Gaining a customers trust does not happen immediately. It takes years of nurturing and credibility. Many big brands have been faced with the challenge of being transparent, which will be very hard to accomplish for most as transparency will ruin their reputations. So what options are they left with?
They can't reveal the truth of their production process and work place conditions as that may be detrimental enough. They can't show all their cards when it comes to textile waste and pollution contribution as that would be alarming. So, they turn to claims. Often making up new buzz words or jumping on buzz words that will gain them credibility.
As a final resort these same brands leverage the small selection of socially and sustainably made products, in which they only carry one or two skus of, by bragging about their great contribution to helping the environment. Therefore, appearing like heroes. In reality this bait and switch approach will draw more customers in who are encouraged to buy the general product lines with high margins and no ethical or environmentally conscious element.
So what happens to the trust? It's still there for the taking, but can it be redistributed to the brands who make a bigger effort for a better future? I think it can, but with the help of the consumer. If the consumer can learn to look a little closer and read a little deeper, perhaps we can get to a place where we produce better products, and purchase less but with good intent. You know... like in the 50's.
Here's where we can start to look a little deeper. Buzz words. Let's talk vegan.
Over the past decade we have essentially labelled what is truly plastic fashion as 'vegan'. Sure it doesn't come from an animal, and no animal was harmed in the process of making it, but the marketers fail to mention the production process and how damaging it is to the environment. Not to mention that 'vegan' alternatives can't be repaired, have a way shorter life cycle, and are can't biodegrade.
Could it be that if we looked a little past the buzz words that maybe the better textile for a moto jacket is actually leather? Let's consider this. Leather jacket brand, Mauritius, ascertains their leathers from the food consumption industry therefore preventing the leather from being discarded into landfills. In addition, they also use vegetable dyes to dye their jackets. If that doesn't make leather a more superior textile to "pleather" than consider that the leather jacket now has a lifetime of wear as leather is extremely durable and often looks better worn down.
Until new food alternatives like Mylo, made from mushrooms and now the new textile of choice for Lululemon, are more available and affordable, then buzz words like Vegan have no place in the fashion industry as they fuel the issue of distrust.
If you are in doubt about a company's claims, dig a little deeper. The onus is now on you the consumer to ask, "how are they sustainable?". If you'd like to learn more about certain brands, be sure to check out the Good on you app that thoroughly reviews claims that eco brands make. If you are cruising on their and wonder why Guru has not been investigated and verified, it is only because we are still waiting to hear from them. We are an open book here at Guru, and we look forward to one day being on their app.