Does Greenwashing Exist in the Fashion Industry?

Miguel Adrover, Hessnatur

Miguel Adrover, creative director of Hessnatur

Unfortunately, greenwashing exists everywhere, including the fashion industry. The minute the industry recognizes a trend, everyone jumps on it. And one of the trends of the moment is “going green.” Many companies say something is “eco” because it’s a natural fabric. Or they use an organic fabric and blend it with a synthetic and say it’s “sustainable.” Well, to me, these are eco-lies. Creating truly green fashion requires honesty and commitment—the fibers must be grown at certified organic farms, and they can’t be blended with synthetics or dyed or bleached with chemicals.

Hessnatur Fall/Winter 2009 Collection

A HUMANITARIAN ISSUE

We always talk about the importance to the planet, but true organic farming and production is just as important to the workers. Their health is just as vulnerable to harmful chemicals. Some companies think that it’s possible to distinguish between environmental practices and ethical social practices, but, to me, the idea that you can do something ecologically sound, but not socially, is nonsense.

Commitment to the planet is not just about air, water, and earth, but it’s also about the people who live on it.

Commitment to the planet is not just about air, water, and earth, but it’s also about the people who live on it. If you purchase organically grown fibers and then manufacture clothing in factories that don’t have strict labor guarantees, how is this sustainable? It certainly isn’t sustaining the lives of human beings.

Hessnatur Fall/Winter 2009 Collection

THE COST OF CHEAP CLOTHES

Unfortunately, doing things the right way is more expensive. Organic farming means organic premiums to workers, and ethical social standards means you pay workers a living wage. There just aren’t any short cuts. So I always question when I see “inexpensive” organic clothing.

Can organic clothing be mass produced at low rices, without compromise? Not really. Not yet.

Yes, I’m glad that big companies are becoming aware of the importance of organic clothing. Can it be mass produced, though? At low prices, without compromise? Not really. Not yet. We have to ask ourselves, what is the true price of fashion? When I design a dress, I know that Hessnatur will create it in a way that doesn’t cost the consumer’s conscience.

Hessnatur Fall/Winter 2009 Collection

SPOTTING GREENWASHERS

So what can those who love fashion do? Consumers must do a little homework and become aware of the practices of the brands and labels they buy: Where were the fibers grown? Were synthetics added? Are the dyes natural? Where was the garment produced? Does the brand adhere to internationally recognized fair labor practices? Are they known for treating workers with respect?

Designers must accept that beauty comes from how we create.

Designers also have a responsibility. We must accept that beauty comes from how we create, not just what we create.

+ Hessnatur

Related Posts

4 Responses to “Does Greenwashing Exist in the Fashion Industry?”

  1. […] November 30, 2009 in Eco/sustainablity, fashionTags: Eco/sustainablity, fashion, green, sustainability Does Greenwashing Exist in the Fashion Industry? | Ecouterre. […]

  2. […] Does Greenwashing Exist in the Fashion Industry? […]

  3. sustainablekids says:

    Well rounded coverage!

  4. stephanie gale says:

    Well done! – thanks Miguel. And more than the consumer needing to a little homework, we, as producers of eco-fashion, must educate and inform the public. We must self-evaluate, and always strive for ways to be more efficient. Truly good design is knowing the entire production circle; source, use and end-of-life, and then making best choices from the start for the benefit of – as you say, “not just the planet, but the people who live on it.”

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments.

Add your comments

NEW USER


Do you live in Canada? Register here

I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

You must agree to receive emails from this site to subscribe.

CURRENT USERS LOGIN

Lost your password?