You want to buy sustainable clothes but are afraid of falling into a greenwashing trap? Haven't we all been there?! How frustrating is it, when your sustainable t-shirt arrives with a label "Made in China" or wrapped in plastique.
Most fast fashion brands have smelled the marketing opportunity that is sustainability, they didn't have a change of heart.
If you want to be sure to not fall into a greenwashing trap again (or ever), here are a few steps you can follow:
1. Stop buying fast fashion:
Come on, you had to know it was coming... Big brands like H&M and Zara are always greenwashing, let's stay clear of them.
Now that you’ll only buy from slow fashion brands (or thrifting, swapping…) you still need to check the next steps in order to avoid greenwashing. (That’s right not only those big brands greenwash)
2. Check the quantity:
Fast fashion brands produce enormous quantities; Zara claims they add 500 new clothes per week and Shein 1000 per day (sometimes 6000). Producing that much can’t be sustainable, the production process is extremely polluting, and a lot of items will not be sold and will end up in landfill or burned.
3. Verify where it is made:
A sustainable t-shirt made in China will always be less sustainable then a local one, even if it comes by boat, is carbon neutral etc.
If the brand decided to produce in China or some other faraway place, make sure they work with an ethical factory and a sustainable process (the laws on water and toxics products use are far less regulated outside the EU). They have certificates to prove it, that you can ask for.
4.Check the fabric used:
Brand new synthetical is not sustainable! However, if it's made ethically and locally it's already good but if you want to take that extra step... Then buy natural, organic fabrics or recycled fabrics, there are already loads of synthetic and plastic produced, might as well reuse it. If you have synthetic clothes beware, when you wash them, they release microplastic in the water.
5.Get used to realistic prices again:
If you see a 5€ sustainable t-shirt, usually there is a catch. You have a very wide range of prices in slow fashion depending on if it's handmade, the fabrics, etc. But it should always be a little bit more expensive than a pizza. Fast fashion got us used to unrealistic prices. Slow fashion pieces are better quality, will last longer, it's an investment.
Example: I used to buy white sneakers every spring cause they never lasted more than a year. Then i bought some vegan kicks like our Corail, and i kept them for 4 years in perfect shape and now they are my "messy work shoes". Remember, if you're not paying the price, someone else is!
6. Make sure the brand is fully transparent:
If you have difficulties finding where the products are made or how they are made, chances are it's bull***t. We were looking at a very famous backpack brand that calls itself sustainable, to add them to Iseria, after a looong search on their website I finally found in tiny tiny writing "made in china".
If they try to hide it, it's bad! Everything good about a brand Is usually written in gigantic letters with glitter and fireworks.
If you don't want to take the time to do this research, you can buy from a sustainable marketplace like Iseria that does the research for you, or look up the brand on the Goodonyou's directory (amazing website, we love them)