Why Do So Many of Us Still Not Shop Sustainably?

·2 min read

Fast fashion is killing the planet and while sustainable shopping is most definitely on the rise, many of us still haven't quite figured out how to do it successfully. Based on eBay's Shop for Change report, there are three main barriers to entry when it comes to shopping sustainably: a perception of high product costs, difficulty in spotting greenwashing and not enough education surrounding the matter.

According to eBay's research, 42% of people believe that there are high costs associated with sustainable shopping and they're not wrong - to an extent. However, a lot of consumers have an inaccurate perception of the costs altogether. Sustainable things seemingly 'cost' more because clothes aren't actually that cheap to make and their prices are a more accurate reflection of how much it costs to make the item and sell it. Many of us are disillusioned with the prices because of fast fashion brands like Missguided, marketing their products at impossible costs and often at the expense of other people's labor. Remember the company's £1 GBP bikinis? Unsurprisingly, they cost far more than £1 GBP (approximately $1.26 USD) to make - especially when you're paying the people who make them what they deserve to be paid.

Fast fashion and high-street labels have misled us for years and successfully set the wrong benchmark of what certain items should cost. Subconsciously or not, this leads many people to believe that their prices are how much items cost and that sustainable products are more expensive when in reality the prices of sustainable items are simply reflective of what it actually costs to make these clothes and what we should have been paying in the first place.

However, with so many of us now used to low-priced swimwear or a dress that's maybe worth $20 USD at a push, it can be difficult to make that change and it's not one that's accessible for all. As with many things, it's a lot easier to do if you can afford to do it and unfortunately - most of us can't.

That said, more and more of us are beginning to move towards a happy medium, finding ourselves paying for products at their actual costs or simply buying less of them and less frequently. Plus, thanks to an increased offering of affordable slow fashion brands, the introduction of fashion rental and of course, secondhand clothing, we can begin to change the way we see sustainable fashion. No longer will we see it as unnecessarily expensive clothing made from bamboo that isn't actually fashionable, but rather an accurate reflection of material costs, hard labor and time spent on creating original designs.