Sustainable Streetwear

Sustainability in streetwear - why is it important?

07 Sep 2023

Sustainability is becoming the most important term in the production, transportation, and usage of any product, or service. With animal cruelty, non-ethical working conditions, toxic dyes and chemicals, and unnecessary piling of clothes, streetwear finally meets sustainability. 

Making conscious choices in the fashion industry can become the loudest way to promote sustainability. This article aims to introduce you to the main elements of streetwear sustainability and the reasons why it is so important.

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Upcycling and downcycling clothes

Another way to make streetwear more sustainable is to upcycle and downcycle clothes. Upcycling clothes means adding value to them by sewing garments on them instead of throwing it away. 

When you don't want to wear a t-shirt or a skirt you've worn for years, think about upcycling it. If you have a sewing kit and are up for an easy DIY project, sew a print that you like on it. Or, you can add other textiles and create a true piece of art. 

Of course, you can find unique, upcycled clothes in flea markets and local shows, as well. The clothes for upcycling are high-quality and durable, so you can wear them for years to come.

Downcycling is the opposite, you can shred or cut clothes to use them for insulation, or cleaning, for example. You can make a cloth out of your old cotton t-shirt, instead of throwing it in the bin.

Secondhand fashion

Even more popular, yet equally sustainable as upcycling, you can buy secondhand clothes. Some of them still have their etiquette on them, and you can always choose the pieces that haven't been worn much.

Secondhand Shop - Sustainable Streetwear Concept

Minimalism and a capsule wardrobe

These two terms are closely connected to sustainable streetwear. A minimalist wardrobe means getting rid of all the items you don't wear, need, or ever plan to wear. 

There are no strict rules that you need to follow in order to make your wardrobe minimal. Just keep the items you love to wear, and remove everything else. Did you know that over 70% of clothes just end up in landfills? This is a serious threat to the environment as the degrading process can take decades and it is harmful.

A capsule wardrobe is a perfect addition to a minimalist wardrobe. The capsule consists of different items that you can mix and match endlessly. It usually involves something elegant, like a black dress, but also items you can wear to work and on lunch with your friends. Sustainable t-shirts will help you express your personality and at the same time, you will be a walking promoter of a healthier lifestyle.

If you choose clothes from sustainable materials for your minimalist capsule wardrobe, you are taking a huge step towards sustainable streetwear and a non-toxic environment for everyone. The key is to buy high-quality items that will last you for years to come. Of course, this does not have to mean that you should buy dull, monochrome clothes from now on, feel free to bring as many colours as you wish.

Circular economy and circular fashion

The well-known reduce, reuse, and recycle motto can have a wide application in fashion as well. Reduce your wardrobe by switching to a minimalist capsule. Buy as many secondhand, and upcycled clothing pieces as you can and like. 

Some conscious companies already have a solution for recycling clothes. Agood company has a circular fashion line that is completely sustainable. How does this work? You buy a piece of clothing from a circular fashion line. Every item has been made from other garments, which means it has been upcycled so that you can wear it. 

Agood Loop Concept
Grey T-Shirt from agood company

Once you don't want to wear this item anymore, you can send it back to the company and enter agood loop. The company will recycle the item so that once again it can be used for upcycling. The circle is endless, and the environment is not impacted in any negative way. Plus, you will get a discount to use on your next purchase of agood products. 

Slow fashion and local producers

A movement that is quite similar to sustainable streetwear, is slow fashion. To achieve sustainable streetwear, it is important to turn to slow fashion for numerous reasons. 

Slow fashion, unlike its counterpart fast fashion, releases new pieces of clothing a maximum of three times per year. In fast fashion, we see a new trend coming out almost every week. The materials used in slow fashion are less harmful to the environment and are of higher quality.

But, even more importantly, the workers are treated fairly during production, as they are paid more and work in better conditions. And since the material is more sustainable, there are no toxic chemicals getting into our waterways, food, and finally our bodies.

Whenever you can buy from local producers, as they all tend to follow the slow fashion movement. The accent is on quality, rather than quantity. The items are unique, and one-of-a-kind which is a great way for you to express your personality. And most importantly, you can spread the word about sustainable fashion more easily.

What are the best sustainable materials for streetwear?

Organic cotton

Regular cotton is grown with the help of chemicals and pesticides, to promote growth and avoid any plant illness. With organic cotton, on the other hand, you can rest assured that the plant has not been in touch with the chemicals at all. For this reason, organic cotton is more durable than the regular one, since chemicals have not damaged it.

On the other hand, to produce cotton we need a lot of water and effort, so recycled cotton is the best sustainable option. Cotton can be recycled up to seven times and downcycled to serve as yarn or any other product.

White Organic Cotton T-Shirt White


Hemp is another fantastic sustainable material for streetwear. It is grown from the Sativa plant and is super easy to obtain. It does not require plenty of water, or pesticides, it thrives in the sunshine, making hemp almost the perfect material. Clothes made from hemp will last for many years, as they are antimicrobial, and water does not damage them. 

Tencel (Lyocell)

Tencel is a versatile material that is biodegradable and does not require a lot of water and energy to create. This makes it one of the top choices for streetwear, activewear, and casual wear as well. It does have its flaws since it has to be dyed with dyes that contain chemicals, but on the other hand, it does not require the same amount as cotton, for example.


Imagine wearing a leather-like material that did not harm any animal whatsoever. It is possible, and it is not too good to be true, because this material exists. It is just as soft and as flexible as leather.

Namely, this material is produced from the leaves of pineapples, making it highly sustainable. The fact that it is cruelty-free, is simply fantastic, and we hope all leather products will be made from Pinatex in the future.

Mindful shopping

Everything in sustainable streetwear begins with mindful shopping. If you shop from brands you trust, that make clothes from sustainable materials, and if you shop only the items you need, you are already a master of mindful shopping. Full wardrobes of clothes you don't wear will just end up in landfills. What was once a cheap piece of fast fashion clothing, will turn into dangerous chemicals that poison water, air, and land.

Fast Fashion Concept Landfill

When shopping, search for certificates such as GOTS, which stands for Global Organic Textile Standard, or Fair Trade, for example. Learn about the brands you shop from. Are they using poisonous dyes on clothing, are they underpaying their workers, or using low-quality materials? Sustainability is not a trend, it should and will become a way of life. Streetwear fashion is moving on the right path, towards a healthier environment.

Final word 

Sustainability is slowly, but steadily entering every industry in our society. We, as individuals, can do a lot to make this process faster, and our environment healthier. Clothing is something we deal with on an everyday basis. Wearing, shopping, and throwing away can be complemented by reusing, swapping, donating, repairing, and recycling. There are so many layers and possibilities before it is necessary to throw away a piece of clothing.

Shop high-quality pieces from trusted brands, and only shop the items you need. This is a perfect recipe for enabling sustainable streetwear and a better future for all of us. 

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