What Exactly is Sustainable Fashion?

The word “sustainable” is vague, confusing, and frankly, a bit overused — the word’s use in the fashion industry is no exception.

In this blog post, we will dive a bit deeper into what sustainable fashion truly means, how the word has been abused by corporations, and how you can take steps towards being *truly* sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Sustainable fashion essentially refers to garments and accessories that are produced and/or accessed in an ecologically and socially responsible manner.

Sustainable fashion encompasses consideration for people, the planet, and the rest of the living world (animals, plants, etc.).

Unfortunately, this is not true of today’s dominant ‘fast fashion,’ which refers to clothing that's intentionally designed to be consumed quickly at cheap prices, leading shoppers to view clothes as being disposable—wearing them just a few times before throwing them out or moving on to newer and trendier cheap clothes.

The fast fashion cycle is far from sustainable, because it depletes the Earth’s natural resources at exponential rates, exploits workers around the world, and results in an overwhelming amount of waste.

“Eco-friendly fashion” and “green fashion” are also terms that make it very clear that the focus is on leaving a minimal negative — or even positive — environmental or planetary impact.

Sustainable fashion, on the other hand, can be viewed as a more holistic term that combines eco-conscious and ethical fashion

While some brands may use “sustainable clothing” to refer to clothing that was made from recycled fabrics in sweatshop conditions, this is not truly sustainable fashion.

“Regardless of what your background is, we can all agree on some really basic things—no one should die to make a T-shirt, and we shouldn’t be pouring toxins into our planet.”


With the fashion industry responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions, fixing fashion can also mean making significant progress on decarbonization and reaching global climate goals

This is why shopping from brands you KNOW and TRUST is of such importance.

The reality is that terms like “conscious”, “eco”, or “sustainable” don’t mean anything in and of themselves because the terms are not regulated by any sort of third party.

While words like this can help you start to identify sustainably-made pieces, they alone are not enough. Here are some elements to look for:

  • Prioritized upcycled and repurposed materials. (“Deadstock” is fabric leftover by large textile/fashion companies.)

  • In general, natural fibers are preferable over synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.

  • Conventional cotton is the worst of the natural fibers, though, due to its heavy pesticide and water use. Organic cotton is a more environmentally conscious choice.

  • Hemp and linen are low-impact natural fibers to look for. Tencel and other fabrics made by Lenzingare also great to look for.

  • There are also regenerative fibers. These are animal or plant-based fibers such as wool or cotton that are grown or raised using holistic management practices — or really indigenous and traditional farming practices — that sequester carbon, build soil health, and restore land among a number of other benefits.

Additionally, see what materials the brand uses for their packaging. Do they use recycled materials or at-home compostable materials? Do they use minimal or reusable packaging? Perhaps the shipping is plastic free?

Here at ODÍN, you can always count on us to be 100% transparent about where our clothing comes from. You can bet that we always source the most environmentally friendly materials and use plastic free material to ship all of our items.

We use plant-based clothes that are made out of eco-friendly organic hemp, bamboo, and cotton.

Our tri-blend materials are made out of RPET which take recycled plastics out of our environment to be re-used.

​And we believe in the pursuit of equity and only partner with businesses that are committed to providing safe and clean working environments with fair wages.

Shop our collection here.

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