Real Honest Tips For Living More Ethically and Sustainably Through Fashion and Decor

Castle Wellbuilt Mustard Yellow Velvet Vintage Couch .JPG

I have shared in depth about my stance on ethical and sustainable living, you can read more about that here and here if you are interested, but I have never taken the time to actually address it in a proper post. It's a hot-button subject for me, one that I am passionate about, but lately, I can't help but notice the increasing eco-fashion trend taking over Instagram. Yes, trend, another bandwagon trend that is beginning to look, sound, and cost the same. A serious trend that desperately needs to be and stay, a passionate cause.

Yet, here we are, and everyday a new company or person is offering products under the guise of this cause, to help consumers feel they are "making a unique difference". Well listen up my eco-friendly friends: I am saying this for your benefit, as well as the planet's and all of earth's inhabitants – you are being heavily marketed to. If you want to truly make an eco-conscious difference, follow some of these very easy and honest tips, that will get you well on your way to making an actual difference:

1. Buy less stuff, seriously. 

Don't just buy endlessly and needlessly, and if you need something or really want something, check the thrift stores/yard sales/estate sales first. Most of that stuff is just going to end up in the landfills anyway, and that's not very ethical or sustainable.

Is it?

I can assure you, your life and style will never lack for anything or in any way, when you put secondhand first. You may even be making an upgrade in quality and style. 90% of my life is funded this way and I couldn't imagine living any other way, nor would I want to. 

2. Buy from your community.

Really making a difference includes purchasing from your neighbor, aka your local community, not just internet shopping brands like: Organic by John Patrick & Everlane. Whether it be small business local retailers/resellers/makers, literally your next door neighbor, always check there first. Not only do you keep your community sustained, but you get to know the actual people behind the businesses and products, and that is a gift in itself. It brings more meaning to the items I own when I know that the used chair I purchased from my favorite local resale shop, is helping to keep my local community member and now friend's, dream and business alive. 

I'm not perfect, and I know how hard it is in our society to not want, and I'm not at all saying don't treat yourself, or that purchasing a brand new quality made/ethically made item is at all bad, but be real about it when you do, be honest with yourself. There are other options for truly creating a more sustainable and ethical life. We have way too many people and companies more focused on peddling  overpriced ethical products, for profit or monetization, rather than focusing on, or actually caring about making a lasting difference, which in turn, just exploits the mission, the consumer, while perpetuating the problem. 

We literally are a throwaway nation, if we truly want to be ethical and sustainable, that means throwing away less, being more mindful with what we buy and where we shop, reusing what we can, recycling and reducing.

My best advice is to start small, do your research, and truly develop a passion for the movement.  

All the best! 


What does living ethically and sustainably mean to you? Have any tips for me? Leave a comment below.



Richmond, VA Photographer Victoria McGovern is a documentary lifestyle, family, small business photographer. Offering heirloom photography services in Richmond Virginia, Petersburg & Beyond.