Why is sustainable fashion more expensive than fast fashion?

There is a growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, but most people don’t want to pay more for it. Fair enough, as fast fashion has taught us to expect that a t-shirt should cost HKD$70, when a sustainable brand sells one for $200, it’s easy to dismiss them as catering exclusively to the wealthy. However, there are good reasons for the seemingly eyebrow-raising prices of sustainable fashion.

“The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions” 

So it’s important that sustainable fashion is accessible to all, not just an elite few who can afford to be eco-conscious. Thankfully a survey found that 67% of consumers consider eco-friendly materials to be an important factor when buying clothes. Unfortunately, less than a third are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. It’s a catch-22 because demand determines supply but as sustainable clothing becomes more mainstream, prices will decrease and become more affordable.

Fast fashion cuts corners

Fast fashion brands are able to price their clothes so low because they essentially cut corners. They do this by treatmenting their garment workers unfairly with up to 93% of brands not even paying them a living wage, to the cheap and short lifespan of the fabric used. This allows businesses to make a lot of items quickly and sell more for less but we need to ask ourselves: is clothing really cheaper if it means exploiting people and the planet to ensure low prices and a quick turnaround? 

So, for now you and I may have to be willing to pay more to ensure that the clothing we’re buying is sustainable but consider this: investing in clothes that are better quality and therefore you can wear for years to come, brings the cost per wear down!

No one is suggesting you pay $900 for a t-shirt, but investing in one that costs more than what you would normally pay and that is designed to last longer, will make you, the planet and your wallet happier! 

Supporting brands that put an emphasis on sustainability, and asking more of those that don’t will help make sustainable fashion more accessible.

There is a lot of power in the decisions we as consumers make so we should use this power for good.

Here are some great sustainable brands we love: 

How do I know if my beauty products are still testing on animals?

There was a time during the nineties and early noughties, that advertisements and announcements condemning the very notion of animal testing seemed to be everywhere. So why don’t we see it as much anymore? The truth is, animal testing is still more common than you’d think. The silver lining is that brands have been making efforts and continue to move into the cruelty free bracket one by one, not to mention the rise in new cosmetic and beauty companies that declare themselves cruelty free since launching, are on the rise. 

So, how do we define animal testing? 

Animal testing is when a scientific experiment or test is performed on a live animal (usually to their own detriment) to glean results that eventually work in favour of humans by deeming a product safe for human use. Animals are injected with, fed, exposed to or forced to breathe in substances, as well as subjected to anxiety-inducing situations or even having tissue or organs removed to provide data. Yikes. 

In terms of the beauty industry, requirements vary from country to country – for example, if you are buying a product that comes from a brand you know does not perform animal testing themselves, the country in which you are buying it may require it to be tested on animals, during which a third party testing will come into effect. 

It’s so confusing so we want to help demystify it for you. We find the simplest way to go about it is to focus on the certified cruelty-free names out there where you can rest assured animal testing does not take place. As far as Hong Kong goes, it does not require additional animal testing on beauty products. Phew! 

Educate yo’ self 

First off, you can start by vowing not to purchase from brands who still conduct animal testing – it’s as straightforward as a supply and demand. Stop the demand! It may take a little extra work to do research and ask hard-hitting questions but it’s all worth it when you find your new favourite animal friendly brands. 

There countless cruelty free brands on the market that we should be supporting, so many in fact we couldn’t list them all out for you. Head over to Cruelty Free Kitty for a comprehensive guide and remember to always go for products using minimal or ideally zero packaging – you can count yourself one shade greener! 

So, what does this mean for us everyday consumers and what do we look for when picking something off the shelf? 

  • Keep an eye out for one of three of the cruelty free bunny logos currently in existence: 
    • PETA’s Caring Consumer 
    • Choose Cruelty-Free’s CCF Rabbit 
    • CCIV & BUAV (Cruelty Free International) Leaping Bunny  
  • Now, it is vital to note there are some sneaky fake logos out there. Any bunny logo outside of these three is an easy fake to spot, even to a novice. However, even if the product has one of these three accredited badges, you must still double-check it against each corresponding website in order to ascertain full verification. Not on the website? Then it’s a guaranteed fake. 
  • Finally, should the product not have a logo printed on its packaging, it’s still worth checking out the cruelty free websites, as it’s not a requirement to display the logo even if you are certified. 

They Came Running

With little access to gyms and studios these days, we have had to take it upon ourselves to work out our own fitness plans and whether you’re a keen runner, a lover of hiking trails or simply a weekend stroller, it’s still vital to nail down a supportive, reliable pair of trainers to see you through. We need to be more responsible when it comes to consumption, as well as selecting brands that have a sustainability ethos similar to ours. What this means is researching what materials and dyes are being used, that they are manufactured under strict ethical conditions and striving to change our own habits by purchasing high quality shoes that don’t have us running out the door to replace them at the drop of a hat. 

All Birds first came to light in an ironic turn, by taking the world of fashion by storm, favoured for its sleek, sartorially-sound designs that blended in seamlessly into daily wear, whether you were rocking leggings or workwear. However, its origins and story must not be disregarded, as it is what sets All Birds apart from the rest. With Mother Nature at the very core of its vision, founder Tim Brown didn’t have to look far within his native land for a sign. The fact is, the ratio of sheep to humans was a six to one in New Zealand and their fine merino wool has long been shorn and crafted into countless products, celebrated for its lightweight, moisture-wicking qualities and breathability. The process used here, thanks to the wool, consumes 60% less energy than standard synthetic shoes.

All Birds also relies on recycled materials such as plastic bottles and cardboard, as well as castor bean oil to create its trainers. Their transparency regarding sustainability and carbon footprint is broken down for an easy-to-digest explanation for its customers. Its biggest sustainability goal is to simply be carbon neutral by eventually not emitting any carbon in the first place; a big ask for a shoe brand, but one they are confident they can achieve by working with renewable experts, maintaining transparency and holding each other accountable. Their Tree Dasher style has already achieved carbon neutrality and has been tested on professional athletes to pass the test when it comes to longevity and performance.