With the current climate crisis, many of us have taken a step back to analyze the damages our consumption of fashion has on the environment. From being happy to buy multiple items simply because they had a small price tag, we have started shifting towards trying to buy more secondhand, vintage, or sustainably made clothes. But a new phenomenon has emerged with brands releasing collections that are meant to be more “conscious”, and “green”. But what truly lies behind these claims? Are these companies trying to take a step in the right direction? Or has greenwashing become a new marketing tool?

It can be difficult to see what really lies behind eco-friendly buzzwords and claims, that’s why we are going to give you tips and tricks to see if you are dealing with greenwashing. According to Jay Westervelt who coined the term, greenwashing happens when a company says it is doing more for the environment than it truly is, using misleading and false allegations. Here are some key questions to recognize greenwashing:

Are these sustainable initiatives important to the company as a whole?

Try to look past a brand’s most popular sustainable products and do research on their website about their process in general. Does the brand make it a point to use a majority of recyclable or biodegradable materials? Where do these come from? What type of packaging materials do they use? The answer to these questions points to whether the sustainable initiatives are applied to the entire company, and its different steps (sourcing of materials, production, distribution, etc…) or only to one small part. H&M for instance has a “Conscious” collection, which is meant to be eco-friendly, but is only a tiny part of their clothing sales as a whole. The brand is making only a tiny profit from its sustainable collection, the vast majority coming from its regular clothes.

Of course, we have to bear in mind that it will take longer for large companies to move towards sustainable options, since they have big supply chains that are harder to monitor. On the other hand, big companies also have the means to invest in the newest eco-friendly technologies or to develop them. Smaller companies, on their part, have smaller supply chains that they can have more control over, since they sell less products. Depending on the size of the brand, we can have different expectations.

Do the sustainable goals expressed by the company include numbers and clear objectives?

When you look on the company’s website for information on their eco-friendly goals, you should be able to find clear numbers and objectives. Using the terms sustainable, green, conscious, or eco-friendly can just be a vague and alluring façade meant to reassure the consumer that he is making a smart choice, when he is in fact not. If a brand is serious about its environmental goals it tends to be very transparent, backing up its commitments with information and quantifiable goals.

For instance, H&M’s Conscious collection is made of organic cotton. One of the biggest problems with cotton is the quantity of water it takes to produce it, which can have terrible consequences on landscapes, yet H&M does not mention how it deals with this issue.

What is the company’s reputation?

Is this company known for its desire to make sustainable clothes, produce less but better, taking a stand for the environment? Brands who market themselves as green but are not actually eco-friendly can mislead the consumer into buying clothes for cheap: smaller brands that have a holistic commitment to making sustainable clothes are in turn discredited, seeming unattainable and expensive.

Moreover, fast fashion brands have business models based on consumerism, they release new trendy low-quality products every week and depend on people shopping extremely regularly. This is a far cry from a sustainable mode of consumption: the most efficient way to help the environment remains buying less and only when necessary. A common misconception is that you should get rid of all your fast fashion clothes when you decide to have a more sustainable approach. This is counterproductive, as throwing your clothes away when they are still in good shape is a waste of resources. On the contrary, try to keep your clothes in good condition for as long as you can, and rather than throwing them away, try to give them a second life when they are no longer wearable (you could make scrunchies, pouches, or reusable handkerchiefs for example).

We hope this guide will help you make more informed fashion choices in the future! To go further, we recommend you check out Fashion Revolution’s website, which is full of useful resources to learn more about the fashion industry.  

Article by Inès Huet

Given the current situation, traveling to Italy might be quite tricky at the moment. However, this does not mean we cannot dream of a time when all of this will be over and we will be free to travel and discover new places again. Rome is definitely on the list of magical places we want to go to. The capital of Italy is an iconic city full of architecture, history, culture, and tasty food. Without further ado, here is a four-day trip itinerary that will make your stay in Rome one to remember.

DAY 1

Fresh off the airplane, drop off your luggage at your hotel and quickly head to Villa Aldobrandini. Enjoy the view of the city and walk around in the garden before making your way to Piazza di Venezia. This massive square also overlooks the city, which makes it another nice viewpoint. Take your time and walk around the area, stop to peek inside churches. Churches in Italy are very colorful, full of details and ornaments. Santa Maria Maggiore church is a great example of how breathtaking churches are in Italy. Last but not least, if you are already in the mood for shopping, we recommend the thrift store Pifebo Vintage.

DAY 2

Your second day on Italian soil should include tons of activities to make the most of it! To start off the day properly, have breakfast in the Villa Borghese park, at VyTa. There is nothing better than having a good cup of cappuccino while basking in the sun under the pine trees. After a delicious breakfast, the time has come to visit the Villa Borghese, one of Rome’s most spectacular museums.

Following the visit, we recommend having lunch at L’Orso 80, a typical Roman restaurant that serves delightful pasta. We had the salmon pasta and weren’t disappointed! In the afternoon, explore some of Rome’s most famous landmarks, including the Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and last but not least Luigi dei Francesi Church, where three Caravaggio paintings are displayed.

DAY 3

Two options on your third day: either go to the Vatican in the morning, then the Coliseum and Forum in the afternoon, if you have never been to Rome.

Or, if this is not your first time in the city, we recommend going to the Picio hill to get a great view of the city and walk around in this lush park. Afterwards, walk down the stairs to the Piazza del Popolo and visit the Santa Maria del Popolo church. Take a stroll in the neighbourhood before going for a bite in the Roman ghetto. Spend the rest of the day exploring this part of the city.

DAY 4

In the morning, visit the ancient ruins of the Caracalla Baths. Get lost in these impressive ruins before having breakfast at Tram Depot. We love this cute, charming café, that serves delicious coffee and pastries. Take in the dolce vita atmosphere, and relax. Next, walk towards the Trastevere district: a very hip, arty district, full of street art and graffitis. Get lost in the streets, but make sure to visit the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria. Be careful however. Restaurants get crowded very quickly at lunch hour. If you do not want to stand in line waiting for a table, consider eating early. We particularly liked eating at the Ombre Rosse.

Feel free to adapt this itinerary to your rhythm, and the things that you wish to see. Above all, we recommend taking it easy, and venture off the beaten touristy path to get a more authentic feel of the city. Trust yourself, let the magic happen.

Article by Inès Huet