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Sustainable Fashion – The Basics & Brands You Can Trust

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

For many people, shopping for new clothes to add to our wardrobe is a hobby. It’s something we might do on our phones when we have 15 minutes before class or with our best friends after a long week. For others, shopping isn’t so fun. No matter who you are, fashion is a part of your life;  in the wise words of Nigel from the Devil Wears Prada, we live our lives in it! 

So, if we live our lives in it, why not try to be apart of the fashion industry in the best way possible by supporting sustainable fashion? 

So, what is sustainable fashion? According to Wikipedia, Sustainable Fashion is a “movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.” Green Strategy, a sustainable & ethical fashion industry consultant company, discusses how sustainable fashion is largely about fashion brands producing and developing clothes, shoes and accessories in “environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners.” For example, repurposing & upcycling second-hand clothes is one of the many ways companies can move towards a more sustainable future. One reason for this movement that you may have heard of is fast fashion and the large impact it’s having on our environment. 

Along with companies and fashion brands, we as consumers can also make an effort to consume more sustainably! A couple of ways you can do this is by supporting fashion brands that use ethical methodologies or by shopping at second-hand like Goodwill, Saint Vincent DePaul in WI or Retique in Milwaukee, WI. 

Not sure which brands to support? We’ve come up with a list of companies & fashion brands you can feel confident buying from, knowing they produce their clothes, accessories and shoes sustainably.


For this simply chic clothing brand, sustainability is at the center of everything they do. They recognize that this phenomenon is ever-changing and that they “don’t have all the answers!” However, they emphasize that they are doing their best to focus on product, people, planet, and progress


Everlane is another great brand that focuses on Radical Transparency. They reveal the true cost behind each of their products, highlight ethical factories where their products are made and source only the finest materials. Plus, their products won’t break the bank!  

Levi Strauss 

Designing and selling the classic, well-fitting, and durable jeans we know and love is not just a side effect of Levi Strauss’s sustainability efforts, it’s something they focus on! By making jeans that will last for years and can be customized and repaired, they’re making an effort to encourage consumers to shop more sustainably. 


Though thredUP doesn’t sell or design its own products, they are contributing to the sustainable effort by providing an online platform for buying second-hand clothing! Not only can you purchase second-hand clothing, but you can also “Declutter Your Closet” with thredUP’s help. 

Nisolo  Nisolo’s goal is to push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction. Based in Nashville, TN, this shoe brand designs with intention, produces ethically and creates fairly priced products with no middlemen! 

So, if you’re looking for the best ways to consume sustainably and support sustainable brands, look no further! Visit any of these companies’ websites to learn more about their mission and how they’re helping the fashion industry leave a smaller carbon footprint.  

Cate Wilkinson

Wisconsin '20

Cate graduated from UW - Madison in May 2020 with a degree in Microbiology with a certificate in French. She is very passionate about health, wellness, sustainability and communication about these topics!
I am a senior at the greatest university— the University of Wisconsin. I am in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, double tracking in reporting and strategic communications and earning a certificate in and Digital Studies. I am a lover of dance, hiking, writing for Her Campus, the Badgers and strawberry acais. I am also a president of Her Campus Wisconsin.