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Source: ISTOCK

Fashion Sustainability Experts Share Advice on How We Can Demand Fashion Brands Become More Ethical

By Sophie Hirsh

If you only want to support ethical fashion companies, all you need to do is boycott brands that don't align with your values, right? Well, according to Linda Greer, a Senior Scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and an expert in the sustainable fashion space, and Alden Wicker, an ethical fashion blogger and journalist, simply boycotting brands has no effect on them. Instead, Wicker offers a suggestion that, if people with a passion for ethical fashion follow, could truly have an impact on the industry.

Wicker, who blogs about sustainable fashion under the Instagram handle @ecocult, shared Linda Greer's philosophy in a recent Instagram post. Wicker posted an image of the following quote before launching into her point: "Those who care don't shop. Those who shop, don't care." In the caption, Wicker explained that she first heard this ideology from Greer, who she calls "the smartest person in the sustainable fashion movement." Wicker is not the only person who feels that way about Greer — in 2014, designer Stella McCartney wrote a short essay for Vanity Fair applauding Greer, the way she fights for environmental causes, and the NRDC's Clean By Design program, which Greer created.

In her Instagram post, Wicker continued by further elaborating on Greer's philosophy. She explained that simply boycotting unethical brands is ineffective because: "People who care don't shop (so brands don't care about their opinion) and those who shop, don't care (so there are always plenty of people who are going to buy their stuff)." Basically, say you've decided you don't want to support Forever 21, so you stop shopping there. A huge brand like Forever 21 isn't going to be hit very hard by losing one customer, and people who don't care about fast fashion's effects on the environment and on workers are going to continue shopping there. So by not shopping at Forever 21 anymore, the only difference you're making is less of their items are consumed, and there's slightly less of a demand for their products.