A Student’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion

In recent years, everyone has become increasingly aware of the dangers of fast fashion and this includes the students of Durham University. The #pullthethread campaign of DUCFS 2019 highlighted this and has perhaps made the students of Durham more conscientious of how they shop. However, students are notorious for living in their overdraft and our major obstacle to sustainable fashion is the price.

Some simple tips include having a list of what you actually need so when you get pulled into the trap of online shopping you don’t overbuy or overspend. Buying second hand is also a simple change that you can make. This includes shopping on websites such as eBay, Depop and ASOS Marketplace or shopping in charity shops and vintage shops. Upcycling is perhaps the most sustainable way to shake up your wardrobe. However, from my own experience, carrying out a Textiles GCSE project centered around upcycling, I have realised this is a little tricky unless you are a budding seamstress. Who knew making a jumpsuit out of recycled jeans would be so difficult? A final, perhaps more fun idea, is wardrobe swapping. You could make a night out of it with friends, food and maybe some wine. This is something I have done personally, and it worked really well. Sometimes it’s just the thrill of having something new even when its only new to you and I am sure we have all eyed up something of our friend’s before.

However, we all get bored of our wardrobes occasionally and feel the need to buy something new so below I have listed some more affordable, sustainable fashion brands.

Organic Basics

Organic Basics aims to create sustainable fashion and promote ethical production. Organic Basics has saved 2.43 tonnes from entering landfills. They sell all the basic items you might need so all the products can be worn over and over again, including bras from £36 and T-shirts from £30. My favourite items are the TENCEL Lite Tank Top in Cloudy Blue at £35, and the Cheeky Boyd in Nude at £40 (shown below).


Organic basics, Cheeky Body in Nude, £40. Image available from https://www.instagram.com/p/B4o4BuHncyq/

Oh My Clumsy Heart

Oh My Clumsy Heart sells jewellery made from responsibly sourced materials at a fair price. They also ensure that all their workers get fair wages and that they work in a nice environment. All packaging is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. All the rings, earrings and necklaces are under £35 but still made out of high-quality metals. My favourite piece is the 18K Gold Bee Necklace at £25 (shown below).

18K Gold Bee Necklace (also available in sterling silver), £25. Image available from https://www.ohmyclumsyheart.com

Know The Origin

Know The Origin focuses on transparency as every step of the production process is traceable.  Known The Origin only uses organic cotton that is toxin-free and biodegradable. Know The Origin ensures workers have a safe environment to work in, receive fair wages and gives hundreds of people in India economic opportunity. Know The Origin has everything from dresses to wallets and prices range from £20 to £150. My top picks are the Robin Shorts in white, £85, the Fluid Slouch Trouser, £85, and the Flor Stripe Top, £44 (shown below). These products are slightly more expensive so maybe something for the Christmas List.

Flor Striped Top, £44. Image available from https://knowtheorigin.com


Project Pico

This brand was rated number 1 in Ethical Consumer’s underwear guide. In the first project they created soft and simple underwear, made of organic cotton. The cotton is grown in fair-trade farmers’ cooperatives and the underwear is produced in a small fair-trade factory in southern India. In the second project they created hand-woven bath sheets and hand towels, working alongside a cooperative in Gujarat. Their third project is currently underway and I’m sure after getting to know Project Pico, you will be as excited as I am. An underwear set costs £48 (ecru set is shown below), and a hand-woven bath sheet costs £36.

Ecru set, £48. Image available from https://www.project-pico.com



Birdsong states that they produce clothes for women who dress in protest. They create clothes that are produced ethically, made out of sustainable materials and created by highly skilled women that they ensure are being paid the London living wage. They are acting against fast fashion and the constant need to follow ever-changing trends. Their posting and packaging are carried out by Mail Out, which is part of the Unity Works charity that provides support to those living with learning disabilities. My top picks include the Tough Enough Tee, £36, and the Clapton Denim A-line Skirt, £65 (shown below). If you are looking for cheaper items definitely checkout the sale section.

Clapton Denim A-line Skirt, £65.
Image available from https://birdsong.london


In the words of Bethany Williams go turn waste into something cool!

Featured image by Gordon Wrigley. Available on Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0 license

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