Ethical Fashion Isn't Enough: We Need Sustainable Consumption

Giada Nizzoli

Ethical Fashion Isn't Enough: We Need Sustainable Consumption

Designers coming up with new eco-friendly materials, brands offering circular programs… That’s all well and good but not enough from a sustainability perspective.

There’s only so much that brands can do. You, the consumer, play a huge role as well!

That’s why we need more sustainable consumption.

Yes, ethical fashion is getting more popular… but ultra-fast fashion is growing faster

While some small teams try their best to source everything sustainably and create durable pieces, ultra-fast fashion brands like Boohoo and SHEIN keep promoting the opposite:

encouraging consumers to buy new clothes regularly without even questioning how and by whom they were made… and discarding them after weeks.

Graph on the growth of unsustainable ultra fast fashionPhoto credit: The Business of Fashion

But how can these brands get away with it?

Simple: because there are millions of people who keep on buying all that.

No wonder 67% of consumers don’t know if the clothes they purchased are from eco-friendly brands or not!

The unsustainable overconsumption mindset

Consumer choosing ultra fast fashion over sustainable consumption

Nowadays, whether they realise it or not, most people consider clothes to be disposable.


This is one of the fashion industry’s biggest problems and the reason why replacing ‘fast fashion hauls’ with ‘ethical fashion hauls’ is NOT a solution.

We need to tackle overconsumption and replace it with sustainable consumption, too.

Otherwise, it won’t matter how much brands are trying to change for the better: the use of these clothes will still be unsustainable, and their lifespan too short.

What you can do to make fashion more ethical through sustainable consumption

It’s hard to change our behaviours when society keeps telling us we should buy more. So, here are some actionable tips.

1. Educate yourself on the problems with fast fashion and excessive consumerism

Landfill showing the problem with unsustainable consumption

If you’re used to purchasing any kind of clothing item that catches your eye just because it’s cheap, invest a few minutes of your time in learning why fast fashion is so problematic.

For example:

2. Stop thinking of clothes as disposable

Toxic chemicals released when they’re burned, materials taking centuries to decompose... We need to abandon the idea that, once we put our clothes in the bin, they magically disappear.

So, go back to seeing them as durable like previous generations did (you know, when clothes even got passed down!).

3. Support ethical brands…

Avoid fast fashion brands that aren’t transparent about their supply chain and encourage over-consumption.

Instead, vote with your money by giving it to those that treat their workers well and make a difference for the planet.

Model wearing an ethical dress

4. … but only buy clothes you need and will wear over 30 times

As we’ve seen, replacing fast fashion with ethical clothes is not a solution if you don’t quit your hauls.

Bookmark these 6 questions to ask yourself before a purchase!

5. Embrace repeat outfits

Let’s all ditch the unsustainable idea that we can’t be seen with the same outfit two days in a row or (god forbid) more than once on our Instagram feed.

Model rocking a repeatable outfit

6. Stop supporting brands and influencers promoting overconsumption

It’s hard to quit hauls if you keep being bombarded with them on TikTok.

Instead, follow ethical brands and eco-conscious content creators who practice sustainable consumption.

7. Have these conversations with friends and family

Your loved ones might not be aware of the problems behind this lifestyle, so start from an empathetic point of view.

No matter how many creative materials and solutions this industry comes up with, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make fashion more ethical through sustainable consumption.

You don’t have to do it alone, though! Join a community of like-minded eco-conscious consumers: stay inspired, and start receiving our tips to make more ethical fashion choices.

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