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Fast fashion clothing being glamorized on social media hasn’t swayed me. In fact, the more I watch clothing hauls from websites such as Shein, Pretty Little Thing and Zara, the more interested I become in researching the clothing companies I purchase from. I admit, I am not perfect and still occasionally shop at some of these fast fashion companies. However, I strive to make an active effort towards changing this behavior. 

The main cause of fast fashion? Micro-trends. Micro-trends are known as very short-lived clothing trends that companies produce quickly and cheaply in order to spread them to a wide audience in a timely manner. 

How does one avoid falling into the trap of these micro-trend pieces? The best way to steer clear of micro-trends is to develop a sustainable wardrobe of basics. Basics are your wardrobes staples, as they never go out of style. Although you may have to dish out a pretty penny up front, these staples will be here for the long haul. 

During my search on sustainable clothing brands, I utilized Good on You’s online sustainability ratings.

Basic Tees – The Classic T-Shirt Company


Dressed up or dressed down, basic tees are essential to any style of wardrobe. Throw on a plain tee with joggers for an effortless lounge look or tuck it into jeans with a leather jacket before a night out. Whatever your style, The Classic T-Shirt Company is for you. According to their website, the Classic T-Shirt Company sources their products from only 100% cotton, handcrafts their items and provides fair treatment for all of their farmers and workers, making them a great choice for sustainable basics.

Activewear – Girlfriend Collective

Whether at the gym, on a walk, at class or running errands, everyone needs a few fashionable activewear pieces. For me, nothing feels better than being comfortable and in-style when out and about. These basic tops, sports bras, legging, shorts, jackets and sets are perfect in any color from basic to bright. Girlfriend Collective utilizes only eco-friendly packaging and materials. According to girlfriend.com, their clothing is made from recycled water bottles that would have otherwise been polluting the Earth in a landfill. According to GoodonYou.com, they have a sustainability rating of “great.” It’s hard to avoid purchasing staples from this affordable brand that also helps the environment.

Jeans – Levi’s

It is not news that every wardrobe requires a good pair of jeans. Levi’s has been a long-time standout brand for quality and comfort. Although Good on You rated Levi’s at a level 3 sustainability, they noted how the brand is quickly advancing to operate more sustainably.

Loungewear – Kotn

With colder weather quickly approaching, who isn’t looking to expand their hoodie collection for everyday wear? According to Kotn’s website, they partner with local businesses in Egypt and Portgual to create high quality cotton sweatshirts. Kotn ensures that everyone involved in the production process, from farm to weaving, earns a fair wage. These gender-neutral hoodies serve as a staple piece for anyone’s closet, no matter their style.

Jackets – reformation

Living in Pennsylvania comes with snow-filled winters and unbearable wind chills. For this reason, it is no surprise that my favorite accessory to any fall or winter outfit is a jacket. Whether you throw on your favorite puffer coat to keep you warm or style a longline coat, be sure it is an ethical choice. Reformation offers an array of blazers, puffers, denim jackets and trench coats made from recyclable and sustainable fabrics. According to Reformation.com, Reformation opened its own factory in Los Angeles, CA to ensure every worker they employed was working in safe, healthy and ethical conditions. Keep yourself warm and help make the Earth more sustainable, while you’re at it. 

Nicole is a senior at Penn State University majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Journalism.
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