My Top Tip for Starting Out with Sustainable Fashion

this post is sponsored by Honest Department

I want to make sustainable fashion attainable fashion ( in case you haven’t noticed, I’m far too proud of that phrase ) and I’ve found a brand that’s doing exactly that!

It’s time to shop sustainably in a way that suits you, and I’ve created today’s post to help you figure out what that looks like for you.

Sidewalk TalkPanthurr
00:00 / 02:08

the sustainability movement can be an extremely intimidating one


Let’s be honest: it can often feel like if you’re not 100% zero waste, ethical and sustainable, it’s impossible to get started.

So, as the unqualified encouragement coach that no one has approved to give you life advice but insists on doing so anyway, I’m here to tell you to that every little eco-conscious change you make will contribute to a huge and wonderful one. Whether you’re an eco warrior camping on Oxford St with powerful protests and moving messages or you bought a reusable coffee cup and a set of metal straws, you’re moving in the right direction.

One aspect of our day-to-day that affects everyone is clothing - fashion-lover or not - which is why it’s a huge opportunity for anyone to contribute to the eco movement without sleeping in a tent in Central London.

So when it comes to getting sustainable, fashion is a pretty good place to start.


Here’s why …

the fashion industry’s impact


Around 80 billion new pieces of clothing are consumed each year. I know.

In a Cornwall orangery less than 48 hours ago ( stick with me here ) , Extinction Rebellion campaigner Sara Arnold was in conversation with Emily Sheffield, former deputy editor of Vogue. Discussing the impact of the fashion industry on the planet, Arnold explained that there needs to be a ‘complete cultural change around clothes’.

She went on to break down the key facts that I think could convince pretty much anyone of the urgency of this change, as summed up by Ellie Violet Bramley for The Guardian: ‘the industry is set to grow by 63% by 2030; 100bn items are produced each year; fashion is a contributor to about 10% of carbon emissions; it is one of the biggest polluters, responsible for the release of a huge amount of microfibres and plastics into the ocean’.


Pretty intense stuff.

But do not worry - it is in fact possible to help to minimise the fashion industry’s impact on the environment without cutting out a relationship with fashion and shopping.

Here’s how …

figuring out your eco values

So what’s my top tip for getting started with sustainable fashion? Figure out your eco values.

By this, I mean working out which brand’s ethos fits best with your personal morals. As I mentioned earlier, there are likely a million boxes, at the very least, that a garment would need to tick in order to be 100% zero-waste, ethical and sustainable - finding one that does so is near-impossible ( and, not to mention, an extreme task ) . Heading straight to the New In section of your favourite high street stores is not only a weekly routine for many of us, but also a whole lot less effort than researching the perfect brand that works in line with the planet, our style and our budget.

So how the heck can we join the #FashionRevolution if it’s so tricky to tick the right boxes? Well, that’s the thing - there are actually no right and wrong sustainability boxes to tick in the world of conscious fashion - each one serves its own valuable and urgent purpose. The best way to tick off some of ‘em is to figure out which ones resonate with you the most.


Let’s talk about which values are out there to choose from, and how Honest Department can help you to navigate ‘em …

how to get started


To make this process a whole lot easier for you, Honest Department - a gorgeous online store with a curated selection of conscious fashion - divides their pieces according to the value at its brand’s core. Whether you’re looking for cruelty-free clothing or green af garments, Honest Department only stocks brands whose ethos fits into at least one of their eco value categories.

Let’s dive into what these eco values look like, what they mean for the planet, and why you might be keen to focus on quite a few of them …


eco friendly

Planet-prioritising alternatives to fast fashion. These pieces use materials like Tencel and recycled fabrics, as well as mindful production processes which are conscious of the environment’s wellbeing. This includes minimising water pollution and water usage in clothing production, using materials that won’t release microfibres each time they’re washed, avoiding releasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, and a whole lot more ( stay tuned for a post on exactly this! ) .


natural + organic

Super soft, GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified natural fabrics which are gentle on your skin and mindful of the environment. This means no mysteriously poisonous clothing ( hi River Island, how are ya? ) , no GMOs, to soil erosion, low energy requirements and more. No harmful chemicals, no problems.


social change

Brands with social change at their core ensure that their workers are paid a living wage + work in a safe environment. This is quite the opposite to the world of fast fashion, where garment workers are subjected to working for far too many hours, paid less than minimum wage, with emotional abuse, physical assault, unemployment once pregnant and, not to mention, unsafe working conditions. The Rana Plaza disaster sums it up.


artisanal + handmade

Handmade in intentionally small batches in ethical environments, these pieces are a totally unique, contemporary take on traditional craftsmanship techniques over many generations. This involves promoting and supporting artisan skills, as well as producing a mindful volume of pieces to suit current consumer demands, as opposed to the fast fashion industry’s technique of mass-production to constantly create more demand.



As you’d expect, vegan garments and accessories do not involve animals in any way, meaning you can style up a piece knowing no beings were harmed in its making. The vegan-friendly materials behind these pieces can include anything from linen and hemp to seaweed, soybeans and more. Many of the materials you find in high street pieces are not animal friendly whatsoever, from £20 leather flats to £100 wool blazers, and there are a range of brands creating cruelty-free alternatives.

the eco values behind today’s outfit


the dress

brand Diarte

about Established less than a decade ago, every step of the Diarte production process takes place in Madrid, from first sketches to finishing touches. With a focus on unwavering ethics and social consciousness, they blend traditional craftsmanship techniques with high quality natural materials.

values Eco-Friendly, Natural and Organic, Social Change, Artisanal and Handmade, Vegan

Find it here.


the bag

brand Arteli

about With an emphasis on building a community over a company, Arteli has built a strong and close bond with female artisans in the small town of Usiacuri, on the North Coast of Colombia, who are the talented artists behind each ( 100% hand-made ) piece. Created from sun-dried raw Iraca palm tree leaves, Arteli products are made with either recycled or reclaimed materials to minimise waste and environmental impact.

values Eco-Friendly, Natural and Organic, Social Change, Artisanal and Handmade, Vegan

Find it here.

some extra eco value tips

If you’re new to the #FashionRevolution, I’d recommend choosing one or two that resonate most with your personal morals right now. When you find yourself sussing out the brands whose sustainability style suits yours, you can gradually start to introduce a couple more boxes for each of your new garments to tick.

It’s a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but I hope that the content I create can make it a little less intimidating. Be patient with it, and be gentle with yourself. The fact that you’re even starting to consider making changes is a step in a super sustainable direction.



So tell me - what are your eco values? Which of these values resonates the most with you and why?