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clothes hanging on a birch wood clothing rack

What’s the first thing you think about when it comes to fashion? It’s not usually the word “sustainable” despite all the recent hype. Whether it’s the latest style trends or the best ecofriendly alternative, the fashion industry is a world of its own. But what do we really know about it? Here is a look at The Little White Lies Of Green Fashion.

In fact, it’s not easy to learn much about the inner workings of fashion. One thing anyone who searches for the facts of its behind-the-scenes action will find is the massive division of information about the industry.

Either we have extremely detailed information about micro-processes in the life cycle (e.g. it takes 60 litres to dye one kg of yarn), or very general – though eye-catching – information raging across the internet.

Related: Hey Eco Brands, Why Should We Pay More For Your Products?

There’s a big myth floating around the green fashion industry and it’s harming truly sustainable brands. What’s the solution? Accurate impact data.

For example, have you ever heard this fact: The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world?

If you’ve looked around at sustainable fashion news, chances are you’ve stumbled upon it. But when you stop to really investigate, you may notice… there’s no actual source.

Ah…what?!

It appears that the original source this “fact” came from was later retracted by the authors. Yet this information continues to circle around the green fashion community, shared by well-meaning but misinformed supporters of the eco-fashion movement.

close up of plastic hangers

In reality, the fashion industry releases 1,715 million tons of CO2 a year. That’s 5.4% of the 3.1 billion tons of carbon emissions worldwide. From 2015 statistics, that actually makes fashion the 8th biggest global polluter.

And this is just one of many loose-data examples.

Related: How A Dumpster Dive Helps Us Understand Textile Waste

There’s quite a bit of loose or exaggerated information out there floating around the green fashion world. Sometimes, a piece of information will get misinterpreted or exaggerated yet still distributed, only to be picked up by someone else to be cited and spread further.

And on and on the cycle continues.

Does it matter when the intentions are good? Yes, it does!

Effective green marketing demands real data and accurate numbers. Nobody likes to feel duped. Nobody likes to feel greenwashed. And that includes green fashion consumers. And the rise of sustainability as a selling point for major retailers means shoppers are more aware and skeptical than ever of big claims and no follow-through.

a woman sorting through clothes on a rack

Why is real, accurate data key to green fashion’s success? Nobody likes to feel duped! Getting the facts right is essential to winning the hearts & minds of customers.

To win the hearts and minds of consumers (and educate them), green fashion companies need to get their facts straight.

So how do we do that?

We use data, of course! Data helps brands to show their knowledge and build customer trust. And brand trust leads to…you got it, sales.

So how do you use data?

There are 4 key changes green fashion brands can make:

1. Avoid generic claims in your marketing materials. Get real numbers.
2. Share the problems. Discuss your solutions.
3. Ask your suppliers for impact data. Demand numbers.
4. If you’re looking for industry numbers to discuss with your community, use the data I’ve mentioned here! (yes, this is real research.)
By using real data, tracking the impacts of products and keeping a close eye on the development of alternatives, we’ll be able to turn these scary emissions numbers around.

For more information and tips visit GREENSTORY.CA 

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Green Story

Green Story is a platform working to help green fashion brands understand and showcase their environmental impact. Our platform lets eco-fashion companies feel confident in their practices and claims and shoppers feel confident in the positive impact of their purchases. We think using clear, credible, and easily understandable data is the way to get consumers to make better greener choices.
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