How Much of A Difference is Eco-Fashion Really Making?

Just the other day I was having a frustrated discussion with Nick about sourcing recycled content clothing- or any eco-friendly sustainable fashion for that matter. Specifically after flipping through the pages of an Alternative Apparel catalog that had arrived that day. It might not come as a surprise but 95% of my wardrobe has been purchased second hand- buying gently used items means I can use the money saved to purchase new items that are handmade, eco-friendly, or Made in the USA. Like most of us, we really want the money we spend to matter.

With that being said a few weeks ago I had requested the Alternative Apparel magazine so that I could find out a little more about their company, mission, and styles. Their fibers are dyed from natural elements and made in Peru. It's all documented on the site. They have a line that includes 6.25% recycled cotton and 6.25% organic cotton. Awesome! Right? But a basic white t-shirt costs $30. Ever since launching my own line of t-shirt made from 100% recycled content I'm trying to swallow this idea that's been accepted: Green Fashion is just more expensive.

Yes, organic cotton is pricier than conventional. Buying fair trade by definition means you’re paying higher wages to workers. And ethics are great, but I don't have $220 to buy a butterfly shirt, even if it does benefit monarchs in Mexico.

This left me wondering, how much of a difference is eco-fashion really making? If green clothing is only being marketed at a higher price point rather then being available to the masses.

Will we ever see $5 or $10 basic sustainable organic/recycled tees?

If we can all agree that this is better option for the environment why isn't it so widely accepted?

Why aren't companies switching the way they manufacture and source?

Why are we, as consumers, still supporting the companies who aren't willing to take initiative?

I'm feeling torn in every direction- wanting to support ethical production, but also knowing that organic doesn't always mean sustainable. Check out this chart on LearnVest to find out what/if any your favorite brands are doing to make a difference. As an informed consumer, the choice is entirely up to you. Now, all you have to do is weigh in- and tell me what you think. Is eco-fashion actually making a difference? Post a comment below.


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