Sustainable fashion is quickly replacing fast fashion as the trendiest way to make a statement with your clothes. And there are countless reasons to celebrate this. The textile industry generates more than a billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually, while fast fashion companies contribute to the waste of 11 million tons of clothing each year in the U.S. alone and are responsible for egregious human rights abuses against garment workers.
Like with any important social movement, alarming facts alone aren’t always enough to inspire change. Thankfully, sustainable fashion has plenty of amazing cultural influencers on its side. These influencers, who spread their messages on Instagram, Youtube, and on their personal blogs, are the veritable faces of the sustainable fashion movement.
For some people, having a more conscious closet can mean buying only from ethical brands that pay workers a fair wage and use earth-friendly materials and manufacturing methods. For others, it can mean hitting up their local thrift store with a fury. The influencers in this list cover these and everything in between, offering up helpful tips for getting the most out of your sustainable wardrobe. You may have heard of some of them, and some might be new to you. In any case, we hope they can inspire you to work towards a wardrobe that’s better for people and the planet!
Our favorite good influencers
Image via Instagram/@kristenleo
Her sarcastic wit and devastatingly on-point social commentary make Kristen Leo a favorite. Kristen takes on multinational corporations and discusses the harms of social media, among other topics. Her knowledge of the fashion industry, along with her passion for promoting better environmental and social standards in fashion, are what land her on this list. It’s hard to beat Kristen’s unique bohemian style and thrifting tips, but it’s her strong moral compass, compassion, and no-bull attitude that we really love.
Image via Instagram/best.dressed
Ashley a.k.a. Bestdressed isn’t strictly a sustainable fashion vlogger. But her mad thrifting skills and mouthwatering second-hand hauls are super inspiring for those of us trying to shop a little more sustainably. Bonus: she has more quirk than Zooey Deschanel and Mindy Kaling combined, and her puns will make you snort milk out of your nose.
Watch: Sustainable fashion haul
Jemma Finch and Ella Grace Denton
Image via Instagram/@storiesbehindthings
The best friends and founders of Stories Behind Things focus on storytelling as an avenue for inspiring more conscious consumption. They explore sustainably made pieces from around the world, showcasing their cultural significance and sharing what makes them truly sustainable. Their Instagram account largely features handmade and vintage items along with detailed captions about everything from women in business to the experience of garment workers in developing countries.
Image via Instagram/@sedonachristina
Sedona Christina started her Youtube channel to promote a more sustainable lifestyle, advocating for minimalism and zero waste. She shares recipes for DIY shampoos and cleaning products, as well as pointers on reducing all kinds of waste in your life. Recently the Youtuber started shifting to a more conscious wardrobe, and has shared her slow fashion journey on her channel.
Watch: Quitting Fast Fashion
Image via Instagram/@ethicallykate
Kate Hall a.k.a. Ethically Kate has one mission: to open your eyes to the harms of fast fashion, including labor abuses and crimes against the environment. She promotes thrifting and buying from ethical brands, and is an overall champion of the slow fashion movement in all its forms. While we hope Kate’s Insta-worthy threads will inspire you to seek out more sustainable clothing options, it’s her commitment to making the world a better place that makes us love her.
Feeling inspired to take things slow?
Like any big change, moving to a more sustainable wardrobe is something you should do consciously, mindfully, and at a pace that works for you. Explore Project Ropa’s blog to learn more about fast fashion and why shopping ethically is one of the best things you can do for the planet. Once you feel ready to take the first step, check out our Guide to a Conscious Wardrobe Part 1 and Part 2.
Project Ropa is a nonprofit committed to ending the cycle of poverty by employing those experiencing homelessness to create upcycled clothing. Learn more about our mission.
Written by: Janie Ryan