Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment Greenwashing: are fashion companies lying to us?

Greenwashing: are fashion companies lying to us?

Amberly Wright, Print Lifestyle Editor, discusses the rise and ramifications of fashion companies greenwashing their customers.
4 mins read

It is no secret that fast fashion is one of the leading causes of landfills, contributing to global warming. Many fast-fashion brands use clever marketing tactics to hide their contribution to fabric waste and greenhouse gas emissions through greenwashing. Greenwashing can take many forms, whether they claim to use recycled elements to make a certain fabric while making the fabric use excess water or claiming that a fur-style item is vegan. In contrast, the faux fur is made from a non-biodegradable material. Here, fashion companies are arguably swapping one bad habit for another, and hiding it amongst a web of lies to profit from the climate crisis.

Fast-fashion companies and brands are capitalising on our desire to save the planet. The need to buy sustainably often comes from the heart and desire to save the planet, but it can also come from a place of fear, as we want to appear to be doing our best to help prevent global warming and fashion waste. The latter is where fast-fashion companies thrive, as their marketing strategies target those who are new to the sustainability movement and to who are blind to greenwashing.

Fast-fashion companies and brands are capitalising on our desire to save the planet.

In June last year, a lawsuit was filed against H&M, as they are found to be the leading fashion brand for greenwashing. Their claimed score on the Higg Material Sustainability Index was found to be untrue, thus they had been falsely advertising to be a sustainable and planet-friendly company. The fashion giant has previously claimed that their products will not end up in landfill, and instead will be recycled to create new garments, however, the process of recycling old into new is only available to smaller independent fashion companies with a more personal client basis, compared to H&M, as the items a large company sells in a matter of hours would take years to recycle. The act of recycling would be immensely costly and would drive their prices up, therefore decreasing the amount of their products being purchased, ultimately being detrimental to business.

In June last year, a lawsuit was filed against H&M, as they are found to be the leading fashion brand for greenwashing.

However, we can strive to avoid greenwashing and support smaller businesses where the garments are made by hand in the UK. One can shop at second-hand stores on the high street, such as charity shops and vintage stores, or online via Depop, Vinted, and eBay, however, the Exeter cliché of ‘Depop girls’ who resell items bought in charity shops for twice the price is another thing to look out for and can increase fashion waste. Fixing and upcycling clothes can extend the life of an item, ranging from large haberdashery projects to the simplicity of sewing on a button, there is no reason why sustainable fashion should not be accessible to everyone.

You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up for Our Newsletter