Since I absolutely refuse to start this article off with a silly pun involving the word “green”, I’ll just give it to you straight: we have a whole lot of environmental problems that require drastic and immediate action in order for the world to simply continue functioning as it does now. Entire nations are sinking, you guys! But before I get too doom-and-gloom on you, it’s also worth noting that individuals, businesses, and even governments are taking notice and beginning to implement more environmentally friendly practices and policies into their day-to-day lives and operations.

The fashion industry is starting to take notice too. Eco-minded entrepreneurs and mega-retailers alike are offering wares of every shape, size, and style made from responsibly sourced materials. Organic and vegan fabrics have become popular and the ability to recycle old clothing and textiles into brand-new pieces has given manufacturers the opportunity to cut back on waste and give new life to what would have previously been thrown away.

Like every other industry, fashion may soon be forced to adapt to serious changes in our environment. And as an industry ruled by rapid-fire trends and cheap mass production, fashion’s impact on the planet isn’t exactly positive. It’s up to consumers like us to steer fashion in the right direction by supporting brands who make clothing sustainably and forcing our favorite not-so-sustainable retailers to follow suit. How do we do this, you ask? By shopping!

Obviously the answer to saving the fashion industry and the planet isn’t ramping up consumerism. But by investing in well-made, Earth-friendly pieces that’ll last you for years, you can begin building a sustainable wardrobe that you’ll both feel good about and look good in. It’s not about buying more, but rather buying better. To start, here are a few outfit suggestions comprised completely of sustainably made clothing and accessories.

 

Outfit #1
top // H&M Conscious, $12
jeans // Kuyichi, about $165
cardigan // PeopleTree, about $240
flats // OlsenHaus, $140
bag // Freedom of Animals, $360

 

sustainable1

 

Outfit #2
top // H&M Conscious, $10
skirt // Amour Vert, $128
boots // MooShoes, $155
necklace // A Peace Treaty, $115

 

sustainable2

 

Outfit #3
dress // Amour Vert, $195
sneakers // Superga, $35
scarf // A Peace Treaty, $340
pouch // Della, $24

 

sustainable3

 

And in case you’re wondering about what makes these particular brands so awesome (and worth some of the heftier price tags)…

– A Peace Treaty’s gorgeous accessories are inspired by its founders’ worldly backgrounds and extensive travels. These products are handmade by artisans around the world who specialize in centuries-old crafts.

– Amour Vert is a great sustainable brand all around – the company plants trees when certain t-shirts are purchased, uses organic and recycled fabrics as well as low-impact dyes, and makes its products right here in the US.

– Della is a “women-owned, women-run” accessory line whose products are handcrafted by artisans in Ghana using locally sourced textiles (and vegan leather!). Portions of the profits from this line go towards providing education, childcare, and healthcare for these artisans and their families.

– Freedom of Animals creates luxurious handbags from high-quality vegan leather. Their materials and manufacturing processes are highly sustainable and their products are just as beautiful as any designer leather bag.

– H&M Conscious is the mega-retailer’s sustainable clothing line. Comprised mostly of simple, flattering pieces made of organic and recycled materials; H&M Conscious is a great resource for affordable, eco-friendly basics.

– Kuyichi began as a sustainable denim line and now sells a wide variety of responsibly made casual clothing for men and women. Unfortunately this line isn’t available in the US yet, but here’s hoping it hops across the pond soon!

– MooShoes is a “vegan-owned” online hub for cruelty-free shoes and accessories. They also have a physical store in New York City (and one coming to Los Angeles too). MooShoes also supports a wide variety of animal-related causes!

– OlsenHaus is another animal-friendly footwear brand that that boats a variety of luxurious, trendy shoes made of sustainable materials and a wealth of celebrity fans.

– PeopleTree is an established sustainable and fair-trade fashion brand based in the UK. They have all kinds of clothing ranging from well-made basics to quirky pieces with British flair. You may have heard about Emma Watson’s collaborations with PeopleTree in 2010 and 2011.

– Italian footwear brand Superga is a celeb favorite that offers cruelty-free (and reasonably-priced!) canvas sneakers for men and women.