14 Oct

The Ultimate Ethical Guide to 90s Fashion

The 1990s were without a doubt one of the best eras ever for pop culture. They brought us some of the greatest inventions of all times, like the Internet (without which Good On You wouldn’t exist) and some awesome and life-changing films and TV shows, like the Lion King, Titanic, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and of course, Friends (who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year). Not to mention a few memorable fashion icons including Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, and the Olsen twins!

90s fashion was all about being carefree with touches of minimalism, grunge, and hip-hop. And with so many amazing fashion icons, the 90s are a never-ending source of inspiration.

One thing we love about fashion trends is that they loooove to make a comeback, and it looks like the 90s are back in style⁠—again! It’s time to dig through your old clothes (or maybe your parents’) and hit those op shops, or have a look at some of our favourite brands to achieve the perfect 90s style below. Here’s our ultimate ethical guide to 90s fashion!

HARA

Rated: Great

Malala Scrunchie – Ships internationally

HARA is a clothing label designed for you and our earth collectively. The brand specialises in organic bamboo cotton underwear and loungewear, with its vibrant colours achieved naturally with Turmeric, Indigo and Madder Root plants. These scrunchies are perfect to bring a subtle 90s touch to your look!

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Shop HARA The Label.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great

Sophie Rocks Skirt – Ships internationally

Denim jackets and skirts were big 90s trends, and have made a big comeback in recent years. These classics are made by Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans, who is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year! MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS and Better Cotton Initiative certified organic cotton.

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Shop MUD Jeans.

Also find MUD Jeans @ Ecoture.

Tyler Jacket – Ships internationally

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

White Eclypse Velcro Sneakers – Ships internationally

The 1990s also saw the rise of another favourite ethical designer of ours, Stella McCartney, as she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1995! Since then, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition!

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Shop Stella McCartney @ Farfetch.

E.L.V. Denim

Rated: Good

Contrast Jeans – Ships internationally

This pair of jeans merges two 90s trends into one: mom jeans and contrast jeans. It’s made by E.L.V. Denim, who takes old, discarded denim and transforms it into modern, sophisticated jeans. It manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint, and its use of eco-friendly materials limits the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater used in production.

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Shop E.L.V. Denim.

Mayamiko

Rated: Great

Reclaimed Jersey Bodycon Dress – Ships internationally

Neon colors were all the rage back then and we absolutely love this bodycon dress, made from reclaimed jersey! Mayamiko takes ethical to the next level with its unique and beautiful fair trade fashion and accessories. With a stunning mix of modern and traditional textiles and cuts from Africa, Asia and Italy, this 100% PETA-certified vegan brand should be high on your list for colourful clothes. A leading advocate for better labour rights, the brand has also created the Mayamiko Trust, a charity working in the community to train and empower disadvantaged women.

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Shop Mayamiko.

Mimco

Rated: Good

Blaze Sunglasses – Ships internationally

While the last two decades were marked by oversized and aviator sunglasses, it looks like narrow frames are making a comeback! These vintage-inspired cat eye frames by Mimco are this season’s go-to style. Mimco has set some good environmental policies and traces most of its supply chain, and is also a signatory of the Australia Packaging Covenant.

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Shop Mimco.

BeeKeeper Parade

Rated: Great

Paisley Beekeeper Bumbag – Ships internationally

We’ve talked about them before, and here they are again: bum bags (or fanny packs, whichever you like) are amazing! This colourful one is made from upcycled, end-of-roll, remnant, discarded, or donated fabrics and clothing. BeeKeeper creates backpacks, iPad cases, and other fashion accessories out of discarded fabric waste. And if you’re looking for more bum bag inspo, have a look at our 5 favourite cute and conscious bum bags.

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Shop BeeKeeper Parade.

Beyond Skin

Rated: Good

Lace Up Vegan Boots – Ships internationally

Here comes the “grunge” part of this guide! These ethical Doc Martens alternatives are cruelty-free, PETA vegan approved, and beautifully handcrafted in Spain by Beyond Skin. We’re in love already.

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Shop Beyond Skin.

Patagonia

Rated: Good

Haywood Flannel Shirt – Ships internationally

Not only are flannel shirts amazing for layering during a hike or your next backpacking trip, they’re also a 90s staple. This shirt is made from 100% organic cotton, by Patagonia, a brand which truly lives and breathes the great outdoors. It makes clothing for trail running, climbing, mountain biking, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding. Patagonia has strong labour rights and uses recycled, rather than virgin, polyester. It has also committed to reducing its energy use and emissions.

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Shop Patagonia.

Reformation

Rated: Good

Roza Mini Slip Dress – Ships internationally

Slip dresses are so beautiful and easy to wear, no matter the era! This timeless black dress is made by LA-based Reformation. Reformation creates killer clothes that don’t kill the environment. The brand also ensures that a large proportion of its suppliers pay a living wage. Go Reformation!

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Shop Reformation @ Farfetch.

Plant Faced

Rated: Good

Ethical is the New Black T-Shirt – Ships internationally

Plant Faced makes some amazing graphic tees, perfect for layering under your flannel shirt or slip dress! Streetwear without sweatshops, that’s the motto of this 100% plant-based, ethical, eco-friendly and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand. It’s also super affordable!

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Shop Plant Faced.

Lucy and Yak

Rated: Good

Corduroy Dungarees – Ships internationally

Here are two classics of the 90s in one: corduroy and overalls, brought to you by Lucy and Yak! This brand really stands out with its handmade, sustainable, and fabulously fruity fashion. It uses eco-friendly materials including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and makes a point of visiting its suppliers in Northern India to ensure everyone is being treated fairly. The environment fares well, too: by making all of the garments by hand, the climate impact is greatly reduced, and the feel-good factor goes through the roof.

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Shop Lucy & Yak.

Pre-loved Options

We’ve shown you some of our favourite brands and NEW items to wear to achieve the 90s look, but of course the best and most sustainable way to do it is to use what you already have in your wardrobe (or in your family or friends’ wardrobes).

We also recommend buying secondhand, either from your local vintage and charity shops (we love supporting local businesses) or from apps and websites, like Depop or Farfetch, who now has a “Pre-Owned” section, where you can find some amazing designer pieces in mint condition!

Editor's note: feature image via Mimco, pattern via vvstudio, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You has big plans for ethical fashion in 2019! To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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