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5 Ways to Incorporate Ethical Fashion Into Your Wardrobe

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at New School chapter.

Looking to be more sustainable with your clothing choices but don’t know how? Here are five easy ways you can save the planet without breaking the bank.


  1. In need of a break from midterms? Have a fun night in with friends and host a clothing swap! You can exchange pieces you no longer wear for ones you can give new life to. You can even repair items in need of some TLC or turn them into new pieces! Get crafty, put on a movie or music, eat some good snacks, and relax knowing your clothes have found a good home.
  2. Addicted to online shopping? Want to do so affordably and still be sustainable? Shop secondhand on apps like Relovv, Depop, Poshmark, and ThredUp. The items are often priced at a fraction of the retail value and in like-new or gently-used condition, so you can be sure to save some major cash on your favorite brands while having styles shipped straight to your door in recycled packaging. Convenient and better for the environment than traditional retail? Yes, please.
  3. Want the 411 on your favorite brands? Look no further than goodonyou.eco! The site has a surplus of resources, such as brand supply chains and guides on making the switch to ethical styles, right at your fingertips. If you’re looking for sustainable alternatives to your favorite fast-fashion brands, this site will also give you the perfect alternative brand suggestions that match your style. Simply type in the company’s name, hit ‘enter’, and watch as a detailed rating appears along with companies that may have scored higher on their ethical scale. BRB, bookmarking this must-have. 
  4. You’ve seen their ads everywhere. “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option; We’re #2” has made Reformation a name in the ethical fashion industry, but their motto isn’t necessarily true. While shopping secondhand in-person is a better option, choosing which companies to support when shopping retail is key. If you’re at all familiar with sustainable fashion, you’ve probably heard of companies like Patagonia and Everlane, but what about the smaller brands? If you’re in the market for new workout gear, Outdoor Voices and Wolven Threads are incredible companies to support (and offer up to a whopping 20% student discount and/or specially-priced items if you join their University or Ambassador programs, in addition to the occassional 40% off sales on offer, making for some serious savings). In need of some timeless, classic staple pieces? U.K.-based brand Know the Origin has fair labor practices, uses fairtrade cotton in their garments (helloooo comfort), and prioritizes fits that will keep you looking and feeling your best. Are you a trendsetter that likes to keep up-to-date on the latest looks? Whimsy+Row is your new go-to. This LA-based company uses soley deadstock fabrics with on-trend styles you’ll wear time and time again. Need a new swimsuit? There are sustainable options for swimwear, too! Wearenativ.com is a cult-favorite, and for good reason. They are home to the ‘Sulu Bikini’, a popular style made out of 100% regenerated nylon fibers that is ultra-flattering on any body type. Pro tip: make sure to purchase items that don’t contain recycled plastics, as these may contain microfibers that get released in the wash and can ultimately end up in our oceans.  
  5. We get it. You’re busy and have parties, weddings, and other obligatory events to attend. Black-tie, semi-formal, smart-casual…it’s overwhelming to shop for a new look for each one, not to mention the item will most likely only get worn once and forgotten about, until you eventually do that spring cleaning you’ve been procrasting on and dig it out of the back of your closet…just to drop it off at the local Goodwill (or worse, throw it in the trash). This is where clothing rental services come in handy. Save yourself the money and hassle and sign up with programs like Rent the Runway or Hurr where you can borrow designer styles for a fraction of their costs and simply return them when you’re done or exchange them for something new. A true win-win in our book.

We hope these tips and tricks have given you some guidance on how to start your journey to becoming more sustainable. Let us know how you’re being more sustainable with your apparel and what sustainable topic you’d like to be covered next. 

Sierra (‘CeCe’) is a writer for The New School’s HerCampus chapter, and a member of the InfluenceHer Collective, Campus Trendsetters, and College Fashionista programs. She has formerly been a part of the High School Ambassadors program (now renamed HerFuture) and has been with HerCampus since her sophomore year of high school. She primarily writes articles on sustainability and environmentalism, fashion, music, and being a college student (go Narwhals!). She has previously studied at the University of the Arts London for Fashion Studies and Pratt Institute. She can be found in New York City at concerts or listening to true crime podcasts outside of class. Feel free to reach out to her for advice, suggestions, or to say hey! Her Instagram is @cecewarsh.
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