How To Recognize Green-Washing in Fashion?

How To Recognize Green-Washing in Fashion
How To Recognize Green-Washing in Fashion? – Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash – Created with Canva

How To Recognize Green-Washing in Fashion?

Learn to recognize green-washing in fashion. An interview full of practical tips and useful insights from Teresa Maria of Outlandish Blog. Make your style more sustainable for the new season!

Q: Let’s first get our terminology straight. What is “green-washing”?

A: Green-washing is a marketing tactic where fast fashion brands tell you that their products are “green”, “eco-friendly” or “circular”. At the same time they are providing very feeble, if any, evidence to back up those claims. 

Are there any legal standards on terms “sustainable”, “ecological” or “ethical”? Can anyone just use them in their marketing? Or are they just empty buzzwords that are being used to deceive customers?

Every country has their own legislation in terms of environmental requirements for businesses. The legal standards for advertising and marketing are very important. In my opinion, brands shouldn’t be allowed to knowingly mislead consumers.

Basically fast fashion brands are riding a trend right now, but they show no effort in even trying to improve the working conditions and salaries of their garment workers. Or disposing of dangerous chemicals used and caused by garment manufacturing safely and in an environmentally friendly way.

How To Recognise Green-Washing As A Consumer?

I personally find the sustainability information available often insufficient, even from the brands that claim to be sustainable. Sometimes I see just a goal without an actual plan.

The fact that a brand claiming to be sustainable doesn’t provide sufficient proof to back their claims means exactly that: it’s just empty words. Clothing production on the scale of fast fashion can’t possibly be done sustainably. In my opinion a brand must be lying if they claim otherwise. Period.

Properly sustainable brands have transparent reporting on how their clothes are made, where they are made and who made them. Many sustainable brands also showcase openly their pricing structure. This gives a perspective on the fact that fast fashion clothes are horribly cheap.

Can I as a consumer ever really avoid shopping green-washed fashion?

Yes, you can. At the moment it means discarding all fast fashion brands today. Next you have to come to terms with the fact that fast fashion is illegally cheap. Actually you should never have gotten used to such low prices. 

But sometimes we have no other option. Even I sometimes have to vacate a fast fashion store if I need something quickly. In my opinion, it’s more important to shop less and better, rather than trying to shop perfectly sustainably. 

Learn To Recognize Green-Washing In Fashion

Weekly Collections – Do We Really Need Them?

Some fast fashion brands produce new collections weekly. In my opinion it’s virtually impossible to produce sustainably or ethically at this pace. What do you think?

Of course it’s impossible and it’s also completely unnecessary. New collection every week is idiotism: There’s currently enough clothes in clothing stores to dress 46 billion people. There’s only 7 billion of us. At the same time a lot of clothes are being churned out, as we speak. Sadly some of these clothes will never be worn by anyone, ever. What on earth is the point? If we can’t survive on max. 4 collections per year, we need to seek professional help.


How can we as consumers hold brands accountable? Or should we just leave them and shop exclusively in our closets or 2nd hand?

We can all call brands out on their false marketing, the easiest way to do this is to report their false advertising on social media channels. If there are enough reports and the advert is banned, it sends a clear message. We can just ask the brands to do better. After all, it’s our future that’s at stake. Fashion industry is the 2nd biggest polluter after oil industry. My advice is to avoid shopping fast fashion as much as possible. And of course learn to recognize green-washing.

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Teresa Maria of Outlandish Blog

About Teresa Maria

Teresa Maria is a passionate sustainability influencer and an advocate for sustainable fashion brands.

She helps you to shop better without having to compromise on style. Teresa Maria teaches you what sustainable fashion brands actually are like.

The planet can’t sustain the way we shop clothes today, and if the planet can’t sustain it, then neither can we.

– Teresa Maria of Outlandish Blog

Thank you so much for the interview Teresa Maria! I am sure that your sustainable fashion insights will help my readers to make better and more conscious fashion choices.

Enjoy your summer in style!

13 thoughts on “How To Recognize Green-Washing in Fashion?

  1. Jenni @ I on Image says:

    Very good question! I asked Theresa who I interviewed for this story. She answered that the correct number would be around 14-16 billion for 2019 but unfortunately with Shein & it’s counterparts we may now be closer to 46 billion. Clothing production has doubled 2002 – 2015 so taking that in consideration 46 billion estimate might even be a low one. Shocking but I hope this helps and I could answer your question. Read also this article that she has used as a source

  2. Kaja Wilke says:

    The statement that it would be possible to clothe 46 billion people is super shocking! Where did you find those numbers? I’d like to read more about that!

  3. Jenni @ I on Image says:

    Good for you! It is indeed a massive problem and it’s very difficult for a consumer to know which statement is authentic and which one is just plain green-washing. That’s why I thought making this interview is necessary. I do like the idea of a penalty, just like making false health claims is illegal, why not false ethical claims too?

  4. Unwanted Life says:

    I’m glad I don’t follow fast fashion, and anything I buy I plan to keep for years. But I guess it’s easier when you’re a guy that looks goth and the metalhead look. I am sick to death with organisations getting away with fake green credentials though. They need to start penalising these companies

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