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It is crucial that both we as consumers and the brands we buy from begin to consider where our clothes come from and whether or not it has a positive impact on the environment. With the help of this article, you can feel more informed when making your fashion choices.

Photo by Rio Lecatompessy

And no I don’t mean accidentally putting a green top in with your whites, greenwashing is when a company uses misleading information suggesting to consumers they are doing more for the environment than they actually are.

We are inundated with marketing messages trying to sell us something or educate us on their brand in order to think they are playing their part and can therefore have our attention (and money). But how much as a consumer do you really know about where your garments are from and are they using credible data to justify their environmental efforts.

Within the food industry if products are mislabelled as ‘organic’ or ‘free ranged’ it can result in prosecution by law however within the fashion industry there aren’t any legalities to stop brands using the terminology ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ therefore no wonder brands are guilty of greenwashing.

Fashion companies are making waves in becoming more eco-friendly, but with buzz words being thrown around like ‘Clean’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ it doesn’t always mean the company has positive intentions or credentials.

Photo by Markus Spiske

However it’s not all doom and gloom, the surge in companies responding to the climate crisis is hugely positive, we are seeing more businesses being transparent with their production process, manufacturers being paid fairly and a move towards the use of environmentally friendly fabrics.

Greenwashing is being spoken about more and more therefore it is clear sustainability is becoming a priority for fashion brands and despite all the negativity circling in the media don’t forget there are brands doing the right thing and implementing the correct processes as part of their business model.

Ganni recently shared a post online stating that they are not sustainable but working towards educating themselves and taking the correct steps to be a better brand. This is an admiral step forward to openly admitting the brand isn’t perfect but are heading in the right direction and implementing practices into their brand’s strategy.

There is a rising interest in sustainability especially amongst Millennial and Gen Z consumers who really want to see a change, these generations are more conscious of what they buy and where they buy, giving them the purchasing power. In order for a brand to succeed, you must give the consumer what they want.

Photo by Jess Morgan

So, what can you do to ensure you don’t fall victim to greenwashing?  Here are my top tips:

  • Look for certifications such as Fair Trade, Eco Cert and B Corporation to PETA, GOTS or BCI.
  • Look out for facts and figures, does the brand disclose data to support their
  • Find out if the company has measurable goals that are listed publicly.
  • Don’t let marketing draw you in-check their website for information
  • Vegan fabrics don’t always mean sustainable. Natural materials such as rayon, viscose and bamboo are promoted as eco-friendly, but it all depends on how they are sourced and what type of chemicals have been used throughout the process

There’s been an increasing amount of buzz around the terms ‘sustainable’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘natural’, in everything from fashion to food. Unsurprisingly, this comes at a time when we’re all becoming more conscious of what we buy. Unsurprisingly, this comes at a time when we’re all becoming more conscious of what we buy. In particular, the rising interest in sustainability amongst

How do I spot it? Greenwashing can come in many forms. Here are a few indicators you can look out for: 

  • If a brand releases ‘conscious collections’ but doesn’t use facts or figures to support its claims.
  • When a brand produces just a tiny range of its product line sustainably but promotes itself as conscious, they’re greenwashing. If your company is still profiting off largely unsustainably made goods, then one surely cancels out the other.
  • When a label makes sweeping marketing statements for commercial gain like ‘shop and save the planet’ or ‘look cute and protect the environment.’ These are gross overstatements and highly misleading.
  • If a brand overstates its ethical or environmental efforts. For example, they could create collections from recycled polyester but not prioritise living wages for garment workers.

Photo by Noah Buscher

Covid has emphasised the importance of brand transparency as well as looking after people and the planet, the pandemic shone an unflattering light on the fashion industry.

And in terms of ethical marketing (or unethical marketing), AI (artificial intelligence)is playing a huge part in this. AI allows fashion retailers to accurately analyse consumers behaviour, recommend clothes based on their height, weight and current size as well as allowing the head office to accurately identify best and worst selling items.

Big data allows brands to target consumers specifically based on their lifestyle, buying habits and hobbies whereas traditional marketing was always too broad. Brands have the knowledge to target us directly based on how they think they can get us spending our cash. But is this ethically correct? Going forward we are likely to see more brands investing in big data to ensure they are targeting the right people at the right time and spending their money well.

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