For fashion lovers like myself, let’s break down this differentiation. It’s actually quite simple. Fast fashion is trendy items that are often duplicated from runways and celebrity culture, and the items are produced at rapid speeds to meet consumer demand. Sustainable fashion is produced by ethical brands that foster change to produce fashion using a social corporate responsibility.

The biggest contrast here is the production process and supply chain demand. Sustainable fashion is a movement that provides benefits for both the consumer and designer. Ethically it is better for the environment; reducing waste and focusing on quality material. Designers who produce ethical fashion take into account the life cycle of their items to ensure it won’t end up in landfills that contribute to pollution. On the other hand, fast fashion can be here today and gone tomorrow. Because of this fast paced production, there are three consequences of fast fashion: massive water and energy usage during production, plastic-derived materials, and textile waste. Long-term, the environmental impacts are harmful. Yet, consumers only notice affordable price tags and quick access to trendy styles.

As consumers, we have the buying power to uplift ethical practices. Shopping can be a no-brainer activity, but with the correct knowledge we can change the way we view the world through sustainable fashion.

Below are five black-owned brands that strive to incorporate ethical fashion to our wardrobes:

1. Arrow + Phoenix is a swimsuit label that uses ECONYL, a regenerated nylon material that’s made entirely from ocean and landfill waste.

2. By sourcing ethical material only, Autumn Adeigbo is designing vibrant, sustainable fashion one garment at a time.

3. Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry uses her environmental science degree to ethically source recycled gold and diamond alternatives to design timeless wedding rings, necklaces, and so much more.

4. Through unisex travel accessories, Ashya bags are made with care to reduces waste by upcycling fabric scraps, producing in small batches, as well as sourcing materials such as leather responsibly.

5. Jo-Anne Vernay is changing the game one step at a time with their vegan footwear brand made from fruit leaf vibers. Yes, you read that right.