If you’re looking to learn more about the fashion industry’s environmental and social impacts, check out these free sustainable fashion courses and other educational resources including podcasts, YouTube channels, and digital publications.
Note that some of these organizations and creators do have opportunities to contribute through donations, direct cash payments (through PayPal, Venmo and other apps), or subscribing to their Patreon accounts. Oftentimes, the paying audience or course takers are what allows the organization or creator to continue providing free resources, so consider a payment/donation if you are in a financial position to do so!
If you’re reading to dive deep or you’re a beginner who is looking for a foundation for getting started, courses can be a great place to start. While the time commitments for these courses vary, you’ll need about 1-3 hours per week for each.
Slow Factory is a nonprofit organization dedicated to driving environmental and social impact through their open education courses, independent research and media platform, and grants. The organization’s Open Education program delves into topics relating to climate, justice, and culture (with many courses on the intersections of fashion with climate, justice, and culture) and is “taught by Black, Brown, Indigenous, and minority ethnic scholars, thinkers, and educators.”
The Open Education series is equity-centered and created for BIPOC learners. That said, Slow Factory has clarified on their Instagram that the course is open to all, but suggests (though does not require) that white individuals make a donation to Slow Factory in order to keep their programming free for BIPOC.
The Winter/Spring Semester Starts Feb 12 and ends June 11
Fibershed is a leader in the regenerative fashion movement — the nonprofit works to decentralize the fashion supply chain by developing regional and regenerative fiber systems that connect producers, artisans, and citizens. The course currently consists of 3 sessions each 1.5-2 hours long and covers topics like Defining Regeneration in Fiber & Textile Systems and Designing for True Circularity.
Sign up for Fibershed’s email newsletters to receive free access to this course!
Dive into the intricacies of global supply chains and labor relations to learn about the challenges and potential solutions for ensuring fair pay and safe working conditions, as well as more equitable trade agreements and business-supplier relationships with the courses on Iversity.
Fashion Revolution has created a free sustainable fashion course for those looking to learn more about the impact of the fashion industry on both people and the planet. The free course runs for four weeks and requires about 3 hours per week.
For on-the-go learning or for those who prefer to learn audibly, podcasts might be your favorite way to learn about sustainable fashion.
Remember Who Made Them is a 6-episode podcast mini series that centers the voices that are too often left out of sustainable fashion conversations but those who have the most at stake: garment workers.
A podcast “where what we wear matters”, Kestrel Jenkins’ Conscious Chatter interviews guests on a variety of topics in the sustainability and ethical fashion spheres. Be sure to check out The Root, Conscious Chatter’s special 5-part series with Dominique Drakeford that centers BIPOC in discussions on decolonizing sustainable fashion.
Hosted by Clare Press (and recently other hosts as well as part of The Wardrobe Crisis’ “Pass the Mic” series), The Wardrobe Crisis interviews guests “about fashion, culture, sustainability, ethics, activism, and the environment”. Some highlights are EP131 on degendering fashion, EP132 on running an ethical fashion business, and EP135 on degrowth.
Emily Stochl’s Pre-Loved Podcast releases weekly episodes covering topics in the secondhand fashion space, from mending and tips on selling vintage clothes to sustainability and the global secondhand supply chain. Each episode is incredibly well done, but my top pick has to be this episode with Liz Rickets of the OR Foundation on the global secondhand clothing trade. It will shift the way you think about the secondhand market.
As with any topic, there are some fantastic free resources on YouTube on conscious fashion. From sustainable fashion courses to panel discussions with industry experts, here are some channels to check out!
Sustainable Fashion Forum hosts an annual event bringing together sustainable fashion thought leaders and citizens, but they also have panels and roundtables happening all year long which you can check out on their YouTube channel!
As an online accelerator for sustainable and ethical fashion brands, Factory 45 has both paid courses and programs as well as a number of free resources on their YouTube channel covering topics like fabric sourcing.
Whether you’re a beginner or a well-versed eco-fashion advocate, Verena of My Green Closet has videos for everyone. (Here’s a playlist for those new to sustainable fashion!)
Digital Publications & Resource Hubs
The online publications and magazines featured here mostly have a free option (articles on their website) and a paid option (digital or physical print magazines). Certainly, these platforms are worthy of support, but if you are unable to pay for the “premium” content, the free resources are still fantastic.
Founded by Kimberly M. Jenkins, the Fashion and Race Database aims to decentralize and decolonize fashion history by providing a “comprehensive resource that sought to help students, educators, researchers, designers, business professionals and the pedestrian audience learn about the intersections of fashion and race.” The platform has Essays & Opinion articles, profiles on BIPOC changemakers, designers, and style icons, a directory for sources of education and inspiration, and a library with books, scholarly articles, documentaries, and more for learning about the intersections of fashion and race.
ESJ has a print and digital magazine (which is available at a fair price) and online platform (free articles) that goes much deeper than the mainstream sustainable fashion conversation. Black woman-led, Ethical Style Journal brings forth a diverse set of perspectives on topics like cultural preservation, sustainability beyond consumerism, decolonization.
SUSTAIN is a woman of color-led digital magazine and online platform covering eco-conscious style, wellness, culture, and food.
A nonprofit working towards making fashion a force for good through education and advocacy, Remake is a trusted resource for keeping up with fashion industry news, especially as it relates to labor rights.
Vogue Business has a growing category of their online publication dedicated to all-things sustainability. Unfortunately, many articles are behind a membership paywall, but there are numerous free articles as well.
While this publication is focused on climate and culture, they have some excellent sustainable fashion pieces.
Newsletters are a great way to keep up-to-date on the latest with sustainable fashion without social media. Though social media of course has many benefits, these platforms are designed to be addicting, so it can be easy to get sucked in and spend far more time than intended on these platforms! Subscribing to emails that cover the news in sustainable fashion can be an alternative or addition to your industry news updates if you’re looking to reduce your time on social media.
Unwrinking Roundup is a newsletter by journalist Whitney Bauck about the intersection of fashion, the environment, ethics and faith.
Vogue Business has a newsletter for keeping up with their own sustainability articles + a few additional articles on relevant topics, though the full access is only for paid members.
The Wardrobe Crisis brings you the latest on sustainable fashion to your inbox each Wednesday and Friday.
Okay, this is a shameless plug here for our own newsletter! The Conscious Life & Style weekly emails feature not only the latest posts but also consciously curated recommendations to watch, listen to, read, support, and more. Subscribe below!
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