In recent years, the world’s population has become more conscious of the environment. Although this has come with excellent action from younger generations, it also has caused an excess of greenwashing from large conglomerate companies.
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, greenwashing is ‘disinformation disseminated by an organisation as to present an environmentally responsible public image’.
Sustainability is at the forefront of environmental issues, with most industries trying their best to do their part. Although, the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’ is a paradoxical term in itself; where there's fashion, there's consumer demand. This is a consequence of living in a trend-set world. What is the height of fashion one season, is thrown away before the next Paris Fashion Week.
Fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M, Pretty Little Thing release multiple collections a year, much more than four seasons of fashion. As an example, Zara produces 20 collections each year, with just five weeks from the designing stage to when they are up for grabs, this is unattainable with the current climate and environmental crisis.
The majority of the time, clothing brands use the same greenwashing strategies and phrases. Most commonly claiming that human-made/synthetic fabrics are more sustainable than cotton. While it is understood the production and growth of cotton uses land, water and chemicals in excess use, synthetic fabrics have a much worse impact on the environment. Changing Markets Foundation found that a shirt made from polyester has over 2.5 times the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt.
We have pledged to do our best to aid the environment in its recovery. Here at Hood Vintage we do this by rerouting clothes which were heading to landfill, we up-cycle and revamp these items to make them perfect for purchasing.
Some of the companies we stock have great sustainability pledges and promises that they keep up with actively, unlike lots of brands which frequently greenwash. The North Face has started producing clothing made from recycled raw fabrics, this collection of clothing will be released in 2022. They also have three initiatives which also aim to prolong the life of their clothing, these are ‘limited warranty programme’, ‘Renewed Collection’ and the ‘Clothes the Loop’ programme. They have also pledged to use 100% responsibly-sourced fabrics by 2025. They have defined this as ‘products which will replenish over the course of a lifetime’. To ensure this goal is achieved, they update their eco-friendly journey and have ensured they are on track for their 2025 goal.
Columbia is another brand we stock which has sustainable goals which they consistently stick to. They release a historic corporate responsibility report each year, they outline their milestones and successes from the previous year, mentioning sustainability and empowerment of people. They have a prominent focus on investing in initiatives which benefit people and the environment, with a goal to use products which have a positive impact. Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Abel Navarrete, said Columbia aims “to be conscientious stewards of the environment and to have a positive impact on our communities.”
From this, I think it's valid to conclude that greenwashing is pretty darn awful and should, y'know, stop.
Here at Hood Vintage, we’re doing our bit to prevent this greenwashing from taking over the clothing industry. So, why not join us on our journey to carbon neutrality?
Words by Ellie Rochell