5 myths about sustainable clothes
It is not easy to know how to make your wardrobe more environmentally friendly. There is a plethora of all kinds of tips and information available. How do you differentiate between what’s true and what is not? We have collected some of the myths we see most often occur about sustainable fashion.
1. "I have to spend a lot of money for a sustainable wardrobe"
Sustainable fashion does not have to be expensive. Look at the label when buying new clothes. Try to avoid artificial substances, and buy natural materials. Make sure you know where the raw materials come from and that you are buying a garment that is good for the planet, is ethically produced, and that will last for many years. Clothes that last a long time is money well spent in that the cost per wear is low and also good for the environment. Another way to save money is to shop second hand. Second-hand shops, vintage shops, flea markets and apps such as Tise help to make used clothes easily accessible. And you may get a garment no one else has.
2. "If I only buy eco-labelled clothes, it is sustainable"
In recent years, emphasis has been placed on eco-labelling in the clothing industry. This is a very positive trend. Unfortunately, there are some shortcomings in this system. Several companies label collections as sustainable, but can not always point to how and why on individual garments. This can be misleading. Eco-labels are also expensive to acquire as a clothing brand, and it is therefore easier for the larger clothing chains to pay the fees. Buying clothes that are actually sustainable requires a bit of critical thinking from the consumer. It does not hurt to put pressure on companies regarding the value chain of the garments you buy.
3. "Giving away clothes is an excuse to buy more"
Buying used is an advantage to the environment. And it's definitely better to donate clothes than to throw them away. But getting rid of a garment does not outweigh the need to buy a new one. Fretex, one of the largest collection stations in Norway, receives over 50 tonnes of clothes every day. Only 10 percent of this is sold in stores in Norway. The rest is sent on, but much of it is deposited. Much remains on landfills, and much is burned. It is very harmful to the environment. Do not buy clothes that you will not use, and try to be creative with the clothes you already have.
4. "It's not worth fixing cheap clothes"
If you have spent little money on a garment, it does not mean that it cannot be fixed if it has a small defect. It is easy to sew on a button that has fallen off or patch a small hole. Some brands offer repair of their own brands. It is also possible to deliver clothes to tailors, and shoes to the cobbler-shop. The clothes you already own are the most sustainable. So the longer you hold on to them, the better.
5. "Vegan is environmentally friendly"
Living vegan is good for the planet in many ways. But when it comes to the clothing industry, vegan is not always the most environmentally friendly choice. Garments in synthetic fabrics have a much larger footprint than several natural materials. It is often made of plastic, and therefore takes many years to break down - if at all. It is still important to make sure that clothes that come from animals, such as wool, are made in a sound and ethical way. Garments made of cotton are also important to be critical of. You can read more about different materials here.