The green movement is booming. Consumers are asking for more Eco-friendly clothing lines. Clothing made from sustainable materials and ethical production methods.
Eco-friendly clothing lines are the worst. They make large companies content with their very small contribution to climate protection and appeal to mindful consumers with misleading environmental claims.
This is a marketing strategy called greenwashing. It is highly unethical and illegal.
Read up our article to learn more about the dangers of greenwashing in the fashion industry.
Think of increasing pollution, destruction of ecosystems, piles of wastes, hazardous chemicals, and greenhouse gas emissions. Big oil companies and coal mines aren't the only culprits.
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters worldwide. Clothing production and consumption are extremely harmful to our planet. It also kills thousands of cotton farmers and factory workers every year.
Fortunately, the fashion industry is changing. More brands and retailers are trying to include some sort of economic, social or environmental sustainability in their supply chain.
But not all fashion brands are 100% ethical and sustainable. Some smaller brands hold sustainability and ethical practices as core values.
On the other hand, many larger fashion brands come up with Eco-friendly clothing lines to appeal to eco-conscious consumers, while the large majority of their business remains highly polluting.
Read up this article, where we throw some shade at fast fashion brands you have to avoid.
Some changes are happening and that's a good thing. But Eco-friendly clothing lines from large fashion brands are retailers have to stop.
It's easy to push an Eco-friendly collection to high-street stores and claims you are doing something good for the environment.
It sure is a step in the right direction. But it's not enough.
While an Eco-friendly clothing line might be made from sustainable materials, the same brands keep hiding poor production methods and pollution behind their green advertising strategies.
As consumers, it is difficult to tell what is true or not and choose who to support with our money.
Eco-friendly shopping is still a good resolution for this new year. Especially with recycled materials, you can reduce your carbon footprint and overall impact of clothing production on the environment drastically.
Changing your wardrobe to more sustainable products is a good initiative.
However, you can do better than buying from brands and retailers that only offer a small Eco-friendly clothing line compared to the rest of their products.
If you don't, you are supporting a largely polluting fashion brand, poor manufacturing processes, and waste management systems.
The biggest issue when it comes to making more Eco-friendly clothing lines is the cost of production.
If it didn't cost that much more to make ethical and sustainable products, there would be a lot more of them available in stores.
Large fashion brands and retailers are known to use less expensive materials such as low-quality polyester and cotton to make cheap clothing.
Want to know more about materials? Follow our guide on the Top 10 Eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics.
Fast fashion brands encourage the throwaway mentality, make clothing disposable, and send large amounts of textile waste to landfills each year.
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, after the petroleum sector.
There are many pollution problems in the fashion industry. Some Eco-friendly clothing lines here and there aren't going to change that.
Consumers need to look more attentively at what they choose to support with their purchase decisions.
And retailers need to stop making more Eco-friendly clothing lines. Instead, rethink completely their business model and supply chain for a 100% sustainable fashion future.
Luckily, there are already plenty of ethical fashion brands creating clothes more responsibly. But ethical fashion is still inaccessible to many people due to high prices, lack of style choices and visibility.
Shopping ethically remains a luxury in many regions. Consumers are willing to pay more for Eco-friendly products and retailers are enjoying higher profit margins.
It is true. It does cost more to manufacture clothing ethically.
When taking of aspects of ethical and sustainable manufacturing into consideration, clothing production involves paying farmers and factory workers more, using natural dyes, fertilizers, and pesticides, using natural and organic materials.
Eco-friendly clothing comes with a higher cost for the end consumer. Unfortunately, some only have access to cheap, throwaway clothes.
But for many people, it is still possible to buy fewer but longer-lasting clothes.
There is also a possibility to shop second-hand clothing or renting.
Overall, I encourage you to spend time researching more ethical brands.
You can get an idea of how to check if a fashion brand is ethical in our guide.
Having only one Eco-friendly clothing line is very limiting for any brand and doesn't make it ethical.
We need more honesty, more transparency and more sustainability in the fashion industry.
Traceability of supply chains is a hot topic currently. So is carbon-neutral shipping, waste collection, and recycling.
You can easily recognize responsible brands when all of their clothing lines are Eco-friendly and when they encourage consumers to buy fewer clothes from them, wearing them year after year.
Sustainable fashion brands are usually quite small and don't have the necessary economic power to bring more awareness to a large public.
They make Eco-friendly clothing lines for a special niche and don't produce at scale. But change is coming.
There are more and more consumers concerned with the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.
Ethical brands are growing and slowly building large customer bases.
“It’s expensive to make clothes sustainably. But over time, as the brand grows, I want to find ways to bring the prices down, to be even more accessible.”
- Kayti O’Connell Carr, MATE the Label founder
Buying from brands making a conscious effort to protect the environment should not expensive.
But until Eco-friendly clothing prices can come down, the whole fashion industry has to change.
Don't forget that you can start lowering your carbon footprint today. Every consumer has a role to play as well. Put your money where your values are.
Think about how the fashion industry employs farmers and workers from the poorest countries in the world. The way we buy our clothes affects them as well.
Many clothing companies are committed to social and environmental sustainability.
Find the brands with a sustainable business model making not just some Eco-friendly clothing lines but all of their garments sustainable. And buy from them whenever possible.
Do you know any sustainable fashion brands to recommend?
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.