Am I Being Greenwashed? by SLOWMO
This is written by Roseanna Carroll of (really freaking good) instagram and resource SLOWMO for Crushes.
As consumers become more aware of how much of our clothing and goods are truly produced, big brands are catching on and are trying to capture that market. Rather than taking a look further into their supply chains and how they could better improve standards for their manufactures, companies such as H&M are creating *even more* clothing lines such as their ‘conscious collection’.
These brands are simply jumping on sustainability as a trend, rather than truly looking into how they could be operating differently to lessen their footprint on the environment. How do we know this? Because these brands have unsustainable business models – they are fast fashion labels that focus on trends (clothing that comes and goes) and they treat clothing as disposable rather than something to hold on to and cherish. When FF brands come out with new lines that are supposedly better for the environment, or more ‘conscious’ as H&M would put it, they use misleading information and buzzwords to appear more environmentally safe than they actually are.
Other common buzzwords are; ‘green’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘compostable’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘eco-conscious’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’.
That’s not to say that all brands who use these words are trying to mislead you, but it is a common marketing ploy that many companies use. Basically - don’t take a product for face-value. Look into the companies sustainable policies, ask them for proof that the product is in-fact environmentally- safe, take notice of whether that brand is consistent in their commitment to producing environmentally-safe products, and think about the life-cycle of that product e.g. if it costs $10 for a t-shirt, it probably will not going to last as long as it should H&M’s conscious collection consists of pieces made from recycled fabrics, natural fibers, organic cotton etc. This seems like a positive move for H&M, and it sort of is. It’s great that they are using recycled and natural fibers in this instance (although, I do have to play the devil’s advocate here and point out that just because natural fibers are being used, it does not equate to a sustainable product. Cotton, for example, is an extremely resource-thirsty plant). But, at the end of the day, this is a classic example of green-washing by a company that is doing more harm than good.
This collection is such a small part of their overall product line. The majority of their pieces are still made by synthetic fibers that will not break down for hundreds of years, the pieces are still made poorly/not made to last, are ultimately destined for landfill, and most importantly - the pieces have super low price points. We have to ask ourselves, if this pair of pants costs $14.99, how much did the person who made that garment get paid?
A fast fashion business model is completely unsustainable. Until these fast fashion brands stop making more clothing than they can sell, until they stop coaxing consumers to buy more than they need, until they stop making clothes that are made to only last a few wears, and until they stop treating their garment workers like shit, I’m not buying into it.