The Ultimate Sustainable Fashion Guide For Sustainable Shoppers

So, you want to be a more conscious consumer and sustainable shopper, but where do you start? Learning all you can about fast fashion and ethical brands is great – but it can also be time-consuming, especially when you just want to buy a pair of jeans or an eco-friendly swimsuit without devoting hours to the search. Luckily, breaking down the main issues and finding key things to look for can help. This way, we can feel a little more enlightened about all things “eco-fashion”, do good for the planet, and still enjoy shopping for great sustainable fashion.

To learn more about why eco-friendly clothes are so important, and the best ways to shop sustainably while still have fun with it all, we invite you to read our sustainable fashion guide. Armed with this high-level information, you may feel compelled to dig deeper into the issues that matter most to you – and to that, we say, go for it! In this eco fashion guide we'll cover everything from how to support sustainable fashion to what to look out for on your quest to become a sustainable shopper. Plus, we'll give you some recommendations for where to shop.

Why is sustainability important?

A key part of our sustainable fashion guide is understanding why sustainability is important for the fashion industry. Sustainability in fashion is critical for many reasons. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual carbon emissions globally? That is more than all maritime shipping and international carbon emission combined! On top of that, the fashion industry is said to produce 20% of the world’s waste. According to scientists, the next 10 years could be the most critical for reversing the course of these concerning realities. This is serious stuff.

Today, many leaders in the industry are calling out important ways to improve sustainability in fashion, with a real focus on how to make sustainable fashion. 

Here are some of the area of focus for those promoting sustainable fashion:

  • Utilising regenerative agriculture
  • Decreasing carbon emissions
  • Ending the use of toxic materials such as microplastics
  • Harnessing alternative energy
  • Recycling waste products and turning them into usable fibers and products
  • Increasing the prevalence of fair trade practices
  • Ending human exploitation
  • Reworking business models into circular economy systems

Sustainability is important in order to support the planet and to also support those who create what we wear with fair wages and safe working conditions.

The main takeaway? Sustainability benefits everyone. We can all affect change by becoming sustainable shoppers, investing in companies and brands that are sustainable fashion trailblazers. Feel good and do good with ethical fashion? Sounds like a win-win scenario. In our eco-fashion guide below, we dig into some of the best sustainable fashion brands to support.

What is sustainable fashion?

How to make fashion sustainable is a simple question with a broad answer. Sustainable fashion applies to the fashion system in its totality, ranging from ecological, financial, cultural, social and environmental issues. It is a framework that addresses the need for integrity throughout the many facets of textile and product production and explores and finds ways to improve upon aspects of the material, production, design, and more.

How to support sustainable fashion

You want to be a more sustainable shopper but you're not quite sure how to support sustainable fashion. We hear you. It will take a bit of effort on your part to find out which brands promote ethical and sustainable fashion. We've helped you out below with a few suggestions. 

When figuring out whether you're shopping sustainably from an ethical fashion brand, here are a few things to look out for:

  • Responsibly-sourced materials (e.g. organic cotton or recycled materials)
  • Low carbon footprint
  • Responsible & alternative energy consumption
  • Fair trade policies
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Transparency in supply chain
  • Indigenous and localised community impacts
  • Slow fashion vs. fast fashion

Luckily, most good sustainable clothing brands will have easy to find information about their sustainable and ethical practices online, so if in doubt, check out their online social media and website for further information about how they produce sustainable fashion.

Where can I shop for sustainable clothing & accessories?

From high end to budget-friendly, sustainable fashion has become more accessible than ever. And once you find your favorite sustainable brands or shops, we recommend having fun with recycling your clothing, trading garments with friends, and getting as much use out of the pieces you love, rather than over-buying. You may be surprised how long your well-loved pieces last, and how much more meaning they carry when you put more thought into your sustainable fashion purchases.

If you are wondering how and where to buy sustainable clothing, then look no further. We've listed some of our top sustainable fashion recommendations. You can also check out our list of sustainable travel essentials brands and our ultimate list of sustainable retailers.

Veja

  • Footwear 

  • Shoes that are designed with social and environmental responsibility, while also being stylish and functional. Sneakers work for streetwear and exercise, sizing for children and adults. 

  • $$$

  • Utilising a significant amount of eco-friendly materials and limiting chemical, water, and wastewater in production, Veja continually improves their sourcing and production methods to reflect highly sustainable principles. Some refer to Veja as ‘the world’s most sustainable sneaker brand’.

 

Vivida Lifestyle

  • Swimwear & Activewear

  • Bikinis, surf wetsuits, and sustainable activewear designed to perform exceptionally and look incredible on. Beautifully designed while offering superior performance, pieces are built for action while still feeling feminine and sexy. Subtle, thoughtful features and a loyal eco-conscious community make this brand especially noteworthy and earth-friendly. 

  • $$ 

  • Vivida’s sustainable swimwear and activewear line is made from recycled, post-consumer plastic bottles. They also work with the United Nations to help drive industry sustainability initiatives globally. Other areas of focus include utilizing GOTS certified cotton, wind energy, eco-neoprene made of recycled rubber tires, and the use of low impact dyes and non-toxic glues in high-performance gear built for the water and beyond.

PACT

  • Lounge & Streetwear

  • Comfortable basics in simple colors to mix and match and wear anywhere. Easy fit, affordable, and made for all ages.

  • $

    PACT works with a fair-trade certified factory that creates products from GOTS certified organic cotton, which means no harmful chemicals. A great example of how to make sustainable fashion affordable. 

Stella McCartney 

  • Women’s High Fashion 

  • High-end clothing and accessories designed and created with extreme attention to detail and tailoring.

  • $$$$

  • Working on numerous initiatives to ensure their products do not exploit natural resources, Stella McCartney has reduced the use of oil-based synthetic material and makes sure to use cotton that is not sourced from endangered forests. They also keep an extensive supplier database that meets only the highest standards in sustainability and quality.

Outland Denim

  • Denim Clothing

  • Clothing for men and women that ranges from tees and dresses to jackets and pants, with an emphasis on denim. Easy, wearable, and high quality.

  • $$$

  • Outland utilises a high proportion of eco materials, including low impact dyes and GOTS certified cotton to produce their denim products. They also limit water usage and harmful chemicals. Additionally, they provide employment opportunities to women of Cambodia who have been trafficked, offering them a fair living wage.

Brothers We Stand

  • Men’s Fashion

  • Ethical clothing for men, including t-shirts, coats, jeans, sweatshirts, and more. 

  • $$

  • This company focuses on creating a positive social and environmental impact by working with wind-powered factories, operating with transparent supply chains, and ensuring fair and safe labour conditions.

NAADAM

  • Knitwear 

  • Luxurious, but more affordable than your average high-quality knitwear. From sweaters and matching sets to dresses and elevated loungewear.

  • $$

  • Focused on improving transparency, especially in the often, over-priced cashmere market, the founders pay nomadic herders 50% more than industry standards and cut out middlemen in their direct-to-consumer model.

CUYANA

  • Leather Goods, Accessories & Clothing

  • A combination of chic apparel and accessories for a modern wardrobe. Women’s bags, jewellery, and items easily integrated into any wardrobe as go-to staples.

  • $$

  • Cuyana works with global craftspeople to support local communities and minimises their carbon footprint by sourcing materials in close proximity to their manufacturing facilities.

Alternative ways to dress sustainably on a budget

It’s not difficult to learn how to become a sustainable shopper. Once you learn a few hacks and mix and match strategies, you’ll find it can be quite fun. Aside from buying new clothes and accessories, here are some other ways to score great fashion finds, sustainably. 

Clothing Swaps

  • Spearhead regular meetups with your friends and acquaintances to bring clothes you no longer love and swap for new-to-you items. 

Reimagine Existing Clothing

  • If you’re feeling creative, discover new ways to wear old items you’ve outgrown or become tired with. It's a way to make sustainable fashion yourself - no need to be a fashion designer! Trousers and jeans can become shorts, old cotton tees can be reimagined into a cool headscarf, and that boyfriend shirt could be cropped and cinched at the waist for a fresh look. It's a great way to ensure what you're wearing is entirely unique as no one else will have it!

Second-hand Shopping

  • If you’re looking for cheap sustainable fashion, this is the way to go. Not only is shopping second hand an ultra-affordable option, but you’ll also find unique and one of a kind pieces that will elevate your wardrobe in cool and unexpected ways.

Clothing Rental

  • Services such as Rent the Runway and Nuuly have become the new go-to sources for great fashion that you don’t need to own to wear. These are especially great when you need that killer black dress or meeting attire that you know you’ll only wear once.

Be Sure You're Shopping Sustainably With Vivida Lifestyle

At Vivida Lifestyle, we seek to produce the best and most sustainable activewear and accessories for watersports, yoga, and life. We support a global community of like-minded individuals that inspire and empower one another to live balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyles doing what they love. Focused on supporting the earth and serving as an example for the industry, we have signed on with the United Nations in helping to create a Global Climate Action Plan for the fashion industry. We also work with some of the most sustainable, innovative, and transparent manufacturing methods, materials, and facilities available today. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability.