Myths about sustainable fashion. In the age of misinformation, myths about anything you could imagine are abundant. And sustainable fashion is not the exception. As the fashion industry makes more changes to have eco-friendly practices, the myths about sustainable fashion are, unfortunately, growing faster. The truth is that all the propaganda of fashion brands about ethical practices has not been proven. In fact, their impact on the environment has not been reduced.
That’s why we’re here to tell you some of the myths around this type of fashion. Let us tell you the truth.
Are you ready?
Myth #1: Luxury brands are more sustainable and ethical because they are slow-fashion
This is one of the biggest lies ever invented. There’s a common misconception that the higher the price, the more ethical and eco-friendly the practices. Most people believe that only because the clothing price is higher, it must be because the fashion brands use more ethical practices. Or that they have less environmental impact because they use better materials. But that is simply not true.
High prices don’t guarantee that your clothes are made with better and more eco-friendly materials. Additionally, paying more doesn’t mean the workers who make the pieces work in decent conditions, receive better treatment or are paid a fair wage. Many luxury brands work in the same factories as fast fashion and low-price brands.
On the other hand, luxury brands also make garments from synthetic fabrics. Most of them do not disclose much information about their supply chains. Many of the luxury labels reviewed in Fashion Revolution’s 2022 Transparency Indexed actually scored worse overall than fast fashion. Plus, almost all of them scored in the lowest percentiles in traceability. In addition, many slow fashion or luxury designers use the same strategies as fast fashion by making exaggerated, deceptive and unsubstantiated sustainability claims.
Many of these brands claim that their garments are made with plant-based materials. However, they will not reveal how much plastic is in the items they sell. So, it’s all very ambiguous.
Myth #2: If a brand says they are sustainable, then they are
We cannot trust everything the brands say. In the fashion industry, it’s not defined 100% what sustainable fashion is. There’s not even a legal definition. As a result, some fashion brands define sustainability under their own interpretations to justify accelerated growth and profit. We don’t mean to disappoint you, but more often than you think, brands lie about their environmental and social sustainability. This is called greenwashing.
Some fashion brands are greenwashing by:
- Developing “ethical” capsule collections and CSR strategies to make themselves appear environmentally responsible.
- Using vocabulary like “ethical,” “green,” and “eco-friendly” but with no proof that they are actually sustainable.
- Promoting social issues and movements in their marketing strategies to make themselves look conscious, woke or socially responsible.
But the most deceptive greenwashing tactic is certification. As consumers become increasingly aware of greenwashing, brands use certification schemes to boost their sustainability credibility. Luckily, many of these schemes are not accountable or independently overseen. They often promote industry interests over consumer interests as well. What do we mean by this? Certification is a form of self-regulation (most of the time), and it can often be used to greenwash brands’ products and garments at a massive scale.
So, what can consumers do?
We understand that knowing which products are sustainable can be difficult. Even more now, we cannot trust what brands say, and certification schemes are sometimes unreliable. Here are a few tips:
- First of all, do your research. Always look for brands that are transparent about their sustainability. Also, watch for brands that have certifications from reliable third parties.
- One of the most important things is to be sceptical about buzzwords. Words like “ethical,” “eco-friendly,” and “green” are often used in greenwashing. Just don’t take them at face value.
- Finally, support brands that are actually making a difference. Look for those working to reduce their environmental impact and do more ethical practices. They should also improve social conditions in their chains.
We must also remember that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. No brand is perfect. But we can support the ones that are committed to making a positive impact on the environment.
Myth #3: Secondhand is inherently ethical and sustainable
While it is true that secondhand shopping brings many benefits, such as saving money, finding unique pieces and not consuming further resources (for the most part), we must know that the secondhand market is not inherently sustainable. However, it can be a sustainable, more ethical, and conscious way of shopping.
But you might be surprised to discover that only 10 to 20% of donated items to charity sells in their shops. This is because the quality of most of the donated items is very poor. As a result, most of the clothing ends up in a landfill or incinerated. The rest is sold for recycling into industrial use or sold to secondhand wholesalers. Wholesalers sell in bulk to other countries as secondhand clothing, primarily in the Global South.
Unfortunately, most of the secondhand clothing sent to other countries ends up as a waste because it is deemed unusable.
However, as we mentioned above, secondhand can be sustainable and is an ethical practice. But there is only so much we can do. Sustainability is achieved step by step, and secondhand is one of them.
How do you feel after knowing about these myths about sustainable fashion? We hope we’ve helped you clarify some of them. Remember that Studio Eva D. is a sustainable fashion brand that is transparent about the making of their garments, offers excellent conditions to their workers as well as a good pay rate, and is committed to really making a significant and positive impact on the environment.