How to Tell if a Fashion Brand Is Really Sustainable

In the last few years, sustainable fashion has become less of a niche, and more of a pre-requisite for consumers. This is an amazing leap forward, where both brands and consumers are slowly putting sustainability at the forefront of consumption.

But with the rise of sustainable fashion, there is also an increase of fast-fashion brands using sustainability as a marketing technique with little substance, while still remaining ethical and unsustainable.

You have probably seen how many fast-fashion brands are now producing “recycled” collections, or promoting how they are using more environmentally-friendly materials. Nevertheless, most fast-fashion brands are still failing to pay garment workers decent wages, and are engaging in many environmentally harmful practices, This is called greenwashing, & these tips will help you detect if a brand really is sustainable.

1. Do your research into the brand’s history, their environmental commitments, and their supply chains. If they are sustainable, they will have a transparency section on their website. It’s important to remember that no brand will be 100% perfect (and neither are we). But there is a large difference between brands whose values incorporate ethical and sustainable production, and are constantly striving to make this a priority in their business.

2. Look for transparency throughout their supply chain process. One of the often overlooked areas in sustainable fashion are the ethics behind the labour. But one of the biggest problem in the textile industry are its human rights abuses in their factories, such as the employment of child and forced labour. When we work with or purchase from any sustainable fashion brands, we make it a priority to read into their supply chain process, and make sure that their textile workers are being paid living wages, and their basic human rights are respected.

3. Look for third-party certifications such as B Corp, Better Cotton Initiative, OEKO-TEX, SA800, especially when it comes to more established brands. It’s also important to note that many of these certifications are expensive to achieve, so smaller sustainable brands that are just starting out may not have acquired these yet, even though they are producing sustainably.

4. Take delivery into account, and try to shop as local as possible. That said, sometimes it can be complicated to find something locally produced that fits your criteria, so when you need to ship internationally, you can also try to offset your carbon footprint for the shipping.

5. Remember it doesn’t always need to be new. While we love finding new sustainable and ethical brands pioneering the sustainable fashion movements, sometimes the most sustainable option is to repair what you already own, and to shop vintage or second hand. It can sometimes be a challenge to find something you love at a vintage shop, but you’ll also be pleasantly surprised when you find incredible pre-loved designer pieces.