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5 Sustainable fashion habits that are actually easy to adopt before Earth Day

Hello! Fashion shares our top tips for building a chic, eco-conscious wardrobe...

Fashion week guest wearing beret and cropped blouse © Getty
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
Updated: April 8, 2024
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Whether you're a fully-fledged environmental warrior or have only recently decided to fine-tune your shopping habits, almost everyone is becoming more conscious of their individual impact on the planet.

Navigating the world of sustainable fashion is a daunting task. Greenwashing is particularly pernicious, an easy trap for beginners to fall into, and it's important to remain undeterred by imperfection. Militancy is the enemy of meaningful progress - one ill-advised buy doesn't mean you should abandon your efforts altogether. 

"It's difficult to define 'truly' or 100% sustainable fashion as all new fashion has an impact on the environment." 

- Natalie Binns, sustainable fashion expert 

What does 'sustainable fashion' actually mean? 

Sustainable fashion is an all-encompassing phrase used to describe clothes that are created and consumed in a way that is ecologically and socially responsible. It is key to consider the entire life cycle of an item of clothing – from the source of the fibre and construction techniques to transportation methods and what happens when you eventually decide it no longer holds a place in your wardrobe.

Pinning down exactly what 'true' sustainability looks like, is no mean feat, even for those in the know. "It's difficult to define 'truly' or 100% sustainable fashion as all new fashion has an impact on the environment," sustainable fashion expert Natalie Binns previously told Hello! Fashion.

Fashion week guest wearing bright outfit© Getty

"To reduce the impact of our clothing we need to make the most of it which means only buying what we need, rewearing it as much as possible, repairing it and recirculating it when we are finished with it. Borrowing, swapping and buying second hand are all more sustainable ways to enjoy fashion." 

Hello! Fashion shares the sustainable fashion habits to adopt right now:

 1. Swap to sustainable labels  

Once upon a time, 'sustainable clothing' conjured up a pretty unflattering image. It's giving… burlap. There are now heaps of cool brands on the scene, banishing that shapeless, nondescript look to the past. Dora Larsen, Stripe & Stare and Fruity Booty are a few super cute brands making a splash in the lingerie sphere, Mother of Pearl is a great option for chic workwear if you're looking to invest and It-girl-approved circular label Fanfare is a shining example of clever, covetable upcycling.

2. Make use of tailoring services 

Everyone has that one impulse purchase that hangs sadly in the back of their wardrobe, uncherished. Perhaps the pavement-skimming hem or not-quite-right neckline has put you off? A few masterly tailoring tweaks can make all the difference. Plus, they can often be super quick - perfect if you want something reworked before an event. Alterations and repairs Deliveroo-style service SOJO is great, and has recently taken up permanent residency inside Selfridges if you're London-based.

3. Champion vintage and second hand fashion

Stylist Barabara Ayozie Fu Safira wearing a vintage jacket outside the Edward Crutchley show during London Fashion Week in February 2024.© Kirstin Sinclair
Stylist Barabara Ayozie Fu Safira wearing a vintage jacket outside the Edward Crutchley show during London Fashion Week in February 2024.

This one really requires no introduction. Buying pre-loved allows you to get your hands on past season/limited-edition/totally one-of-a-kind pieces, and at a fraction of the price if you're savvy. I'm a serial second hand shopper, previous acquisitions include Ganni blouses, Kate Moss for Topshop archive gems, and Terry de Havilland disco platforms. I could go on. Vinted, eBay, Vestiaire Collective and the like are your new best friends – set up the saved searches and enjoy the (extremely chic) fruits of your labours.

3. Show your clothes some love 

If you want your clothes to last longer, pay attention to their needs and give them some TLC. I'm certainly guilty of popping something in the washing machine that I really ought to have done by hand, only to later regret my carelessness. Use the care labels to guide you, and if it says dry-clean only, it means dry-clean only. This will prevent pilling, stretching and discolouration, all the things that make your clothes look tired. One-size-fits-all will not work here. Don't do that to your cashmere.

Fashion week guests wearing bright outfits© Getty

5. Explore rental services

Want to expand your wardrobe repertoire on a temporary basis? Clothing rental apps, Hurr, By Rotation, Cocoon and other such sites are the answer. If you've got a special event coming up and you want to get your hands on a showstopper without paying full whack, borrowing is so easy and means there's no buyers remorse. ByRotation founder Eshita Kabra Davis recently wore the same dress three days in a row at London Fashion Week, "With fashion being the fourth most polluting industry in the world... it felt important for me to convey our mission: to transform consumption for good," the entrepreneur told us. If she can do it, so can you.

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