Fast Fashion: The ethical brands to shop at to avoid being part of the problem

In Student Mingle, Sustainable Fashion by Scarlet Jenkins

Fast fashion has changed shopping as we know it, companies are producing clothing quickly and inexpensively in order to keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends, but it is at a cost.

With the fashion industry producing 10% of the world’s man made carbon emissions, according to the World Bank, shopping sustainably at ethical brands is something we all need to start doing.

It has now fallen on the next generation of fashion shoppers to change this trend and start supporting ethical and sustainable brands for the future of the fashion industry. 

Luckily, some brands are already paving the way.

Runa Ray

Runa Ray is an ethical fashion designer that prides herself on, “consciousness and responsibility”, at every step of her design and production process. 

Runa Ray

Runa Ray: The Overcast Ocean Dress (Credit to Runa Ray)

Her brand makes hand-crafted pieces using natural fibers and plant extracts. 

“I try to identify the areas that cause the maximum carbon footprint and try to mitigate that,” said Runa Ray.  A method that other companies could employ too, as Ray says it’s, “generally the areas that cause the maximum Co2 that are the ones to incur the most cost.”

The big brand names are the biggest contributors to the fast fashion phenomenon, with companies like, H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 ranking the highest, according to Attitude Organic. 

This fast-paced new way of shopping means there’s no longer one collection per season. Today, we see a new fashion trend on social media and then within a week it’s in stores.


A fashion company breaking away from this current phenomenon of fast production and thoughtless mass buying is ‘337 BRAND.’ 

“It is important to us to design timeless/slow fashion with occasional (few) new arrivals,” said 377 Brand. 

The New York based brand with the motto, ‘kindness is sexy,’ sells a range of clothing and accessories, sourcing as much as possible from local resources.

337 Brand

337 BRAND: Luna T-Shirt Dress (Credit to 337 BRAND)



XOOMBA Reversible Swing Bias Dress (Credit to Xoomba)

With the majority of fast fashion clothing being made in Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, China, and Vietnam,  according to life beneath clothing, sourcing your clothing from local suppliers is a way of not contributing to the inhuman working conditions of the large-scale factories in these countries.

Xoomba is a ‘feisty young design company,’ based in Burkina Faso who is also working against outsourcing from these countries. They do this by using locally rainfed, organic and fair-trade cotton grown in Burkina Faso to create handmade, organic clothing and textiles.

“We completely reject fast fashion and make no compromises,” said Heather Chaplet, the creator of Xoomba. 

The brand also creates clothing to order, so that there is no waste or over production, and of course it means the garments are unique for every buyer. 

In general, the best way to be sure whether a company is sustainable and fast fashion conscious is to look up their policy. 

A sustainable and fast fashion-conscious brand usually will be very open and transparent about their policies, as in this industry being ethical about your production is very valued. 

There are fashion brands who are starting to make the turn for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, it now falls on us as shoppers to support them. 

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About Scarlet Jenkins

Scarlet is currently a junior Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences student from the University of Birmingham, majoring in Geography and Journalism, who has just returned from a year abroad at San Francisco State University. In her spare time, she loves to travel and explore new places.

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