30 Sustainable Fashion Quotes
Read on for quotes about mindful fashion, and an introduction to what that really means, and what we are doing about it as a brand.
When we talk about sustainable clothing, it’s important we understand what that really means. Beyond the buzzwords and green-washing of unethical, fast fashion conglomerates who earn billions of dollars for their CEOs while sending tonnes of clothing to landfill all the time, there are genuinely important, eco friendly messages of justice. Messages that exist to change the world, not to produce profit.
Sustainable fashion is not only that which is environmentally friendly, but it is ethical fashion. Ethical fashion is that which produces conscious clothing, that is made by people who are treated fairly and with respect. Ethical fashion is that which is not made from the skins and bodies of animals. This more intersectional approach to what sustainable fashion truly means is important, and it is the future of ethical clothing.
Kinds of Grace founder Grace, with vegan, ethically made wallets that are less environmentally impactful than leather and exotic skins, and which support charitable projects.
This idea of eco-conscious, ethical fashion is one which is deeply important to us as a brand. We seek to produce the most ethical fashion pieces we can, working with animal-friendly materials that have a far reduced environmental impact, and paying our bag creating artisans a fair, living wage. We also ensure that the ethical fashion quotes we share are more than talk, by donating 20% of our profits to organisations protecting the planet and animals.
To inspire you - and us - to keep on working for a truly sustainable and ethical fashion world, we have put together a list of thirty fashion sustainability quotes. These are from the mouths and minds of some wonderful sustainable fashion activists like Lucy Siegle, designers like Gianni Versace, historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi and so many more.
“If you pay a little more, we can live a little better.”
- Sharti Atka, garment worker from Bangladesh
It is critical we listen to the words of the people who make our clothes, if we truly want to create a better fashion system.
“Fast fashion is not free. Someone somewhere is paying.”
- Lucy Siegle, journalist and author of books including To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World, and We Are What We Wear: unravelling fast fashion and the collapse of Rana Plaza
An argument often heard in opposition to ethical fashion is that it’s not accessible, and a privilege because it is more expensive. However a far greater privilege and injustice comes in not considering the safety of the people making your clothes.
“Call it eco-fashion if you like, I think it’s just common sense.”
– Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, an agency and magazine specialised in sustainability communications and consultancy
Fashion that hurts the planet needs to be designed out of existence. Livia Firth and her work is helping this happen.
“As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”
- Emma Watson, actor and slow fashion advocate, supporter of Good On You
Every time you buy something, you vote for the kind of world you want to live in. Watson believes we should carefully curate a wardrobe that protects the planet.
“I am grateful to realize that my desires do not entitle me to add to another’s suffering.”
- Zoe Weil, co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, which helps educators teach about human rights, the environment and animal protection to create a world where everyone can thrive
No bag is worth the death of an animal, no dress is worth a garment workers exploitation, no shoe is worth deforestation.
“Think of yourself as a curator, rather than a consumer.”
– Christine Koh, speaker, author, co-host of Edit Your Life podcast
Clothing isn’t for hoarding, it’s for cherishing.
Vivienne Westwood wearing her ‘buy less’ t-shirt, while speaking at Heartland Festival.
Image: Jonatan Nothlev
“Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”
- Vivienne Westwood, renowned luxury fashion designer
One of the most well known quotes in the mindful fashion field, and for good reason.
“Cheap fashion is really far from that. It may be cheap in terms of the financial cost, but very expensive when it comes to the environment and the cost of human life.”
- Sass Brown, fashion educator and author of Eco Fashion
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”
– Mahatma Gandhi, historical campaigner for India’s independence
If we could see the suffering behind so many clothes, shoes and bags, we’d no longer think of them as beautiful.
The late Gianni Versace with his designs.
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you express by the way you dress, and the way you live.”
– Gianni Versace, late and renowned fashion designer
Versace believed that well designed clothes could never be out-dated, and so could last a lifetime, even more, as they were handed between generations. This kind of longevity is truly conscious, and it’s why Versace is often recalled for his thoughtful and slow fashion quotes. Fast fashion encourages mindless consumerism, the purchasing of clothes that are on trend briefly, before they’re never worn again. We can do better.
“It isn’t enough just looking for the quality in the products we buy, we must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them.”
– Orsola De Castro, Fashion Revolution founder
Fashion Revolution helps us to ensure this quality, by first ensuring transparency.
“We carry the story of the people who made our clothes.”
– Ali Hewson, activist and ethical designer
What story do you feel comfortable to carry around with you as a bag, or on your back, as a jacket? One of safety and protection, or of suffering?
“Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are.”
– Joan Crawford, actor and advocate
The most sustainable clothes we can wear are the ones we already wear. These clothes become more sustainable the longer they last, and by mending them, caring for them, we can make sure this is the case. Mending clothes also makes ethical fashion more affordable and budget friendly!
“Ethical and sustainable fashion is not a product. It’s a practice. Everyone is invited to participate. There’s no obligation to buy. And you can get started right now. Today.”
– Elizabeth L. Cline, journalist, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Ethical fashion is not only for the wealthy, but for anyone who wears clothes, who vows to care for them, to mend them, to consider their actions and to be thoughtful.
“Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.”
– E.F. Schaumacher, economist
We have only one planet, and it can provide for us all, but not for our greed.
Garment workers holding signs that say ‘I made your clothes’.
“Ethical fashion is the recognition that there are human beings behind the clothes that we wear.”
– Elizabeth Joy, creator of Conscious Life and Style
It’s because of this, that it is so important we ask who made our clothes. It’s why we must ask how they were treated, how they were paid, what their lives are like.
“There is no leather without a dead animal.”
– Csilla Herbszt, founder of The Pretty Planeteer
A harrowing truth that we urge everyone to consider. This is one of the most important reasons our founder Grace created this brand.
“Good design is a sustainable design.”
– Imran Amed, founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion
Can design really be good if it is destroying the planet? If it is thoughtless, or destructive? We don’t think so.
“It really unsettles me that something being ‘ethically made’ is a bonus or optional extra. Should it not be the bare minimum that those who make the items that sustain and/or shape us as humans are respected and safe?”
– Mikaela Loach, sustainable living and ethical fashion advocate
We love this quote. The ethics of our clothes, shoes and bags can never be an afterthought. The lives and wellbeing of the people who make fashion possible need to be our priority.
A happy-looking cow, a perfect reason not to wear or design with animal skins.
“As a designer, I like to work with fabrics that do not bleed. That is why I avoid all animal skins.”
- Stella McCartney, the first luxury fashion designer to never use animal skins
There is simply no reason for animals to ever be killed or skinner for fashion, but unfortunately this simple, just concept is not yet mainstream. Times are changing, though.
“Demand quality not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it.”
- Orsola De Castro, Fashion Revolution founder
When you go to buy something, ask yourself some questions. Will I wear it a lot? Do I know the people who made it were cared for? Do I know the impact on the planet this has made? Do I know animals were not harmed or killed for it?
“When an industry doesn’t care about how people are treated, no consideration of sustainability is possible. You can’t just care about the environment and forget about the fair and ethical treatment of people.”
— Simone Cipriani, founder of International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, which connects marginalised artisan communities in challenging and remote locations with global brands
The unjust treatment and exploitation of people can never be sustainable. This is why our idea of what makes fashion sustainable must be extended to ensure collective liberation for us all.
“The really great thing about my shoe store is that there’s not one dead animal in it.”
— Stella McCartney, the first luxury fashion designer to never use animal skins
Yet again, we admire McCartney’s ethics.
“Behind every beautiful fur coat, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story.”
- Mary Tyler Moore, actor and social advocate
Animals in fur farms are often gassed or electrocuted to death. They are known to self-mutilate due to their torment, living caged when they belong in the wild.
A fox confined to a cage in a fur farm.
Image: Jo-Anne McArthur and We Animals
“Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without.”
– Rue McClanahan, actor and advocate
Cruelty to any kind does not belong in the future of fashion, whether that cruelty harms a fox, a cow, or a human.
“Shop less, think more.”
– Vivienne Westwood, renowned luxury fashion designer
Similar to the other quote of Westwood’s that we shared, this one yet again encourages us to be mindful.
“To face animal suffering is to face our responsibility in their suffering.”
– Jo-Anne McArthur, animal rights photographer and founder of We Animals, a photo-journalistic media organisation focussing on the plight of animals exploited by humans.
We encourage everyone to look at We Animals’ work, and to face their responsibility in what they see.
“The best way to make a contribution in fashion is to promote the idea that a fundamental interest in preserving the environment is itself fashionable.”
– Giorgio Armani, late and renowned fashion designer
Let’s make unsustainable fashion, out of fashion.
“Slow fashion is also about returning to a personal relationship with fashion. One where trends and seasons don’t matter, but where your ethics and aesthetics seamlessly unite, and you can escape the stress of constant consumption, focusing on the style that truly appeals to you.”
– Emilia Wik, former Head Designer at BYEM
You get to decide for yourself what fashion is - don’t let big brands dictate what is trendy. You have your own taste, your own aesthetic. Connect with it.
“Sustainable fashion is not a trend but the future.”
– Antonia Böhlke, founder and editor of MOCHNI, ethical magazine and fashion directory for a global community of conscious people
A perfect quote to end on.
If you enjoyed these ethical fashion quotes, make sure that you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, where we share information about ethical fashion, more eco fashion quotes, fashion and animal content.
Consider too, having a look at our thoughtfully made vegan bags, which we hope encompass the messages shared here.