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5 Hacks to Help You Identify Clothes That Are Not Sustainable

Are you making conscious choices but falling prey to false advertising? ‘Sustainability’ is merely a strategy term for certain brands to monetise, however, only a handful ensure it is implemented from stem to stern. We are here to help you navigate through the latter, so the next time you make a conscious purchase you will be rest-assured that it is genuine. 

Here’s some easy ways you can bust those pseudo-sustainable brands and make genuine purchases. 

Key Takeaways: 1. What’s Their Review? 

We are quick to review electronics or smartphones before making a purchase but rarely do we ever run a background check on alleged sustainable clothing brands before buying their products. If we are to adopt a sustainable mindset, then we have to start thinking of clothes as long-term investment items too. Searching for a brand’s sustainability credentials on platforms like Compare Ethics or Good On You is your best bet. Both of these platforms perform unique screening processes before they rate brands on just how sustainable they are.

2. Are Their Claims Vague?

Sometimes false advertising is blatantly obvious and more often than not, it presents itself in the form of vague sustainable claims. These claims commonly appear as green keywords like ‘organic’, ‘conscious’ or ‘eco-friendly’. In such cases it is always advisable to seek out proof from third-party verifications. They will be present in the form of sustainable certifications that have unique labels and logos tagged on garments itself. Get familiar with some of the most commonly used clothing certifications with a little help from our ultimate guide to sustainable certifications.

3. Do They Value Quality over Quantity? 

It’s quite a paradox when fast fashion brands promote a specific range of clothing as sustainable or conscious and yet continue to create clothes that are unsustainable. If a brand is truly sustainable they won’t simultaneously create cheap clothes in bulk and promote only a part of it as ‘eco-friendly’. Fast fashion retailers like Zara, H&M and Boohoo have been repeatedly guilty of this. In 2019, Boohoo’s #forthefuture capsule was marketed as an opportunity to “dress well and do your bit for the planet”. At the same time, it continued to release 100 new products a day, while the so-called ‘#forthefuture collection’ featured polyester-made garments starting at £4.    

4. Fabric is King

Fabrics are one of the surest ways of telling if a brand is selling sustainable clothes or not. This is where checking those frequently ignored fabric composition labels comes into play. Each fibre is made with a certain level of impact and some use up more natural resources than the rest, which is why it’s important to know what’s the better choice. Plant-based fabrics like hemp, lyocell, organic cotton, linen and peace silk are considered sustainable choices. Whereas, fibres like cotton, polyester and poly-blends, rayon, lycra, conventional leather and cashmere are best avoided. - why - need a line to link these pointers 

5. Lack of Accountability 

A genuinely sustainable brand would be able to hold themselves accountable when it comes to fair labour and wages by providing adequate transparency on their pricing and treatment of garment workers. Unsustainable brands, however, have a proven track-record of dodging accusations and showing a sheer lack of responsibility in their actions. In 2020, an undercover investigation revealed that garment workers that made clothes for fast-fashion retailer Boohoo were paid as little as £3.50 an hour. A follow-up report later claimed that Boohoo’s profits were “prioritised to the extent that the company lost sight of other issues” and “a series of warnings and red flags” were ignored.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-02-08

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