Back in April The Fashion Law asked ‘Can The Fashion Industry Ever Really Be Sustainable?‘
Despite the hype, the media campaigns and our increasing concerns about climate change in our daily news feeds our hunger for fast fashion continues unabated. If you thought setting up your ethical home grown fashion brand would tap into a niche that would financially sustain you, you’ve probably been disappointed. But it might not be your fault.
Ethically-minded brands believe the single biggest issue stopping
them becoming more sustainable is the consumer; either through
their lack of awareness of the issues faced by the industry or
through an unwillingness to pay the premium for sustainable
I’ve said before how the consumer dictates spending and trends and not the other way around. If everyone stopped buying Twix tomorrow they’d stop selling Twix. The only reason online has done so well is because customers discovered they could shop without leaving their sofas and that suited us. If everyone stopped buying fast fashion tomorrow, the business model would sink. But we don’t stop buying, at least not in the numbers we need to.
How many climate change protestors are wearing fashion that contributes to the problem? Probably most of them. How many of them are willing to pay over the odds for sustainable and ethical clothing? Probably very few of them. We’re so focused on eradicating livestock farmers and plastic bottles from the safety of Twitter we forget the clothes on our backs probably started all this in the first place.
And here’s the kicker according to The Fashion Law:
We believe our purchasing decisions are based on rational, conscious
and well thought out deliberations, but in reality, the complexity of
human behavior and the fundamental nature of fashion implies that
ethical consumption may not be an attainable goal.
A lot of it is to do with having good intentions but then sticking to your rules. Or not in this case. If you’re an ethical brand this is worth reading to see if there’s another angle you can use to come at this problem from a different direction. If you’re worried about the environment but can’t bring yourself to spend more than a fiver on a t-shirt, you need to read it anyway.