April 17, 2018

Ethical Sustainable Fashion: Why You Should Care

In honor of the upcoming Earth Day, let's talk ethical and sustainable fashion.

Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

by Carrie Colbert

Today, in honor of Earth Day coming up this weekend, we’d like to chat with you about a different sort of fashion topic: ethical, sustainable fashion.

I’m going to start by perhaps ruffling a few feathers with a bold, provocative declaration… I am so sick and tired of seeing bloggers constantly promoting and linking “dupes”! (In case you don’t know what others mean when they talk about “dupes”, they’re referring to  duplicates of designer goods – aka knockoffs.)

There are two main reasons I say that:

1 – Copying is never a good thing. 

There is way too much of that going on in the fashion world right now.

2 – Cheaper is not always better!

Have you ever thought about why that t-shirt from Forever 21 only costs $8? There are reasons – and they are not good ones!

Now before you jump in to tell me that not everyone can afford high-end, designer fashion, let me preempt that argument with two points. First, there are reasonably-priced, ethically made, originally creative options. Keep reading for more info on that. Second, consider buying less quantity and more quality. In today’s “see it now, buy it now” mentality, we sometimes buy in to the marketing notion that we need it all! But what if you did more with less?

Anyway, before I continue ranting on this subject, please allow me to introduce our guest contributor today, Jessica Greenberg of Sustainable Rainbow, where she chronicles her discoveries and loads of information on ethical, fair-trade and sustainable fashion industry. Jessica is a passionate authority on this subject, so we brought her in to share her expert perspective on this subject.

The Importance of Ethical and Sustainable Shopping

Jessica Greenberg of Sustainable Rainbow @sustainablerainbow

Hi there, fellow color lovers! This is such an important topic, but I think many of us don’t even consider it when shopping because there is such a disconnect between us and the clothes we wear.

These days, it is so common to buy pieces and not intend to wear them more than once – especially if we are wearing them for an Instagram post! And for that reason, many of us choose brands that aren’t made to hold up well. Those clothes may look good in photos, but they have no real quality behind them. We also don’t consider who might be affected when we pay $5 for a shirt; it just doesn’t naturally cross our mind.

But when you break down the pricing structures of fast fashion, someone is paying the price for us to have cheap, readily available fashion. And usually the people paying the price are the garment workers who actually make those pieces for us.

The documentary The True Cost sheds light on this topic, and I have also written about it here. While it may seem like there is not a lot we can do, we have so much more power than we realize! We vote with every dollar we spend. We also have voices that we can use to ask questions, such as “Who made my clothes?” Fashion Revolution week is coming up next week (4/23-4/29), and it’s the perfect time to start becoming more curious about where our clothes come from.


Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Before you buy anything, no matter what brand it is, it is important to ask yourself a few things.

1 – Do I really love this?

2 – Does it go with what I already own?

3 – Will I wear it multiple times?

The cost-per-wear is important an important concept to take into account. If you can only wear that $20 dress once before it falls apart, that’s $20 per wear. But if you invest in a dress that’s $200 and you wear it 20 times, that ends up being $10 per wear and is much less expensive in the long run because you won’t be replacing it constantly.


10 Ways to Be Ethical and Look Fabulous

By Julie Weinstein

1. In this dress that would be perfect for 4th of July!

2. In this jumpsuit that looks like the most comfortable thing ever.

3. In this semi sheer button up shirt that would be oh so cute over bathing suits, with jean shorts, over a dress, and everything in between.

4. In these slides that I’m about to “add to cart.”

5. In this striped little sweater.

6. In this colorful striped one piece that will look perfect on your next beach vacay.

7. In this blush pink dress that isn’t only adorable, but comfortable, too.

8. In this striped tank that would be perfect all summer long with cut off denim shorts.

9. In this dress that could be the sweetest piece ever.

10. In these mustard yellow mules. Enough said.

The Ethical and Sustainable Brands We Love

Another great thing about ethical and sustainable fashion is that the brands and designers that fall under these categories are fabulous! You absolutely won’t be sacrificing style when shopping ethically. Below is just a small sampling of the brands and designers we love along with some of our favorite pieces you can shop right now. As well, be sure to check out Moda Operandi’s edit full of incredible pieces.

Cuyana – beautiful leather goods / motto – “fewer, better things”

Eileen Fisher – a pioneer of ethical and sustainable fashion / See Carrie in Eileen Fisher here

Everlane – great, affordable basics / very transparent about their costs and supply chain

Mara Hoffman – big proponent of socially and environmentally responsible practices / See Carrie in Mara Hoffman here and here

Rag & Bone – edgy, classic perfection / See Carrie in Rag & Bone here and here

Stella McCartney – high-end vegan bags and shoes / See Carrie in Stella McCartney here

Vivienne Westwood – mantra – “buy less, choose well, make it last”

And some others Jessica loves that we can’t wait to check out – 

Akola – colorful and fun jewelry that gives back to the female artisans who make the pieces

Girlfriend Collective – they make leggings out of water bottles and they come in really pretty colors!

Grana – high-quality basics in a range of colors / transparent about their supply chain and pricing

James Jeans  – the comfiest jeans that are ethically made in LA

Matt & Nat – vegan handbags and accessories

People Tree – fair trade fashion pioneers, big on sustainability and supporting local artisans

One More Thing

Have we piqued your interest on this topic? If so, check out these other resources.

A Primer on Fast Fashion courtesy of The Fashion Law

Ethical Sustainable Slow Fashion on The Curious Button

Fair Trade Clothing via The Good Trade

Fast Fashion Brand Alternatives via Refinery 29

The Year in Fast Fashion on The Fashion Law

What’s the Deal with Ethical Fashion on Sustainable Rainbow

Ethical Sustainable Slow Fashion on The Curious Button

One more thing: You can rest assured that everything in our store is ethically and sustainably made! Plus – right now, everything is 50 percent off! No code needed, discount taken at checkout.

Finally, fabulous fashion need not come at a social or environmentally expensive cost. Do your part to educate yourself and make wise decisions. We individually and collectively can make a difference.


  1. Cheryl S. says:

    So proud of all of you who are championing this cause! I worked retail in women’s wear for two stores in the 90’s and watched how women shopped. One was a small chain company store and was on the pricier side, but the clothing was stylish and well made. Too often, we were “shopped” by one of the big brand/chain store companies and later saw items similar to ours made cheaply and sold cheaply. It was not a good business practice and eventually drove our company and others like it out of business. The other was an store independently owned by a woman who believed in sustainable and unique clothing way back then. Everything sold was made of natural fabric, mostly from smaller brands, and made to last. The women who shopped in the chain store had to have the very latest of our designs and constantly came in buying more. The women who shopped at the independently own store chose more carefully and asked more questions about the brand, the fabric, etc. It is hard to watch today’s women consume more mass produced clothing (mostly from countries where they pay the workers next to nothing) and care less, and yet, there are many who are more and more tuned in to shopping carefully and sustainably. You are using your voices to increase that number by raising the consciousness of younger shoppers and spreading the word. I wish more and more manufacturers, large and small, would make clothing that is washable and get dry cleaning solvents out of our air and water.

    1. Thank you so much for saying that, Cheryl! Appreciate the support.

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