Is a sustainable fashion brand more expensive as compared to a fast fashion brand?
Are Sustainable fashion brands expensive? Is it worth your money to buy sustainable fashion brands instead of cheaper products from the fast fashion industry? Will you get your money's worth when buying sustainable fashion brands? 'Sustainable Fashion' can be defined as a system in which supply, production, and consumption of fashion products have been designed in a way that ensures environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Sustainable fashion is not limited to a mere product, but it is a philosophy that also embraces design processes, supply chain strategies, and consumption practices. The terms such as eco-fashion, ethical-fashion, organic-fashion, green-fashion, and even at times vegan-fashion are used in conjunction with sustainable fashion.
The majority of people think that sustainable fashion is more expensive than other products. One could argue that when we use the word expensive, it is always to be used in a relative context. So, when you feel a particular product is expensive it is important to understand the factors that contribute to the product's price and then make a comparison. If a brand works with ethical manufacturers paying factory workers fairly, providing for overtime, lunch breaks and statutory holidays it is bound to push the cost of production up.
What Makes a Brand "Expensive" So to Speak?
There are lots of reasons why we think sustainable fashion brands are "expensive". Here are some of the reasons why you should consider re-thinking the term expensive when you buy sustainable products.
- Paying workers, a fair wage
Compared to fast fashion, sustainable brands do not cut corners and hire underaged, underpaid, and overworked workers. GnL, as an advocate of ethical and fair labor practices, has partnered with manufacturers that have the same values of sustainability and ethical workplace practices. Workplace standards should include the following criteria:
- Workers are familiar with workplace-related issues and their labor rights and obligations.
- The factory posts the Amfori BSCI Code Of Conduct onsite and provides training to workers.
- The factory has an established policy on anti-discrimination that mandates against discriminating workers by a physical condition, gender, age, etc.
- The factory provides benefits such as paid statutory holidays, sick leave, annual leave, marriage leave, maternity leave to workers.
- The minimum hourly wage paid to workers complies with legal minimum wages.
- Normal working hours for workers are 8 hours per day, 5 days per week with a 90-minute lunch break. Workers have the right to choose whether to work overtime or not, and all workers had at least one day off every seven days. Workers' overtime wages on weekdays and weekends are 150% and 200% of normal wages as stipulated by the law.
- The factory does not employ child labor. The minimum age of workers in the factory is 18 years old.
A fair wage is just the minimum standard for employing workers. The finished product for any sustainable brand should not just consider product material but all the things involved in the process of making the finished product which is labor.
- Sourcing Eco-friendly fabrics
Of course, aside from labor, it is a given that the materials used are eco-friendly fabrics only. Here at GnL, we have partnered with manufacturers who have the same value as ours:
Topgood Handbag Leather Co. our partner in creating handbags, is a fair-trade ethical manufacturer of fashion handbags. It runs an ISO 9001 certified manufacturing facility in the Chinese city of QiShi, DongGuan, Guangdong. Topgood is a member of the Amfori BSCI (short for Business Social Compliance Initiative) network. Attesting to their ethical practices, Topgood received an 'acceptable' rating for a BSCI audit in August 2019. The majority of the company's practices were also rated as "acceptable" as part of the ILS Social Compliance Audit.
We have also partnered with Leaf Creation Co, Ltd in Thailand for our Teak Leaf collection. Our unique, innovative, and eco-friendly Teak Leaf Collection is brought to you in collaboration with Leaf Creation Co. Ltd Thailand. The factory has mastered the technology to convert teak leaves into a durable, stylish vegan fabric that can be used to make sustainable fashion accessories, winning numerous awards for the uniqueness and innovation of its eco-friendly fashion products.
- PETA Approved
It doesn't cost anything to be PETA approved but you have to put a lot of effort to make your product recognized to be a PETA Business Friend. PETA Business Friends is an innovative partnership for compassionate companies willing to assist in PETA's groundbreaking work to stop animal abuse and suffering.
PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world. It has more than 6.5 million advocates. Members are united in opposing speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and focus its attention on the four areas where animals suffer: in labs, in the food industry, in fashion, and entertainment. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.
- Gives Back to the Community
GnL gives back to the community. GnL Accessories is a partner of 'One Tree Planted', a non-profit organization based in Vermont, in a fashion for sustainability mission to give back to mother earth by planting trees. For each purchase you make, GnL plants one 'Hardy Black Mangrove' in the Sundarbans in India. The Indian Sunderbans, home to incredible biodiversity, are facing environmental erosion by the fishery and farming industries. This degradation is exacerbated by climate change, which brews near-constant cyclones and storms in the region, resulting in huge losses of forest cover.
"One Tree Planted" aims to reforest up to 10,000 hectares of mudflats and deforested lands in the Sundarbans by planting 1.5 million mangrove trees. This sustainability project will enhance biodiversity for marine life, establish ecosystem functions, limit coastal and island erosion, and shield vulnerable communities from high winds and waves. Aside from environmental sustainability, the project also serves to protect the long-term livelihoods of local communities.
So, the right question should not be about why sustainable fashion brands are expensive purchases. Because a sustainable fashion brand purchase should be the alternative to fast fashion choices.
The right question to ask now is this:
Which among the sustainable fashion brands is the best for me?
Why ask this question, because there are a lot of brands which disguise themselves as sustainable for the sake of a quick buck. There are also sustainable fashion brands which are not at all sustainable. But there are those which give back more to the community as well. Your task now is to choose brands that maximize the worth of your purchase in terms of value and philosophy.
Here is a practical guide for you to compare sustainable fashion brands in three points: style, material uses, and of course price.
Stella McCartney. This bag comes with a high price tag. Priced at $875 Stella McCartney bags feature a signature silver diamond cut chain and 100% recycled nylon lining.
Gunas. Most of Gunas New York bags are named after animal champions. It is also made from PU vegan leather both interior and exterior. Price starts at $275.
Matt & Nat. Matt and Nat is short for Material and Nature. It is one of the popular brands in the vegan community. All bags are 100% recycled nylon lining. The price average for their collection is $150.
Nuvi-Nomad. Nuvi Nomad uses Nuvi releaf leather and cotton canvas interior 100% local Chiang Main and manufactured in Italy. The average price of their "The Shopper" Bag is $145.
Angela Roi. This brand is popular as well to vegan brands in New York. Material is made from PU vegan leather exterior and interior. rice of their Cher tote is at $250.
Ceibo. This brand ends to go the minimalist route. All handbags are handmade in Houston by the designer who works with Pinatex, a sustainable leather alternative made from pineapple leaves. Price starts at $115.
Dasein. This is one of the inexpensive options for PU vegan leather. It can be considered a micro luggage handbag that is roomy with lots of pockets. Price starts at $45.
Pixie Mood. This brand likes a sleek aesthetic design. It is also made from PU vegan leather. Price starts at $90.
Sole Society. Their bags give out a classic 70s look and are quite spacious. It is made from PU vegan leather exterior and fabric interior. Price starts at $60.
Melie Bianco. Made of PU vegan leather exterior and interior, this tote bag features a three in one feature. This bag can be transformed to suit your needs. Price starts at $100.
Corvara. This is one of the more affordable vegan bags n the market. It emulates Saffiano leather and can neatly organize your cards, cash, and phone. It is made of vegan leather exterior and interior. Price starts at $40.
Samara. Samara bags has a simple elegant design which is made from apple skins. Price starts at $125.
GNL Accessories bags range from $60 to $150 which is quite affordable compared to other brands. You can buy other things for $60, a dinner, eat a bowl of pasta, buy fast fashion (clothes and accessories), fake handbags, and wallets OR choose to support a company that genuinely hopes to make a difference like the GNL Brand.