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: 

Watch: Veronica Chou, Applying material science to materialism

8Shaders, welcome to the first ever episode of 8ShadesTV! 

Since this is our very first episode, of course my inaugural guest is someone paramount in my own life but more importantly making footprints, not the carbon kind, in the sustainable fashion world.

Let’s be realistic here for a second, are we ever going to stop consuming? It will take a lot for our economy to change, so we are faced with finding ways to make sure our choices are making fewer footprints, of the bad kind. 

Everybody and Everyone’s favorite Veronica Chou – pun intended. Watch Veronica and I discussing sustainability in fashion right here.

In 2019, Veronica launched her first eco-innovative, sustainable, size inclusive and body positive womenswear, Everybody and Everyone. They offer sizes between 00-24 which aims to provide accessible, everyday clothing to make our hectic lives just that little bit simpler. Their designs are so versatile and can be worn in a variety of ways so that you can buy quality clothes that will last longer, ultimately buying less resulting in less waste, AKA slow fashion


Sustainability at the core of Everybody and Everyone

Take a scroll through our 8Shades Pick of the week and you will see Everybody and Everyone’s newly launched athletic wear (that you see us wearing here) which can biodegrade in landfill in just 3 years. Everybody and Everyone partners with EcoAlf for their signature dual-use puffer coat which is made from reclaimed ocean plastic bottles and recycled polyester. They also use material science to create pants that are made of sugar extracted from agriculture waste … sweet!

Their products are coated with PFOA/PFC free finishes and activated with recycled silver for odor control and anti-microbial property. This results in less laundry, less water wastage and fewer chores – phew! 

Another way they are eliminating waste is by using technology to visualize garments in 3D before producing them, eradicating the need to manufacture endless prototypes.

A brand this incredible of course has a cool charity collaboration and are working with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every product sold.  Everybody and Everyone are definitely a brand that we are supporting all the way.


8Shades of Veronica Chou

Aside from our hike, Veronica also took some time to answer our new “8Shadey questions”, designed to give you a more intimate peek into the lives of our featured guests!