3 Unsustainable Shopping Habits to Retire, According to Emma Watson's Stylist


(Image credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Laura Sophie Cox is a British celebrity stylist based in Los Angeles. Her roster of clients includes Emma Watson, Olivia Rodrigo, and Natalia Reyes.

As a stylist, it’s my job to source the best brands and newest trends for my clients. But I am also constantly looking for brands that champion sustainability and think with environmental responsibility. There is no better advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion than Emma Watson. Within our collaborations, since 2018, we have celebrated progressive designers in this arena and platformed the brands who push against the tide—those that continue to innovate and make moves towards conscious fashion practices and cultures.

Some of the brands supporting the sustainable movement are the innovative Zilver (a London-based label where each garment is meticulously designed using a combination of recycled fabrics, organic cotton, and traceable yarns) and cruelty-free Rosie Assoulin (a luxury electric New York–based label showcasing romantically fantastical designs, injected with bright dashes of color while adhering to a sense of practicality). Alongside oil, gas, and meat, fashion is a major climate-change culprit, and we need to change the way we consume it.

But first, a few facts: Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester, as reported by Amy Powney of Fashion Our Future. Fashion is exploiting workers all over the world and causing deforestation and climate devastation, with over 150 million trees cut down every year to make fabric, many taken from endangered forests. Furthermore, fashion is polluting our oceans, with microplastics from our clothing responsible for 85% of waste washed up on our shorelines. However, there are solutions.

Here are my pointers in helping you tackle the problem of unsustainable shopping habits…

Habit #1: Buying Exclusively Fast Fashion

Instead: Upcycle Your Own Wardrobe and Shop Vintage When Possible



One-hundred billion items of clothing are produced annually, and 50% of fast fashion is disposed of within a year, ending up in our landfills.

Instead, upcycle your wardrobe, where possible. Rescue those neglected items at the back of your cupboard so that they can be loved again! Channel your inner sewing bee. Embrace fixing, altering, and mending.

Shop vintage (@williamvintage and @whatgoesaroundnyc are great) or buy secondhand (hello, @therealreal!). I also love to use rental services (@worldarmarium, @byrotationofficial, and @hurr).

Shop Our Vintage Picks

Habit #2: Not Researching a Brand's Ethics Before Purchasing

Instead: Prioritize Socially Responsible Brands



Don't buy from brands that don't pay fair wages and aren’t transparent about their supply chain. Instead, show love to those brands that are sourcing responsibly and adhering to social responsibility. Non-organic cotton is the largest pesticide consuming crop. One polyester dress can take over 200 years to biodegrade. This is why, when possible, it's best to buy organic, natural fibers. Pledge to buy sustainably sourced viscose. Spend a little extra time researching brands (my sustainability bible is the Good on You website). It can be a minefield out there, but @goodonyou_app (which is also supported by Emma Watson) is the world's leading source for fashion brand ratings. They pull all the information together and use expert analysis to give each brand an easy-to-understand score.

Shop Our Picks From Ethical Brands

Habit #3: Buying Denim Without Investigating

Instead: Shop From One of the Many Sustainable Denim Brands Out There



On average, producing one pair of jeans can take up 20 years’ worth of drinking water. Instead, think sustainably when shopping for your denim. Check the labels. My go-to sustainable denim brands are @triachy, @citizensofhumanity, and @jbrandjeans.

Shop Our Picks From Sustainable Denim Brands

More Ethical and Sustainable Brands Cox Recommends

This crucial conversation of sustainability within the industry is exciting and important for me to think about—both as a stylist and a consumer. There are many incredible designers paving the way, and in search of solutions, even if the answer is a long way off. There are brands that are ever-evolving, showing that to better mean more than striving for perfection, and instead empowering their customers with the information they need to make more conscious decisions.

Mother of Pearl

Maggie Marilyn

Hiraeth Collective

Fashion's creative power has the ability to shape our identities. What you wear represents who you are and therefore has the power to change the future of our sacred planet. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. And the more people to make such choices, the more impact we'll have together.

Next up, the spring trends with the best and worst cost per wear.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.