How To Be A Sustainable Fashion Consumer?

How to be a sustainable fashion consumer? Advice from industry experts
Learn to be a sustainable fashion consumer – Photos by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash and created with Canva

How To Be A Sustainable Fashion Consumer?

You can learn to be a sustainable fashion consumer. In this blog post experts panelists are helping you to be a sustainable fashionista + The tricky industry terminology explained. As a bonus you’ll get my personal sustainable styling tips!

For my previous blog article 10 Sustainable Fashion Myths Explained I interviewed 3 sustainable fashion experts. I also asked their tips for being a sustainable fashion consumer.

In this article you can read their best practices. Use this knowledge to adapt better shopping and styling habits. Trotting around in unethically produced fast fashion and shopping every week for new outfits is now considered gauche.

Thinking about sustainability, fair wages, safe working conditions and circular production model is SO NOW. It’s also the future as more and more consumers are demanding this.

Our planet and the fashion industry can’t sustain the current model for much longer. During the Corona Virus outbreak in 2020 it became more clear that things really need to change.

I believe that consumers are ready for this. Yes, that includes you too. That is why I felt that making this interview is very important.

Us fashionistas have a lot of power. When we make better choices with our style it will eventually trickle down to the way our fashion is made. Read along and learn from the experts!

I on Image's Sustainable Fashion Expert Panel: Roosmarie Ruigrok, Anna Rinta-Jyllilä and Nienke Steen
I on Image’s Sustainable Fashion Expert Panel:
Roosmarie Ruigrok, Anna Rinta-Jyllilä and Nienke Steen – Photos with the courtesy of our panelists

Be A Sustainable Fashionista

– Stylish Tips From Our Expert Panelists

1. Roosmarie Ruigrok

Sustainable Fashion Expert at Clean&Unique, The Netherlands

  1. Follow Fashion Revolution on their website and in social media.
  2. Buy your clothes at Project CeCe. They have more than 400 brands on their website!
  3. Think before you buy. Do I need this? Think well, buy less!

2. Anna Rinta-Jyllilä

Freelance Fashion Production Expert at My Concept, Finland

  1. Always check where your garment is made. Made in EU is safer choice in terms of fair pay for the workers.
  2. Choose recycled polyester or polyamide for your workout clothes. It is nowadays widely available. Recycled PA and PE are made of plastic waste. We have plenty of that.
  3. Don’t buy polyester fleece. When you wash it it releases microfibers that spread into our ecosystem. Wool is a much better choice as a warming layer. It’s functional features are superior comparing to many other fibers. And it doesn’t release plastic microfibers to the nature.

3. Nienke Steen

Corporate Responsibility Expert at MODINT, The Netherlands

  1. Ask yourself critical questions regarding your buying behavior.
  2. Take a look at the Corporate Responsibility pages on the websites of your favorite brands. If there is no info, ask the company to communicate about their corporate responsibility policy, activities and targets.
  3. Reward the brands or collections that have proven their responsible behavior. Buying better means you support the industry to do good.

Sustainable Fashion Terminology Explained

1. Ethical Fashion

Roosmarie: Fashion made under good worker conditions and under environmentally friendly conditions.

Nienke: Ethical refers whether being morally right or wrong. So this term refers to the full package of responsible fashion.

2. Sustainable Fashion

Roosmarie: It’s a term for all fashion that is better made than fast fashion.

Nienke: Sustainability refers to 2 things:

1) Fashion that is here to stay over longer period of time and 2) Fashion that is produced with low impact for the environment. Nowadays it’s often used to include also socially responsible fashion.

3. Fast Fashion

Roosmarie: The term fast fashion describes fashion that is made under price and time pressure.

Nienke: It is often used these days to indicate fashion consisting of fast changing collections to fulfill consumer demand. Fast fashion comes with low quality and prices.  

It has gained the image of fashion with a high social and environmental impact.

Fast fashion can also refer to fast changing collections that are produced close to the consumer market. They are not necessarily be cheap, low quality or impactful.

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4. Ecological Fashion

Roosmarie: Fashion that is made under environmentally friendly conditions.

Nienke: Ecological refers to a better environmental performance.

5. Vegan Fashion

Roosmarie: Fashion without any harm for animals. However this does not mean that the item is made under good conditions.

Nienke: Vegan relates to the fact that no products of animal origin have been used in the material nor in the processing of the item.

6. Circular Fashion

Roosmarie: Fashion made to come back as a new product. It can also be another product type and not only a fashion item.

The term originally says that the item has to be made under good worker conditions. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

Nienke: Circular fashion is fashion that can be re-used after wearing for a new (high value) product.

How To Be A Sustainable Fashion Consumer? Tips from Amsterdam-based personal stylist Jenni at I on Image
How to be a sustainable fashion consumer? – CLICK TO SAVE ON PINTEREST

Personal Styling Tips For Sustainable Fashionistas

  1. Shop in your own wardrobe. Have a fun afternoon sorting out your wardrobe in a whole new way
  2. Style unexpected looks from the items you already own. Keep a style journal of your best looks
  3. Don’t forget to keep your party style sustainable too!
  4. Follow my dedicated Pinterest board “Sustainable Fashion” and save the best sustainable style inspiration on your own boards
  5. Save my Instagram looks for your “outfit of the day” -inspo. I am a big advocate of reusing and re-purposing my fashion. You will see me wearing the same items over and over again. Some of them are way over ten years old and still rocking!
  6. Wash your clothing less often, in lower temperatures and learn to take good care of them. 
  7. Create a strong personal style. It will add strength to your image and give you joy for years to come.
  8. Educate yourself. START HERE: 10 Sustainable Fashion Myths Explained
  9. Shop second hand designer fashion at The Next Closet

Share your best practices and stylish tips on how to be a sustainable fashionista. Make your friends aware of these tips by dropping this post in their feeds. I am looking forward to making this an ongoing thing.

Enjoy being stylish AND sustainable!

This article was originally published on 20th April 2019. It was updated on 24th May 2021 with up-to-date links.


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