Is sustainable fashion consumption really too difficult?

Paulina Kulczycki

Once you’re in an echo chamber of conscious fashion consumers, you know how easy it is to find beautiful, sustainable clothing at fair prices. As slow fashion enthusiasts, we ask ourselves: with so much sustainable fashion to choose from these days, why are people still buying fast fashion? While awareness is growing about the ugly consequences of fast fashion, a lot of people still find excuses to dodge sustainable fashion. Indeed, fast fashion – or even ultra fast fashion – has never done so well! But is sustainable fashion consumption really as hard as everyone thinks? At SANVT, we reveal the laziest excuses used to justify buying fast fashion as well as tips for making more conscious choices.

The laziest excuses to avoid sustainable fashion consumption

Despite a growing awareness for sustainability, the mindless consumption of fast fashion is more prevalent than ever. Shein’s meteoric rise clearly shows that we still have a long way to go to make sustainable shopping the prevailing way of buying. The ultra fast fashion company is the top-selling company in the U.S. and the most visited website in the world! Yet Shein is also one of the most obscure and unethical fashion corporations in the world. But the scandals of Shein, H&M, Primark, Zara and the like, do not seem to deter millions of buyers. After all, sustainable fashion consumption is really hard…. isn’t it? If you know people who still use any of the excuses listed below, allow us to present you a few counter-arguments.

Sustainable fashion is not stylish

The idea that sustainable fashion only looks “eco” is still one of the biggest misconceptions used as an excuse to continue buying fast fashion. Yet, there are now plenty of young, sustainable fashion brands whose timeless designs, modern cuts and trendy color palettes prove just how stylish slow fashion can be. Sustainable fashion is no longer just something for eco aunties with linen clothes that look like potato sacks. Often, sustainable fashion is even more stylish and beautiful, because it’s created with great care and attention to detail by visionary designers. Moreover, by buying sustainable fashion, you avoid looking like everybody else and thus avoid being mainstream. With slow fashion, you are also guaranteed that your clothes will remain timeless instead of following fast-moving trends.

Fast fashion, on the other hand, lures you in with seemingly stylish pieces that will be out of style as early as next season. Needless to say sustainable fashion is in no way inferior to fast fashion in terms of aesthetics and style. Quite the opposite, actually!

Fair fashion is expensive

Another classic excuse is the price. Fair fashion is apparently too expensive for many people. Yet even fast fashion can be sold at high prices, as brands like Urban Outfitters prove. And fair fashion can also be bought relatively cheaply. A prime example of this is second-hand clothing, which can be bought inexpensively, stylishly and sustainably at flea markets. Of course, our conception of “expensive” is completely relative. How do we judge whether a product is overpriced? Naturally, a sustainable garment produced in fair working conditions should cost more than one produced in a sweatshop. But should the prices of fast fashion companies really set the standard in the first place? The price of fair fashion should neither be called cheap, nor expensive – but fair!

Besides, with its low prices, fast fashion will definitely make you want to buy more items. So why buy three cheaply produced sweaters you’ll hardly ever wear when you could buy one long-lasting, fairly produced sweater from a cool sustainable brand? Quality over of quantity always prevails!

Sustainable fashion is of poor quality

And this brings us to the misconception that sustainable fashion is low quality. Many believe that slow fashion brands with their organic natural fibers are not as resistant as synthetic fabrics of fast fashion. It actually is the other way around. It is precisely the fast fashion corporations that produce their clothes with the lowest quality possible to reduce their costs. In addition to the poor workmanship, their synthetic fabrics are usually so thin that they quickly become riddled with holes. And there’s a reason for that: fast fashion corporations ultimately want people to stock up as soon as possible. Sustainable fashion brands, on the other hand, usually manufacture their clothing to a very high standard. Natural fibers are also extremely resistant, durable, and made to withstand regular wear and washing.

Fast fashion is easier

Fast fashion is, of course, easier to get. The argument of convenience is difficult to counter. But sustainable fashion consumption can, and should be easy too. It’s a matter of changing your habits based on your convictions. Every beginning is hard, and such changes rarely happen overnight. But with time, sustainable fashion consumption becomes a natural and effortless act. And sometimes it’s worth the effort – especially when small purchasing decisions carry big consequences for the planet.

If you want to learn about the negative impacts of fast fashion to help raise even more awareness, you can read more here.