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: