Sustainability, Greenwashing and Holiday Gifts. Part I.
Updated: 5 days ago
The holidays are coming and my guess is you are starting to think about gifts for your friends, loved ones, or yourself. Maybe you thought about some cozy homeware outfit (why bother with fancy clothes when teleworking) or you desperately need a new pair of jeans - hell, yes, sometimes you just want or must get out not wearing a pyjama (or pyjamask)!
With the pandemic, our shopping moved to online world, which impacted many small businesses, forced to close their doors in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Fortunately, the online presence of small, sustainable businesses is growing and we can all show a bit TLC to our planet that nourishes us all year long with ethical purchases. Sustainability is a trendy word these days - the hashtag 'sustainable' has more than 7 million entries just on Instagram. Even the fast fashion industry hopped on the sustainable train and labels such as H&M invest in more sustainable alternatives.
Why should you care about sustainability when it comes to your holiday shopping? Especially when it comes to fashion? Because cotton based fabric is one of the most used materials in the world. And cotton is a thirsty crop, it can take more than 20 000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton.
Now, we cannot all run around dressed only in hemp (although I love hemp and I've included hemp clothing companies in the shopping list) and besides, it's nice to have some really good pair of jeans. There are tons of sustainable fashion labels nowadays, so please care when you're shopping. Be also aware that many fast fashion companies are using the so called greenwashing techniques to lure you into buying their product.
So what is greenwashing? When companies invest more time and money on marketing their products or brand as “green” rather than actually doing the hard work to ensure that it is sustainable, it is called greenwashing. Cambridge Dictionary says greenwashing is designed “to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.”
According to Ecowatch, in 2019, clothing consumption has been 62 million tons. So even if your selfies include only organic, sustainable, fill in the blank, clothes, if you are buying too much, it just doesn't help. The sad fact is that there are simply too many clothes produced and we buy too much. So repair, recycle, upcycle, pass on clothes you no longer need, have a capsule wardrobe, possibilities are endless. What follows are my favorite sustainable fashion labels (mostly Europe based so feel free to add yours in comments if you live in the US).
*due to poor sales, the fast fashion label Cheap Monday (pic above) closed in June 2019.