For most of us, price is a crucial factor when shopping for clothes. Yet, most of us also strive for sustainability in our daily lives.
According to the survey, only 35% of consumers are ready to pay more to buy sustainable clothing. Eco-friendly items are more expensive for numerous reasons, but they can be a worthy investment that’ll last you for decades.
This article dives into the main reasons sustainable clothing costs more and gives you some tips on getting the best deals on the market.
3 Main Reasons Why Sustainable Fashion is Expensive
Sustainable clothing items deliver better quality than fast fashion pieces. Their advantage lies in value for money.
But what makes them so much more expensive than regular clothes? Let’s find out!
Natural Materials Lead to a Higher Price
Sustainable fashion brands use different materials, such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, and linen. Organic and natural materials cost more than fabrics used by fast fashion companies. Here are some reasons why:
- It takes extra effort during the production process. Tasks like pest damage reparation and weeding require manual labor. Getting wool and other animal-sourced materials without harming them increases the price tag.
- Some materials have a low yield. Flax fibers, for example, don’t have a big yield like cotton, which increases the price tag.
- Obtaining certificates is expensive. Many manufacturers resort to certificates to confirm they sourced the products organically. These are costly, but they help build trust with customers.
- Recycling costs more, too. Some manufacturers recycle cotton, polyester, and other fabrics. This takes additional resources and increases the production price.
While sustainable clothing comes with a higher upfront investment, they will likely last you longer.
It Costs More to Make Less
Fast fashion is all about producing a lot of standardized items from cheap materials. Huge clothing brands invest in massive production, and it helps to keep the price per piece low.
This allows getting new models every season. At the same time, this often leads to overproduction, with lots of redundant pieces that never end up sold.
Sustainable fashion has a different approach. Brands choose materials carefully, and they make limited amounts of each piece. Many teams work in small rooms where they cut and pack each unit individually.
Some of the larger ethical brands invest in their own manufacturing facilities. This allows better control of a product lifecycle and lower production costs.
Workers Get Fair Treatment and Wages
Sustainable fashion isn’t only about sourcing natural materials. It’s also about keeping an ethical approach regarding labor.
Did you know that only 2% of fast fashion workers worldwide receive livable salaries? This is a problem that not many garment factories try to fix.
In countries where big brands have facilities, the local authorities fail to impose greater control. This practically gives the green light to fast fashion companies to pay their workers the lowest wages.
On the other hand, sustainable clothing brands secure the following for the employees:
- Fair salaries. The earning rates vary, but livable wages are mandatory in this industry.
- Optimal working conditions. That includes rooms with optimal temperature, all the necessary equipment, etc.
- Other benefits. This includes paid overtime and sick leave, health coverage, weekends off, etc.
As a consumer, you can support sustainable fashion companies by sticking to their products. It’s a way to reward their effort and increase demand for this clothing type.
These brands keep a higher price because the demand is low. If more customers show interest in sustainable brands, it can lower the average cost per unit.
Ways to Find the Best Deals When Shopping Sustainably
It’s not easy to shop for sustainable clothing on a budget. Fortunately, there are tricks that can help you save some money. Check out these tips to use when shopping sustainably:
- Look for sales. Sustainable clothing brands often have sales around the holidays, allowing you to save significant money on some items.
- Use a VPN. to gather prices from different areas. The Surfshark VPN allows you to look for better deals based on your location.
- Focus on pieces that are easy to combine. A black jacket never goes out of style. You can mix it with light and dark tones, and always look great. If you buy clothing items that are easier to combine, you won’t have to buy that many wardrobe pieces overall.
- Don’t hesitate to look for secondhand items. It’s common for sustainable fashion fans to offload clothes they don’t wear anymore. Thanks to excellent durability and quality, these items often look as good as new.
Fast and sustainable fashion brands are two completely different approaches. The former focuses on hyperproduction without worrying about the material quality and environmental impact. Fast fashion companies rarely care about the workers and fail to pay a livable salary.
On the other hand, sustainable fashion uses only natural and eco-friendly methods. That minimizes the impact on water, air, and other pollution types. Choosing the materials increases the sourcing price, and offering employees decent working conditions also increases costs.
These reasons make sustainable clothing items more expensive, but you’ll find the investment worth it. The superb quality improves durability, and timeless designs make combining different items easier.