And How They're Shaking Up The Fashion Industry
Social and Environmental Justice Through a Sustainable Wardrobe
The deeper I fell into the rabbit hole of sustainable fashion influencers, the more I was humbled by what seems like an infinite amount of growth I have yet to experience in my sustainability journey.
Some of the influencers featured are more casual in their approach to the subject matter, while others are confronting. I believe that it takes a well measured cocktail to encapsulate both the liberating potential of style, as well as the brutal realities of the fashion industry, past and present, and we're to sip it slowly if we're to appreciate its nuances.
Follow along and discover how these 15 ethical and sustainable fashion influencers are using their unique styles and voices to champion the fashion revolution!
Let's Get Into It
1. Val and Co.
Slow and ethical fashion at the intersection of disability.
Val is a white indigenous, chronically ill, fat, and neurodivergent fashion influencer using her platform to promote slow and ethical fashion brands.
"Fat", the wildly divisive word it has become, is one that Val is very intentional in her use of. It is a word meant to describe an attribute normally tiptoed around with euphemisms like, "plus sized" or "plump" which she points out are only there to indicate, "that the most basic term to describe my body is an insult." As a teacher of self love and acceptance, such an approach to ones physical form is not only one which she refuses to humor, but adamantly advocates against.
Equipped with the hashtag #seatedstyle, Val campaigns to bring inclusivity to non adaptive clothing. She advocates that by showing your outfits, makes and products on a seated person, you will have enabled those with chronic illnesses, disabilities or those who are fat to see how clothing will look on their bodies, not to mention open up your customer base to a whole new clientele.
In the end, it is challenging to sum up all of Val's advocacy in a few short paragraphs. She is a powerhouse of compassion and conviction with a body of work so intersectional and intricate, that you really just need to check her out for yourself. Val truly does use her keyboard to advocate for humanity as a whole... and she looks phenomenal while doing it!
2. Dominique Drakeford
Cultural Sustability Vanguard: Fashion, Wellbeing, and Community Care
Dominique Drakeford, the effortlessly cool founder of Melanin and Sustainable Style, and cofounder of Sustainable Brooklyn, is a non-traditional environmental educator and social sustainability influencer who is turning the spotlight on communities of color, and their myriad of accomplishments in paving the way for modern sustainable fashion and beauty.
Armed with a BA in Business Environmental Management as well as a Master’s Degree from NYU in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Fashion, this wildly accomplished sustainable lifestyle and ethical fashion blogger is turning the whitewashed sustainable fashion narrative on its head!
Drakeford teaches the inherent sustainability of BIPOC communities, and the history of regenerative and sustainable principles and practices of the black community. As a guest writer on fashion blog Ethical Style Journal, Drakeford concisely highlights the two primary functions of currency within cultural sustainability, "1) Ancestry before colonial discovery and takeover and 2) resourcefulness as a form of creative political expression and resistance to colonial systems and anti-Black and racist agendas."
Drakeford is a wealth of knowledge poetically and passionately delivered. She is an absolute must follow on social media for those of us looking to further our anti-racist education and/or allyship.
3. Chloe Miles
Sustainable style and slow living.
Chloe Miles is a sustainable style influencer who is championing the minimizing of environmental impact through second hand clothes. While this popular influencer is known to partner with and promote reputable slow fashion brands, she has vowed that this year will be completely new fashion free.
No new clothes 2023 amplifies Miles's reputation as a loud and proud outfit repeater, a concept that might seem simple enough, but has developed a taboo reputation within the fashion industry. Especially with the rise of social media, where new content is demanded daily, to build a style influencer brand around the concept of rewearing is revolutionary.
Miles's aesthetic is a clean and sophisticated casual, opting mainly for a color palette of blacks, whites, and neutral solids, with prints few and far between. It is chic and understated.
4. Style In The Stix
Slow fashion mom duo.
Having met after moving from fashion forward London to rural Rutland, Penny and Nicky of the ethical fashion blog, Style in The Stix, first bonded over a shared motherhood to boys, a love of fashion, and a need of escapism from their day to day.
Penny and Nicky display for us a stunning curation of eclectic vintage fashion juxtaposed against their rural surroundings. A slow lifestyle, turned editorial. Their style of dressing is often in a more neutral color pallet, but not to exclude just the right mix of eye catching color and bold print.
While the Style in The Stix aesthetic is primarily made up of preloved garments, these ethical style icons aid their audience in conscious consumerism through their fashion blog. It is there where they regularly review and promote slow fashion brands that align with their eco conscious lifestyle.
On the other hand, if one so covets a closer replication of the Stix founders style, they can shop their own secondhand store, Stix Styled!
5. Izzy Manuel
Ethical dopamine dressing
Izzy Manuel a sustainable fashion and lifestyle influencer packing a major punch!
Her electrifying aesthetic showcased via wild poses is the sort of content pick-me-up sure to spark joy in your day, and is the ever-necessary reminder that dressing sustainably is far from boring.
While primarily a second hand scavenger (because as she pointed out in a recent post, there are enough clothes on the planet to dress the NEXT 6 GENERATIONS of the human race), Manuel is also a supporter of sustainable and ethical slow fashion brands.
Manuel's content is exceptionally educational, her posts packed full of tips and statistics to get you fired up about the ill effects of fast fashion. She is also transparent in her personal pitfalls throughout her sustainable fashion journey, the first to admit when she's strayed from her fashion sustainability values, and in how she plans to course correct.
Manuel encourages us all to step forward into a sustainable lifestyle, however imperfectly.
6. Style With a Smile
Vegan fashion and total ethics blogger.
Noa, award winning vegan fashion and total ethics blogger at Style With a Smile, is a passionate advocate for rights within the fashion industry, for animals both human and non.
Her approach to sustainability is one of the most well rounded of the influencers mentioned on this list. It is as multifaceted as sustainable fashion is nuanced, and Noa leaves no stone unturned in her efforts to eliminate common misconceptions, and to provide a clear roadmap to living and styling more consciously.
Thoroughly researched and sources well cited, Style With a Smile is a reliable source for those ready to face the brutal truths of the fashion industry, and who are prepared to take . steps to make a difference.
7. Rachael Renae
Dress for yourself slow fashion blogger.
Rachael Renae is a enthusiastic style gal encouraging her following to dress authentically for themselves, all while keeping the values for people and the planet top of mind.
Her personal aesthetic is an eclectic mix of gender neutral contemporary street style and retro feminine. It is a masterclass in color theory, and a gallery of artfully arranged prints. These featured fits can vary drastically from day to day, and while this sort of style rule breaking might be disorienting to some, it is exactly the sort of playful and authentic approach to fashion that Renae advocates.
Her philosophy, that authentic self expression can lead to a more fulfilling life, has lead Renae to create the Dress for Yourself style course, in order to help others reflect and refine their personal aesthetic, and to begin living as their truest self.
8. Secondhand Sustainability
Accessible fashion sustainability educator.
Brooke of Secondhand Sustainability has created an educational resource chalked full of actionable tips to leading a more earth conscious lifestyle.
Her mission, to make sustainable fashion more accessible, is achieved by breaking its elaborate nuances into easily digestible tips, and by promoting lifestyle habits that are both affordable and manageable for those just beginning their journey into conscious fashion.
It is an approach that is entirely unpretentious, and that is mindful of the fact that living an entirely ethical and earth friendly lifestyle in the modern world (while facing modern life struggles), isn't entirely realistic. Brooke emphasizes that what is important, instead, is focusing on the individual actions that we are capable of while simultaneously pushing the true culprits, majorly offending institutions and industries, for larger accountability and action.
9. Ms. Lupe Castro
Sustainable fashion expert.
Ms. Lupe Castro throws a middle finger to, "dressing for your age."
Instead, this London based sustainable fashion expert and consultant lets her mood dictate her daily ensembles, resulting in a personal style that is daring and experimental. It is a layering of various styles that transcends genera and decade, as well as a call embrace ones own unique fashion aesthetic, no matter your biological age.
A vintage fashion lover and avid supporter of sustainable brands, Ms.Castro is quick to share her most beloved clothing retailers, as well as contacts for artisans who will upcycle sentimental clothing and textiles into modern art fashion pieces.
Ms.Castro teaches that fashion is ageless, and that it should be expressive and full of play. That it's us, and only us, who put the limits on what we wear, and that if we relinquish those limits, our worlds might be brighter.
10. Read Write Thrift
Thrifted, mindful, and local fashion in Toronto, Canada.
Quirky cold climate maximalist and content creater of @readwritethrift, Kate, embraces layering to create editorial worthy ensembles with a fun but gentle color palate.
This fashionable Toronto native uses her popular platform to explore personal style, mindful consumption, and to curate a positive relationship to clothing. While the vast majority of her clothing has been thrifted, she is also passionate about highlighting local makers and craftspeople, as well as DIYing her own pieces.
While playful on the surface, Read Write Thrift centers itself around serious conversations about the social and environmental impacts of fashion. Kate acknowledges that there is no hard and fast "correct" way to consume fashion consciously, with every choice comes give and take, but her journey to navigate conscious style practices is a joyful reminder to embrace our personal styles, and to make our best effort to honor people and the planet.
11. Joëlle Paquette
Ethical fashion and Clean beauty blogger
Ethical fashion and clean beauty blogger Joëlle Paquette is fostering sustainable style within her online community through clean, crisp, and contemporary content curation.
Having chosen a gentle approach to conscious fashion education, Ms. Paquette artfully and unintimidatingly guides her audiences into the sustainable fashion space, introducing them to the world of aesthetic potential that conscious living has to offer.
Her blog is a wonderland of features and guides highlighting sustainable brands from home decor to green beauty and fashion, many of which are local to her home base of Montreal, Canada. Furthermore, It is a resource chalked full of tips on cultivating creativity though well designed space and connectivity with self.
12. Aja Barber
Sustainable Fashion, intersectional Feminism, and Beyond
Aja Barber's content curation goes beyond style tips, and deep dives into social justice.
Author of "Consumed: The Need For Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, & Consumerism", this sustainable and ethical fashion change maker's work is built on ideas behind, privilege, wealth inequality, racism, feminism, and yes, colonialism. With these unwavering values in tow, Mrs. Barber uses her platform to advocate for fashion industry reform.
The exploration of links between colonialism and fast fashion is a core topic of conversation in this work, and while Mrs. Barber acknowledges that we aren't bad people for having fallen for the societal value of overconsumption (her book specially includes her own sustainable journey, a confrontation with personal over consumption), she doesn't leave much room for excuses once ones eyes have been opened to issues.
13. Saint Thrifty
Slow Style and Thrifted Fashion
"Out with the new, in with the old."
Sophie of Saint Thrifty is a slow style and thrifted fashion content creator who is loudly calling out the fast fashion industry for all of its crimes against humanity.
After a long and grueling love/hate relationship with fast fashion, Sophie began to realize that her influencer haul inspired impulse shopping was not only having ethical and ecological ramifications, but was even somehow leaving her with lessto wear. While her wardrobe was overflowing, unconscious consumption had left her drowning in a sea of clothing which she felt no confidence in, and had no real desire to wear.
Once having discovered the joys of secondhand, Sophie was hooked. Through preloved clothing, she developed a personal style that transformed her self esteem, and catapulted her into the slow fashion activist she is today.
Internet Fashion Person
Abby (on the internet) is a hip happen'en sustainable fashion blogger offering advice on how to shop with intention and consume fashion more consciously.
A feel good kind of influencer, Abby's personality and content style are mellow and light hearted. She is thoughtful and creative in how she guides her audience into living a more sustainable lifestyle, and through her blog, Abby On The Internet, she shares a plethora of guides filled to the brim with reputable sustainable fashion brands, conscious style and beauty tips, and beyond.
Her personal fashion aesthetic finds pilgrim style statement collars and retro prints colliding into an explosion of eclecticism. From "chic park ranger" to tablecloth vogue, Abby's daily wardrobe is one sure to keep you on your toes!
15. Natalie Shehata
Ethical stylist and founder of Tommy Magazine.
An ethical stylist of 14 years and Founder of Tommy Magazine, an online publication fostering sustainable style conversations for creative women with a conscience, Natalie Shehata is a social justice titan making brightly colored waves!
Natalie Shehata's style is loud and playful, a free-for-all of prints and textures (most likely sourced vintage). While her aesthetic is lighthearted, her pursuit to educate on matters of modern sustainability and their implications on BIWOC rights is exhaustive and determined.
For a quick but thorough peek into the philosophy of Ms. Shehata, I recommend taking a listen to her recent feature on Conscious Style Podcast, where this sustainable fashion influencer discusses topics including the never ending evolution of personal style, shifting the power structures within fashion, and cultivating holistic inclusivity through Tommy Magazine.