2020 wasn’t all bad. In the fashion realm, observers witnessed a substantial shift in consumer behaviour. One study by Mckinsey claims that “64% of shoppers decreased their spending on clothing and footwear during the pandemic”. Was this partly because lockdown made consumers feel that there was no need for extra fashion purchases since there was nowhere to wear them? Of course. But, that’s not where it ends. The recent and increasing exposure to environmental issues surrounding fast-fashion has also altered the way that many consumers view the industry, as well as influencing their personal morals towards fashion, ethics and sustainability; “57% of shoppers agreed that they had made significant changes to their lifestyle to lessen their environmental impact” states McKinsey. However, there are a few myths around ‘slow’ fashion that are preventing people from making that much-needed leap towards a more sustainable future.
“I HAVE TO SPEND LOADS OF MONEY TO BE SUSTAINABLE”
Reality: some sustainable and ethical brands are indisputably pricey – if they weren’t then you simply wouldn’t be getting the quality design, ethically sourced fabrics and fairly paid workers. If you do choose to splash out on a slow fashion site, it should be on an essential and versatile piece that you know you’ll love forever. Buying a pair of sustainable, good quality jeans, for example, will last you for many years without slowly stretching, fraying or just generally declining in quality like their fast fashion counterparts. However, there are many other options that are cheaper (even free!) and more sustainable than buying anew. You can swap clothes with a friend, buy second-hand and vintage, upcycle your clothes and re-discover/ restyle the clothes that you already own.
“IT’S HARMLESS TO BUY FAST FASHION AS LONG AS I RECYCLE/DONATE EVERYTHING I NO LONGER USE”
Reality: the majority of textiles are extremely difficult to recycle, particularly since most garments consist of a blend of different fibres that most recycling facilities don’t yet have the technology to separate. These pieces of clothing will generally get shipped out for poorer countries to deal with and their fate, unfortunately, becomes one of landfill. Although donating these clothes to charity is undoubtedly a better option, they still have an inevitably short life span, hence the name ‘fast fashion’ and it will likely not be long before these clothes are destined to the same fate of landfill.
“A COMPANY IS SUSTAINABLE IF THEY SAY THEY ARE”
I found even expensive clothes aren't ethical. My mom used to sew clothes for expensive shops and she wasn't paid that much. I've seen a lot of companies greenwashing – better to buy from a company that mentions it but not markets it as their main point.
Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com