Sustainable fashion brands to shop for


4ocean is a brand that makes their products out of plastic that pollutes the ocean. 

Ashlynn Kile

Ethical clothing brands and shopping more sustainably are big trends right now in the fashion industry. Iowa State students have tips on how to shop more sustainably.

“Sustainable fashion is about how the clothing is made and who is making it. Is the company paying garment workers enough? What are the labor laws? What are the child labor laws?” said Lauren Johnson, an apparel, merchandising and design major with a minor in sustainability at Iowa State. 

Sustainable fashion looks at how clothing is being made, what materials are being used and what the toll on the environment is to make the clothing. This includes water production, dyes for the clothing, shipping the clothing and more. 

“There is a huge waste issue in the fashion industry,” said Claire Wessels, an apparel, merchandising and design major at Iowa State. “If you are going to be a part of the mass market and support the companies that import fabrics and things, support companies that recycle clothing. There are a lot of smaller brands that are sustainable and many larger ones that are starting to be more sustainable.” 

Many brands are starting to hop on the sustainability bandwagon and being innovative to find better ways to make and sell their clothing. 4ocean is a company Wessels mentioned. They recycle ocean waste into clothing and other merchandise like bracelets, reusable shopping bags, reusable water bottles, travel straws, hats and more. The proceeds go to cleaning up the ocean and helping conservation efforts. 

The Girlfriend Collective is really great. They make all their activewear out of recycled plastic bottles,” Johnson said. “Rent the Runway is also a super awesome company.” 

Rent the Runway is a company that allows members to pay a monthly fee to have clothes shipped to them for the month. Once the time is up, the member ships the clothes back and can have the option to rent more. It is a more sustainable way to try out new clothes and trendy items without paying the full price for them while also being more sustainable.

Thrifting is also a great way to shop more sustainably, whether that is online through Instagram or at local thrift stores in town.

ThredUP is an online thrift store. There is also Plato’s Closet, Goodwill, Salvation Army as well as thrifting on social media,” Johnson said. “Local little boutiques are a great way to shop more sustainably. It’s more expensive, but you’re getting more sustainable, ethically made clothing.”

With COVID-19 and the fear of going out and shopping, online thrifting through Instagram is a great way to buy clothes while staying safe.

“A big part of sustainable fashion is shopping within your small businesses because they don’t produce massive amounts of clothing, therefore there is a smaller toll on the environment,” Wessels said. “I mostly follow people on Instagram that have companies and sell clothes and other items. Definitely upcycle clothes by watching tutorials on YouTube. You can turn something into something better.”