Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

Money Week day 3 – what is sustainable fashion?

The three R’s of sustainability, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, can be easily applied to fashion with the results not only impacting positively on the environment but also your wallet.


  • Slow fashion

You will be familiar with the term ‘fast fashion’ – cheap, accessible, on-trend clothes sourced through mass market chains such Primark, Zara, Mango.

This maybe a budget friendly way to achieve your look there is an argument that ‘slow fashion’ may in fact be the best way to save money in the long run, that the best way to manage your finances is to make more thoughtful decisions.

With slow fashion the emphasis is put on durability, encouraging you to purchase quality pieces that will last for more than one season without being discarded. Designs which are season-less or classic will last aesthetically and materially for longer periods of time and make more financial sense as you will need to purchase less often.

So instead of impulse buying clothing, think about responsible consumption and the longevity and durability of each item. Is it built to last and do you actually need it for your wardrobe?

  • Care for your Clothing

Extending the life of your clothes will save you money as well as lowering the environmental footprint of your garments. Caring for your clothing may take a bit more time but can be as simple as washing items by hand or on a colder wash, learning to hand sew or finding a local tailor.

Don’t fear the stain! It is easier on the planet and the bank balance to deal with individual stains rather than washing the whole garment unnecessarily or replacing it with new. Not over washing your clothes ensures that they last as long as possible as well as lowering your water and energy consumption.

Stain removal knowledge will hopefully stop you having to fork out for something new every time that homemade bolognaise sauce goes everywhere, so follow these expert tips on stain removal. Messy eaters rejoice!


Let’s face it, most of us do want to update our wardrobe and as we change and evolve through life, so do the clothes that we wear.  If you do want to keep your fashion collection in rotation there are a number of bargain, budget friendly and free ways to do so.


You’re probably already converted to the joy of the hunt with the potential to grab a bargain whilst simultaneously supporting a good cause, however there are additional ways that your donations to charities can work for you.

The reGain app offers up to 25% off brands including Superdry, New Balance, and much more, if you take in 10+ items of clothes, underwear or shoes directly to one of 331 participating British Red Cross charity shops.  You’ll be rewarded for your donation with coupons which can be redeemed against the brands listed. See the app for more information.

Marks & Spencer also offer a deal if you donate directly to its charity partner, Oxfam. At least one item in your donation must be from M&S – either clothing or soft furnishings – and you receive £5 off a £35 spend on full-priced clothing, home and beauty products in M&S stores.

Preloved Platforms

Reselling on preloved platforms such as ebay or vinted, is well established and can be done from the comfort of your own home. It can be a good way of not only buying budget friendly clothing but provide a good return income for your unwanted bits and pieces.

Clothes swap

You can arrange or attend a clothes swap event with friends and have an opportunity to experiment with your wardrobe without making a dent on your wallet as well as rescuing unwanted clothes from ending in landfill. Find out more about running a revolving closet event and give your and your friends wardrobes a new lease of life!

Rent an Outfit

This initiative has been around for some time and is great for those one-off special occasions such as graduation, prom or weddings. The premise being to rent clothing (often designer) for a fraction of the price. This system is great financially as a renter or a lender. Sites such as Hurr offer great deals on a rental designer closet if you are that way inclined.


For worn-out pieces that can no longer be repaired or reused, some shops will now incentivise this waste.

H&M offer a £5 voucher off a £25 spend instore if you drop off a supermarket-sized carrier bag of unwanted clothes or home textiles of any brand, in any condition, to their stores. Whilst old shoes can find their worth in the aptly named ‘sell your soles’ scheme with Schuh. Here you can take in any pair of shoes from any brand to exchange for a £5 off a £25 spend voucher, valid on full-price shoes either in store or online. You’ll receive one voucher per pair of shoes you take to be recycled, so a great incentive to haul those worn out trainers. They also do a similar scheme for recycling kids shoes ‘Too big for your boots’.

We hope you found this article useful and that you feel inspired to adopt one or two of the methods mentioned, not only to ensure that your fashion has less of an impact on the environment but to also provide you with a sustainable closet on a student budget.

Make sure you checkout our quiz and spending diary and follow what other universities are doing to support students during money week: #nsmw22

Student Advice Service


Helen Abrahams • February 23, 2022

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