"Zara or The Reformation" is the "black or white"-equivalent of the sustainable fashion concept. One is good, the other is bad. One is high-quality and indestructible, whilst the other one falls apart at the seams in less than a New York minute. One is endless happiness and the other one immediate apocalypse for the entire mankind. Did history teach us nothing? Extremes are no good! In any industry. And yet, the discussions amongst the consumers are heating up. Why is that?
the concept sustainable fashion
Sustainable fashion is a broad concept. Not because it's a sum of many different point-of-views, but because there are several roads that can lead the fashion industry towards better results. The problem is: we don't have a map for this complex road trip! I mean, do you know even what bus to hop on? Is it 38 Ethical Valley, 121 Eco Greenville or 51 Slow Central?
What can one person do to lower negative impact? Where can we and can't we shop? Is polyester the bad guy now? How many floral dresses for summer is too much in the eyes of the sustainable fashion movement? These questions are real. They are out there because many consumers are confused.
You know why it's difficult to figure out whether you are a consumer who contributes to fashion sustainability? Because it can't be defined by just one action. Sustainable fashion is not just about the "what" it's also about the "how", and the "why", and the "how much".
Sustainable fashion is a multi-dimensional concept.
Making the right choice is only possible when consumers are well informed, when they know their options and the outcomes of those options. Buying something ONLY because it's labeled as sustainable is just another act of clueless shopping behavior. The word clueless is the issue. What makes that brand environmentally conscious? If you can answer that, you are on the right track! By asking the right questions and seeking information, you will improve your shopping skills.
cold turkey on zara & co
Shopping with brands that are working with organic cotton, recycled fabrics, hemp, and many other eco-friendlier alternatives is good. But what about all the other ones? What about the ones that have been around for so many years now? Can we shop there? Here it comes, thé question:
Q: Am I eligible to be labeled as a conscious consumer if I buy a pair of white culottes at Zara?
Or anything else for that matter. The main focus is on buying from the companies that are often referred to as fast fashion brands/ high street brands / low-cost brands/ shit for quality brands / etc ... And believe it or not, they are often seen as one giant pool of trouble.
Let's think back about what I said a few paragraphs before. Sustainable fashion is a multi-dimensional concept and there are several ways one can contribute. If you are asking yourself that question, that means that you are already a few steps into the eco-sphere. Great! And now, it's time for the truth. Are you ready to hear it? Here it goes:
A: It depends.
Yes, it depends. It depends on:
- The garment's durability (I own a black blazer from Zara that looks new after 2 years of wearing it non-stop).
- The cut - is it something that is hip right now or something you will be able to wear 5 years from now and still look chic?
- Made in - Zara, for example, produces part of its garments in Europe (Portugal), which is a sweatshop free zone. In general, it's very hard to trust fast fashion brands on their ethics policy.
- The after-care - will you fold it nicely and wash it appropriately so it will last longer than an open sliced avocado?
- The reason - it's sale season, which is both fun and tricky. Tricky because one of the main drivers at that point is the price. Do not let your purchase decision depend solely on the red, 70% off sticker.
- The alternatives - if there is one, go for it. A better alternative is one made of organic cotton, upcycled/recycled fabric or even vintage!
Sustainability comes with a lot of challenges. But absolutely not impossible, nor too difficult. It's all about asking yourself the right questions and know where to look for tips that will lead you towards contributing to fashion's sustainable future.
sustainable fashion talk
The goal of TFI is to collect useful information, which is currently all over the states. Translate it into clear actions and help consumers to shop better. To shop smarter. To develop a sustainable future.
Is there anything in particular that you would like to get an answer on? Or some tips? Awesome! Here's what you can do:
- Tweet me your questions with @VeronicaTFI, I will do the research and write an article that will answer those questions.
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