What is green fashion? Do fashion and sustainability even go together? These green fashion tips will show you how to bring sustainable chic to your wardrobe.
With growing awareness of how fast fashion impacts the environment, sustainable, eco-friendly or green fashion is now a buzzword in the fashion industry.
But what is green fashion or sustainable fashion? Do fashion and sustainability in fashion industry trends even go together?
Today, the fashion industry is acutely aware of the impact of plastics, industrial dyes and other harmful materials used in clothing, as well the negative impact of fashion manufacturing on marginalized workers in developing countries.
Consumers today want to be able to purchase environmentally-friendly clothes made from eco-friendly materials and manufactured by ethical, sustainable clothing brands.
Fashion-conscious women know what is eco-friendly fashion or what is sustainable fashion or conscious fashion and want to purchase eco-friendly women’s clothing that makes them look stylish.
But, what most women want to know is how to choose trendy eco-wear, eco-fashion and eco-green products that bring sustainable chic to their wardrobes.
What is Sustainable Fashion or Green Fashion?
Sustainable fashion is so much more than just choosing organic clothing. It’s about understanding the circular economy in fashion – where your clothing raw materials come from, how they are grown, manufactured, sold and whether they are recycled or thrown away?
According to one sustainable fashion meaning:
Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. This means dealing with interdependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems.
It also means considering fashion from the perspective of many stakeholders – users and producers, all living species, contemporary and future dwellers on earth.
There are many terms that describe green fashion or sustainability in apparel industry trends, such as conscious fashion, ethical fashion, eco-fashion, responsible fashion and sustainable fashion.
Earlier, the sustainable fashion brands list consisted of outliers and eco-friendly retailers. Today, many mainstream fashion brands are adopting sustainable fashion trends, like recycled fashion, and rebranding themselves as recycled clothing brands.
For example, Adidas has made a commitment to manufacturing more eco-friendly shoes by using 100% recycled polyester in their products by 2024, and Reebok has created sneakers made from biodegradable corn fibres.
This sustainable fashion trend towards recycled plastic and biodegradable materials is aimed at ensuring that less plastic from their shoes enters the oceans and contaminates the marine ecosystem.
This initiative could spur many fashion brands and fashion labels to rebrand as recycled clothing companies and choose more sustainable fashion materials to manufacture eco-friendly clothing and fashion accessories.
Today, millennials are leading the sustainable fashion trend by organizing eco-friendly fashion shows featuring eco-friendly dresses. Organic cotton clothing companies are creating ranges of stylish organic dresses.
Eco-friendly brands are helping us make more conscious choices by promoting eco-friendly packaging materials like eco-friendly bags over plastic bags.
What is Ethical Fashion or Fair-Trade Fashion?
Ethical fashion or fair-trade fashion is one of the sustainable fashion trends that take into account the welfare of the workers involved in the manufacture of ethical dresses by ethical clothing companies.
Fair-trade clothing brands promote sustainable development by offering access to good working conditions to marginalized producers and workers in developing countries.
From the farmers that grow eco-friendly fabric to the workers stitching pieces together, transporting the goods and selling them, ethically-made clothing brands are the ones that offer better trading conditions and fair wages to their workers.
As a consumer looking for affordable ethical clothing online, you can help by only choosing to purchase ethical wear from conscious brands, ethical brands, or environmentally-friendly brands.
Make sure you choose ethical women’s clothing from ethical and sustainable clothing manufacturers and ethical retailers that offer ethically-sourced clothing.
Eliminating Harmful Chemicals In Clothing
Thanks to the growing awareness of harmful chemicals in our clothing and other household products, more fashion brands today are rebranding as natural clothing brands by choosing to manufacture natural clothes with eco-friendly clothing materials.
They are choosing organic raw materials that are eco-friendly and sustainable materials for clothing as they’re grown without harmful pesticides. Even the dyes used on these eco-friendly garments and organic apparel are natural and not harmful to health.
There are many eco-friendly brand names and organic clothing stores selling organic fashion and organic clothing for women, so it’s not difficult to find affordable organic clothing online.
For eco-friendly moms concerned about the impact of harmful chemicals on their baby’s skin, it makes sense to buy organic cotton clothing, organic cotton eco-cloths and nappies for your little ones.
10 Eco-Friendly, Green Fashion Tips For Sustainable Chic
The general notion is that eco-friendly, sustainable, or green fashion is unattractive and a style-killer. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are 10 green fashion tips to glamorize your sustainable garments and bring sustainable chic to your wardrobe.
1. Choose swaps or thrifts instead of fast fashion
Buying recycled clothing is an environmentally-conscious decision. You could even find some gems in thrift stores that look stylish and chic.
You can build an entire wardrobe by opting for a few essentials like eco-friendly t-shirts and bottoms, button-down shirts, jeans, skirts, and dresses. In fact, thrift stores can trigger your creative potential to come up with unique, stylish combinations.
Swapping any of your used clothing that you no longer wish to wear, used or recycled clothing is a good green fashion tip. Make sure that your own clothes are in good condition before you swap them.
Both thrifting and swapping are a step towards discouraging fast fashion which though cheap and affordable, is terrible for the environment.
2. Style simple handmade dresses
Several sustainable fashion designers are making handmade dresses using organic and sustainable materials to reduce the harmful impact on the environment.
These are perfect for summers and can be used in winters as well, by pairing them with leggings or cardigans. These handmade dresses should be a staple in your wardrobe.
You can pair these handmade clothing brands with vibrant-coloured handmade jewellery and eco-friendly shoes to make them more dressy and chic.
3. Accessorize with handmade green products
Choose handmade, ethical, and eco-friendly accessories, such as jewellery, hats, belts, shoes, and handbags made from sustainable materials like hemp, fruit seeds, cork, jute, and recycled glass.
They not only look amazing but are available in unique, catchy designs that will work well with casual, semi-formal, and formal looks. Sneakers made from biodegradable, corn fibres can be a green addition to your eco-friendly shoe collection.
By choosing handmade accessories, whether for yourself or as eco-friendly gifts for someone you love, you can reduce the impact of industrial processes on the environment.
4. Dress up your eco-friendly t-shirts
The basic white eco-friendly tee in your closet can be worn in several stylish ways. Buy organic cotton, eco-friendly shirts, and try wearing them with a dark-coloured raw silk ruffle skirt and hemp platform sandals.
Other than that, you can also wear your eco-friendly t-shirts under your tank top or dress for a cool summer look. Even the classic white tee with blue jeans is a look that can never go wrong.
You can add a few eco-friendly accessories like hoop earrings or sunglasses to nail that outfit. Plain linen skirts, another eco-friendly clothing item, look great with a front knotted t-shirt.
5. Layer with stylish, eco-friendly jackets
You need layering options for many kinds of outfits, for which you can consider buying at least three types of jackets.
A sustainable, eco-friendly designer blazer will help you with formal outfits, making you look like a true professional. For casual wear, you could go for an organic denim jacket.
By opting for a fair-trade leather jacket, women can make a conscious choice that is not only sustainable but one that puts them high on the style quotient. Or you can choose a vegan leather jacket to wear over dark, fitted jeans or a skirt.
6. Organic cotton jeans go with everything
By using eco-friendly production methods and natural fabrics like organic cotton, organic clothing brands are manufacturing sustainable jeans.
Jeans are so versatile that you can find thousands of outfit ideas with them. For an elegant look, you can opt for a ruffle sleeved top in a light colour with your jeans.
Or, you can wear a collared shirt with skinny jeans and accessorize the outfit with a satchel vegan leather bag and long, eco-friendly boots. Another idea is to wear a tank top in funky colour and spruce up your look by wearing matching eco-friendly pumps.
For winters, you can wear long-length sustainable wool sweaters or puffer jackets with your jeans to create a classy jeans outfit.
7. Sustainable sweaters are a great winter look
Winters should never be dreary in terms of fashion! Sustainable sweaters are not just for giving you warmth and cosiness, but also an elegant style that sets you apart from the crowd.
Sustainable sweaters look great in neutral shades and a longer length, but you can experiment with colours and length as long as it suits your body type.
They look great with a variety of bottoms like skinny jeans, leather skirts, or capri pants. If you have a fitted high-neck sweater, it will look very classy with an organic denim dungaree.
8. Mix and match patterns for a unique look
Patterned outfits are for days when you want to create a vibrant style statement. You don’t need too many clothes to make a unique style statement every day when you mix and match patterns.
Striped palazzos in sustainable materials should be a staple in your clothes collection as you can pair them with a variety of tops with patterns like polka dots, chevron, waves, and even different-sized stripes.
9. Add eco-friendly, floral dresses
Besides plain dresses mentioned earlier, stock up your green wardrobe with a few organic linen floral dresses in variable lengths to add a feminine touch.
Shop for these ethical dresses at eco-friendly stores, and they will last you many springs, with just a few eco-friendly accessories to complete the outfit. In India, you can find many beautiful floral dresses at organic khadi stores.
10. Ahimsa or peace silk scarves elevate any outfit
Traditional silk doesn’t feature on the sustainable fabrics list because it involves the death of silkworms by boiling, an act of violence that the conscious fashionista is opposed to.
Ahimsa or peace silk is on the eco-friendly fabrics list, as it is a non-violent silk breeding and harvesting alternative where silkworms are given the time to develop into moths, and their empty cocoons are then collected to create peace silk.
As an accessory, a peace silk scarf made from organic silk is one of the most versatile items and can be worn in several ways. Plain or printed, peace silk scarves can be tied around the neck with printed dresses and low neck or off-shoulder tops.
A unique way that is trending these days is to tie the peace silk scarf as a belt around your waist on plain dresses. They also look beautiful when you use them as a bandana on your head.
Other than that, you can loosely hang the scarf around your neck with full-sleeved shirts and plain dresses. Or just tie it around your bag’s handle for a high-class look.
Green Fashion For Green Living
Eco-friendly, green fashion and sustainable chic are not mutually exclusive. One of the best advantages of eco-friendly and sustainable clothing is that it is made to be resilient and last for years, which is an excellent way to save money.
Natural clothes are manufactured to retain their colour and shape for a very long time and sustainable clothing is the future of eco-friendly fashion.
With these sustainable style tips, you can pull off green fashion and sustainable clothing essentials with ease, and also flaunt the confidence that comes from being a socially-responsible consumer.
Even if you haven’t turned to eco-friendly clothing till now, just remember that one small change can snowball into a much bigger effect, if each person decides to choose sustainability and green fashion.
Choosing to buy eco-friendly, green clothes from ethical clothing brands and eco-friendly companies can reduce human exploitation, animal cruelty, pollution, and wastage of resources.
When mindful consumers make conscious clothing choices and prefer eco-friendly, ethical fashion brands over cheap, fast fashion, it forces fashionable clothing brands to look for sustainable fashion ideas.
Concepts like fair-trade clothing, environmentally-friendly clothing and sustainable fashion design are being adopted worldwide by sustainable designers and eco-friendly clothing brands who understand that sustainable apparel is the future of fashion.
Eco-clothing, earth-friendly clothing and eco-friendly apparel are green fashion trends that are important for the environment and good for you too.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.