Sustainable Fashion & Recycled Fashion Tips by Laura Madden

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Sustainable Fashion and Recycled Fashion Tips by Laura Madden

Laura Madden talks sustainable fashion

Phyllis Lane

Sustainable fashion influencer Laura Madden shares tips on recycled and environmentally friendly fashion.

As a fashion lover, model and influencer, Laura Madden knows all about what’s trending. Right now, what’s trendy is taking any and every step to help the planet, and she’s helping us adopt new shopping habits and transform the current pieces in our closets.

What does it mean to be sustainable and recycle fashion? Laura Madden shares the scoop and her top tips.

sustainable fashion brands list by Laura Madden

Phyllis Lane

Shopping vintage, consignment and thrifted fashion are the most sustainable shopping options. After learning that the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of the planet, shopping secondhand became my first choice.

As the demand for fast fashion grows, the resources fashion exploits from the planet become scarcer. Shopping secondhand slows the demand for the fashion industry to produce faster, cheaper clothing. If we demand less, brands will eventually produce less. Shopping what already exists prevents garments from unnecessarily ending up in landfills, which reduces waste and conserves resources. On the way to saving the planet!

There are many brands that are doing fashion well—responsibly, ethically and sustainably. There are numerous shopping platforms focused on conscious brands that I refer to, such as Sustain Your Style, Remake and the Good On You app. Also notable are brands with rental and take-back programs, as well as those using recycled, upcycled or deadstock fabric. These are all regenerative concepts that are part of the solution, creating more style with less waste.

Laura Madden's picks for sustainable fashion


The closer to home we shop, the lower the carbon footprint of packaging, shipping and handling all those items.

sustainable fashion choices by Laura Madden

Monica McLean (photo) / Sisi Aduke

When it comes to fabrics, I go Au Naturel as often as possible to make sustainable fashion choices. The more natural a fabric, the less toxic it is inherently. All synthetics (polyester, viscose, nylon, spandex, etc.) require extensive processing with toxic chemicals. Sadly, much of the chemical byproducts from production are often dumped into our waterways.

Many synthetics are oil-based—yes, there’s a lot of petroleum hanging in our closets. This fossil fuel is formed into plastic yarn for nylon, acrylic, polyester and viscose. Also, these fabrics won’t breathe as well as natural fabrics and will not decompose in a landfill. A simple solution is to limit the synthetic fabrics in your wardrobe and focus on the more natural ones, such as silk, linen, wool, cotton and cashmere.

When curating a conscious closet filled with sustainable fashion, it really pays to know your style. This might be the most important thing you can do, no matter where you shop or what you buy. When you love what you have and how you look, you’re more likely to actually wear what you already have. Loved clothes get worn.

One of the best things we can do for the environment is to wear the clothes we have for as long as we can. If you find yourself in a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear, why not hire a stylist to become crystal clear on your personal style and what works for you? Then, you know exactly what to buy to look and feel your very best. That’s sustainable shopping.

sustainable fashion and design from Laura Madden

Phyllis Lane

The closer to home we shop, the lower the carbon footprint of packaging, shipping and handling all those items.

sustainable fashion tips by Laura Madden


It feels good to support your local boutiques and brands, but, for sustainable fashion purposes, it really does matter. The closer to home we shop, the lower the carbon footprint of packaging, shipping and handling all those items. Since most local brands are smaller and independently owned versus the fast fashion or big box brands, by default, they have a lower environmental impact. They will never create the scale of waste that larger brands do (not naming names).

There actually is an environmental payoff to shopping designer and higher-end brands. I love a designer piece just as much as anyone, but when it comes to sustainable fashion, longevity is key. Not only do better brands last longer due to the likelihood of better craftsmanship, but they are simply more desirable and resellable.

These brands have a better chance of being resold when you’re done with them and therefore staying out of landfills. More people are willing to purchase designer garments secondhand versus fast fashion—myself included!

Clothing that is resold via consignment and platforms such as The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective (versus donated) is more likely to end up in another person’s wardrobe.

Laura Madden style and sustainable fashion

Phyllis Lane

Since many donation sites are overwhelmed with extraneous inventory, a good portion of that goes straight to landfills. If you can resell a garment, do it. This is the power of the circular economy when it comes to sustainable fashion.

Laura Madden is an advocate for fashion, art and sustainability through her work as an influencer, stylist, writer, model and artist. She speaks on the intersection of style, sustainability and self-esteem on her blog, ReFashion Report, lifestyle publications, social media and live events. Laura is a global ambassador for nonprofit Remake, and serves on the boards of Remake, the Arizona Costume Institute, San Francisco Fashion Community Week and FGI.

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