5 Online Courses About Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable fashion is clothing that’s designed, produced, and distributed in an environmentally-friendly way. It’s often used synonymously with “ethical clothing,” which also prioritizes worker rights, but they don’t necessarily share every characteristic. Sustainable clothing focuses on organic materials, zero-waste techniques, renewable energy, recycled materials, and so on. It switches the blueprint and impact of “fast fashion” for something else. There’s a lot to learn about sustainable fashion. Here are five courses to kickstart (or expand on) your knowledge:

Sustainable Fashion / Coursera

Beginner Level
Length: 5 hours
Copenhagen Business School

With subtitles in multiple languages (including Arabic, French, Korean, Russian, and Spanish), this course offers an overview of business model theory and how fashion brands are becoming more sustainable. Students will analyze strategies and consider their own for their organization. You’ll broaden your understanding of sustainable fashion, business models, relevant vocabulary, the circular economy, and related concepts. With case examples from the fashion industry, you’ll learn how sustainable fashion works in the real world and get ideas of your own.

The course comes from the Copenhagen Business School, one of the largest business schools in Europe. “Sustainable Fashion” is free to enroll with a certificate available for purchase. There’s financial aid for students who can’t afford the fee.

Circular Fashion: Design, Science, and Value in a Sustainable Clothing Industry / edx

Introductory Level
Length: 5 weeks / 8-12 hours per week

“Circular fashion” is when products and materials are used as long as possible through techniques like recycling. In this introduction to circular fashion, around 30 experts from the fashion world and academia explore how the fashion industry can adopt a circular economy. Topics include challenges with recycling, alternative textiles, and circular business modeling. This course is a great fit for fashion designers, retailers, engineers, scientists, and anyone interested in sustainable fashion.

The course is free and self-paced with a certificate available for a fee. WageningenX is the online learning initiative of Wageningen University & Research. It welcomes students from over a hundred countries.

Fashion and Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World / Futurelearn

Beginner Level / No other course requirements
Length: 6 weeks / 3 hours per week
UAL: London College of Fashion / Kering

This course, which is supported by luxury fashion group Kering and developed by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, introduces students to sustainability issues, agendas, and contexts within luxury fashion. Topics include why sustainability belongs in fashion, material sourcing for luxury fashion, informed decision-making, and creative realizations. By the end, you’ll understand the more complex aspects of sustainable fashion, current and emerging perspectives on the topic, and business strategies. Most importantly, you’ll have the knowledge needed to develop your own innovative approaches to sustainable fashion.

This course is geared toward people working (or interested in) in the fashion industry and fashion education. The London College of Fashion has been around for more than 100 years. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion was established in 2008 and educates students on using fashion to improve society and build a more sustainable future.

Fashion’s Future: The Sustainable Development Goals / Futurelearn

Beginner Level / No other course requirements
Length: 4 weeks / 3 hours per week
Fashion Revolution

Established in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 global goals for a more sustainable world. How does fashion play a part? This course examines how the fashion industry works, its impacts, and how the clothes you wear connect to the SDGs. Topics include why fair/ethical trade matters to human rights and development; global fashion supply chains; gender equality; and the environmental impacts of clothes. By the end of the course, you’ll know how to analyze a brand’s sustainability, develop strategies for improving your wardrobe or organization, and engage with brands on improving their sustainability.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement advocating for a systemic reform of the fashion industry. Their course is designed for anyone interested in the fashion industry, fair trade, international development, and the SDGs. Enrollment is free with options to purchase a verified certificate.

How To Build A Sustainable Fashion Business / Futurelearn

Beginner Level / No other course requirements
Length: 5 weeks / 3 hours per week
Creative Skillset / Ethical Fashion Forum

In this course, you’ll learn from leading entrepreneurs about how to create a successful sustainable fashion business from start to finish. Topics include an overview of sustainability issues, business strategy, how to set goals, and financing. You’ll also learn how to set up a supply chain, source sustainable and ethical materials, develop products, and marketing. The course is a good fit for anyone interested in sustainable fashion. Knowing a bit about the fashion industry is useful, but not required.

The course is free, but you can opt-in for a paid certificate. The course may not be currently running, so check back for updates.