Meet the students at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement

Second-hand is stylish 

We spoke to Lily, Social Media Manager of USYD Fashion Revolution Society, about the work the society does to raise awarness and advocate for environmentally friendly fashion, what her fashion red flags are and simple ways we can all make our wardrobe more sustainable.

USYD Fashion Revolution is a society that campaigns for a more socially and environmentally responsible fashion industry.

The society was established as a USYD branch of the Fashion Revolution NGO that was founded after the Rana Plaza collapse – the structural failure of an eight-story commercial building in Bangladesh that brought world-wide attention to the environmental and humanitarian toll the garment industry takes

USYD Fashion Revolution hosts many events throughout the year, including clothes swaps, panel events and sewing workshops. Their goal is to raise awareness of the ethical and environmental harms caused by industry practices and help empower fellow students to make conscious choices in their purchases by demonstrating their actions can make a difference in the industry.

"We hope for students to leave our events feeling more motivated to make more informed and mindful choices when purchasing garments and to share that knowledge with their peers," says Lily, Social Media Manager of USYD Fashion Revolution Society.

The society also fosters connections among fellow sustainability advocates within the community, including ActionAid AustraliaOxfam and Baptist World Aid, and small Australian businesses, such as Clingy Bags and The Social Outfit. These connections, Lily says, broaden the avenues through which students and the wider community can engage with ethical fashion. 

This Thursday 19 October, USYD Fashion Revolution will be running a Fashion Swap, as part of a panel event on ethical fashion hosted by the University's dedicated Modern Slavery Unit and the Business School's MBA Dimensions Program. 

Attend our panel event: Ethical Fashion - Fad or reality?

Thursday 19 October, 5–8:30 pm, CBD Campus
Hear from a diverse range of speakers, including Clare Press, ethical fashion journalist and author, as they explore issues of ethical fashion, responsible business and modern slavery. Following the panel discussion, attendees will be invited to browse and participate in a Fashion Swap hosted by USYD Fashion Revolution Society, along with drinks and networking.
Register for the free event

USYD Fashion Revolution Society

Hear from Lily about fashion trends that make her tick, how to spot environmentally-friendly clothing and simple ways you can make your wardrobe more sustainable. 

What are your fashion red flags? 

  • Buying from fast fashion companies 
  • Purchasing garments that are poorly made and will not last you 
  • Purchasing without intention, i.e. just following trends that don't align with your fashion style or will quickly fall out of trend 

What do you look for when buying new clothing? 

  • What it's made out of. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool and linen tend to hold up better than synthetics such as polyester, which is made of plastic and can release microfibers every wash. 
  • How it's constructed. Are the seams securely sewn together? Are there loose threads? Are the buttons securely sewn to the fabric? All of these factors impact the quality and longevity of the garment. 
  • Whether it matches other pieces in my closet. Will I wear it in six months time or is it just a trendy piece of clothing at the moment? I always make sure that I buy with intention and that anything new I buy aligns with my personal style and fits in with other garments in my wardrobe. 

What are some simple steps people can take to make their wardrobe more sustainable? 

  • Thrift! Some of my favourites are Reunion in Newtown, local Vinnies and Salvos and U-Turn Punchbowl. 
  • Educate yourself before purchasing. Good On You is a great app to find out more about the ethical and environmental impacts of a brand. 
  • Learn to repair or upcycle old clothes. There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube on how to sew and upcycle clothing – it's not as hard as you might think! The Susan Wakil Building CreateSpace also has a sewing machine students can use to practice their sewing skills. 

Members of USYD Fashion Revolution at a sewing event.

Whether you already have a deep passion for sustainable fashion or want to take the first steps towards making more environmentally-friendly fashion choices, USYD Fashion Revolution Society is the community for you. 

"By becoming part of our community you can actively contribute to the global Fashion Revolution movement, advocating for a future where the fashion industry no longer inflicts irreparable harm on the climate and garment workers," says Lily.

Join USYD Fashion Revolution Society and follow @usydfashionrevolution on Instagram to stay up to date with events and activities. 

The USYD MBA Dimensions program is an initiative designed to connect MBAers and MBA Alumni with thought leaders from across the University through events delivered in a series of face-to-face workshops and guest lectures. 

The Modern Slavery Unit is the University's dedicated modern slavery team, responsible for embedding a respect for human rights across the University, and equipping students with access to resources to understand their rights and access support. You can contact the team directly by emailing

16 October 2023

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