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A universally agreed upon fact is that a majority of eco-friendly fashion and organic clothing is priced at an average that is higher than that of its regular mainstream counterpart. It is also generally agreed that this is a large hindrance to making organic or fair trade fashion part of mainstream consumer purchases. Yet, how do we enable the growth of the sustainable fashion trend when cost and pricing is such a large issue?

A huge problem retailers face in this space is consumer education: people don’t understand what they are paying for when they purchase sustainable fashion products. For example, it is more likely that people will purchase a product if they know a per cent of the sales go to a recognizable charity. They know where their money is going to and can visualize the kind of tangible difference it will make. On the other hand, when someone looks at the extra price paid for an eco-friendly piece of clothing, they cannot really see the investment they are making in the environment. Buzz words like “sustainable”, “eco-friendly” and “organic” come off as vague sometimes. So consumers often miss the significance eco-friendly products can have in reducing the global carbon footprint.

By educating consumers (with hard facts and tangible research) about the effect fair trade or “sustainable” goods has through returning revenue to the producers, paying fair wages and reducing carbon issues, reducing pollution/chemical waste – consumers will see the value in the extra price they pay. The market for organic and fair trade clothing is increase in developed countries and will only grow. Additionally, it is often developing countries that are the leaders in producing products using natural materials and chemicals.

The transition to a more socially-conscious mainstream consumer  will take some time, a lot of consumer education and still more innovation – but it will happen, despite even the largest hurdles it faces.