It’s 2018 – time of turning our planet into a huge plastic garbage and talking about climate change issues. No doubt, it is TRAGIC but at least people start to realize how important our planet is and find their ways to save and take care of it.
“There is no planet B”
The fast fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution. Of course, it is great to buy nice clothes and other products for affordable, cheap price but have you ever thought of what is behind the scenes?!
Luckily, many shoppers are looking to support companies that follow eco-friendly guidelines. When you love the world you’re living in, of course you want to help as much as you can to prevent an even larger carbon footprint. Although, it’s easy to want to start buying environment friendly pieces, often the shocking number on the price tags might hold you back from making that purchase.
Before start to blame the company “how expensive they are” firstly, educate yourself what is behind that shocking expensive price tag.
Sustainable fashion is much more than “just” how the material is made. It is important to know what goes into the making of an eco-friendly garment from start to finish and how that leads to the final prices.
1. The cost of eco materials is more expensive, so designers are spending more money to make a product that is better for the environment, humans and animals.
2. Eco goods are generally better quality, unique designed, last longer and they are available in limited quantity.
3. A manufacturer must design, draft and grade patterns, create samples to test for fit & performance, cut and sew the garments and at each stage there are ordinary people who need to be paid for their labor, and the cost of rawmaterials.
4. When you buy a cheap shirt, you’re supporting unfair labor. The reason so many companies can afford to sell super cheap clothing or other products is because they don’t pay workers squat. If you want an ethical product made by workers who earn a fair wage and who have safe, healthy working conditions, it will cost more. Furthermore, manufacturing locally is also more expensive.
5. Good companies who make ethical clothing often have other green practices in place. For example, often eco-companies print their labels on recycled content paper with non-toxic inks, use recycled/recyclable packages for their products and reduce their energy / water use that is required for manufacturing.
6. These products cannot contain typical toxic ingredients. Extra processing to avoid nasty chemicals, waste and runoff all goes into the price of sustainable fabrics.
7. Get everything controlled and certificated costs money – lot of money.
8. Many of these eco-friendly companies are really small. Marketing any product costs money, but larger companies often have a budget for this, while smaller companies don’t. Still, these smaller companies, budget or not, must pay for advertisements, websites and more.
9. All of the eco-issues above; certification, sourcing, manufacturing ethically, providing fair labor conditions and so on, take significantly more time and care than conventional business methods. It takes time, which for businesses, means money, to make sure products are grown, created and recycled ethically.
10. If a company works with recycled products, these wasted materials must go through many process (eg.: sorting process, the different types of plastic are separately shredded and washed, to remove contaminant substances such as paper labels, glue and other residues) until they reborn in their new body. For this, the companies need special machines for manufacturing their fabrics.
Part of the reason why eco-friendly products are not cheaper has to do directly with you, the consumer. When people only buy cheap clothes and accessories, well, guess what, companies will make cheap clothes and cheap accessories. In turn, green companies, who already make products that cost more to grow/manufacture/recycle, have to compete with insanely low priced conventional goods and they’re not going to win.
Very few people demand or buy sustainable clothing and that’s likely a major reason why it costs more. Believe it or not, companies, even major companies, do attempt to give consumers what they want.
If eco-clothing is expensive, just think of all the wasteland and oceanic dead zones that were created so we can have cheap and plentiful clothing. That is something no money can bring back.