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Working in sustainable fashion - a new era

When people buy clothes, the most important considerations are usually how those garms make them look and feel. That’s what will ultimately determine what people buy. But nowadays, many people have begun to think about what the brands they choose say about them, and whether those brands are aligned with their beliefs, so what a brand stands for has become extremely important.   

Are their clothes made in sweatshops where employees are overworked over worked and underpaid under paid, or in factories that offer good working conditions and career opportunities? Are they using fabrics and dyeing processes that are toxic or kind to the planet? (note: recycled plastics may be kinder, but they are not kind enough!). The real sweet spot is to find the brands that offer both things: clothes that make you look and feel good, and that are made ethically and sustainably. Fortunately, the number of companies that produce sustainable clothing is on the increase, and we have selected three names from the melting pot of British creators who are working hard to improve sustainability and ethics in fashion.

How? Well, they make fewer less clothes, they use more sustainable materials, and many of them ensure that everyone in their supply chain is paid better wages than the industry demands. Of course, they are not perfect, but we are all operating in a world in which there is still plenty of room for improvement. What these brands do have is ethics and sustainability at the heart of their business. It is not an afterthought; their productions are not part of a side eco-range, a which is a token gesture made by an unsustainable brand. These brands have bags of style, and they are working hard to produce fashion that we can all feel good about owning and wearing.


Birdsong was brought to life as a feminist brand making slogan tees. Over the years its style has matured to more thoughtful wardrobe staples with edgy silhouettes, bright colors colours, and original prints, though its ethos remains the same.

The brand works with expert makers who face barriers to employment in the UK – from artists and printmakers to seamstresses and painters – and pays pay them a London living wage to bring its creations to life.

Operating as a social enterprise, Birdsong’s packaging and postage are also done by a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, – and it pays living wages to them, too.

Gung Ho

Gung Ho allows you to wear not only what you love, but also what you believe in. Founder Sophie Dunster’s designs boldly and cleverly illustrate the significant important issues of our times, be it human displacement or the problem of ocean plastics and fishing gear.

It goes without saying the brand’s materials are sustainably sourced. Excitingly, its new bespoke made-to-order collection allows you to pick the style, fabric, and print you want – and it will be made-to-order for you, in London.


Rapanui is a great brand for lovers of the great outdoors; even Sir David Attenborough gives the brand his stamp of approval. It offers all the basics, such as tT-shirts, jumpers, knickers, and socks made from 100 percent per cent organic cotton. It even sells them in bundles, so shopping couldn’t be easier.

Rapanui operates as a social enterprise on the Isle of Wight, helping to combat youth unemployment. Plus, it powers its UK factory using renewables and uses a closed-loop water system for dyeing clothes that filters the water so it’s pure enough to drink.

Istituto Marangoni & Sustainable fashion

Istituto Marangoni was chosen by leading international luxury brand, Tod’s, to work on a green project with an emphasis on sustainability.

Beginning in October 2021, 20 talented students from Istituto Marangoni Milano and Firenze took part in Tod’s Academy: an ideas lab conceived as a place to do and think, where young creatives from the two Schools were invited to work on a “Re-Generation” project. The mission was to use their contemporary perspective and creative skills to rethink Tod’s aesthetics and values with a sustainable approach. The students enjoyed a presentation of the methods and techniques used by previous generations, and were supported by leading international experts from the publishing and fashion industry, who offered advice and shared their knowledge.

This unique opportunity offered the students an insight into the Brand’s entire production process, which they observed in person with an on-site visit. The experience enriched their knowledge, and is one which will serve them in many ways in their future careers in the fashion world, as they go on to serve that world with their newfound knowledge and open-minded perspective. For more detailed information on the project, click on the link to discover the Tod’s Academy.

BA in Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni

The BA hons course in fashion design offered at Istituto Marangoni has been awarded for its excellence, and is a highly selective course whose key pillars are sustainable fashion and radical excellence. Ideal for undergraduates with a passion for the fashion industry, the course offers complete training in preparation for a professional career. The three-year course is designed to facilitate entry to the most prestigious roles in the fashion sector, both in terms of creativity and job opportunities. 

To find out more about this and other courses on offer at Istituto Marangoni, complete the contact form and one of our tutors will get in touch to help you find the right path to suit your needs. 


BA in Fashion Design The London School of Fashion Master in Responsible Fashion
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