Sustainability Communication and Fashion



Within the fast consumption and digitalisation of communication tools & channels, we are exposed to thousands of messages and advertisings every single day. Specially fashion brands which are using all possible channels and search engine optimisations (SEO) in order to capture and deliver the adds of products based on key words that we might have searched or even talked about (CW, 2016). Some of us may be hardly keeping up with the new tools and apps we use in order to  communicate these days. As Chris Rose mentions on his book “a picture is worth a thousand words” (Rose, 2010).  I believe this is exactly why an app such as Snapchat or Instagram became so popular and an effective way to tell our story.

When it comes to sustainability of course there is a question of; if the brands are communicating because they are sustainable and would like to spread the idea of responsible or better consumption or because they find that “sustainability” is a good way of creating a differentiation in their marketing campaigns so they can reach a wider customer base with the end goal of making more profit.  In the end, people are hearing, seeing, reading about sustainability more and more each day.  Some may be so called “Greenwashing” some may not be. Whereas some companies are trying to avoid using the word “sustainability” perhaps with a doubt of not being able to deliver the true meaning (CISL, 2017).

In the World of fashion,  sustainability and sustainable fashion words became widely used, specially in the last decade. Big and maybe guilty fashion companies communicating their “sustainable collections” or “take back programs” such as H&Ms Lets Close the Loop Campaign or startups focusing on “local and ethical production” etc..

Patagonia has created a campaign which became very popular and delivered their message in a very effective way.

In 2013, Patagonia ran a campaign with an image of a jacket and a large text with capital letters which said ‘DON’T BUY THIS JACKET’. A very controversy campaign and the message was intended to encourage people to consider the effects of consumerism on the environment and to encourage purchasing only what they really need.


Petty states “We’re at the opposite spectrum of big brand disposable fashion”. “We’re about making great quality products that are designed to last, so we have a lifetime warranty on our products” (Warc, 2018).
This image with the hashtag of ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ was shared by many people on Instagram as other great campaigns and news are. It is great that social media has has given the freedom for customer to instantly share and create discussions on brands such as this one (Guardian, 2013).




One thought on “Sustainability Communication and Fashion

  1. siggihm says:

    Thanks for sharing this.
    I think Patagonia really did great work with the ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ campaign. I must admit that after we got an introduction from Ryan Gellert in workshop nr 2 I really bought on to the Patagonia anti-consumerism ideology, and how they promote that you make your garments last. However, I think there is a big reverse psychology effect here, playing with me. So, when I have a full closet of Patagonia stuff I am ready to become a responsible consumer and use the same outdoor clothing for life. But first I must throw away all my North Face stuff and spend 2000 USD on new Patagonia stuff.
    This makes the marketing strategy by Patagonia is so clever. You want to become team Patagonia, be a responsible consumer but also buy their stuff.
    Patagonia is in a way an environmental activist. They really use the power they have to push their agenda. Such as with the fight against hydro dams in the Balkans. It would be interesting to see more companies really take a stand toward a better world like Patagonia is doing.

    I would really like to see more focus on “made to last” products in different sectors as well, such as electronics.

    Liked by 1 person

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