How to Talk About Ethical Fashion to Loved Ones (Tactfully)

Giada Nizzoli

(last updated at )

How to Talk About Ethical Fashion to Loved Ones (Tactfully)

Yearning to talk about ethical fashion with your friends and family but afraid you’ll come across as bossy or preachy?

It doesn’t have to be that way!

First things first: lead by example

Sustainable fashion clothes

If you’re not used to talking about ethical fashion within your circle, begin by mentioning it casually as you would with that new series you’ve binge-watched.

Sometimes it’s an actual conversation starter, some others you’ll still be planting the seed.

For example, you could share your excitement about that new brand you discovered, perhaps explaining how inspiring you find that it uses recycled materials.

By wearing sustainable outfits when you hang out with them, you’ll probably start getting compliments, too: don’t be shy, and give context! 

‘Thank you, it’s organic cotton’ can become the new ‘it has pockets!’

You can also give them sustainable presents and tell them why you’re obsessed with that brand or material (and they’ll definitely feel the difference in quality themselves!)

Adopt a helpful & empathic approach

Friends talking about ethical fashion

Sometimes it’s easy to snap when we’re particularly annoyed by something (unsustainable consumerism and fast fashion, ugh!), but remember that an empathic standpoint is wiser than trying to guilt-trip people.

We should also keep our potential privileges in mind.

While some consumers spend hundreds of pounds on new fast fashion garments every month, some others only buy them because it’s all they can afford. Perhaps you can talk about the joys of thrifting, instead?

Focus on the benefits of ethical fashion choices

Garment worker paid fair wages unlike in fast fashion workshops

We’ve found that it’s easier to start these conversations by focusing on the positive, such as the game-changing environmental and social benefits of sustainable fashion, like:

  • Reduced waste
  • Better opportunities for garment workers in developing countries
  • Lower CO2 emissions

Share the positive impact that this lifestyle change has had on you personally too, helping your break free from the vicious cycle of buying cheap clothes to get a dopamine boost.

Instead of their usual ‘I have nothing to wear’ mantra, your loved ones will get to fall in love with a smaller but more meaningful wardrobe. Exciting!

And you can explain how, while ethical clothes cost a bit more, they’re made to last: it’s a long-term investment that will result in much lower costs per wear.

When you’re ready, raise the actual problem, keeping their interests in mind when talking about ethical fashion to friends & family

Landfill showing the problems with fast fashion

With 53% of UK adults not knowing that fast fashion damages the environment, the chances are that your loved ones aren’t aware of its dreadful consequences.

They might even have gone vegan for the planet but not thought about the impact of their ever-changing polyester wardrobe. Maybe they cut down on plastic but are actually... wearing it.

Once you start the conversation by talking about the positives or if something comes up naturally, you can then tell them about the problems with fast fashion, and be open to their questions.

Share your all-time-favourite sustainable brands & resources

Ethical fashion dress

When talking about ethical fashion, remember how overwhelming it felt when you wanted to embrace it but had no idea where to start!

Make things easier for your loved ones: share resources and your favourite brands, recommend bloggers and influencers to follow, and remind them that they can easily shop sustainable fashion on Project Cece

We brought hundreds of ethical brands in one place and added practical filters. Plus, you and your friends can receive more tips through our newsletter.

In fact, why don’t you start the conversation by sharing this post with your network?

Talking about ethical fashion doesn't have to be intimidating: it can be empowering and inspiring, too. You've got this!


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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical clothing from different webshops on one website. Take a look in our shopping section and find the clothing that fits your style, budget and values!