As consumers, we’re faced with making decisions about what to purchase every day and often there can be some conflict between our needs, budget and ethical views as we look to balance sustainability with what’s affordable and available. But also, nobody wants to buy a pig in a poke. Therefore- we decided to break it down for you. What really makes the price of sustainable clothing?
Ethical and/or sustainable fashion is a niche market that’s seen a surge in popularity in recent years, as more and more consumers think carefully about the impact that their shopping habits have on the planet. Anyone buying sustainable, ethical fashion will have noticed that the clothing costs more, but what are the reasons behind these higher prices?
The fabrics are more expensive
The prices of sustainable fabrics are, on average, two and a half to four times more expensive in comparison to commonly used fabrics. This rise in price is partly because they’re more expensive for the manufacturers to produce. For example, organic cotton needs to be grown on soil that’s been cleansed for at least three years to allow it to return to the level of biodiversity which allows the crop to grow naturally, without toxic fertilisers. It is being picked by hand and doesn’t grow as efficiently as the one with use of toxins, but the quality is much higher and more durable which should make it fair for the cost to rise.
Moreover, the eco-friendly dyes and prints are also more time and cost-consuming which adds up to the price.
Eco textiles are in low demand
While they are growing in popularity, as it stands, eco textiles simply aren’t as in demand as cheaper, mass produced fabrics like polyester or (non-organic) cotton. The more market demand there is for a product or service the more competition, which drives down prices when manufacturing in higher quantities.
The same principle also applies to eco dyes (natural dyes made from plants, animals or minerals) - the demand is not as high and the manufacturing processes are expensive. Natural dyes require a vast area of land for them to be sourced in any quantity, and you also need more of the dye itself (for example 100g of wool would need around 50g of dried madder root to dye it).
The ‘green’ lies in the details
Here at Starseeds, we’re focused on delivering the top-quality product with smart design and sophisticated details. Firstly, we make up to three prototypes of each style progressively, before producing a final garment. We give them to fellow yogis for feedback as we want to make sure everything from the fit to the detail is right before going ahead. In our opinion every little aspect makes a difference: from choosing the right thread, durable elastic band, bamboo fabric clothing tags, to the style of the stitch.
The finishing touches
One of the many advantages of choosing sustainable fashion is that the clothing is often of a much higher quality, right down to the small details. As well as better quality fabrics and manufacturing processes, sustainable clothing focuses on high quality details, such as the threads, cloth tags, hang tags, fastenings, and packaging.
At STARSEEDS we are selecting the most durable and sustainable finishing touches as well as the clothing tags and packaging.
Our garments are packed in biodegradable foils which are then stored in big cardboard boxes. And as much as we can we try to reuse all the materials involved in storing. While posting to you we use an eco-friendly paper with water-based glue tape and recycled paper boxes. Our clothing tags are made of a reusable seeded paper- which you can plant and add to your home garden.
The cost of ethical production
Sustainable fabrics are made from natural resources which must be farmed in a sustainable way (like the cotton mentioned above). These farming methods are naturally more time consuming and expensive and the methods of ethical production also mean paying farmers and labourers a fair wage. Choosing ethical labour means higher prices, as workers are paid a decent living wage and given other important human rights, such as the right to unionize.
Last but not least- with all the 'green washing' happening in fashion industry- it is necessary to mention the eco certificates. It doesn't mean without them textiles cannot be eco- friendly, but having them is a proof for the highest standards of sustainability.
The certificates are adding up another cost and they need to be renewed yearly.
We’re passionate about the planet here at STARSEEDS, which is why we’re proud to be one of the brands at the forefront of truly sustainable and ethical fashion for him and her. Our unisex lounge and yoga wear is produced using only sustainable fabrics and a manufacturing process that is 100% ethical. To find out more about us or browse our range, visit our website here.