So, this week I was speaking to some of my friends within the fashion/ecommerce business. As is normal we were bragging about our own brands and how our own brand and company was the best compared to each others. We spoke about how our USP made us unique and better while completely ignoring our competitors. Standard stuff. This was all in jest of course, but it got me thinking about some of their brands and why I genuinely believe our sustainable clothing company, Dzihic, is better than other “fast fashion” brands out there.
Let us first contextualise the argument. I know a few brand owners, all of whom subscribe to the fast fashion model of ecommerce and selling clothes. I.E, selling lots of clothes at relatively cheap prices. This in itself isn’t a problem, people love affordable clothes and if you can source your clothes cheaply and sell them on for a higher margin, then fantastic. You’ve passed the barrier of affordability and can reach a very wide audience, so it makes good business sense. But this then leads into my first issue with fast fashion brands and why I believe our offer of men’s sustainable clothing and sustainable women’s clothes makes us better. The effect fast fashion has on the environment
Let me break this point out a little further. Fast fashion works by pumping out a high volume of clothes and then selling these clothes on. The way this works is twofold, you manufacture clothes in large volumes but at a low per garment cost. You then sell these clothes at a relatively cheaper price compared to say, sustainable clothing brands, and sell them at a high volume to. The end results are cheaply made clothes, sold cheap but with a nice fat margin in the middle at the expense of the environment. But how does fast fashion directly affect the environment? Simple, clothes that are made in large volumes and that are churned out use a lot of plastic based materials. Predominantly polyester. Polyester takes up to 200 years to decompose so it stays on our planet a lot longer than the materials used in sustainable clothes. Take into account fast fashion works by consumers buying a large volume of clothes you then get more and more clothes being thrown away which they aggravates the decomposition issue. This is just one way fast fashion brands are less environmentally conscious than sustainable clothing. Another is their use in dyes and harmful chemicals during the materials process.
Now, I would love to say that our men’s sustainable clothing and sustainable women’s clothes are completely environmentally friendly and in fact they have a negative carbon footprint. I would love to say that, but I can’t. They of course will have a carbon footprint but one which is so much smaller than fast fashion clothes. Not to mention the main benefit of sustainable clothing, at least which Dzihic, is that they are made with sustainable materials. And sustainable materials breakdown in only a few years rather than a few hundred years.
The second issue with fast fashion clothes and brands is their reliance on low paid workers. Now we have to caveat this and say not all fast fashion brands pay their workers lower wages. And sustainable clothing companies don’t always pay higher wages. But generally speaking, what is one major cost in any business? It’s the staff, and if you are offering relatively cheap clothes to your customers, how do you think this is being achieved? It certainly isn’t because these fast fashion brands are not paying their electricity or utility bills because they are. It’s because workers in these companies get less than what they deserve and less than their equals in socially responsible companies get.
Now as I mentioned not all sustainable clothing companies pay excellent salaries. But Dzihic for one pays a living wage and one that is fair. Why? Because we don’t put margin ahead of everything. Yes our men’s sustainable clothing and sustainable women’s clothes ranges are there to make a profit so we can continue to expand and grow. But we won’t compromise our values and morals to do that, that’s not to say we’re better of course. It’s purely a managerial position from the top, our CEO has done many menial jobs and understand how people should and shouldn’t be treated.
Speaking of how people should and shouldn’t be treated, we come to the final point which we believe makes our sustainable clothing better than fast fashion. The quality you get. Fast fashion clothes are churned out, as already stated. They are just reproduced clothes with no soul, heart of vision. And worse yet, they can be badly made. The stretching can be poor of the fabric they’re made out of too thin. The creates a situation where clothes are easily warn out meaning that you have to buy new clothes within months and in some cases days of you buying the clothes that have just been worn out.
The end result of the above is a never ending cycle of buying shoddy clothes you don’t need clogging up our environment in an industry churning out pollution. The solution, quality, affordable men’s sustainable clothing and sustainable women’s clothes. Maybe this is a shameless plug, but quality if key. And I cannot speak for other sustainable clothing brands out there. But Dzihic does sustainability and quality right.
So, these are my main reasons as to why I believe sustainable brands like Dzihic are just better than fast fashion brand. We have less pollution, higher worker wages (on average) and our quality of clothing is better. If this isn’t enough to turn heads and start the stampede of people rushing to buy sustainable clothes then I’m not sure what will. Neither the less, our journey continues and to those who haven’t joined we hope you do. And to those that have, we are thankful and very grateful. Here’s to a sustainable future and a sustainable fashion industry.