As we see the urge of most fashion brands to keep up with sustainability we start asking ourselves if it is actually going to change fashion’s industry.
On Instagram we see more and more influencers posting about sustainable brands and how to live with less plastic but aren’t we just making consumption look greener?
Fashion is responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint, which means it contributes to water pollution, waste, and soil contamination. And let’s not begin talking about poor working conditions.
According to Euromonitor International Apparel and Footwear research from 2,016, since 2,000, clothing sales doubled from 50 billion units/year to more than 100 billion units/year but the number of times clothes were worn had decreased. This means we are consuming faster and creating more waste.
The fact is: greenwashing our consumption won’t help the environment. To consume sustainable brands but keep up with the hustle of new trends is just a way of deceiving ourselves about our impact on climate change and world collapse. Sofia Ulver, an associate professor, and researcher at Lund University has been researching how our consumer culture can influence the market system and social trends. She believes we live in an era in which there are three visions for society: the neoblue, neogreen and neobrown.
NEOBLUE, NEOGREEN & NEO BROWN
The neoblue vision started in 1970 when all that mattered was money and growth. People were eager to newness, to grandiosity and luxurious products. The middle class dreamt of being rich. Ulver highlights as icons of this vision people such as Ronal Reagan, the “Wolves of Wall Street” and the narcissist from Silicon Valley.
Then, people started to criticize this way of life and all its destructive consequences to the planet and the neogreen vision was born: Al Gore and his “Inconvenient Truth” started promoting holistic capitalism that was not only about money but about equality and sustainability. Authenticity and local development are what consumers with this vision search for. Craft beers, slow living, recycling, veganism...does it sound familiar to you?
But this neogreen movement is not a conscious change, Sofia Ulver says. It’s critics think it is just the neoblue vision of life with a new color or a different package because of everything else: the globalization, the differences between poor and rich the monetary value, all this remains the same.
As the neoblue and the neogreen visions kind of mix together, we see the rise of the neobrown vision which is based on the dopamine economy that causes conflict so brands have our attention. It is the movement of consumption nostalgia that does not allow us to think about the future. This kind of consumer lives an actual escapism of reality with all the fake news and only has one goal: to survive. It doesn’t matter what it takes. Have you ever thought about investing in a bunker? Or going to Mars? Well, they did!
So, is sustainable fashion a real deal? Well, it has to be. Because of all these visions (the neoblue, green, and brown), there are those consumers who believe that consuming is a political act and they had already started asking questions about human rights, sustainability, non-violent communication, and other things that matter to their community.
You can try to greenwash your brand like some of the fast fashion’s are doing. But to keep relevance in the long term, things will need to start changing in your company for good. Otherwise, you will be risking to be discovered by the new wave of conscious consumers.
Please, share with us in the comment section brands that you believe are using the term "sustainable" more as a marketing strategy than really applying changes.