When Blue Planet came out, the war on plastics became international news spearheading global brands to act. Raised consumer awareness shifted buying behaviour and new legislations and alliances were formed. As the impact of waste on our environment became painstakingly obvious, pressure mounted on producers and manufacturers the world over. Whispers around the transparency on supply chains rippled through the airwaves and discussions of providence generated new platforms for traceability. Plastics remained key priority. And then there were microplastics that came from clothing. The battle for sustainable fashion arrived.
Sustainable fashion has been around for a while in the form of second-hand clothing and garment collecting in exchange for vouchers. The term “sustainable” has been branded around for a while now in many forms. But when is it simply ‘greenwashing’ rather than making an actual change?
Fortunately, the spotlight on ethical products is making brands accountable for their marketing campaigns and use of raw materials. Consumers are wise enough now to question the impact on labour rights in factories, Fairtrade and carbon footprint. However, for those eco-conscious consumers, it is proving hard to differentiate any potential greenwashing, as full traceability on the origins of materials or percentage of recycled content is not clear. Yet there are still ways that one can explore the true nature behind a brand. Questions like: Are big brands spinning a new sustainable fashion line to cover a hidden truth? Is the brand part of a portfolio of other companies that are damaging the environment? Are the manufacturing processes where factories located following good laws on labour? Are there frequent new pieces coming out deeming them a fast fashion line? Who endorses the brands and do you trust them?
There is an argument that the most sustainable fashion is the items you already own and that less is more in this case. But for many this is not feasible as fashion and accessories meet a lifestyle purpose. There is nothing to say that we can’t have both. Knowing what you’re buying and where it is coming from is the key. As more emerging sustainable brands surface, shopping consciously will become easier and even fun as we can rid of our ‘buyer’s remorse’!