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Sustainability has been synonymous for the longest time now to the future survival of all living beings on this planet. The concept is naturally being adapted by several organizations and brands are being formed on the grounds of sustainable practices. Amidst all the adaptation and formation, several organizations fall short of implementing sustainable practices into the core system.

Whereas several brands stay true to their brand philosophy without compromising on producing environmentally friendly products. Such brands are counted in the category of ‘slow fashion’. Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste – (Study).

However in contrast to the emerging movement of ‘slow fashion’, fast fashion brands generate a vicious cycle of continuous consumption and disposal. Needless to say, fast fashion brands pose a threat to the planet since they are also responsible for the 5% man-made greenhouse emissions.

“By educating, informing, and incentivizing consumers, companies can make up for consumer’s limited awareness and willingness to pay for sustainable products.”

However, consumers are often duped into buying ‘sustainable’ clothing lines with the use of smart marketing and making the customers feel as if they’re helping the environment by investing in such kind of ‘sustainable’ products. But customers can identify these claims as fake or realistic just by using some identifiers.

Below is a list of common keywords used by several brands to prove their sustainability practices :

1. Clear information and verified claims
Several times consumers come promotional campaigns displaying a new clothing line with keywords such as – ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘Eco-friendly’, ‘pure’, ‘green’. Consumers often fall for these words and end up buying the product without considering its genuineness.

While checking out a product with such tags and keywords, the consumer can be mindful of the information being provided by the brand. If there’s just mere information that fails to convey the purpose of the product, then clearly it’s just a marketing ploy.

2. Logos, Symbols, and Certifications

Very often companies are seen using several logos and trademark symbols to plant a sign of genuineness on their products. But the question is – Is that a symbol of genuineness or a strategy? The uses of logos and symbols are often used as a marketing gimmick. Brands often create their own logos and symbols which seem to increase the authenticity of the sustainability claims made by them.

3. Materials
A truly sustainable brand will break down its practices to the root level and modify it to suit the brand philosophy. When starting from the root level, the initial product development stage includes sourcing material. This is an essential part since the selection of the material will prove to be the primary step towards making an ethical choice and bringing out a change in the environment.

In such a scenario, the main aim of a sustainable brand is to produce products made with the most ethically sourced materials such as hemp, silk, linen, Tencel, and organic cotton. Since these materials are renewable and recyclable, they are also an informed choice for a sustainable environment

4. Divergent visuals
A big chunk of marketing and promotions for a brand is done through online platforms. The visuals around the products are created in a very aesthetically appealing manner. Naturally, consumers are attracted to such visuals because – “attractive visuals attract customers”. And as a practice, the primary message being conveyed is lost in between all the creative visuals and marketing campaigns. While launching a new collection, brands involve in multiple promotional campaigns to show out the best possible. But often they move away from the bigger picture of addressing the environmental concerns surrounding their collection or the validity of their sustainability claims.

5. Fair practices
A sustainable approach that is embedded in the foundation of the brand will always encourage fair and total wages for all its workers. Several sustainable brands are transparent enough about fair trade practices and the relationship between the workers and the brand. This is often put out to give a clear message of ethical practices being followed within the brand. Often used for establishing a trustworthy relationship with a customer by being transparent about their approach towards sustainability and following a process to attain that.

6. Precise information and promises
Sustainability primarily means to be able to sustain without exhausting the resources for future use. When a company is based on the principles of sustainability they have to take into account the impact of all their processes their brand engages in and how environment friendly those processes can be.

An ethical brand always focuses on the life of their product, the carbon footprint caused by the manufacturing/ production processes. And due to the practice of such procedures, the products often contain specific guidelines for cleaning and maintaining the garment. Having such instructions put out on the product makes the consumers believe that the product they’re investing in is a conscious choice for the environment and themselves too.

7. Packaging
Brands that practice sustainability from the root levels, often implement it as much as possible and on every stage possible. Packaging of a product is often the last stage after which the user directly interacts with the product. The kind of packaging reflects the ethos of the brand and message they want to convey to their consumers.

The packaging says a lot about a brand and can instantly put out a message of a conscious brand that cares for the environment.

Owing to the current global situation, people are becoming aware of what is good for the planet and what has the potential to harm it. An urgency to make informed choices and conscious decisions are on the wake. With movements like ‘slow fashion’ emerging and gaining popularity, people are adopting new lifestyle changes. Due to these reasons, it is important to be aware of the ethical approaches used by the brands that the consumers invest in.

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