Sustainability

Ten Sustainable Clothing Myths

There are a lot of myths surrounding sustainable fashion which sometimes stop shoppers taking positive steps towards sustainable purchases. Here are ten commonly heard sustainable clothing myths and the truth about them.

Sustainable clothing myths

You need to spend more to be sustainable

Of course some sustainable clothing brands are quite expensive. After all, the fabric is ethically sourced and the workers are fairly paid. But like with any purchase you would be buying something because you absolutely love it and see yourself using it for a very long time. However, some of the most sustainable options are a lot more reasonably priced. For example you can buy second hand from reselling sites or charity shops. There are also vintage stores or you can swap clothing with friends. Renting clothing is becoming increasingly more popular too.

To reduce your footprint you should buy from sustainable brands

The most sustainable option is to buy less. Shop your existing wardrobe and have items mended or tailored. If you do need to buy something then try shopping pre-owned.

The more expensive the garment, the less likely workers have been exploited

I feel like this is one of the more common sustainable clothing myths. If I’m being completely honest I always used to believe this. It turns out that a lot of the same brands, whether they have a low or mid-range price point, actually use the same factories for production. The labour is only a small part of the overall production cost so there is no guarantee that factory workers have been fairly paid.

Returned clothes are resold

Unfortunately it is actually cheaper for brands to throw away returns than it is for them to check each item and re-pack it. This means that returns are often incinerated. I hate returning things but I think you are very lucky if you can order something online and it fit perfectly. Especially given the variation in sizing between brands. Sometimes if I can’t keep an item I have ordered I will offer it to my sister or sell on a reselling site rather than return it.

Most clothes can be recycled

Many items of clothing are actually made from a mix of fabrics which need to be separated before they can be made into new clothing. However recycling can mean being recycled or should I say repurposed as other things. This could be anything like being made into face masks, used as padding for chairs or as cleaning clothes.

There’s no point repairing cheap clothes

By mending clothing from a fast fashion brand you may actually end up spending more on it than when you paid for it. But, by getting the extra wear out of it you are doing what you can to reduce your carbon footprint. You can do most repairs yourself like replacing buttons and sewing small tears or seams.

Clearing out your wardrobe in favour of a capsule wardrobe is sustainable

I understand the logic behind this. You feel like by getting rid of things you will be living a more minimal lifestyle. The most sustainable wardrobe is the wardrobe you continue to wear. This is rather than throwing everything away and replacing it with items from sustainable brands. This still creates demand. A lot of what you donate isn’t actually bought by someone else, it just ends up as waste. Capsule wardrobes are designed to be made up of timeless, high quality items that last. They should not be incessantly overhauled.

Companies promoting sustainability are sustainable

Sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. Many consumers don’t fully understand what sustainability means. Just hearing that a brand uses recycled materials or that they are aiming to become carbon neutral is seen as enough. Greenwashing is another word we are hearing more of and a lot of brands that promote sustainability are far from sustainable when you take a closer look. I have previously written a post on greenwashing if you would like to learn more about it.

The label tells you everything about your clothes

While your clothes may be made in that country, the label doesn’t give you the full story. It doesn’t tell you where the cotton was farmed, where the yarn was woven into fabric or where the logo was printed.

You don’t have the power to make a difference

I feel like this myth applies to a lot of things and it is probably the most common excuse I hear from people for why they do or don’t do something. As consumers we should be voting with our wallets. If you don’t like how a brand does something then let them know and don’t shop there. I realise in some cases that is easier said than done. And in some situations that brand may be your only option. If you do need to keep shopping with a certain brand then take the time to ask them questions about their practices, where their fabrics come from and who made their clothes. If we keep bringing up these topics with companies they will come to realise how important these issues are for consumers.