Ethical and sustainable fashion is an expansive topic, and it could be daunting for beginners to start stepping into. Here we’ve gathered our top 3 go to resources in different categories. Whether you are interested in learning about ethical fashion through watching documentaries, reading blogs, attending events or listening to podcasts, you can find the recommendations here.
This is the first of a series of blog posts. Later on, we’ll dive into each categories and share more resources within them. If you are interested in other categories which we haven’t covered in this guide, please leave us a comment, and we’ll make sure to add it.
This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.
Every human being on the planet is a consumer of textile or clothing goods! Our production of these goods has grown increasingly harmful to the health of the environment and its inhabitants and has become one of the most significant polluters of all industries. There are many ways in which the textile industry affects our world both locally and globally. The better we understand its effects, the more likely we will be to make better choices and to consciously vote with every dollar we spend. With nearly 7 billion people living on earth and a rapidly growing population, we need to reverse the trend of toxic destruction and clean up the production of these materials.
A new direction for fashion production has begun. Organic cotton, efficient factories and ethical labor practices are emerging around the world. There is a growing conscience among designers to do the right thing and a need for the public to understand the importance of this trend.
A lot of our clothes bear the label ‘Made in Bangladesh’. But before the deadly collapse of a garment factory there last April, most of us never thought about the people who make them. After clothes bound for Canada were found in the rubble of Rana Plaza, Canadian companies reacted with surprise - how could such a tragedy happen?
The fifth estate’s Mark Kelley went to Bangladesh and tracked down workers who say they are still forced to make clothes for Canada in dangerous conditions. And Kelley goes behind bars for an exclusive interview with the jailed owner of one of the biggest factories inside Rana Plaza, who details his long-standing, multi-million dollar connections to Canada.
Made in Bangladesh won the 2014 International Emmy® Award for Current Affairs programming.
Dr. Christina Dean is the Founder and CEO of Redress, an NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry. Christina is a regular speaker at seminars and has received numerous recognitions for her work, including being listed by U.S. online magazine Coco Eco as one of '2010's Most Influential Women in Green' and by U.K. Vogue as one of the U.K.'s 'Top 30 Inspirational Women'. Prior to founding Redress, Christina was a journalist and a practicing dental surgeon.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
On the brink of potentially dangerous climate change and with attention on corporate social responsibility soaring to new heights, the world needs innovators -- both people and businesses - who can lead the push toward more sustainable solutions. The fashion industry has the potential to be one such innovator, working proactively to address critical environmental, social, and ethical challenges on a global scale.
Consumers -- you and I - can play a pivotal role in transitioning the fashion industry towards more sustainable business models that significantly reduce the social and environmental impacts of the industry.
My talk is about what every one of us can do to improve our personal footprint and the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry.
Eva Kruse is CEO and President of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week. She is also board member of several organizations and companies among them for instance: Nordic Fashion Association, Wonderful Copenhagen and Birger Christensen. Danish Fashion Institute is behind the world's largest and most important event on sustainability and fashion: The Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the next to be held April 2014. Since she graduated in entrepreneurship and leadership from The KaosPilots, Eva Kruse has worked within the worlds of fashion and media, including positions as editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Eurowoman and as a TV host with the Danish television. In 2005, Eva Kruse was one of the co-founders of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week.
What do you wear if you’re going to meet the Head of London College of Fashion? Professor Frances Corner discusses how we place so much time and energy into choosing what to wear, but often forget about the environmental or ethical costs of our clothes. She calls for us to take responsibility for cheap, disposable fashion and begin to use fashion as a force for good, highlighting examples such as a bra that can detect cancer, clothes that clean the surrounding air and 3D-printed fabrics. She makes an insightful call for us all to forget frivolity and start thinking more seriously about what it is we wear.
Professor Frances Corner OBE is Head of London College of Fashion and Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London. She has over 20 years’ experience within the higher education sector at a national and international level.
Frances champions the use of fashion as an agent for innovation and change, particularly in the areas of sustainability, health and well-being.
Frances is Chair of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes, a Trustee of The Wallace Collection and Chair of Trustees of the House of Illustration. She was recently named in the Business of Fashion 500 – a professional index of key people shaping the global fashion industry.
In 2014 Frances published her first book, entitled ‘Why Fashion Matters’ (Thames and Hudson)
Eco Fashion by Sass Brown, honors what ground-breakers are doing in the fashion industry to integrate their consciousness, lifestyle choices and concern for our planet and the people on it, into their business strategies. The designers and labels featured in Eco Fashion, overview a range of change in our industry from entirely new business models to recycle, reuse, redesign, sustainable fabrications, diversion of waste materials from landfill, fair trade and community development. This book is about good design that gives back. Good design in its many guises from street fashion to couture, and everything else in between. It is not however about boring beige T-shirts or scratchy, drawstring pajama-style pants, but fun, playful, ethereal, cerebral, intelligent design, at various price points and for various markets.
Naked Fashion invites you to join the movement of consumers, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals who are using their purchasing power, talents, and experience to make fashion more sustainable.
Anyone with an active interest in fashion and where our clothes come from or looking for a career in fashion and the media will find inspiration and advice on how to make a difference.
Designers and creatives from all over the world—including photographers, models, illustrators, actors, and journalists—talk about what they are doing differently to make fashion more sustainable:
- Emma Watson explains why fair trade fashion is so important to her
- Summer Rayne Oakes describes how she took on the model agencies
- Vivienne Westwood talks high-fashion without the high stakes for the planet
Inside you will find fair trade and environment, styling and modeling, up-cycling and "slow" fashion, how we can change the high street, an ethical brand directory, and stunning visuals throughout.
Safia Minney is founder and director of Fair Trade and environmental fashion and lifestyle label People Tree. Safia has turned a lifelong interest in environmental, trade and social justice issues from a lifestyle into a Fair Trade business.
In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh—the worst garment industry accident in recorded history—the phrase “fashion disaster” acquired a new and much more sinister meaning. Commentators suggested that the tragedy was completely predictable in a sector with a shocking track record of rampant environmental damage, use of toxic chemicals, and chronic human rights abuse.
Now the industry is undergoing a shift, and many of us are questioning our buying habits. The rise of socially and environmentally responsible retailers like Patagonia and The Body Shop has led to dramatic changes in the eco and ethical fashion landscape. Magnifeco is the Fast Food Nation of the fashion world—your guide to making a difference too. In this guide, author Kate Black:
- Examines non-toxic beauty and ethical fashion
- Recommends a multitude of ways for consumers to make better decisions
- Introduces the brands and designers leading the way along this socially responsible path
With this complete head-to-toe guide covering everything from hair and beauty products to shoes and footwear, you can feel better about everything you put on your body and be—magnifeco!
Launched in Los Angeles in 2014 as a community for ethically-minded consumers, The Good Trade is an online publication featuring brands, products and ideas creating positive social change.
The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea consumers are collectively powerful and capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices.
Our team envisions a world where ethically minded consumers vote with their everyday purchases for a world that is sustainable and free from forced labor.
EcoCult is stunningly informed. EcoCult is brash, beautiful and unapologetic. EcoCult loves anything local, sustainable, eco-friendly, handmade—when it’s done well. EcoCult finds finger wagging a bore. Instead, EcoCult celebrates all that is beautiful, delicious, fresh, well-designed and fun in sustainability.
My name is Jennifer Nini and I am the original Eco Warrior Princess. I founded this eco fashion and green lifestyle website back in 2010, yes long before it became “cool” to care about sustainability (please move on if you think it’s a fad, this green platform is not for you…!)
When I began this website, I was a lone blogger – writing, ranting, raving and basically using my comms skills to draw attention to the stuff that really matters. Stuff I felt didn’t get enough broadcast time with traditional media or in social conversations.
When I launched it, it was only my close family and friends reading it. But then over time, it grew and grew. And now we have a team of people who help carry out the mission of Eco Warrior Princess: to be the change.
Now as you may have guessed by its title, this website raises awareness of the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, promotes responsibly-made fashion, advocates policy that is beneficial to our environment and inspires the masses to “go green.”
As for me, I’m originally from Melbourne (Australia) and was called to “The Good Life” which is why I now live in a rural area I lovingly refer to as The Middle of Nowhere, Queensland. You can learn more about what transpired the tree change decision here.
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that runs all year long.
We celebrate fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues. We aim to show that change is possible and encourage those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion.
Fashion Revolution strives to be action-oriented and solution focused. Rather than making people feel guilty, we help them recognise that they have the power to do something to make a positive change.
We often call ourselves “pro-fashion protesters” because we love fashion and want to see it become a force for good.
We try to always be bold, provocative, inquisitive, accessible and inclusive. We tend to avoid negative protesting, victimising and naming and shaming. We do not target specific individual companies because we believe that the industry’s problems are bigger than any one company’s actions. We do not advocate boycotting simply because we don’t see it as an effective way to achieve systemic change.
EcoSessions® is the first global event series that connects designers, industry and citizens to build community and affect change. Fashioned to provide learning, engagement and networking, EcoSessions are an opportunity for industry to come together with the design community to forge relationships and hatch collaborations. Citizens also come to learn and engage directly with their favourite brands.
Currently in six cities (Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Montreal, London and Berlin), with 10 events per year, EcoSessions is expanding.
The €1.5 trillion fashion industry is also one of the most resource and labour intensive industries in the world, emphasising the need for a unified effort to increase the sustainability of our industry across categories, borders and size of businesses. Hence achieving significant impact calls for a joint commitment on addressing the most critical issues that face our industry and planet.
Global Fashion Agenda’s mission is therefore to mobilise the international fashion industry to transform the way we produce and consume fashion. This is done by engaging the broader fashion community on the most pressing issues and solutions and by creating joint commitments to achieve significant progress.
As the flagship event of Global Fashion Agenda, Copenhagen Fashion Summit offers a meeting platform for the fashion sector’s decision-makers and creatives to learn from and engage with industry frontrunners, leading NGOs, experts, policy-makers and academia, and come together on making sustainability a strategic priority. Ultimately Copenhagen Fashion Summit will steer industry leaders towards concrete commitments, for a world beyond next season.
Spirit of 608 is is obsessed with the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tech. We call it FEST, and it’s the future of the fashion industry. The Spirit of 608 raises awareness of FEST brands with weekly podcasts featuring inspiring, real, entertaining conversations with women building badass businesses in FEST.
A podcast where what we wear matters. AWEAR World's founder, Kestrel Jenkins, talks fashion, style, and sustainability on her podcast, where the guests all play a role in the global garment supply chain.
An inclusive audio space, Conscious Chatter opens the door to conversations about our clothing and how we can all do our part to support a better future for the garment industry.
A blog that focuses on all things Made in USA fashion, Rita Mehta dives into ideas about what it takes to make products in the US today. She doesn’t take a particularly technical or political approach to the topic but interviews founders and entrepreneurs trying to grow their brands starting with products made at home.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative connects artisans from the developing world to the international value chain of fashion. In doing so, the Ethical Fashion Initiative harnesses fashion as a vehicle for development. Artisans can change their lives for the better by manufacturing luxury value-added ethical fashion products for top fashion designers.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a strong supporter of the African fashion industry’s potential for growth. The Ethical Fashion Initiative works with the rising generation of fashion talent from Africa and encourages the forging of ethical, sustainable and creative collaborations with artisans from the continent.
Working with top fashion houses and the growing African fashion brands, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is actively involved in and encourages the building of a more ethical and responsible fashion industry.
As a United Nations initiative, all our work is evaluated through an Impact Assessment tool to ensure that the Ethical Fashion Initiative project continues to bring positive impact and tangible results to the communities it works with.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative was founded by Simone Cipriani in 2009 and is a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organization.
Founded in 2004 with a multi–stakeholder board, MADE-BY is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation with a mission to ‘make sustainable fashion common practice’. Through targeted consultancy, partnerships and stakeholder engagement we work with well over 100 brands and retailers including Acne, Eileen Fisher, H&M, Hugo Boss, Kering Group, LVMH Group, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger and G-Star.
Changemakers is an Ashoka program that uses the power of open challenges and social innovation knowledge - coupled with Ashoka’s network of social entrepreneurs and impact partners - to connect high-potential changemakers in order to accelerate the rate of change for critical social issues.
Through a three-step process—frame, convene, and ignite (see below), Ashoka Changemakers® works with the rest of Ashoka, its global network, and partners to frame an approach to a problem that exponentially accelerates social change.
Changemakers builds on the world's largest network of leading social entrepreneurs, created by Ashoka during the last 35 years, to engage a global network that embodies Ashoka’s vision of an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. Network members support each other, collaborate, and collectively achieve much more than the sum of their parts.
Each day we all make choices according to our personal ethics. Ethical Consumer provides the tools and resources you need to make these choices simple, informed and effective.
An independent, not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder co-operative with open membership, founded in 1989 and based in Manchester.
In 2011, the Ethical Fashion Forum launched the SOURCE, a ground breaking social enterprise set to transform livelihoods for 2.5 million people in the developing world and significantly reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. SOURCE is a platform of tools and services for the fashion and textiles industries, from field to final product. It aims to make it easy for fashion professionals and businesses to work sustainably, inspire and motivate members, facilitate research and industry collaboration and put the spotlight on best practice.
Ecouterre is a website devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design. We’re dedicated to showcasing and supporting designers who not only contemplate cut, form, and drape, but also a garment’s social and environmental impact, from the cultivation of its fibers to its use and disposal. Our ethos: To follow the evolution of the apparel industry toward a more environmentally sound future, as well as facilitate a conversation about why sustainable fashion matters.
In September 2009, Jill Fehrenbacher, founder of sustainable-design website Inhabitat.com, launched Ecouterre to dispel any disparaging stereotypes that still cling to the concept of eco-fashion (hemp ponchos, anyone?), while highlighting innovations in fiber technology that will help pave the way for designers and manufacturers to embrace sustainable materials and processes.
Her goal with Ecouterre is for both designers and consumers to start taking the issue of sustainability in clothing design more seriously. More than simply a laundry list of sustainable clothing and accessories you can buy, Ecouterre’s mission is to inform, inspire, and encourage innovation.
Charney Magri is an international, award-winning ethical photographer, director and published author currently working between London, Paris and Dubai. ‘’I wanted to use my talent and voice to be a change agent for social good and sustainability. I wanted to help businesses to tell their why in a way that created positive social change.’’
Alicia is an internationally published photographer who works with ethically driven companies and not-for-profit organisations to produce beautiful, impactful photographs. She specialises in eco lifestyle photography, and NGO photography.
Alicia has spent years living in and travelling around different parts of the world and is motivated to help those who have been so welcoming and generous, who often have no way to communicate their own message to the world. Her photographs portray hope and positivity, an expression of Alicia's personal outlook.
Alicia is based in Crescent Head,on NSW's Mid North Coast, and works both locally and internationally.
Based in Berlin, Germany. Professional photographer for lifestyle and AD - focused on green and social businesses. Nature lover and environmental- and bike aktivist.
Active BUND (friends of the earth Germany) member and founder of the mitRADgelegenheit.
Widely considered the world’s first eco and ethical fashion model, US-based Summer Rayne Oakes is more than just a beautiful face. A Cornell University graduate and Udall environmental scholar, Summer got into modelling without compromising her green philosophy. “I was fortunate enough to have agents who believe in me and my work,” says Summer.
Sydney-based Nerida Lennon is just like any other international model you might meet, one so genetically blessed that it takes strength of willpower to look away. But unlike most other fashion models, Nerida thrives on academia.
Nerida’s CV reads as follows: a Psychology and Sociology degree, teacher of Environmental Sociology and writer for The Guardian Sustainable Business. She is also a prominent ethical fashion advocate in her own right, publishing a monthly newsletter featuring the best articles each month from EcoFashion News.
She has graced the cover of magazines including sustainable lifestyle mag Peppermint Magazine; has modelled at fashion shows such as Undress Runways, has appeared in countless ethical fashion editorials, writes a column for Nature & Health magazine and is founder of Shine from Within, a holistic deportment training school for teen girls. It is little wonder that Amanda Rootsey is Australia’s most recognised eco model and in fact, the country’s first.
Hi, I’m Jasmin. A writer and editor with over two decades of publishing experience, I have a bachelor’s of science in animal biology from the National University of Singapore and a master of science in biomedical journalism from New York University.
Until recently, I was the founding managing editor of Ecouterre, an ethical-fashion website that was not only regarded as groundbreaking in 2009 but also gained a significant following in its seven-plus-change years of existence.
I juggled a coterie of stringers, packaged stories, managed multiple forms of social media, played graphic designer, dispatched a weekly newsletter, and spoke at length at a number of expert panels. (Here’s one I did with H&M and Vogue.)
In 2015, I received an award for my work.
My passions and expertise include the apparel industry’s social and environmental impact, fibers and textiles, biomaterials, and wildlife science.
I’ve also written about politics, technology, climate change, comic books, and green design and architecture. The New York Times once quoted me as an expert on ethical pet ownership (#NBD).
I live in New Jersey with my husband and daughter. We hope to get another cat soon—two if we’re feeling dangerous.
Excellent journalist person, book writer and spreader-of-the-word about slow fashion, Clare Press is Marie Claire Australia’s fashion editor-at-large, and Daily Life’s Sustainable Style columnist.
She is the author of Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion (Nero, 2016), and The Dressing Table (Penguin/Lantern, 2011).
Clare spent five years as features director at Australian Vogue, and was features director at Sunday Style, where her “Fash Fwd” column appeared weekly, and her interview subjects ranged from Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian to Yvon Chouinard and Pharrell.
Clare has also been a columnist for InStyle, was The Monthly‘s first fashion critic and began her career as a senior writer at Rolling Stone. Her byline has been everywhere from Harper’s Bazaar and Elle to the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times Magazine and more. She has been on the telly, and radio and hosted panel discussions at Australian fashion week.
Clare is a passionate advocate for responsible fashion, and sits on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution. Once upon a time, she ran a vintage store. She loves beauty and creativity (and wine and cats) and hates waste, and polyester (unless it’s recycled).
Since 1985, Marion Hume has been a fashion journalist writing for the UK, the USA and Australia.
For five years she was the Senior Consultant for the United Nations' ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative.
She is a consultant to luxury business clients on social and environmental ethics. She is the co-host of the Luxury Law Summit each year in London. She is both a speechwriter and public speaker and is currently working on several philanthropic activations.