeling is incredible. This Earth Day, let’s strut our stuff sustainably!

Hi!! I'm a junior at the University of Kansas studying Strategic Communication with minors in Theatre and Spanish! I love all things media and thoroughly enjoy music, coffee, sea turtles, and The Office. I'm SO glad you're here!! :)
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