I made a wonderful fashion discovery today. I discovered Mango's committed fashion line. I spent a lot of time at uni researching ethical and sustainable fashion and found that there wasn't a lot available on the high street and what was available just wasn't being marketed.
ASOS have a green section and H&M have their conscious line, but asides from adding a special label and a section to the site it's really not being pushed. It's only today that I discovered Mango's sustainable venture. Mango isn't a place I shop at regularly but I was super intrigued by the line. They haven't just pumped out eco slogan tees and called it a day, it's a beautifully designed collection. The fabric, the structures, the shapes and textures are so thoughtfully designed that it stands to make a real statement about ethical fashion. It CAN be fashionable and fairly affordable.
Not all of the clothing is vegan, but there are a lot of cotton options. These must also be treated as investment pieces. It might be much more than you'd typically spend on an item but these are high-quality items that should last.
The question I have about this line, and all of the other brands with eco lines, is why just a line? If you've recognised that there's a problem, why not fix the whole brand? Why not improve the whole brand?
On the one hand, people might not be ready for a sudden shift. It inevitably means higher prices as there are better ethics behind production and materials and so it might alienate a lot of customers. Bringing in a line helps to slowly introduce people to it. But then why is it not being marketed to entice people?
Perhaps it's just there to fill a manifesto. A token gesture to show they're doing their bit and then can continue with the real business driver - cheap clothes.
If Mango's line is another marketing ploy or a way of ticking the eco box, why put in so much effort? Why bother creating beautiful clothes and creating beautiful photoshoots for them? This demonstrates to me that they want it to be more than just a pat on the back. It has to be more meaningful. But my question again is, why isn't it being marketed? More and more people are becoming more conscious about their buying habits and to be given an option that is stylish, and for the most part affordable, would make for very loyal customers.
When I went vegan and started buying cruelty free products, I became very loyal to few brands that I knew aligned with my ethics. When I didn't have this criteria I didn't need to be loyal to a brand - I'd just buy whatever looked good at the time. For people that want to buy ethically, a brand that offered everything to them is a brand they're likely to continue buying from.
But has fast fashion become too big for brands to convert customers into buying less? If they entice their customers to buy from their conscious lines they're going to sell product less often. Making clothing that is really trendy means that customers are less likely to invest if they think it'll go out of fashion, but it does mean that anyone who does buy it will be coming back again when fashion changes.
Fast fashion isn't something that will be stopped overnight and it's something that so many people play a part in. The designers, the retailers and the consumers all affect the cycle. We're all guilty of getting caught up in trends but it's important to remember that you just have to do the best that you can. If you only want to buy 100% ethical & sustainable (doesn't 100% exist) clothing but right now the state of the fashion industry means that it's expensive when you manage to get hold of it, don't beat yourself up if have to buy from the highstreet. You can always check for second hand items on Ebay, Depop an charity & vintage shops for alternatives in the meantime.
Until things change, conscious lines like Mango's committed line at least give consumers another option. You don't have to stay in the same purchasing cycle if you can afford not to. The more that brands provide options for people, the more people are able to change their habits and eventually it'll affect the rest of the fashion loop.