is sustainable fashion actually elitist or is it all bS?
what is sustainable fashion?
The Sustainable Fashion movement aims for sustainability in the fashion industry, strongly opposing Fast Fashion, a terrible business model that produces 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of global wastewaters, polluting our rivers and seas. This planet-killing business practice is also responsible for the buy-n-throw and excessive consumerism culture that pollutes our soil and waters with tons of textile waste, as 85% of all Fast Fashion garments are thrown each year.
Sustainable Fashion differs from Slow Fashion in the path it takes to achieve sustainability in the fashion industry, while Slow Fashion focuses more on clothes that are produced with slower manufacturing cycles, fair trade, and supporting smaller businesses, while also caring for the sustainability and quality of its garments, Sustainable Fashion puts a little more weight in the ecological impact of its clothes, using organic, recycled materials like organic ring-spun cotton and other environmentally-friendly biodegradable materials.
At the end of the day, all these anti-fast fashion movements want to achieve the same thing, they just differ in the path they take and on what they consider more important. For example, Ethical Fashion focuses more on the welfare of textile workers, who are exploited in the Fast Fashion industry with inhumane wages and terrible working conditions, many times reaching modern slavery.
But you may already know that, especially if you have read our other articles on our blog. So how about we go to the part where we explain why in the world this benevolent sustainable movement is even considered elitist?
why is sustainable fashion considered elitist in the first place?
One important thing to remember is that sustainable fashion does not outsource all of its costs to the environment, the workers, and society as a whole, as it aims to have the minimum impact possible while producing garments. For this reason, its products are more expensive than those of fast fashion’s. All of this is pretty straightforward for now.
Some people argue that this is elitist because only people with more resources can afford to buy sustainable garments instead of fast fashion clothes, while people with fewer resources have to buy cheap, highly polluting fast fashion garments and still feel guilty for it.
Not only that, but other people also argue that sustainable fashion’s customers do not really care that much about the environment and the positive impact they have on the planet, but rather feel morally superior to others, doing good actions so they can brag about it on social media.
These are some of the arguments that want to „prove” sustainable fashion is elitist. Now stay steady because we are going to discuss next how defendable these arguments are and if sustainable fashion is actually elitist at all.
is sustainable fashion elitist then?
We have seen some of the arguments that tell us why sustainable fashion is elitist, but what truth is there in these arguments? Are they actually true? Well, as you saw in the title, these arguments if looked at closely are rather more BS than true.
Firstly, arguing that people with fewer resources can’t help but feed the fast fashion giants is not the full picture. Yes, someone who doesn’t have a lot of money, for example, a college student, won’t be spending a lot of money on some 100% organic Himalayan-grown hemp sustainable clothes, but there are better options than fast fashion.
We are not saying you should spend a lot of money on 100% sustainable clothes, but at least avoid the worst options, the ones that have the most environmental and social impact of all. For example, it is much preferable to buy clothes from H&M than from SHEIN (Which is the worst ultra-fast fashion clothing store to ever exist). Like Charlie Munger said: „Invert, Always Invert!” think about what you shouldn’t buy, ever, and avoid those, instead of thinking about the most sustainable options that you cannot realistically buy.
Also, we have to say that how we treat clothes is another big pet peeve that we all need to fix. Many people think of clothes as disposable pieces of cloth that don’t deserve much respect and time, that is why many times we justify buying a $10 iced coffee but not a $30 good-quality t-shirt. Clothes are crucial in our society, and they deserve more respect, we already know the terrible environmental and social consequences not treating them with respect has.
The other argument we have mentioned, that „Sustainable Fashion customers do not care about their positive impact on the world, they just want to show off” is just plain stupid. No, the few people in the world who actually care and buy sustainable garments do not want to „show off”, if they wanted to do it they would just waste their money on a Balenciaga bag or Gucci underwear.
And if people want to brag about their sustainable and eco-friendly life choices what about it? It is better to brag about doing good actions that will make a huge difference in the world than not doing anything at all, right? So this argument has no real foundation, even more, if we consider that sustainable fashion shoppers are people who are already fully aware of the real consequences of our current fast fashion model.
Overall, we can say 100% that Sustainable Fashion is not elitist, and it will become more and more accessible to everyone, especially with the rise of new and more efficient technologies. Let’s now discuss how exactly this is going to happen.
how sustainable fashion is changing
We have discussed why this sustainable movement is not elitist, and the arguments are rather more BS than true. But what is true is that sustainable garments are more expensive than fast fashion ones, but worry does not, because this is going to change not far from now.
How is Sustainable Fashion going to become more affordable in the future? Well, this question has a more simple answer than what might think at first, let’s see how.
Like with any other industry, the sustainable garment industry will get more and more efficient over time, using new techniques and technologies to help improve its productivity. This all comes down to lower prices, better garments, and less environmental and social impact overall.
This happened during the industrial revolution as well, industries were forming and they were very unproductive at first, but over time, they got more and more efficient, using new technologies and techniques… Over the course of the century humanity practically got out of the Middle Ages, and sometime after that we got into the privileged first world era in which we are right now (Not all of us yet, sadly, but still improving.)
Of course, we don’t have to wait a whole century to see really affordable sustainable garments that will replace fast fashion (not even sure there’s that much time to wait), things are changing faster and faster now. A modern-day example is electric cars, they were something out of this world only like a decade ago and today many people are buying competitive and affordable electric cars, in just a decade!
The key thing is that people demanded electric cars, affordable, efficient, and competitive electric cars; so businesses were incentivized to invest in these new technologies and look at them now. The thing with Sustainable Fashion is that a lot of people do not even know what it is and why fashion has to be rethought, if people were really aware of that, the whole picture would change.
Well, that’s it for today, we hope we have cleared your doubts on the subject. As always, we invite you to check out our other articles on the subject, remember that in order to beat Fast Fashion we need to get informed and aware of the subject, so don’t forget to expand your knowledge and spread the word with others.
We are thrilled to teach people all around the world 🙂 Also, did you really know what Fast Fashion really is and its terrible consequences for the environment, the planet, the workers, society, and the economy? Do you know exactly what the Slow Fashion or Sustainable Fashion movement is? You should really take a look at these articles about this forgotten and unknown but very urgent and important subject, click here to read „Can Fashion Ever Be Sustainable?”, Sustainable Fashion, Ethical Fashion, Slow Fashion or Fast Fashion 101 | How It’s Destroying Our Planet because knowledge is one of the most powerful strengths you can have, while ignorance is your worst weakness.
We also have a big surprise for you! Because we want to give you the right to know us better, we have prepared a carefully dedicated About Us page where we will tell you who we are, what our mission is, what we do, a closer look at our team, and many more things! Do not miss this opportunity and click here to check it out. Also, we invite you to take a look at our Pinterest, where we will pin everyday sustainable fashion-related content, clothing designs, and other things that you will surely love!