If you saw my Q&A with like LikeToKnow.it (click to read all about it) last week, you know I wore a gorgeous sustainable top and skirt by Mara Hoffman via NET SUSTAIN.
I raved about this then and I will rave a bit more about it now. I can’t be more excited that such a big player in the fashion industry like NET-A-PORTER has got their own sustainable edit. It’s such a big step towards a more conscious industry.
They are thought leaders in fashion and one of the first high-end shopping destinations online that have actually listened to us as consumers. They have realized that we care where our clothes are from, how they are made and by whom. It’s incredibly clever of them because the demand for sustainable clothing brands is only growing.
This is why fashion is such a great place to voice our opinions on sustainability. It’s totally a consumers market. There are countless fashion brands and shops out there and if we don’t like one, we just go to the next. It’s incredibly hard for brands these days to attract loyal customers. There is just so much choice!
So any brand or shop that want to sell is going to have to listen to what the customer is asking for. And if what we are asking for is change, it will eventually have to happen. NET SUSTAIN is a great example of a company actually listening to its audience.
The problem with sustainable fashion is that the process to create clothes becomes more expensive. It is cheaper to use underpaid workers in Asia than craftsmen in our own countries. Items made with care will take longer and cost more. So it’s a fine balance for these brands to make a profit.
You can’t run a business without money, so we have to make sure to support these businesses first.
On top of this, as a sustainable brand, your whole process will be under scrutiny from start to finish, because if you are claiming to be doing good, people love to point out the places where you fail. This is one of the biggest issues in sustainable fashion right now. We are expecting a few to do a lot instead of many to do a little. Every time we criticize a brand that is trying to do better, we neglect to see how much better they already are than the rest.
Some brands and shops are because of this scared to move into the sustainable market. They are worried they can’t do enough to please the very knowledgable sustainable audience.
…and on the other side, we have greenwashing.
When brands twist and turn their non-sustainable processes to try to show them in a more ethical light than they possibly deserve. It’s the dirtiest of dirty, because not only are they not sustainable, they also try to profit from a lie. This is one of the reasons why sustainable shoppers are so knowledgable. It’s often from pure suspicion.
I do not envy brands or shops in the sustainable sphere. It’s a lot more to take on than if you were just a regular dirty fast-fashion factory.
It all comes down to us as consumers wanting to feel good about our clothes. We want to know that we are not taking advantage of people in a less privileged position than us, that we won’t leave a mountain of discarded clothes behind us and that we haven’t poisoned our world just to look good.
And hopefully, brands and shops are feeling the same. They take on the extra work and do it because they actually believe in doing better.
So can we please just all make a big promise to do our best to support any brand or shop that is/ is trying to go sustainable? We are the demand, and we have the biggest impact on the supply.
You can find my top and skirt and a few other favorites from NET SUSTAIN below (affiliate links);