Some fashion retailers are pulling the green wool over our eyes. According to Ryerson University fashion professor Alice Chu, this spring will see stores piled high with greens, blues and turquoises. "Because of the concern for global warming, because of the idea of sustainability, there will be a push for green," said Chu.
The return to nature-inspired colours is "what manufacturers will use to make you feel like you're doing something [for the environment]," she added. Chu explained that, while many companies are becoming more eco-friendly, others use green and earth-toned colours to boost sales through the illusion of environmental consciousness.
This faux-environmentalist marketing strategy is called "greenwashing", said Richard Ivey School of Business marketing professor, Allison Johnson. "Consumers don't have the time to investigate," she said, adding that greenwashing works because the average shopper doesn't research a brand's commitment to the environment.
Banana Republic salesperson Joey Chiu feels cheated by the fashion industry. "It's kind of ironic," she said of the green movement, "because fashion is so not eco-friendly." Chiu added that, when it comes to protecting the environment, she feels most comfortable buying locally-made clothing. The problem is, truly eco-friendly brands often break the bank.
But Chiu has found a way to keep her own closet sustainable. She sticks to a neutral palette and classic shapes and hangs on to her older clothing "because fashion is a cycle, you're always going to come back to things," she said.