Greenwashing or Sustainable? How to Evaluate "Sustainable" Fashion Brands?

Sustainability is a new revolution in 2021 that has changed the definition of modesty and fashion now. Sustainable fashion is often mistaken with greenwashing, and unfortunately, many fashion brands and companies flounder to live up to their claims. As we are already aware of many discussions surrounding sustainable fashion and its increasing likability in the crowd, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether a brand is genuine or stretching the truth.

To understand genuine sustainability and how to evaluate sustainable fashion brands, we must first know the true meaning of sustainable fashion and greenwashing. In this blog, we will figure out a brand’s sustainability and ethics and spot greenwashing.

Understanding Ethical/Sustainable Fashion

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As we step into the core of evaluating fashion brands, we must know the definition of ethical and sustainable.

Being ‘Ethical’ means being fair and unbiased with the workers and helpers of your brand. It is about treating them with proper care and honour throughout the supply chain. It is observed that many brands also maltreat animals for their production process. Performing such activities is non-ethical and must be avoided.

Sustainability is about lessening or minimalizing the damage to our environment throughout the supply chain. It is mainly eco-friendly, as it avoids activities that encourage environmental damage through the production and sourcing of materials. 

A Sustainable fashion brand is determined to:

  • Use water resources efficiently and do not waste them.
  • Limit the use of textiles and hazardous chemicals causing environmental damage.
  • Encourage high-quality and sustainable materials that break down in nature with ease.
  • Encourage reusing or recycling products.
  • Encourage the consumers to purchase what they need and prefer reusing and recycling products. 

How to Determine Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the misconception or misleading information about some brands and companies claiming to be eco-friendly and sustainable. They market themselves as “green” but do not live up to those claims.

To understand greenwashing and get a clear idea about it, the following are some of the red signs:

They claim to be sustainable but only for a handful of items:

Yes, it is a common effort that many brands perform. They claim to be 100% sustainable but have only a few things prepared in an eco-friendly manner. Many of them will try to get a “green halo” effect by promoting selected items.

If they talk about sustainability, they speak in uncertain terms:

Many brands proclaim that they are eco-friendly and sustainable. Still, it is easily visible that they do not intend on taking any action or proper measures for sustainable fashion.

They do not speak about sustainability:

If a brand is greenwashing, it will not speak about sustainability. They might also give a shallow approach towards ethical dressing and fashion. The company often tries to avoid this topic. 

So how to evaluate Sustainable Fashion Brands to identify Greenwashing?

Following are some tips to help you identify if the brand you prefer is sustainable or greenwashing. Go through them and decide your way of trusting a brand:

Analyse their social media marketing activities:

Today, almost every fashion brand is online. It is easy to identify their social media marketing campaigns to know how they work, what they do, how they produce, and their parameters to supply? It could help analyse the brands’ marketing activities, especially if they don’t have 3rd-party certifications. Visit their Webpage, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and you will get clear visibility about their working pattern, from manufacturing to supply chains.

Look for the reviews of their products:

One significant parameter to judge if a brand is sustainable or not is the longevity of the product. If the brand hardly cares about the life of its garments, it is a worry. Even if the brand cares about longevity or not, sustainability is about reusing and shopping adequately to lessen environmental damage.

You can go through the reviews of their random products on social media and analyse if the customers are happy or not. Also, be aware of the paid reviews. It could give you a clear idea of whether the brand is considering long-lived products or not, if they are concerned about their thoughts, and if the quality of their products is enduring or not?

Analyse how efficiently do they use energy:

Greenwashing has many faces, shapes, and forms through which they can enter the fashion industry. Many brands might use LED and energy-efficient lighting or sensor lights in their stores to prove that they are sustainable. However, it is not valid. The in-store lights do not depict the actual procedure of production and manufacturing of the products. The choice of lighting may also be because it is a legal requirement in some countries.

Therefore, it is best to get a clear vision of how clothing production has taken place to judge sustainability. It is also crucial to know what type of energy-efficient lights and machinery they use to make the outfits.

Reach out to them:

If you have gone through the tips and tricks and are still unsure, you can directly reach out to the brand. You can visit their store or even email or DM them to resolve your concerns and questions.

Based on their response, or where they lack thereof, you will probably be able to judge and analyse whether the brand is ethical or not.

Final Thoughts

In this blog, we understood the difference between sustainable fashion brands and greenwashing. Also, with some simple tips and tricks, we learned how to evaluate an ethical fashion brand.

To enhance the usage of sustainable fashion clothing, we must start taking initiatives. Buying second-hand is the new trend and is always better than buying new. That is because you are reusing and recycling clothes that are already in the system. It will help our environment and eventually make our Earth a better place to live.

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