BY QUINN WILSON
Fast fashion has taken over the fashion industry. And along with it, a culture of buying more and throwing away more clothing than ever before. However, the recent movement towards a more sustainable fashion industry has influenced even the biggest fast fashion companies. This is definitely a positive step in the right direction; companies and consumers are becoming more aware of how their clothing choices impact the environment. Yet there is a growing issue of greenwashing and green sheen across the industry.
Greenwashing, also known as green sheen, is when brands prevent false or misleading information regarding the environmental impact of their products. It can be extremely difficult to determine what is actually green and what is just green sheen. So before you pick up that dress with a green tag, make sure it’s eco claims are true.
Walking into an H&M store, you see lots of green tags hanging from clothing. Get a closer look and you see that it says 50% recycled or 30% organic cotton. This makes it seem like this particular garment is a better, more conscious choice. But is that really the case? The H&M Conscious Collection draws attention away from how the company is harming the environment. While some of their clothing uses materials that are sustainably sourced, the company still produces an insanely large amount of clothing that is meant to be worn a few times and then thrown into a growing landfill. Additionally, H&M’s clothing recycling program is another good solution to fast fashion waste production, yet the program only recycles a small percentage of the clothing. Overall, H&M is doing something to increase sustainability, but it is not enough.
Zara is another top fast fashion company that boasts how they can put new products on the floor in as little as sixteen days. This just means more disposable clothing to be purchased and eventually put in a landfill. Zara has a collection called Join Life, where the clothing is primarily made of sustainably sourced or recycled materials and manufactured using green technologies of Inditex, Zara’s parent company. Again, just like H&M, this is a step in the right direction. But it is urgent that the fashion industry make bigger changes at a faster rate. Sustainability needs to be at the forefront of every company’s mission and values in order to see real and necessary change.
The next time you’re out shopping, stop and check if the environmental claims on the tags are actually true. Need some help figuring out what’s sustainable and what’s not? Check out Remake’s Brand Directory that evaluates brands’ claims and helps consumers make more informed decisions.
Thanks for reading and shop smart!