AFFORDABLE SUSTAINABLE FASHION | Conscious Shopping on a Budget

Ethical and sustainable fashion brands are more expensive but building a conscious wardrobe doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money!

Buy second-hand clothes online:
Ebay (look into the sellers to make sure they’re not just re-selling new clothes)

Vintage stores:
Beyond Retro (UK)
Etsy vintage
Rokit (UK)

Second-hand ethical brands:
Fisher Found (secondhand Eileen Fisher)
Green Eileen – stores in the US (reworked Eileen Fisher)
Bead & Reel Rescued Collection

Discounted ethical fashion at Love Justly

Garmentory also carries some sustainable/ethical brands like Kowtow, Amour Vert, Allison Wonderland, Olderbrother, New Classics Studio, Veja, and more. Sometimes selling past-season and sale clothes, you can also make an offer on some products

People Tree sample sale in London – they also have pretty good sales sometimes online

Clothing Swapping/Swishing:
Clothing swap Meetups
Swap Style
also check local events or host your own clothing swap party!

Other resources:
What does that $14 shirt really cost?
The True Cost Documentary

Thrifting tips
How to care for your clothes
What are good quality clothes
Why I buy new & used clothing

Thanks for watching!

Want to shop more consciously? Check out my sustainable/ethical brand directory

Thank you so much to the community members helping out with subtitling/translating for making this content more accessible!

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47 thoughts on “AFFORDABLE SUSTAINABLE FASHION | Conscious Shopping on a Budget

  1. Hey Verena, I'm trying to shop ethical and eco friendly fashion and am super burnt out by info overload. I kinda want to give up on shopping and just stretch my current wardrobe as much as possible before I have to start replacing things. Any suggestions on how to shop ethically without burnout??

  2. Unfortunately often people assume more expensive stores are ethical and well made . I am not sure about the us but plenty of uk stores will charge 20 – 30 pounds (40- 50 dollars I think) for a t shirt that is awful quality and still made unethically nd unfortunately charity and thrift stores in the uk are getting more expensive too and that can be outputting to people. It would be nice if more major brands would show how the clothing is made as I am sure some regular brands are ethical too.

  3. Thank you for making this video. I have resolved to shop as sustainably as I possibly can as I head into college and career, so I deeply appreciate the tips. You are beautiful inside and out!

  4. Thank you for all the wonderful tips. I just started focusing on sustainable fashion after one my friend told me about the terrible conditions workers are subjected in other countries. Then I watched a documentary about it on Netflix. I honestly had no idea how bad things were. It's so great to find a channel like yours to help on this journey to more sustainable living. And, those long fluttery lashes, I am jealous! 😁

  5. I do buy second-hand things, but not always when it comes to clothing. I am very small in size. It has always been a challenge to buy clothes that fit, especially shoes. Good thing is many stores these days have clothes in XS, which usually fits me very very well. But I always have to compete with other people who don't necessarily need an XS. Therefore I tend to buy first hand clothing and shoes. My clothes usually last up to 5 years. They aren't always expensive, and of high quality, though. Some of them are as cheap as $10. Some are more expensive. The expensive ones are usually what I wear in cold weathers. I don't shop a lot. I suppose less shopping is always best.

  6. Lovely and such an important video! I run a small, 100% sustainable and handmade clothing shop on Etsy (Knit And Green) – if anyone would like to check it out, there's a presentation video on my profile 🙂 x

  7. I found you almost a month ago and I watched many of your videos before suscribing to your channel. It was very interesting for me to learn all those new facts about ethical fashion and all the genre that comes out of it! You really motivated me to start think and act more ethical. One step at a time because I realised that I was n't managing well my belongings until now. One way that I have found keeping my wardrobe conscious was to use my mum's old garments by altering them ( she was always saving her best pieces for her daughters ( my sister and I)- little did she know how good has done to me!) and also because she used to be a seamstress there are a lot of leftover fabrics and accessories such as buttons or zippers to reuse! Last winter we even found a few unfinished garments and I altered them! Back then I did n't know that I was partly doing ethical fashion, I didn't even know the term! I realised it when I accidentally started watching you channel!Thank you for teaching me new, practical and helpful ways that in turn help the environment and our lovely planet! Keep up the good work!

  8. This is exactly what I did! Buying second hand was my first steps to becoming sustainable. I love your point about buying quality over quantity. That is what I've been trying to do whilst even buying second hand. Focusing on fabrics and asking myself "will i wear this enough" and "whats already in my wardrobe" really helped me.

  9. hey, please educate me on this topic but if we bought sustainable wouldn't that leave the other people without their jobs? How could we combat that? It's kind of like shopping for organic produce. That would leave some workers without jobs or pay.

  10. Hi, this was an amazing video putting your points straight out buying second hand clothing as well balancing with new bought clothes. We are an ethical brand Zest N Zeal and we support the idea of Sustainability and Ethics going hand in hand to do a bit to help save the appalling environment. We are a brand existing for a purpose. I recently gave my clothes around 50 of them to mom and sister so they could use them and I could see those smiles as their casual clothing problem is solved and I also make it a point if not giving it to some one I give it for recycling.

  11. I appreciate that you started this video on answering these two word questions: Price? & Why? For most people, unfortunately, they stop at the first question. They don't ask the second, and equally important one word question: Why?

    Big Marketing Campaigns discourage you from asking "Price? & Why?" by always having a sale, offer loyalty discounts (especially for high priced pieces), even encouraging peer pressure, but mostly by building discontent in you. They want you instead, to ask these two questions : Price? & Which? The message of marketing campaigns is this: Clothing is means to an end. You're as good as what you wear, so wear us.

    It makes sense that big clothing companies want to sustain that market by having people question themselves rather than the products that they are selling to them.

    It's understandable that people want to look good and be relevant in their clothing choices but they often don't know what's involved in making clothes they wear unless they took a fashion related course like you did, or perhaps had their hand in making or mending clothes or at least be aware on how their local tailor or seamstress does their work. Someone has to pick up the tab, whether the buyers fork out the cash or the workers pay with their labor, and the sad part is that buyers have a choice but the workers often don't. Encouraging sustainable fashion, not only helps the environment and the workers who make them, but ultimately the wearer, having been a part of the real sustainable market that benefits everyone, including themselves.

  12. These videos are so motivating! I quit fast fashion 4 months ago and I love going to swap parties. But if you're looking for something there are many other ways.

    My best advice would be to shop out of season. Maybe someone already said this. But there are so many amazing things on sale from ethical brands (at them moment at Hessnatur for example), if you just wait till the mid of summer to buy a new summer dress you can buy it ethical and for a good price.

    Keep doing what you're doing Verena! I'm looking forward to the fast!

  13. BTW I worked in a factory in Thailand that produced OEM for fast fashion brands. It wasn't a sweatshop by any means, we have been losing businesses to the likes of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. In other words, we are barely surviving. I was in charge of costing, and I can tell you we were HAMMERED. The particular brands I worked for I won't every buy from again. Other similar brands, I try not to. I try my best to buy local brands for sportswear, but the quality (especially for the garment construction) is really not up to par with the big brands. It's a tricky game to play, but I guess you have to lose something to gain something.

  14. this video really helped. I love that you find hand made items at a thrift store. I haven't shopped much at thrift stores. I stopped shopping at cheap retailers like old navy, forever 21 etc. I watched the documentary the true cost and based on this I've dramatically stopped shopping. I'm planning to donate more items and shop at 2nd hand. thanks for your video.

  15. I watched this last night:
    Skip to 4 minutes in. I had NO idea until last night how many stores just throw un-sold merchandise in their dumpsters. I just cannot fathom it. I love the dollar tree I won't stop shopping there, but they aren't the only ones who are doing this! I imagine all of the big chain stores do this to some degree. Clearly the people who are telling their employees to destroy or to throw things away in the dumpster have never ever struggled a day in their lives. I always assumed un-sold merchandise was then sold to stores like TJ Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, Tuesday Morning, etc. I mean they could make more profits that way and nothing would be getting thrown away.

  16. since watch your channel, I have become more conscious in my fashion choices. I have bought my first MUD jeans and I now live in them. I have been visiting people tree and they are expensive, when do they do sample sale. do they have these sales in London?

  17. I am in love with Beyond retro!!!! They have lovely items on their outlet page for very affordable prices even when shipping to the US. Cannot wait for my first order!!!! Thank you so much.

  18. Nice to see that there are different options for buying sustainable fashion second hand directly from such brands. Really goes to show their true ethics! My personal experience for years has been swapping my family's closet. My sister and I swapped items even back and forth (even though we have different sizes/body types, tops and dresses can be pretty easy). Even some of my brother's teenage shirts ending up being my staple all season pieces. Lastly I was amazed by "stealing" some of my mother's kept sentimental pieces from 70's and 80's. I realized that not only do they fit the trends from the last couple of years but even garments made from 100% polyester feel like such a good quality.

  19. Really enjoyed this. Even though my city doesn't have many thrift stores since watching your videos have picked some great pieces, including a really high quality cotton t-shirt for less than $2 dollars.

  20. It's a really mind shift to think about the price of a clothing from a conscious perspective but once you have it you can never see the things the other way. Unfortunately in my country, Turkey, we have very limited 2nd hand options and since "fashion revolution" idea is very new, brands do not feel the need to be more transparent, ethical or eco-friendly. So I found myself 2-3 brands that I know have factories in Turkey and pay their workers fairly. Some of their garments are not made from eco-friendly materials but that is a quid pro quo.

  21. I think the biggest idea you touched on when it comes to more ethical/sustainable clothing is: being happy owning less. Truly changing your mentally about the number of items you need and being sincerely content with the pieces you have. We shop, in general, mostly out of discontent rather than out of need. To me, the difficulty most people encounter when trying to understand how to afford these pieces is not the financial ability, but they have the wrong mindset towards their closets and are still stuck on thinking the old way we have been taught (tons of options, big wardrobe, multiple colours of something, etc.). Something generally has to give: the number of pieces or the budget.
    Thanks for a lovely video Erin! I appreciate your gentle challenges to us and constant encouragement.

  22. Love your channel! You've definitely been a great resource in my decision to stop shopping from fast fashion. I'm actually taking on of my first second hand shopping trips next weekend. Thanks for the education and positive outlook you provide.

  23. Yes to a swap! There was one organized at work and it was so much fun seeing people getting excited about pieces you love but are ready for others to enjoy. It was free and you get to get rid of clothes that you know others will get to love. And "leftovers" were donated to a women's charity

  24. I'd love to shop second hand more. Unfortunately, my size is extremely popular (or it must be) bc none of the shops I've tried in my area have clothes that fit my style and/or are not worn out. I really like that Athleta has come out with several lines of fair trade certified clothing bc they're easily accessible and I love their linen shops for summer 😉

  25. Thredup is terrible.. I sent stuff to them and never heard back from them- no email and no phone call.. very unprofessional.. I used their shipping bag and labels too idk why it didn't reach them.

  26. I think you should make a video on online second hand shops! Very little people know about them and I get almost all my clothing from there because I can find new and gently used items that were just going to be thrown away!

  27. When I made the decision to pursue more ethical options for my clothes, I realized that I really didn't need to be buying clothes. At all. When you cut out the option to shop mall brands, it becomes apparent pretty quickly if the extra effort needed to research the clothes you're buying really matches up with how much you need a certain clothing item.

  28. Important video! Thanks for making this. I just got my first depop purchase today and I'll be looking into the other kinds of second hand ethical fashion sellers you mentioned. It really is so true that when something is more expensive we put more thought into buying it and maybe make wiser choices in the end.

  29. Your first points are so important. It's hard for many people to understand why the ethical and sustainable brands are more expensive because of the huge supply chain and it costs a lot more to do things the morally correct way. Unfortunately, these fast fashion brands have set the bar of what fashion is "supposed" to cost.
    Also, I'm so glad you included all of these sites, some I haven't even heard of. Loved this video <3

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