‘Concerned about the clothing crisis? Hold your favourite brands accountable’ written by Hannah Edgar, edit and images by Becky Adams
Hold your favourite brands accountable
We can shop more ethically by making smart choices about the clothing brands that we support, and holding fashion brands accountable for their sustainable actions. Or lack thereof. The fashion industry is the second biggest contributor to global warming, largely due to the rise of fast fashion. Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap, low-quality clothing, and comes at a great cost to the planet and human wellbeing. Therefore, it is important that we encourage all fashion brands to be sustainable. Following from this, you can hold your most loved clothing brands accountable by increasing your own understanding of sustainability in fashion, contacting brands directly and taking part in campaigns. By pushing for change, we can consequently help the brands we love do right by the planet and the people.
- Don’t be fooled by greenwashing
- Talk to brands directly and hold them accountable
- Follow fashion activists
- Support sustainability campaigns and legislation
Don’t be fooled by greenwashing
The rising popularity of sustainable shopping has lead to the common practice of greenwashing. Greenwashing refers to ‘wish-washy’ claims of sustainability from brands. Examples include, ‘Eco-friendly’, ‘Kind to the Planet’ and ‘Green’. These statements are meant to be vague, and offer no actual evidence of sustainable action. As a result, they often go unchecked. Do not be fooled by these claims. Brands will not be held accountable if greenwashing is not challenged.
Talk to brands directly and hold them accountable
Putting pressure on our favourite brands directly is a way to lobby for change. Ask about their ethical practices and be honest and direct with them if they are not meeting your standards. Explain your concerns and also point out areas in need of change. There are a range of ways to contact them, so pick what best suits you.
- Call them.
- Send their social media a message.
- Email the company.
- Write letters.
Megan McSherry provides excellent email templates for starting the conversation. The templates address greenwashing and packaging and material concerns, and you can check them out here. Love the brand, but not their ethics? Hold them accountable!
Follow fashion activists
The easiest way to lobby for change is by following fashion activists. Fashion activists offer a range of ways you can improve your fashion habits. Suggestions include buying second hand, and ‘up-cycling’ your clothing. They also share information on large scale campaigns and movements and their approaches are often intersectional; inclusivity is key for a successful sustainable movement. These accounts provide a place for conversations on fashion brands that are not being sustainable, as well as those that are.
There are many fashion activists to follow:
- Marielle Elizabeth (@marielle.elizabeth): Marielle focuses on plus-size inclusion within sustainable fashion. She also started the #slowfashionforall movement.
- Celine Samaan (@celinecelines): Celine runs the Slow Factory Foundation, which seeks to empower POC and ethnic minorities to be leading voices in sustainable action.
- Daniel Silverstein: (@zerowastedaniel): Daniel advocates for the zero-waste movement, through his fashion design and creation.
Furthermore, here are some other accounts you can add to the list which offer more general information on ethical fashion:
Support sustainability campaigns and legislation
An effective way to create change in the fashion industry is to get involved with campaigns and legislation, since there is power in collective voices.
One example is the ‘Who made my clothes’ campaign. This campaign exposed the exploitation of workers in the fashion industry, through encouraging people to discover where their clothes actually came from. As a result, workers then had their own voice through the ‘I made your clothes’ response. So, brands had no option but to change the unethical treatment of their workers.
Current campaigns you can support:
- The #WaterMatterz Campaign: This campaign stresses the impacts of fast fashion on water resources.
- Stella McCartney: This company provides consistent campaigns highlighting issues of sustainability within the fashion industry.
- The UK Government’s Waste Prevention Programme: This programme seeks to act against fast-fashion and minimise textile waste.
You can make an impact, by engaging with campaigns and supporting sustainable legislation.
The bottom line
In conclusion, we can still love brands, but also see when they need to improve. Everyone can and should make an effort to be more aware of how sustainable our clothing is. However, it is vital that brands are held accountable for their unsustainable practices. You can create large-scale change, by using this small guide; The key is to not be silent and be vocal in the sustainable fashion movement today!
Hold your favourite brands accountable and enter our Instagram competition!
We want to give you PRIZES to help make this change happen! All you have to do is follow the steps below for a chance to WIN!
Here’s how to enter:
- Comment 3 emoji’s related to the post on our Instagram @uw_sustain
- Tag 3 friends
- You will automatically be entered into our prize draw.
- Unlimited entries, follow the above steps again. Each time is a new entry.
Find out more about responsible consumption and production