Ethical Vs Sustainable Fashion

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

When you’re new to the world of sustainable fashion you often hear multiple buzzwords. Slow fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable fashion, vegan fashion and second hand fashion just to name a few!

It’s a confusing world, so I thought I would write this blog on the most confusing of the buzzwords flung about- sustainable vs ethical fashion and I’ll throw in vegan fashion too, just for good measure.

Ethical fashion

This is about being kind, especially towards people but also to the planet.

After the death of 1134 people in 2013, due to a fast-fashion sweatshop collapsing (Rana Plaza) ethical fashion began to be taken very seriously. The demand for fair labour practices for our apparel items went up dramatically and movements such as Fashion revolution were born.

Within the 75 million people who work in the fashion industry, 80% are women, who are usually underpaid and overworked. Making ethical fashion not just a human rights issue but also a feminist issue too.

Ethical fashion brands combat these social issues by providing their workers with a fair and safe working environment and pushing positive social change such as equal pay and workers rights forward.

One company who absolutely boss this is English company, Birdsong.

Birdsong employs women who are insanely talented but would struggle normally to find employment. They pay them a good wage and support them in their careers.

My favourite thing about this company is that they make the most epic feminist T-shirts while backing their slogans up with their actions. Their feminism is not a fashion trend but a full statement about who they are.

Sustainable fashion

This is about being kind to the planet and making minimal impact on precious resources. Often, ethical fashion and sustainable fashion are a bit of a package deal. Those who are kind to the earth are usually kind to the people on it as well. However, it is more likely that a sustainable brand it ethical too (as its harder to be sustainable due to many challenges) than vice versa.

Sustainable fashion is all about being eco-friendly. The focus is on natural or recycled fabrics, transparency and low carbon impact. Typically a brand of this sort is known for organic cotton clothes and producing quality fashion over quantity.

A brand who rock sustainable fashion is Know the Origin. Killing it on the ethical front too but equally putting sustainability at the heart of what they do. Having a select range of quality goods where you can literally pinpoint where your clothes come from and shop by carbon reduced fashion, makes this brand incredible.

Vegan fashion

Finally vegan fashion. This is about being cruelty-free and not using the animal product. You may find sustainably sourced leather in the above to categories but you won't catch it here. Vegan fashion often uses PU (a type of plastic leather lookalike) to replicate leather or recently Pinatex (leather lookalike from pineapple leaves) has been used.

They will not be seen dead in fur (rightfully so) and 100% cruelty-free products are incredibly important to them.

Crushing it on this scene are a brand I’ve spoken about a lot recently, Collection & Co. With gorgeous vegan shoe designs, these guys are the best place to dress your feet if vegan fashion is something you embrace.

So there you are! A small guide on the difference types of fashion being kind to people, animals and the planet.

Before I go....

The Good on You app rates companies on these 3 criteria so if one is particularly important to you then I would recommend downloading the app and see which category your favourite brands predominately fall under!

Hope this has been helpful & let me know which you think is the most important and why.

To check out these websites click here:


Know the Orgign -

Collection & Co-


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