Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

This text was produced by CNN Type’s editorial crew in partnership with Style Revolution, a world non-profit campaigning for a clear, protected, honest, clear and accountable vogue trade.

Shopping for from eco-consicous manufacturers is not one of the best ways to undertake sustainable type. Your on-line returns do not find yourself the place you suppose they do. Investing in luxurious vogue over quick vogue would not essentially forestall employee exploitation.

Widespread misconceptions about moral vogue and sustainability can generally maintain customers from taking significant motion in the case of their life. Listed below are 9 widespread myths and the true information behind every one.

MYTH: Shopping for from “eco-conscious” or “sustainable” manufacturers is one of the best ways to cut back your vogue footprint

TRUTH: One of the simplest ways to cut back your vogue footprint is to purchase fewer issues. Get probably the most out of your present wardrobe by mending or altering previous clothes, restyling drained items and buying and selling objects with mates or via clothes swaps (post-pandemic). In the event you should purchase a brand new merchandise, attempt to discover it second-hand. Some corporations even provide restore applications, like Patagonia’s “Worn Put on,” or assist to resell worn objects. Researching sustainable manufacturers is useful, however shopping for one thing new ought to be the final choice, not the primary.

MYTH: Luxurious vogue is extra sustainable than quick vogue

TRUTH: Spending cash on luxurious vogue doesn’t assure sustainability. Some vogue homes, together with Burberry, have staged “carbon-neutral” reveals, and Gucci claims its operations at the moment are totally carbon-neutral. Stella McCartney has been working in the direction of extra greener practices for years and is one plenty of vogue manufacturers to signal a UN constitution for local weather motion, pledging to cut back collective carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. However the luxurious vogue trade nonetheless has work to do. A report launched earlier this 12 months by Ordre, which makes a speciality of on-line showrooms, reveals how unsustainable vogue weeks actually are, for instance. By measuring the carbon footprint of vogue patrons from 2,697 retail manufacturers and 5,096 ready-to-wear designers attending worldwide vogue weeks over a 12-month interval, the report discovered that the 241,000 tonnes (265,657 US tons) of CO2 (or equal greenhouse gases) emitted was the identical as that of a small nation, or sufficient power to maintain the lights on in 42,000 properties in a 12 months.

MYTH: The costlier the garment, the much less seemingly staff have been exploited

TRUTH: Many mid-priced and premium labels really produce in the identical factories as low cost and quick vogue manufacturers. Which means the whole lot from staff’ rights to the situations wherein they work in, may be exploitative, no matter value level. What’s extra, the value of a garment doesn’t assure that staff had been pretty paid, as a result of the price of labor solely makes up a small fraction of whole manufacturing prices.

MYTH: Donating previous garments is a sustainable technique to clear out your closet

TRUTH: Whereas charities and thrift shops do give away or promote a portion of the garments they obtain, your donated garments are more likely to find yourself being shipped abroad to resale markets in creating international locations, which might negatively affect their native industries, or in a landfill. Solely 10% of clothes given to thrift shops is definitely offered. The US alone ships a billion kilos of used clothes per 12 months to different international locations. Africa receives 70% of world secondhand garments.

A 2016 analysis venture, entitled “Lifeless White Man’s Garments,” discovered that in Kantamanto, the biggest secondhand market in Ghana, 15 million objects are unloaded every week. The crew behind the report concluded that 40% of the clothes in every bale turns into waste, dumped into already overflowing landfills, the Gulf of Guinea, or burned in Accra’s slums.

MYTH: Manufacturers that promote sustainability are sustainable

TRUTH: “Sustainability” and different greenwashing buzzwords may be misused to draw customers keen to cut back their environmental affect on the planet. Style search engine Lyst reported in 2019 that it noticed a 75% enhance in sustainable-related search phrases in contrast with the earlier 12 months. “Goal standards for score sustainable vogue are lacking,” McKinsey’s Saskia Hedrich instructed CNN. And utilizing recycled supplies or aspiring to be carbon impartial is not all the time sufficient. “Since sustainability spans a broad array of points within the very fragmented vogue provide chain, different customers typically do not totally get what ‘sustainability’ actually means.”

MYTH: Most garments may be recycled

TRUTH: Clothes may be tough to recycle, partially due to the way it’s made. For one, many materials are constituted of blends (of cotton and polyester, for example), which should be separated if the fabric is to be became a brand new garment. Within the US, lower than 14% of clothes and sneakers thrown away find yourself being recycled. However “recycling” can also be a broad time period that may be damaged down into “downcycling” and “upcycling,” and the distinction issues. Downcycled clothes typically wind up as fibers used for house insulation or carpets. In Europe, lower than 1% of collected clothes is definitely recycled into new clothes, in response to Circle Financial system.

MYTH: It is not value it to restore low-cost garments.

TRUTH: Mending a quick vogue merchandise might imply spending what you paid for it, however conserving the identical garments in rotation is the most effective factor you are able to do to cut back your carbon footprint. You may also discover ways to perform small repairs at house to maintain prices down, together with changing buttons, fixing damaged zippers, resewing unfastened seams and hemming pants.

5 methods you possibly can change your vogue habits to assist the planet

MYTH: Your on-line returns are resold to different clients

TRUTH: Your returns might find yourself incinerated or in landfills. It is typically cheaper for corporations to get rid of returns than to examine and repackage them, and labels could also be unwilling to donate the objects for concern of cheapening their model or damaging their exclusivity. A CBC report in 2019 highlighted this apply, mentioning that the quantity of on-line returns has additionally elevated by 95% over the previous 5 years.

MYTH: Your garments are from the nation listed on the tag

TRUTH: Your garments could also be assembled in that nation, however the tag cannot reveal the advanced chain of labor that went into making them. “Your label will not let you know the place on the earth the cotton was farmed, the place the fiber was spun right into a yarn, the place the yarn was woven into a cloth (or) the place it was dyed and printed,” states Style Revolution’s report, “Tips on how to Be a Style Revolutionary.” “It will not let you know the place the thread, dyes, zips, buttons, beading or different options got here from.” To encourage labels to be clear about their provide chains, Style Revolution has been selling the hashtag #whomademyclothes?, asking customers to tag manufacturers in selfies with clothes tags seen.