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Sustainable Clothing: Scam or Reality?

If you’ve been guilty of thinking that ‘sustainability’ is just a trend, then you are not alone. Rampant greenwashing among fashion brands and call-out culture have made it really hard to tell the difference between fraudulent claims and genuine ones. Ahead, we break down some of the most commonly trusted sustainable beliefs to help you better assess whether it’s a scam or even remotely real. 

It’s probably sustainable if: They use sustainable jargon or buzzwords like ‘conscious’, ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘organic’

It’s a scam: When there is lack of evidence or proof to back these words.

It’s real: If the materials are verified by one or more third-party sustainable certifications. Additionally, a brand that is genuinely conscious of their impact would provide detailed information on the environmental influence of material and fibres used.  

It’s probably sustainable if: The clothes are expensive

It’s a scam: If there is no transparency on how they make and price their clothes. In fact, Fashion Revolution claims that a lot of premium labels actually produce in the same factories as fast fashion brands. Which means that everything from workers’ rights to the conditions in which they work in, can be exploitative, regardless of price point.

It’s real: Brands that are striving to make a difference will provide full disclosure on how they deem the worth of their goods. These are usually backed by a detailed break up of their pricing transparency along with behind the scenes look on how their factories operate.

It’s probably sustainable if: They market themselves to be a conscious brand 

It’s a scam: When big corporations or fast fashion brands market vague sustainable efforts in order to lure consumers into buying more. For example; In 2019, Boohoo’s #forthefuture capsule was marketed as an opportunity to “dress well and do your bit for the planet”. However, the online retailer releases 100 new products a day, and this capsule featured 34 in total, with prices starting at £4 featuring polyester-made garments.

It’s real: If a brand is speaking up on important issues without enticing their consumers to buy more of their product. A truly sustainable brand is not afraid to make their stance clear on important social and environmental issues even if it means deviating from making profits.

More than three in five consumers in a McKinsey survey that ran in May 2020 claimed that a brands’ promotion of sustainability was an important factor in their purchasing decisions. However, exercising caution while buying into a brand’s image is equally important. A completely holistic sustainable brand will not only consider the planet but will also take into account social factors like making sure garment workers are paid a living wage, safe factory conditions and a lot more. A genuinely sustainable fashion brand will address every one of these factors and have the accountability, traceability and facts to confirm it. 

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-01-16

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