Week 3: Collecting data on sustainable stores

Apr 26, 2021

This week was spent researching sustainable brands online to find the links for my storefront. Through my research I learned that sustainability can be classified into two main categories. These categories are labour sustainability and material sustainability. Labour sustainability concentrates on issues such as ensuring ethical practices, paying fair wages, and manufacturing clothing in the US. Brands focused on sustainable material may use deadstock, recycled materials, or natural fibers such as linen, wool or hemp. Some brands focus on both areas of sustainability.

Some websites were more successful than others, I rated a website successful if a teenage consumer would potentially purchase an item from that brand. Elements common to successful websites were: information about the product’s sustainability and a quantified positive impact of purchasing that product over another.

Successful websites provided information about the individual product’s sustainability such as the material used and the production process. For example on the People Tree website, consumers learn how a product is made. This level of transparency communicates that the brand cares about the environment, is proud of their clothing and is authentic. 

Websites which included information about the impact of the consumer’s choice in buying a particular product were also convincing. For example, by purchasing a linen top from Whimsy & Row as opposed to a convention top saves 1,926.6 hours of bulb energy, as well as 12.3 miles of driving emissions avoided. This information empowers the consumer as they are able to quantify their impact. It also adds something unique about the item of clothing, a sense of pride in your purchase having created a positive effect.

In contrast some brands are not successful in communicating their sustainability focus through poor web design choices. An example of unclear communication is when the mission of the brand is included in the clothing catalog page or when product reviews are mixed in with the clothing catalog such as on this Klow site. An non uniform template is also distracting and unappealing such as here on Balzac’s site. Some consumers find these design choices distracting and not aesthetically pleasing, more akin to an Amazon page than a high fashion site.

One Reply to “Week 3: Collecting data on sustainable stores”

  1. Kamie A. says:

    I would be interested to see whether brands that focus on both material and labor sustainability are more or less successful than brands that focus on one form of sustainability!

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