Many people will know that sustainable fashion is notorious for its larger price time. Ethically sourced, sustainable fashion tends to be synonymous with sticker shock especially for those who are used to the much smaller, and easier to swallow costs of fast fashion. Polls have found that the number one reason people don’t buy from sustainable fashion brands is because they are viewed as too pricey. The price tag on sustainable fashion exists for a reason though however – the reality is that cheap fashion usually means someone is paying, usually the underpaid laborers who don’t receive a fair living wage in order for costs and overheads to be kept low.
Yet many question whether or not the cost of sustainable fashion is the result of more ethical practices or opportunistic companies trying to cash in on the ‘sustainable’ catch phrase. So how much should fashion really cost?
Sustainable designers say that there needs to be a change in the way we view ‘affordability’ when it comes to fashion.
With the cost of living rising many people are reluctant to pay more for clothing but vulnerable workers are pointing out that disposable fashion is not essential or a right. The harsh reality is that keeping fashion affordable for lower socioeconomic groups in developed nations like the UK means sacrificing overseas workers. In all likelihood the people who genuinely cannot afford sustainable fashion in nations like the UK is probably much smaller than the group of people who have been conditioned to expect smaller prices.
That being said, there is no doubt that many sustainable brands attract higher prices due to an element of hype and fashion snobbery – people like to wear brands. There are however a number of affordable sustainable brands out there with price points that would be in budget for most people. Sustainable fashion brand Sancho has recently begun a transparent approach which allows customers to actively choose from three different prices for their products. The company decided to be upfront about how they make on each item with the hope that people will want to invest more to keep the company going, higher price tag choices for instance can help with marketing and business development.