Why is Sustainable Clothing Expensive ?
As many consumers become more eco-aware and move towards more sustainable clothing, why is it not cheaper ? A very valid question in a world that is moving to a more sustainable future. Importantly, we have to develop better habits and practices going forwards. The fashion industry is just one key part of what we need to improve. So, Why is Sustainable Clothing Expensive ?
Until recently, sustainability has not been a key factor in clothing. Furthermore, sportswear in particular, is dominated by comfort and performance. This creates a challenge in finding natural fabrics that can compete with man made fabrics which have been engineered to have specific qualities. A fabric that boasts true sustainability is rare to find but there are some out there. This leads Grizzly Wears Clothing to a crossroads, two paths to follow, so which do I choose as a business. The choices are; lower cost but a little more sustainable; ultimate sustainability but higher price. But firstly lets cover the reasons behind the price jump.
An industry set in its ways.
Quite possibly the biggest factor. The fashion industry, like many others, is built on economies of scale. Having a strong reliance and market demand for fabrics that were, revolutionary at the time means production followed. As manufacturing scaled up and got more efficient with one factory competing against another, prices dropped. The cost of a lot of these fabrics remains relatively low. For example, recycled polyester is double the price of virgin polyester currently. In essence, demand for recycled materials has not yet reached a level where production is at a level to reduce cost. Although, this is happening. With more brands switching to more sustainable fabrics, production is increasing. This is a good thing and a step in the right direction.
Market demand drives positive change. As a consumer, now is the time for you to look out for greener clothing. By making the decision to spend a few seconds looking for that “recycled” key word on the labels of what you choose to buy, you are pushing in the right direction. This is the way.
A new hope for the industry is on the horizon. With many innovative ideas coming to light, making use of otherwise waste material is a great way to restore balance. At this time we should be less reliant upon limited resources and looking towards renewable materials.
More Sustainable = More Cost
If you have read some of my previous blogs, you will know, I like to look at sustainability as a balance. Essentially, I see not all materials are equal. Each one has ups and downs. As a lot of the top tier fabrics cost more, More Sustainable means a Higher Price. However, there is a happy medium. By creating more clothes that are more sustainable from fabrics which do not cost extra, more people can afford sustainable clothing.
If something is exclusively priced a lot of people do not have the money to buy it. For example: A T-Shirt is £1000 but completely sustainable, 1% of people can afford it. The overall impact is minimal. On the other hand a T-Shirt is somewhat sustainable, it costs £20, 90% of people can afford it. This gives greater impact. Although it is a bad example because T-Shirts are typically cotton which is highly sustainable.
To conclude, we must look at the bigger picture. Think about the number of products which can have an impact, not just the impact per item. By taking this approach, Grizzly Wears Clothing tries to give greatest impact now and get better in the future. We are not perfect but see where there is room for improvement.
Where can we improve ?
There are many ways we can improve. By openly admitting we do not do everything perfectly, we can begin to take steps in the right direction. Some steps cost money. Some take time and work. Typically we are no different to other businesses apart from trying to be more honest. Starting from a strong position and doing as much as possible sets Grizzly Wears on the right path for the future.
Going forwards we will push in the direction of greener materials. Our carbon footprint will come under closer inspection and be offset where possible. Currently, this is hard to measure. It takes time and resource which is not available but is a priority.
Areas of improvement do not only apply to us. Every clothing business, no matter the size will need to get better. To survive in the future we must move towards greener shipping and adopt more sustainable fabrics.
So… Why is sustainable clothing more Expensive ?
The main reason is the scale of production. Some technologies are still in early days and not driven by economy yet. With rising costs of energy and fuel this applies to all clothing. Although we aim to be 100% sustainable, we recognise cost is a big factor. Furthermore when we look with an open mind at what is available at a price point, options are narrower. But they do exist. Every day more options open up.
Support me in bringing the cost of sustainable clothing down by visiting my shop. By buying my clothing and bearing the Grizzly Wears name, you are helping me to research more fabrics, explore more options. And importantly, bring these new products to market.
Sustainable clothing is more expensive, it won’t always be if we invest now.