What Exactly Is Sustainable Fashion? The Complete Guide

Giada Nizzoli

What Exactly Is Sustainable Fashion? The Complete Guide

The fact that you’d like to understand what sustainable fashion is tells us that you’re a fantastic human being willing to improve your consumer habits. You can’t hear us, but we’re applauding you.

However, we know that it’s hard to change them when you don’t know exactly what to look for. With so many similar terms⁠—from ethical to cruelty-free and vegan⁠—it can sound confusing, at first. That’s why we’re going to explain what sustainable fashion is in the simplest way possible.

The complete guide to sustainable fashion

Sack Dress Danica - Sustainable Fashion

What is sustainable fashion and why is it important?

Sustainable fashion involves garments, shoes and accessories manufactured and used in a way that results in the lowest possible environmental footprint, at every or most stages of the product’s lifecycle (design, extraction or production of the raw material, manufacturing, distribution chain, marketing, sale and use by the consumers).

An example? Instead of plastic-derived synthetic materials that can take centuries to decompose or water-consuming traditionally-grown cotton that’s loaded with pesticides, this type of fashion chooses the most sustainable fabrics. Another popular solution is to opt for recycled materials such as fishing nets or upcycled fabric to extend their lifetime and reduce waste.

The difference between ethical and sustainable fashion

Ethical fashion prioritises the humanitarian side, and especially the production part. These brands go the extra mile to ensure that their workers are treated fairly, paid adequate wages and guaranteed safe working conditions. Ethical fashion can also be used to refer to cruelty-free and vegan clothes, not involving the use of animal products or by-products.

Difference between ethical and sustainable fashion

With sustainable fashion, the focus is on the environmental side of things. However, even if it doesn’t automatically mean the same, from our experience we’ve noticed that most sustainable fashion brands also care about the ethical side of production.

The mindset change required by sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion follows the same principles as slow fashion, which, as you guessed, is the opposite of fast fashion.

To satisfy and⁠—let’s be honest⁠—fuel this growing demand, fast fashion thrives on the ephemerality of clothes. You should buy new ones every season! Or, actually, more often. Maybe every month. Or⁠—hey, is that a £5 dress you’ve just walked past? 

While it might sound fun, this mindset results in 92 million tonnes of garment waste every year. Plus, in order to keep the prices so ridiculously low, fast fashion involves terrible production practices, both for workers and the environment.

The difference between fast fashion and slow fashion

Sustainable fashion focuses on higher-quality clothes that are made to last. Quality over quantity, basically! Because we’ve seen what happens when you do it the other way round. Instead of following ever-changing catwalk trends, it creates timeless and versatile designs that you can make the most of for many years and use to build your personal style. 

Yellow Submarine Printed Shirt

This mindset change results in investing in fewer items but keeping them for much longer. Even better: loving them. If they get damaged, fix them. If you really, really don’t want them anymore, give them to your friends or charity: don’t just bin them. 

The complete guide to sustainable fashion

Understand what ‘sustainable fashion’ means to you

You can also decide what part of sustainability means the most to you. Perhaps you’d rather wear garments that biodegrade easily? Some made from recycled waste? Or ethically-produced clothes? Whatever it is, Project Cece can help you find it. Simply select the right filters to narrow down your choice and build a sustainable wardrobe that truly represents you and your values.

June Olive Print Top

Now that you know what sustainable fashion means, you’ll notice that it’s constantly evolving, as these resourceful companies are always coming up with new ways to be better for the environment. It’s a journey, basically. We’re so glad that you’ll be sharing it with us!

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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical clothing from different webshops on one website. Take a look in our shopping section and find the clothing that fits your style, budget and values!

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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical clothing from different webshops on one website. Take a look in our shopping section and find the clothing that fits your style, budget and values!