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What is sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion has very much taken front and centre stage in the world of fashion and design student Olivia Gregg is keen to get the word out there on what you can do to play your part in sustainability.

It sounds catchy and is a buzzword right now but how do you know what you’re buying or creating is sustainable? What does sustainable fashion mean to you? Is sustainable the same thing as recyclable?

These are the very questions that MST50119 Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising student, Olivia Gregg, juggles with every time she is exploring, designing and creating a piece of fashion.

During a recent sit-down (or rather, stand-up), Olivia was generous enough to share her thoughts on what she thinks sustainable fashion is all about, the influencers who have helped shape her approach to design, and best of all, some tips to help us become more aware of this growing trend.

As someone who grew up watching her seamstress grandmother create all sorts of wonderful pieces, Olivia happily confirms that it is her Nana who inspired her love of natural fabrics and the aesthetic of 1950s Italy.

Olivia, however, strongly believes that with creative freedom, also comes the obligation to be responsible about what you design, create and consume so here are some general sustainable fashion tips she always tries to follow:

  • Invest in good, quality and timeless pieces and avoid fast fashion (‘You’ll be better off in the long run, emotionally, environmentally and financially”).
  • Go check out what’s on offer at op shops (“I’ve bought amazing Jacquard weave bedsheets at op shops that I’ve been able to re-use and turn into something great!”).
  • Do as much research as you can so you can find out what’s sustainable and become conscious of what you’re buying (“Look into how much goes into making something”).
  • This one is obvious…Try and reduce your fashion and clothes consumption; the world could do with less waste.
  • Try and wear natural fibres; they’re biodegradable and better for your skin.
  • Have conversations about what is sustainability and ethical fashion.
  • Try and buy second-hand items to reduce your contribution to landfill (“You can always find second-hand options on Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, Depop and thredUP”).
  • Another obvious tip…Try and re-use and recycle as much as you can.

With sustainability very much guiding her design approach, Olivia’s ultimate goal is to create a brand that specialises in custom design so customers know precisely what they’re getting.

“I look forward to finishing my current training next year as I’m excited about furthering my design skills and career prospects by moving on to the advanced diploma of this course,” Olivia said.

“With the foundational skills I’ve now gained, I’m really energised about how I can contribute to the future of sustainable fashion!”

To find out how you can also pursue a career in fashion design, visit or call 1300 308 233 for more information and let TAFE Queensland help you define your greatness.