How can you look fabulous without hurting the planet?

27 Jan 2022
3 min read

Fashion is one of the most polluting industries out there. It creates up to 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s significantly more than all aviation and shipping emissions combined.

If we don’t ditch fast fashion, the United Nations estimates it will take up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. We need to change our ways. And fast! But how can you look stylish without costing the Earth?

The number one thing is to reduce the amount of new clothes and accessories you buy as much as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t still wow with an exciting new look. It’s all about being creative.

For a start, did you know that clothes hire is booming? It’s a great way to save wardrobe space and money. Even Marks & Spencer is getting in on the act. The high street retailer recently paired up with fashion rental website Hirestreet to offer womenswear pieces from its Autograph range. Other sites worth checking out are Girl Meets Dress and My Wardrobe HQ. You can even rent out jeans for a monthly subscription of about £8 from Dutch brand Mud.

Alternatively, you can buy vintage or second-hand. Considering A-listers like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow have all worn vintage for special occasions, it’s definitely glam. But you don’t have to splurge a fortune on retro designer gear in specialist boutiques. Have you considered the idea that older relatives may be the source of fantastic vintage finds? After all, Princess Beatrice wore her gran’s 1960’s dress for her 2020 wedding (of course, it helps that her gran’s the Queen!)

If there are no 1950’s cocktail dresses lurking in your auntie’s closet, websites like Oxfam have an incredible range of nearly new outfits, which you can search by size, designer and colour.

Female shop assistant in fashion store

Alternatively, you could upcycle an old garment. The website Love Your Clothes has lots of ideas. Or you could get into what’s known as ‘swishing’ and organise clothes swapping event with friends. Make sure to serve fizz! If you’re not the same size, you can focus on accessories. Handbags, scarves, belts and jewellery can instantly lift an outfit. You can even rent a designer handbag from Selfridges or Hurr.

If you are still tempted to pick up a high street outfit, try to buy good quality clothes that will last. When it comes to eco-friendly designers, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood are the big names to go for. More affordable sustainable brands include People Tree, Rapanui Clothing and footwear favourite Veja.

Your fast fashion urge might be curbed by the knowledge that Brits are the biggest fast fashion addicts in Europe. Every year, we send 300,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill. A significant percentage is made from nylon or polyester, which, like plastic, is produced from oil.

These fabrics can take two hundred years to decompose leaving dangerous microplastics in the soil and oceans. Hopefully, the time’s come for us to reconsider our attitudes to shopping and embrace green style that lasts.


The information in this article was correct at the time of writing and is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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