Online Sellers: What SUSTAINABLE Clothing ACTUALLY Means

Online Sellers: What SUSTAINABLE Clothing ACTUALLY Means

Posted by Big Brand on 9th Apr 2021

Sustainable Clothing is something that has popped up within the past couple years and is gaining major popularity, but what exactly does sustainable clothing mean? Here’s the answer:

First, let’s look at the MULTIPLE definitions of the word Sustainable:

  1. Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
  2. Conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natura l resources.
  3. Able to be upheld or defended.
  4. And, in some cases, “Ethical” clothing production is interchanged with “Sustainable” clothing production. 

So as you can see, the word “Sustainable” can be interpreted in multiple ways but most people *believe* that Sustainable clothing means the second definition, “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources”, however, the commonly used definition, according to the fashion industry, is actually the FIRST definition, “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level” - and clearly, these definitions, although they sound similar, are actually different.

With that being said, the use of the word “Sustainable Clothing” can mean a wide variety of things. Here’s just a couple POSSIBLE examples:

It may be created in an efficient factory using renewable resources like wind, solar, geothermal or hydropower so it has low or neutral greenhouse gas emissions

The materials may be light on the environment, like polyester made from recycled water bottles, nylon made from old fishing nets, upcycled or vegetable tanned leather, organic cotton, linen, alpaca, or Tencel, a viscose that is made in a closed-loop process from sustainably harvested wood.

It may be dyed in a factory that carefully treats its wastewater.

American Apparels version of Sustainability consists of creating as little waste as possible by making products out of left-over fabric, yarn spinning, etc. Honestly, their site is super vague regarding what specifically they do that allows them to claim Sustainable clothing.

…. And those are just some random examples. So what specifically does Sustainable mean? Well, we saw the definitions, but the actual use of the word “Sustainable” seems to be nearly identical to The Organic Makeup Scam, which should absolutely make you consider Sustainable merchandise's legitimacy. With that being said, there are many fantastic companies, such as Eileen Fisher who clearly states on the garments paper tag that it was made from 100% recycled plastic (or whatever)... and Eileen Fisher has actually been making Sustainable clothing since 1984…. Way before it was trendy!


My prediction is that the Sustainable craze is going to be the 2021 version of the Organic Makeup Scam or the 2010/2012 “Made in the USA” scam. I am NOT saying you shouldn’t invest in Sustainable; in fact, I love the idea of Sustainable! I think its GREAT! What I am saying is BUYER BEWARE. Just like with The Organic Makeup Scam you should be on high alert of scams. CHINA DOES NOT GIVE A HOOT ABOUT SUSTAINABLE ANYTHING. China is one of the worlds largest polluters. China has NO regulations when it comes to manufacturing; this is why the China hair dye causes scalp burns and hair loss. This is why the China toothpaste contains 10-times the legal level of fluoride. This is why China dog food literally kills dogs because it contains actual poison.

If you want to buy Sustainable, buy though a designer brand that you can have faith in. Check out our list of 18 Designer Who Produce Sustainable Clothing.

Want more info? You can read this incredible interview Katie Couric recently did with Eileen Fisher