Back in the day, asking Google to recommend an online retailer offering sustainable fashion was a somewhat ridiculous question to ask. At most, your search would’ve found a couple of sustainability-oriented blogs and a retailer or two, but nothing more relevant than that. With that, the natural question arises — what changed? Consumer awareness and the rise of seeking alternative options that caused little to no harm to the environment as opposed to many conventional apparel items.
People Want to Shop Their Values
The shift toward demanding more sustainable goods has forced e-commerce retailers to meet that demand as fast as possible. Zappos, a famous online retailer, decided to launch a line of “responsible” fashion offerings and their timing couldn’t have been better. According to a study made in 2019, online searches including words related to sustainability, increased by 75%. The study took data from over six million products offered on 12,000 online stores. Zappos wasn’t the only online retailer to take such action toward sustainability. Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, and Nordstrom all designed and launched internal platforms that allow users to easily find goods that have been ethically produced.
Sustainability in Fashion Has Boomed in Recent Years
There is no secret that consumers are finally ready to put their money where their values are. There is one big challenge, however — vetting. How do online retailers decide what products or brands to promote as sustainable? An Australian app, Good On You, became the answer. It ranks brands based on their commitment to social, environmental, and animal welfare. Other online fashion stores have created their own vetting systems where brands are predominantly scaled based on several factors, such as reducing waste, materials, processes, locally made, animal welfare, and community involvement.
Another challenge has been defining the terms of “responsible” and “sustainable,” as well as what “responsible fashion” really means. If brands use these words without proof of their production practices, they can easily be accused of greenwashing. How to combat that? Always read the label as there are a number of certifications that ethically produced clothes have.