How can we make ethical and sustainable fashion, fashionable?

In this post, I wanted to explain my research and thought processes that lead me to write this series. To get an understanding of how much other people know about clothing consumption, I conducted a survey and asked some of my family, friends and work colleagues to answer the questions.

I asked a question to find out how people thought sustainable and ethical practices could be endorsed. Many felt that media and marketing would be the best solution. I completely agree and I think that social media will be key in raising awareness of ethical brands and sustainable consumerism. I think that adverts on the TV and in stores will help to reach consumers of all ages and by introducing a slogan or something verbal it may resonate further. For example, when I was researching charity shopping and its benefits, I came across many American articles that call it ‘thrift shopping’. Whenever I hear those words I think about Macklemore’s song. I admit I had to google the lyrics because when I listen to songs I don’t always pay attention to the words (terrible, I know…), but he’s actually done a wonderful job of promoting unique style and a sustainable approach to fashion. I’ve linked the video below so you can listen to the lyrics. A personal favourite is ‘That shirt’s hella dope…And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t’.


My favourite answers came from this question:

“As a generalisation, if asked to picture someone who is wearing a complete outfit comprised of sustainable / ethically produced clothing, do you visualise any of the following:

  • A confident vintage or retro style look
  • A style-less look
  • An anti-fashion or edgy look
  • A standard casual look
  • A look consistent with that of a subculture’s style “

Not one person thought that you could wear ‘a standard casual look’ that was completely sustainable. This is where my idea for the post came from. The people I asked varied in age from 15 to 65 and some even have jobs connected to the fashion industry but the majority thought that the outfit they were imagining involved rebelling against the norm and wearing very stylised pieces. The rest thought that a sustainable and ethical outfit would be style-less and one of the people even said to me in person that they think that would also result in a ‘frumpy’ look.

I thought about these answers and I realised that sustainable fashion isn’t seen as fashionable. Ultimately, we all buy clothes to look good (ok, some people aren’t that fussed) but if the general public don’t think that they can look good whilst being sustainable, then why would they buy from ethical/sustainable brands?