The Stylist’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Louisa Gabriel
4 min readAug 3, 2021

Did you know that the carbon footprint of new clothes bought each day in a country like the UK is greater than flying a plane around the world 900 times? Or how about the fact that the carbon footprint for one new shirt is greater than driving a car 35 miles? The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world second only to the oil industry, and as the demand for fast fashion continues and the industry grows the damage increases. We are however seeing an increased awareness of the damage fast fashion can do, and consumers are demanding sustainable options and seeking ways to lessen the impact fashion has on the environment. As personal stylists, we can play an important role in reducing the damaging impact of fast fashion, and now is the time to start making changes to our businesses to offer services that incorporate sustainable options for our clients. So, if you’re ready to help save the planet and become a sustainable Stylist, here are some ways to get started.

Educate yourself — If you’re serious about becoming a sustainable Stylist and making a difference then it’s worth taking the time to fully educate yourself about the true impact of fast fashion. You’ll be able to use this knowledge to educate your clients and to find creative ways to lessen your own carbon footprint. At The Style Academy International, we train all our personal stylist students on sustainable styling so they have a clear understanding of what it means and how they can play their part.

Create a directory — As a Stylist, you’ll want to find which stores and designers that offer sustainable clothing for your clients. Create your own directory based on your location and your client’s preferences and use this when recommending outfits or for personal shopping trips. Creating your own directory can take time but it’s something you will be able to use with multiple clients. You can also search online as there are many directories that have already been created that will give you a head start.

Offer clothing recycling as part of your services — When completing a closet detox or audit, I have always taken unwanted clothing away for my clients and donated the reusable items to charity. This is a great way for clothing to be re-used. I’ve now taken this one step further by taking away the clothing that is not fit to be donated and taking it to a clothing recycling service or bin. This service is free and it prevents old clothes from ending up in land-fill. You can check online to find services in your local area.

Introduce your clients to vintage or second-hand stores — There used to be a time when wearing second-hand clothing was frowned upon, but nowadays it’s actually preferred by many rather than wearing ‘fast’ fashion. Find local vintage, or consignment stores in your area to recommend to your clients.

Create a capsule wardrobe — Creating a capsule wardrobe for your client removes the reliance upon ‘fast’ fashion. A capsule wardrobe will give them more outfit choices thus limiting the amount of clothing needed, and their wardrobe will be built around high-quality pieces that have a longer lifespan than cheaper items.

Rent Clothes— Gone are the days when renting clothes was limited to tuxs and evening wear. More and more clothing rental stores are appearing on our hire streets and providing a sustainable solution for every day wear.Connect with clothing rentals locations near you and start offering this sustainable option to your clients.

Host a clothing swap — Clothing swaps are a great way to extend the lifestyle of clothes and limit their negative impact on the environment. I ran a clothing swap for one of my clients and her friends, but it’s also something you could do as a community event. It’s a fun thing to do, it helps the environment, and the added bonus is it’s a way for Stylists to potentially meet new clients.

Promote sustainable brands and stores — When sharing outfit ideas on social media or in blog posts and videos, be sure to share items that come from sustainable stores and brands. Fast fashion retailers don’t need free advertising so promote smaller brands and stores that are trying to make a difference.

As stylists, we have a platform that we can use to influence the choices our clients make when it comes to fashion, so let’s use this platform to make a difference in the world and protect the planet for generations to come.

Happy Sustainable Styling!

Louisa 💕



Louisa Gabriel

Image Strategist ™ and CEO & Founder of The Style Academy International — Empowering people to use the power of style to change their lives.