11 Celebs Who Are Sustainable Fashion Icons

We know, we know, when it comes to recycling clothing on the red carpet, it can seem like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. It feels like every time a celebrity steps out, they have to be wearing the latest trend and a brand new fashion-forward outfit we've never seen before. But while that might seem like a somewhat harmless concept and a fun way of changing and evolving your look, it's hardly great news for the environment. When new items come in, that usually means old items get thrown out, and it's estimated that the average consumer can throw an eye-watering 70 pounds of clothing into the trash every single year despite 95% of it having the potential to be recycled. Yes, you read that right. We're missing out on a whopping 95% of recyclable materials each year, which has a catastrophic impact on the environment.


But there are some famous faces who are doing all they can to combat all that unnecessary waste. Not only from our wardrobes, but they're also keeping the companies who produce the garments in check by encouraging them to have a more positive impact on the world by focusing on sustainable practices like sourcing recyclable materials and less CO2 emissions and water wastage.

Say hello to our sustainable fashion icons!

Rooney Mara puts her money where her mouth is

Rooney Mara isn't just promoting sustainable fashion with her outfits, she's also putting her money where her mouth is. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" star actually started her own vegan fashion brand Hiraeth alongside her best friend, Sara Schloat, and explained to AnOther in 2018 that she got the idea after trying to find faux leather items, but found that often came without a focus on sustainability as well. "There are a lot of people doing faux fur and faux leather but there isn't really anyone who have also cut out wool or silk — we don't use any animal products whatsoever," she shared. So Mara and Schloat are making sure they can take care of the planet and the animals that live on it at the same time! 


"We only want to produce locally in Los Angeles because that's where we have the most control in meeting the people who are making the product. We have a relationship with these people," Schloat told DuJour of their sustainability venture. "It's all made in our backyard, so we see the skilled craftsmanship happening."

Mara was rocking sustainable clothing long before co-founding her own label, though. She's repeatedly showed off her passion for sustainable items, like when she wore an eco-conscious H&M gown to the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscars Party which was made from recycled polyester.

Emma Watson's dedication to going green is magic

Emma Watson has repeatedly used her platform to promote sustainable fashion over the years, both by what she's wearing (she often opts for vintage options on the red carpet) and what she's doing. In 2011, she created her own Pure Threads collection together with designer Alberta Ferretti to create stylish yet sustainable pieces. "Eco-fashion is very important to me. I think it's important to be conscious of what we are buying and where it comes from," Watson told Daily Mail in 2011 of the collaboration, adding, "I was absolutely thrilled when she contacted me for this eco-friendly project. I immediately said yes and we started working together on an organic capsule clothing line inspired by natural fabrics."


But that's not all. That same year, she partnered with the Fair Trade clothing company People Tree on a similar project, and spoke out about the poor conditions fast fashion creators often work in. "Having seen the slums in Dhaka and the conditions in which these people live and work to produce 'fast fashion', I would say to those people that this is not the way we should be making clothes in the modern world," she told Elle. "These workers have no rights and work every hour of the day just to feed their families. Fair Trade gives families the option to stay together, rather than one or both parents having to move to cities, and they are paid a fair wage. It empowers people and doesn't take away their dignity."


Rosario Dawson is bringing African culture to the forefront while promoting sustainability

Rosario Dawson teamed up with Abrima Erwiah to create Studio One Eighty Nine, which even won the CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. The company aims to focus on African culture and fashions that are not only super stylish, but also sustainable. "For me, fashion is community and I think through sustainable fashion the conversation around using it as an agent of social change opens people up to recognize that they're voting with their dollar, every single time, for the world that they want to live in. This is about access to market, this is about pollution, can this actually be recycled?" she told TOGETHERBAND in 2020.


Dawson spoke out again in 2022 when she called out brands who aren't doing their bit to be greener. "A lot has to be changed. The idea of the competition and starving people of resources and pushing people to the side and kind of dominating the space, I think that conversation's gone over," she hit back to FN while supporting the Fifteen Percent Pledge initiative, which helps to bring more attention to Black-owned brands. "If we're going to build a more sustainable, regenerative, and ethical system within fashion, we're going to have to start working with each other."

Kendall Jenner is flying the flag for smaller eco-friendly brands

Kendall Jenner is so famous as a reality TV star and model that she could wear anything in the world she wants from any designer, but she's doing her bit to bring attention to some of those doing good. In 2021, she snapped a selfie wearing pieces from the sustainable brand (di)vision. "The Kardashians" star rocked a super stylish colorful hat and pants, with the company confirming on Instagram the bottoms had been reconstructed from existing materials and all of its items were made from deadstock (a term used to describe garments that are no longer in production or being sold, but are still being stored by a company) fabrics.


Jenner is also known to be a fan of Havre Studio, which restores and refits existing men's suits for women, and has been spotted wearing some of her outfits more than once, which, a few years ago, would have been a total no-no for such a fashion icon! She even defended the choice to re-wear on her app in 2016. "When it comes to standout pieces that I love, I'd feel so wasteful only wearing them once. If it's dope, I'll wear it again and again!" she wrote (via Teen Vogue).

Another notch on this star's (sustainable) belt? She and her famous family members sell their used clothing, shoes, and accessories to fans via the website Kardashian Kloset in order to give them another life in someone else's closet.


Cate Blanchett is an outfit repeater

Cate Blanchett has become almost as famous for re-wearing items on the red carpet as she is for her acting skills, as she's repeatedly worn her glamorous ensembles multiple times (like at the 2023 BAFTA Awards, which she'd previously worn to the 2015 Oscars). Not only is she an outfit repeater though, she's also an outfit upcycler, having worked with designers a few times to imagine a new look using existing materials she's already worn. One such example? At the 2023 SAG Awards, she wore an outfit that incorporated the lace from the Giorgio Armani dress she wore to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and 2014 Golden Globes.


And, just like us, Blanchett thinks more stars should be following her lead when it comes to their super expensive red carpet ensembles. "It should be completely unremarkable, the idea of re-wearing (clothes), because we do it in our daily lives," she admitted to BOF of the attention her sporting the same outfit more than once gets. "We do it out of habit, we do it out of choice, we do it out of necessity," she added.

The star has also used her celebrity status to bring a lot of attention to several smaller sustainable brands, as she's worn outfits from the likes Esse and E Nolan. She's also known to sport a number of other bigger eco-friendly brands, working with the likes of Stella McCartney and Wolk Morais.


Billie Eilish is teaching green to the next generation

In 2022, Billie Eilish announced Overheated, a six-day climate event that was created to educate people about how to be more sustainable. The London event, which coincided with Eilish's tour dates in the U.K., made use of a number of methods to get the word out there to her young fanbase, like creating clothing swaps and screening a documentary on veganism. Profits from the event were even donated to Support + Feed and Reverb, with the former being a non-profit that promotes sustainable eating and plant-based diets, while the latter is focused on making the music scene more sustainable.


But not only that, Eilish also collaborated with Nike that same year to create a line of footwear and clothing made from vegan friendly and sustainable materials. As part of the team-up, the "Happier Than Ever" hitmaker put her own twist on the brand's legendary Air Force 1 sneakers. After Eilish's eco-friendly upgrade, 80% of the super popular footwear was created from recycled materials.

Outside of that, the star has also been spotted wearing sustainable fashion on multiple occasions. At the 2022 Met Gala, for example, Eilish rocked an upcycled gown by Gucci and expressed her desire to stay as green as possible with her clothing choices during Vogue's red carpet live stream. "We didn't have to waste a bunch of stuff. It all already existed. I just wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible," she said, per People. We love it!


Olivia Wilde promoted ethical fashion alongside H&M

Olivia Wilde has done a lot to promote sustainable fashion over the years, with one of her biggest pushes to educate the masses coming back in 2015 when she teamed up with H&M to become the face of the fashion giant's Ethical Collection. "This is how all fashion should be: great style that's naturally more sustainable," she said in a press release at the time.


The following year, she spoke again about the importance of sustainable fashion and urged more big companies to be more sustainable, particularly those with lower price points. "Conscious clothing doesn't mean itchy, crafty and gross. Brands like Stella McCartney and Maiyet have done a lot to disprove the vegan clothing stigma — I love them, they're beautiful, but they're at a high price point. It's somewhat elitist to say, 'Why don't you shop ethically and just buy everything Maiyet?' We can't afford that," she told Mashable. "It's important for big companies to provide these items for people who are just trying to shop and not break the bank."

Wilde later teamed up with ThredUp to create her own collection that kept textile waste to a minimum by promoting buying more second-hand clothing. Even better? 10% of all the profits from the collection were donated to the ThredUP Circular Fashion Fund, a non-profit tackling textile waste.


Gisele Bundchen goes green on the red carpet

Gisele Bundchen has shown her dedication to sustainable fashion on a few occasions, with one of her most notable coming when she stepped out with her now former husband Tom Brady at the 2018 Met Gala in a yellow gown made for her by Versace using sustainable materials. Versace confirmed the outfit's fabric and lining were made from organic silk that had all been created ethically and sustainably, using threads made from organic cotton. Heck, even the embroidery was sustainable on this sustainable look! It was made out of recycled Brazilian (Bundchen's home country!) glass bottles, while the metals used were free of lead, nickel, chemicals, and colorants.


Bundchen also teamed up with the watch company IWC in 2022 to work on and promote its sustainability efforts, and she explained while promoting the collaboration how she's teaching her children about the importance of being eco-friendly in all aspects of life. "When something is created, it doesn't just disappear. Anything that has ever been made is here. It's going to end up on landfills, it's going to end up in the ocean," she told GQ. The supermodel added, "When people talk about sustainability and they talk about protecting nature, for me, it's all about social and environment. You cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy human so really, they're the same."

Sophia Bush founded her own sustainable fashion shopping site

Sophia Bush is a total sustainability queen, and she's making it easier for us to be, too! In 2016, she teamed up with Nina Farran on FashionKind to bring sustainable luxury fashion to the consumer based on the good they companies are doing. Speaking to Forbes in 2021, the actor confessed she wanted to evolve people's thinking when it comes to buying new clothing. "We are at a real inflection point in the fashion industry, where every company needs to re-examine how it does business and consider its impact. Addressing sustainability and impact is essential for the survival of the planet, and it's essential to the survival of this industry that employs millions of people — many of them women — around the world. Our goal is to show that it can be done successfully, and at a large scale," the former "One Tree Hill" actor said.


Bush also told The Daily Front Row she'd long been an advocate for the environment before the business venture — which we love to hear! "I had been involved in environmental action for a long time, and fashion is one of the top polluting industries, responsible for 5% to 8% of all carbon emissions," she shared, noting that fashion is very close to her heart. "I wanted to find a way to reconcile my relationship to it, and see if I could help to effect change from within," she added.

Nicky Hilton put her years of fashion experience to good use

With a net worth of $50 million (via Celebrity Net Worth) and having grown up in one of the richest families in the world, Nicky Hilton could literally buy any clothing she wants — but she's more focused on quality and ethics over quantity. The longtime fashion lover actually teamed up with French Sole to create a line of sustainable vegan shoes. "My awareness around the importance of sustainability in fashion has grown a lot over the years, so this step within my own brand is something I'm very passionate about," Hilton — who studied at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology – told Green Matters in 2021 of the venture. "All shoes wear out eventually, so creating footwear that isn't harmful to the planet and can eventually be recycled is extremely beneficial. It is a small-yet big-step in the right direction."


The star has so far done a very impressive four collections with the brand, and told "Good Morning America" around the same time that she wanted to continue putting the focus on fashion that doesn't harm the planet. "I'm not perfect but I think we all need to do our part to leave our world a better place for our children," she shared. Agreed!

Jane Fonda vowed to stop buying new clothes

Seriously, what is there to not love about Jane Fonda? She's classy, she's talented, and she's incredibly dedicated to sustainable fashion. In fact, her passion for the cause is so strong that she actually vowed to stop buying new clothes altogether back in 2019. Yep, you read that right, the fashion icon who could literally buy any clothing item in the world very publicly proclaimed she'd banned herself from buying new garments. "We shouldn't look to shopping for our identity. We just don't need more stuff. Then I have to walk the talk so I'm not buying any more clothes," Fonda shared during a Fire Drill Fridays gathering in Washington, D.C., which aims to raise awareness of climate change.


The star has continued to bring attention to eco-friendly brands since then, including in 2021 when she shared a photo on Instagram posing with a Ferragamo bag. "Sustainability is the future of fashion," she wrote, in part, in the caption, praising the brand for its dedication to working with sustainable materials. Not only that, but the former "Grace And Frankie" star has also thrown her support behind Gucci's efforts in going green by appearing in an ad campaign for the luxury brand's first attempt at a sustainable fashion, Gucci Circular Lines.