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The Keys to Successful Sustainable Shopping

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

It’s no secret that as humans, we have a large, negative impact on the environment. The heavy toll that our habits take on the world around us has become more and more visible as time goes on. The threat of more severe repercussions has led many people to strive to do better and reduce their impact on the environment. Sustainable fashion has been a way of doing so that has recently taken off in popularity. Thanks to transparency about the practices of making clothing, it’s becoming easier to navigate the fashion industry while making environmentally conscious choices.


If you’re not sure of what to look for when trying to shop sustainably, here are few things to keep in mind:

Eco-Friendly Fibers

When looking at new items to add to your closet, considering what materials they’re made with can be a great way to make more sustainable choices. The use of certain materials can be better for the environment than others. Some environmentally friendly fibers are linen, organic wool, silk, bamboo and hemp. Using these can help reduce the energy use and carbon footprint associated with the production of clothing.


The fibers of fabrics aren’t the only aspect of clothing that can be more sustainable. Chemicals used to color these fabrics can also have an impact on the environment. A lot of traditional dyes can contain harmful chemicals that pollute rivers when it washes out of the fabric. Using natural or low-impact dyes is a much greener option.

Worker-Friendly Factories

Although the environment is a large focus of the sustainable fashion movement, human rights are also important to it. Fast fashion creates a multitude of unsafe, unfair workplaces, so it’s important to be wary when purchasing from brands. Buying clothing made in America is one way to be more sustainable, as there are often stricter health and safety regulations for factories. You can also look out for the Fair-Trade label, which is a sign that manufacturers are paying their workers a living wage.

Shopping Sustainably on a Budget

Eco-friendly clothes can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are ways to still be a sustainable shopper while remaining frugal. Thrift stores and consignment stores are great options. There are also online sellers such as thredUP and Swap.com.

Making sustainable choices is becoming more and more important for each of us. This is just one area where changes can be made to be safer for our environment. Being more conscious of these aspects of the industry can help us make more informed decisions with our purchases and feel better about where our money is going. Happy shopping!

Harlym Pike

Northwestern '22

Harlym Pike is a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina studying psychology, sociology, and theatre at Northwestern. In her free time, she loves to perform with her a cappella group, create content, and spend time with friends.