When I was only just entering the sustainable fashion scene, I had certain ideas about what it was. Since then, I learned a lot about this ever-changing industry.
For one, I come across certain stereotypes and ideas about sustainable fashion that simply don’t hold water.
That’s why I think it’s time to crush these 5 sustainable fashion myths, once and for all!
- Sustainable fashion is expensive
Let’s start with the possibly most common sustainable fashion myth of all!
Sure, if you’re used to buying €9.99 t-shirts and jeans for less than the price of an average dinner in a restaurant, sustainable fashion may seem expensive. The truth is, fast fashion clothes are so cheap because someone else’s paying the price. As I wrote earlier, such clothes are made in horrible working conditions where the makers aren’t paid fairly for their work. Also, such clothes are usually made of cheap materials that won’t last very long and that are destroying our planet.
Speaking of clothes (not) lasting, there’s something called cost-per-wear. As the name says, it’s the idea of measuring the total cost of an item considering the number of times you’ll wear or use it. So, if you only wear a cheap t-shirt a couple of times, it will be more expensive than buying a high-quality one, which will last you for years. In other words, the price tag isn’t the only way to measure the cost of a garment.
And - of course - the most sustainable clothes you could wear are the ones you already own. This costs exactly €0!
- Sustainable fashion is boring and not stylish
I struggled with this myth the most.
I like looking good and it took me a while to find my style in a sustainable way. While it may seem that sustainable fashion is all about neutral, minimal, and shapeless clothing, the scene is changing a lot in recent years. More and more brands and independent designers are introducing different patterns, colors, and silhouettes into their collections. And we absolutely need this diversity in fashion!
Additionally, sustainable fashion isn’t only about new clothes. Second hand and vintage shopping is also an option and there you can find all sorts of materials and styles. You just need a bit of luck and some patience! The whole point is that sustainable fashion isn’t about passing trends, but about your own individual style. As such, you can find the clothes that you actually feel good in and make you: you.
Don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of these stylish pieces, that will elevate any outfit, guaranteed:
- Made in Europe means it’s ethical
You probably know that the majority of fast fashion is produced in low-wage countries, such as Bangladesh, Taiwan, or China. By this logic, if a brand produces clothes in a high-cost country, workers must be paid well.
The “Made in Europe” label is often associated with better working conditions than garments made in Asia. But the reality is very different.
Unfortunately, scandals like Boohoo making their clothes in a UK factory and paying their workers less than half the legal wage, say a lot about this. And it’s not just the fast fashion brands. Luxury brands like to make their garments in Europe, but their high price is just a sign of a high margin, rather than fair pay. For example, in Croatia, only 34% of the garment workers earn a living wage, meaning that they can afford things like holidays or spend enough time with their families. The rest can’t. That’s to say that there are sweatshops within the EU too.
What this all means is that geographical location is no indication of how a brand is making its products. It’s important to always look for more information than what’s on the label.
- Donating your old clothes is a sustainable thing to do
When learning about the impact of fast fashion, many of us (me included) have an urge to just get rid of everything in our wardrobes! But instead of throwing the clothes out, we may donate, so it can be used by somebody else. Right?
Well, not quite.
The donation system is not the answer. An estimated 80% of donated clothes end in landfills and only the minority is actually resold or recycled. So, when we donate our clothes, there’s a high chance that they will end up in the same place as if we simply put them in a garbage bin. That is because the industry produces too many clothes.
So the answer here is to rethink the way we buy clothes. The real solution lies in reducing our fashion consumption. This includes both re-wearing things we already have and buying smarter!
- We need fast fashion brands because they provide jobs
Uh, this one is tough to break!
The fashion industry employs over 400 million people globally, mostly connected to the fast fashion supply chain. If those brands stop existing, what would all these people do? After all, any job is better than no job?
No, it is not.
The same industry is among the top 5 industries contributing to modern slavery. Moreover, such low-paying and exploiting jobs are only perpetuating poverty and not benefiting the workers in any sense. Besides, the fast fashion brands are showing time and again how, when there’s a crisis, they will easily leave their workers behind, like they did when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.
This is why it’s important to change our consumption habits and support sustainable fashion brands. Those brands are making sure that their business is truly benefiting the workers and not harming the Planet on the way. This is how we can change the fashion industry. This is how we can change humanity.
Ready to join this change? Take inspiration from our shop. I guarantee you will find only sustainable fashion there!