A Guide to Ethical And Sustainable Fashion + Top Picks for Summer

Jennifer is the sustainable fashion blogger behind Sustainable Siren. Here she shares her guide on how to get started with making ethical and sustainable fashion choices!

When I decided to make the switch to only wearing ethical and sustainable fashion, there was definitely a lot of information to take in. So I figured making this guide would be helpful for others who are thinking about making the switch but might not know where to start or those looking for additional ways to make their wardrobe more conscious! Read on for my tips and top five picks for ethical fashion for summer.

First things first, you don't need to get rid of what you already own. In fact, the longer you can make things you already own last in your closet, the better! This helps to save more resources from being converted into new clothing.

Left: Secondhand (Everything) | Right: Secondhand Top and Skirt

But when you want to add new pieces to your wardrobe, this is what I recommend looking for.

Secondhand/Vintage

One of the easiest ways to shop sustainably! Because you are shopping from what's already in existence, you aren't adding to the demand for more resources to make new clothes. Not to mention the amazing deals and one-of-a-kind pieces you can score!

Crossroads Trading Co. is a great place to find currently-trending secondhand fashions when shopping in person. I love to shop secondhand online on sites like Vinted or Poshmark too.

Left & Right: Organic Top and Bottom

Organic

Organic fabrics are not only better for the environment, but are better for you too! They are free from toxic chemicals and pesticides that not only can pollute our limited fresh water resrouces, but can be harmfully absorbed into your skin.

When shopping organic, I recommend Synergy Organic Clothing as well as PACT Apparel.

Vegan Cork Sandals from Bhava

Recycled

I personally get most excited about pieces made with recycled materials! The more materials we can reuse and prevent from being destined forever to a landfill, the better.

Inspire Active Wear makes printed leggings from recycled plastic bottles, Andronike makes high-end jewelry from recycled metals, and Bhava makes beautiful vegan shoes that also incorporate natural and recycled materials. These brands make it easy to shop for ethical and sustainable fashion.

Ethically Made  All brands already mentioned are ethically made, but below are some more! 

Left: Handmade Flower Crown & Necklaces | Right: Handmade Two Piece & Jewelry

Handmade

Handmade items result in far less excess merchandise being made (in contrast to fast fashion brands producing huge amounts of stock which can be very wasteful when items don't sell well) because they are made in smaller quantities or made to order. They also tend to be higher quality because of the attention that the designer gives to each piece.

Whiskey Dog Wares makes gorgeous handmade and handprinted clothing, Alice Halliday makes fairytale-inspired accessories and garments and Lilacs In The Sun makes dainty boho jewelry.

 

Organic Cotton & Fair Trade Maxi

Fair Trade

Clothing that has been Fair Trade Certified means that the farmers who produced the materials and the workers who made the items were fairly compensated and had safe working conditions. Additionally, with Fair Trade products, a premium goes back to help develop the community of the farmers and workers that made the items.

Both Synergy Organic Clothing and PACT Apparel are fair trade, as well as Indigenous Designs.

Left: American Apparel Bikini | Right: Impish Lee Bralette

Made in the USA

Sadly, there is a lot of clothing produced overseas that is made in sweatshops. So that's why I also look for USA or Canadian-made clothing because of the labor laws we have in place. But no matter where you are reading this from, when clothing is made domestically, that helps to reduce the carbon footprint involved in transporting a finished garment to you, the consumer.

American Apparel is an awesome brand that you're likely already familiar with, and Impish Lee is a made-to-order custom lingerie and loungewear brand that is made in NY.

Convertible Sandals from Sseko

Convertible

With convertible fashion, you can get tons of different styles in one garment, and that's a win-win for the environment and your wallet!

Sseko Designs has amazing, convertible ribbon sandals. You can tie them in endless styles and swap out the ribbons for different colors and prints!

Hand-Knit Dress from Pima Doll

Zero Waste Design

Zero waste design refers to pieces that are cut from the fabric in such a way that little to no textile waste is generated. Zero waste design can be integrated into the pattern cutting process to produce no fabric scraps period, or the designer may choose to upcycle their fabric scraps so nothing is thrown away!

Pima Doll is an ethical fashion brand that uses a zero-waste technique. All their fabric scraps from garments cut from flat panels, are then upcycled and made into one-of-a-kind hand knitted pieces! 

And to wrap up this piece, I'd like to leave you guys with some summer fashion inspo! Here are my top 5 ethical and sustainablel summer essentials.

  1. Nude Bikini Top by American Apparel
  2. Thrifted Crystal Cuff from Crossroads
  3. Vintage Mini Backpack from Vinted
  4. Vegan Cork Sandals by Bhava
  5. Thrifted Wildfox Denim Shorts from Vinted

 

May you be stylish while also being conscious! xo

 

 
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