• Kaitlyn Gray

How to shop sustainably on a college student budget

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

It is often thought that sustainable living is a form of privilege and that only the wealthy can purchase and wear sustainable fashion. While it is true that eco-friendly materials and production mean ethical and sustainable brands often cost more, we’re here to debunk the myth that shopping sustainably is only available for certain members of society.

It’s really about lessening your consumption of products. So, those who aren’t spending a lot of money on clothes already are doing just as much to help the environment. Let’s take a look at how someone living on a college student budget can participate in sustainable and ethical fashion.


More clothes for recycling via Flickr user Ben Terrett, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


1. Reduce: Invest in clothes that will last

We all have times when we want to splurge on something. Next time, consider investing in a long-lasting, ethical outfit. While buying from sustainable brands can be harder on your pockets initially, saving up for a nicer piece of clothing can save you money in the long run. If you already have durable clothing, you won’t have to continue to purchase replacements.

In 2015, the United States generated 11.9 million tons of textile waste, most of which ended up in landfills. By choosing clothing that is built to last, you are lengthening the life of materials and preventing them from being added to this depressing statistic.

If you’re looking for a place to start, you can check out men’s sustainable brands from Eco-Stylist that have been tested using Remake’s sustainable brand criteria, and Remake’s list of sustainable brands for shoppers of all genders.

2. Reuse: Shop secondhand