5 Reasons Sustainable Collections Aren’t The Answer

Since the announcement of a climate crisis, the fashion world has seen a surge in the number of ‘sustainable’ collections. Clothing made out of recycled materials, or ‘consciously’ produced. Almost every online clothing outlet has released one lately.

While it seems to be a step in the right direction, I can’t help but feel it’s misguided. Yes, we should be applauding brands for improving. But I can’t help but feel like the intentions behind the collections aren’t 100% genuine.

Think H&M Conscious Collection. The Monki Cares Edit. ASOS Responsible Edit. Boohoo For the Future. Big name fast fashion brands trying to pander to the eco-conscious.

So… What is my problem?

Shopping Mannequin

1 // There shouldn’t be a separate collection

Instead of producing an entirely separate collection, why are these brands not simply working on becoming wholly sustainable? Why must there be an entirely separate collection of brand new clothing? For me, it raises some alarm bells.

It just screams “marketing tactic”. An attempt at making people feel like they’re doing their bit “for the planet”. When all they’re really doing is encouraging people to buy into fast fashion.

2 // The transparency is questionable

Say the collections are actually sustainable. Why is there no information about their supply chain?

Sustainable and ethical clothing go hand in hand. It’s assumed that when there’s one, there is another. Not to mention an ethical supply chain is sustainable practice.

3 // Low Prices

Typically, sustainable clothing is more expensive. Unless, of course, you get it second-hand. There’s a few key reasons for this; fair wages for workers and sustainable materials being the main two.

If these collections were truly sustainable, it would be reflected in the price. But it’s not. In fact, the entire of Boohoo’s ‘For the Future’ collection went on sale almost instantly after being released. It doesn’t seem quite right to me.

For more information on exactly why sustainable fashion costs more, read this insightful blog post by Bethany Paige Austin.

Clothing Rail

4 // They’re contradictory

This has to be the funniest point of all. When you really think about it, these ‘eco collections’ give negative connotations to the main collections.

What does the main collection at H&M become? The ‘Unconscious Collection’. ASOS becomes the ‘Irresponsible Edit’. The ‘Monki Doesn’t Care Edit’. Boohoo ‘For the Past’.

It’s all very ironic, and something I feel that should probably have been though about prior to the launch of these collections.

5 // Questionable ethics

This ties in closely with a lot of the points I’ve already made. But the exact ethics behind these collections are nothing short of shady. It’s painfully obvious that these brands are simply trying to cash in on the sustainability train.

If that weren’t the case, then why’re they not following through with the previous points covered in this post? Why is there still a secrecy of supply chain, increasingly low prices, and a wishy washy ‘recycled materials’ description chucked in?

It really does just seem like fast fashion brands are paying lip service to the eco-conscious. A way of ‘covering their arses’ as fast fashion brands are increasingly criticised.

Clothing Rail Browsing

Why does it all matter?

Is it really that deep? Should I just be accepting that brands are truly trying to change and give them a break?

In all honesty, I don’t think it’s fair to go easy on brands that are deliberately trying to mislead people. It’s a very blatant attempt at greenwashing. Well, I say attempt. It, unfortunately, seems to be working.

Read more; Greenwashing; What it is & 6 Ways to Spot it

Fast fashion brands will be quick to bring out a so-called sustainable collection, but stay quiet when asked if they’ll reduce the number of brand new garments they release per year. Because the simple answer is no. If they were truly committed to an eco-conscious cause then production reduction would be their main priority.

The average garment is only worn 7 times before ending up in landfill. It’s been proven that recycling isn’t the answer. So where does that leave us? Producing more and more new fashion, all at the cost of the planet.

What do YOU think?

I love it when you guys get involved in a discussion with me – especially when it’s on the matter of sustainability. Where do you stand on sustainable collections? Are you for, against, or somewhere in the middle? Let me know in the comments below!

14 comments so far.

14 responses to “5 Reasons Sustainable Collections Aren’t The Answer”

  1. Teresa says:

    Suuuch a great post and brilliant points! I recently saw a bus stop advert by H&M declaring that they have a collection of clothes made from recycled cotton. My first reaction was “Oh great, good for them”. And then I realized it’s H&M, known for their incredible lies and misleading campaigns, and that feeling quickly changed to anger. I don’t like being lied to and these awful brands do it so blatantly that I just can’t cope. Fast fashion needs to be made illegal, there’s only so much we consumers can do about this at the end of the day.

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

    • I totally agree with you! H&M are a huge greenwashing culprit and their consistent attempts to be seen as a “sustainable” fast fashion brand fail time after time (and for good reason). I wish brands would just start taking the steps to actually become more sustainable rather than push half hearted “eco conscious” collections. Thanks so much for reading Teresa!
      El xx

  2. Beth Gray says:

    Loved this commentary on the sustainable collections! Very on point!

  3. I totally agree with you. While I think it’s great that are making a step to improve, the cheaper prices and seperate collections are definitely something that causes me to raise my brows. I guess it is a step in the right direction in the sense that they may improve further if those collections do well. But there’s definitely a long way to go x


    • It’s a tricky one, if they were actually taking proactive steps to becoming more sustainable as a brand then I’d be fully supportive. But creating more new fashion in addition to their other never-ending collections seems a bit contradictory to me. The fashion industry as a whole is so tiring! Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts with me Sophie!
      El xx

  4. Haydee says:

    This all makes so much sense, and especially that first point! I never really thought of this before but you’ve opened my eyes and I completely agree with you!

  5. Lauren says:

    I think when they say that, it sometimes reminds me of brands that say we test ethically, means they source out to countries that do test on animals. So I get where you come from on the transparency front! Xxx

  6. Ash says:

    I feel the exact same! If they really cared about the planet, they’d make all their clothing sustainable rather than greenwashing everyone with questionable one-off collections. I’m so happy to be done with fast fashion!

  7. Lauren says:

    This is a very interesting read. You’d like to think if they are saying it is sustainable that it is true, shame that is the case! Thank you for sharing.

    • It just comes across as tone deaf to create a whole new separate collection when they could actually put their efforts into making their entire main collection sustainable instead. Shame really!
      El xx

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I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.

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