Sustainable fashion and textiles – it’s not too late to change.

fashion from nature

fashion from nature  fashion from nature

Fashioned from Nature exhibition at The V & A museum


It is time to face the truth: the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. This is not fake news, it is a fact.

Confession 1: I am guilty of polluting the environment, and I have been doing it for decades without being fully aware of it. I think most of us have. Yet we cannot go on ignoring the consequences of our unintentional actions.

Confession 2: I have always loved fashion, and I even worked in the industry briefly in my 20s. I have bought countless of clothing and accessories at sales without wearing them, and I ended up selling most of my stuff on ebay or donating them to Oxfam.

fashion from nature symposium

fashion from nature

Fashioned from Nature: Designing a Sustainable Future conference at The V & A museum


Last year, I visited the Fashion from nature exhibition at The V & A museum and attended the Fashioned from Nature: Designing a Sustainable Future conference that accompanied the exhibition. Then back in Jan, I visited the Future Fabrics Expo orgainsed by the non-profit organisation, The Sustainable Angle. I figured that in order to be a better consumer/designer/retailer, I’d better educate myself first.

Over the last few years, I made a conscious decision to change the way I consume, and I went about it in several ways:

I unsubscribed myself from newsletters sent by most fashion companies, and I rarely go out to shop for clothing unless it is essential.

If I see fashion items I like in the shops or online, I would not buy immediately. I would wait a few weeks and if I love it THAT much, then I would check again to see if it is still available. Most of the time, the item would either be sold out or I have completely forgotten about it.

I always check the fabrics and materials. If you think cotton is good, think again. Cotton production actually requires huge quantities of land, water, fertilisers and pesticides, and has a negative impact on the environment. Organic cotton is a more eco-friendly option.

After I started to learn about natural dyeing, I became more aware of the negative impact that synthetic dyes have on the environment. Although natural dyed items requires a lot of water and are more expensive to produce, they are much preferable to the synthetic ones.

Go vintage… I rummaged around my wardrobe and found many hardly-worn items bought years ago that still look good today. Mixing old with new is what I like to do these days.

Mend or upcycle your clothing – I think it can be fun and creative. I have already put a pile of old cotton t-shirts aside to be dyed naturally. I can’t wait to redesign them!

Sell unwanted clothing and accessories online – I have been doing it for years and have sold many items that I no longer wear on ebay and other websites. If the item has sat in the wardrobe untouched for over 2 years, then it’s time to review it.

Buy good quality and timeless pieces that would not look outdated in 10 or even 20 years’ time. Luckily, I have never really been into fast fashion, so I have items from 10 to 15 years ago that I can still wear without cringing about them.

Buy from sustainable fashion brands that actually care about the environment and workers.

Last but not least – simply buy less.


future fabric expo

future fabric expo 19

future fabric expo 19

future fabric expo 19

future fabric expo 19


In the last few years, there are many interesting sustainable fashion brands that offer consumers alternative options, and even the big fast fashion brands are making changes or introducing new eco lines. Aside from pioneers like Stella McCartney, People Tree, Komodo and Patagonia, there are others like Bethany Williams, Aiayu, Ecoalf, Beaumont Organic, Thought, Armedangels, Lowie, Bibico, PIC style, Vildnis, EKO, G-Star Raw, King of Indigo, Lemuel MC and Veja… to name a few.


Bethany williams  aiayu

future fabric expo 19


You can also learn more about the issues and secrets of the fashion world through the following documentaries:

The true cost directed by Andrew Morgan.

Riverblue directed by David McIlvride and Roger Williams.

Dirty white gold directed by Lee Borromeo.

China Blue, Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town trilogy and Bitter seeds are part of the Globalization trilogy directed by Micha Peled

The Machinists directed by Hannan Majid and Richard York

Machines directed by Rahul Jain

The next black on the future of fashion (free to watch)

Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion

Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashions Dirty Secrets


It is never to late to change our buying habits, and if we all become more aware of what and how we consume, it will inevitably bring about changes and have a more positive impact on our planet.


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