For a while now, sustainable brands have been selling us a false reality. Popular names like Reformation, Everlane, and Patagonia have deeply ingrained environmental ethics into their mission statements, whereas fast-fashion retailers like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo are shifting to a more eco-conscious image. Nowadays, sustainability feels like a marketing tool—a buzzword thrown around by influencers and brands to sell us more “sustainable” merchandise.
We’ve slowly grown detached from the true definition of the word itself. At its root, sustainability seeks to avoid the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. This balance cannot be maintained when hundreds of products are manufactured and sold on a daily basis—even when a brand advocates for radical transparency and sources materials responsibly.
The key to sustainable fashion is somewhere between decreasing and stopping consumption, but it’s difficult to do your part when you don’t even know where to start. Let this article be a guide to shopping truly sustainable. The first steps would be to make the most out of what you already have, buy things you’d actually wear, and only invest in pieces you need.
When it’s time to shop, opt for secondhand options, especially from Black-owned businesses. There are many ways you can get involved and support the Black Lives Matter movement—even if you can’t join a protest. Learn how to actively be anti-racist. Donate to organizations that help bail out protesters. And better yet, support Black-owned businesses on a daily basis.
Vintage gems for nostalgic hearts. Thru the Ages handpicks pieces from past eras, from the swinging ‘60s to the currently-hyped Y2K aesthetic. The seller also uses eco-conscious packaging. You can expect animal prints, colorful jackets, patterned tops, and fun pants.
Pink Pages has a large collection of graphics tees, ranging from band tees to muscle tees, cool bomber jackets, and windbreakers. Although it’s mostly menswear, most of the tops are unisex and can be styled to achieve an effortless look. There’s also a nice selection of men’s denim and sneakers. You can expect a lot of t-shirts with vintage graphics, some Ed Hardy, Harley Davidson pieces, and Nike sneakers.
Based in London, Audrey curates unique and quirky pieces at an affordable price for curvy girls. Her shop has a classic-yet-fun ‘90s aesthetic, featuring great basics and statement pieces. Key pieces include flattering corset tops, midi skirts and dresses, summer crop tops, and collar tops ranging from silk to chiffon.
From My Lips 2 Urs sells cute and versatile pieces, always with a fun pop of color. As its seller describes it, her shop has a “lil bit of everything.” Key pieces include graphic baby tees, mini skirts ranging from pink plaid to pinstripe denim, fun flare pants, and a few Y2K shoulder bags.
Palmer’s Vintage sells ‘50s to ‘00s men’s vintage classics. 10% of all his July proceeds will be donated to Black Lives Matter organizations. Key pieces include light-wash denim shorts, vintage graphic t-shirts, colorblocked track jackets, and bomber jackets.
Black and LGBTQ-owned, this shop’s seller curates a perfect balance of unique and classic vintage pieces. It’s a match made in heaven for all the art boys out there. Key pieces include Y2K knit cardigans, Harley Davidson vintage t-shirts, and carpenter “skater” pants.
Where nostalgic dreams come true. Juice Rack features many current vintage trends like argyle sweater vests, fun shoulder bags, spaghetti strap tank tops, and some of its seller’s own reworked pieces. Everything is sent in eco-conscious packaging. Key pieces include vintage ‘90s cheetah corset tops, red leather blazers, airbrushed graphic tank tops, and pink crochet heart mini bags.
If you’ve caught onto the Y2K girly aesthetic (Mean Girls meets 10 Things I Hate About You), this will be your dream shop. Khaila curates a lot of low-rise jeans, Bratz pants, plaid mini skirts, and fun shoulder bags. Key pieces include Unif-type cardigans, Y2K tops, and Calvin Klein open-toe mules.
Handmade and customizable jewelry with so many cute variations.Key pieces include BLM plastic lettering necklaces, cow-print heart necklaces, and Valentine’s Day gummy bear chains.
Moody Gemini sells handpicked ‘90s and ‘00s vintage pieces ranging from tank tops to flare pants. Every now and then, she also posts fancy dresses that are perfect for party occasions. Check out her shop’s Instagram for more style inspiration. Key pieces include black sequin tank tops, floral maxi dresses (major Phoebe Buffay vibes!), and Y2K striped tube tops.
Even though Syd only started her shop recently, everything is super cute and season-appropriate. Each piece is handmade to order so you can message her to customize something or commission an original. She can crochet pretty much anything from bags to bikini sets to hair accessories. Key pieces include lime-green triangle hair scarves and cream-colored mini backpacks (perfect for beach days!).
This shop is perfect for streetwear-lovers and anime fanatics. In addition to its collection of graphic tees and hoodies, the seller also upcycles denim jackets, shorts, and t-shirts to create one-of-a-kind pieces using patches and chains. There’s a large selection of sneakers from brands like Golf Le Fleurs, Nike, Vans, and Converse. Key pieces include Comme Des Garcons Black x Nike blazer sneakers and Death Note t-shirts.
Channtanza has curated a Depop feed that’s chic, elegant, and classic. Her shop features timeless everyday pieces ranging from overcoats to evening dresses. Key pieces include Calvin Klein two-piece suits, Levi’s trucker denim jackets, and vintage Vera Wang dresses.