Would You Pay More For Eco-Friendly Clothes?

01/28/2007 at 06:00 AM ET

H&M, Topshop, Forever 21 — many of us are addicted to quick-fix shopping at stores where the trends are up-to-the-minute and the prices (and quality) are super-low. Where our mothers might have bought investment pieces meant to last for years, we pick up pieces that are meant to pass out of style — and our wardrobes — in a matter of months. But an article in the New York Times this week points out the environmental effects of so much discarded clothing and how much energy is expended in the production and care of so many garments. From switching to polyester to clothing rentals (much like the purse rentals we recently wrote about) to spending more and less frequently, the retail industry is gearing up to make some eco-friendly changes. We want to know your opinion. Will you spend more money on environmentally friendly clothes? Would you participate in monthly rental services? Are you concerned enough about the environment to change your closet?

P.S. You can read more on this topic at one of our favorite blogs, TreeHugger.

Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

FILED UNDER: Eco-Friendly , Fashion
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Showing 24 comments

KT fr Cda on

Would I pay more for eco-friendly clothes? No. When I’m done with wearing something that I don’t like anymore, or if my kids grow out of what they are wearing, I donate it to a Salvation Army Store or a consignment store. I can’t believe people would throw out clothes so quickly after buying something b/c the styles have changed. Now that is really sad. There are people out there that can’t afford clothes that rely on used clothing stores. Maybe instead of making eco-friendly clothes maybe people need to give their heads a shake and get educated. People who can’t afford high end clothes don’t care if the styles have changed. They just care about having clothes.

Meg on

I love the idea of renting purses and clothes. They could also have a high-end fashion swap program, for all those times that you buy something and wear it once, twice or never. It’s great to see the fashion industry showing concern for environmental issues.

Dragonfly on

I’m all for eco-friendly, but I’m more for fair-trade. I detest the sweat shop capitalist mentality that american business people have. More money for them, less for the actual workers. I’d rather see eco-friendly start with quality standards for humanity, so that humanity can start taking better care of themselves, which directly affects our environment. If people feel optimistic about their current living situation and their future, they’re more likely to care about their environment to ensure a brighter future.

These are mutually-inclusive issues.

Malvasia45 on

Of course, we should change along with the world as it changes. Anyone unable to adapt will remain in their own universe, which means they are out of touch with what is really happening out there. Many people love the fashion industry because it changes, which gives them the opportunity to alter their appearance when they cannot alter other facets of their lives. Whether people like it or not, fashion is an important element in the lives of all that wear it—watch “The Devil Wears Prada”, and learn about the fact that it is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that we all relate to in one way or another.

shopoholic on

I LOVE H&M!!!!!!!!!!! And FOREVER 21!!!

C on

Hmmmm. Spend more for eco-friendly? — No, I’m too cheap. I donate all of my family’s clothing to charity or pass them down to my young nieces. I shop in thrift stores or on ebay for used clothes for myself and my 3 children, mostly things like sweaters, jeans and coats. That’s eco-friendly enough. Renting? No, ewww, unless it’s a tux or something like that. If I can’t afford to buy it (new or used), then I don’t need it. Concerned about the environment — yes, but that doesn’t affect my closet. I only buy what my family and I need.

zoe on

i personally dislike cheap quality clothing and will not buy it…i like long lasting pieces that are always instyle (a.k.a. simple)…that way my clothing last longer and i can walk around without all these seams coming apart…

j on

i do not buy cheap clothing either, it has to be quality all the way. goodwill gets what i don’t use anymore.

BC on

I like quality clothing but i would NOT pay more for eco friendly clothes

Axelle on

If they’re made from leaves and vines…sure why not. I kinda’ like the concept of Adam and Eve where regardless what class you were from, you coud afford the “It” stuff, you know..lol

Jea on

I absolutely would pay more for eco-friendly clothes, and I hope more stores pick up on this trend!

Elda on

Interesting topic, if i can afford it.

night on

Eco-Friendly Clothes? This stinks of some Wall Street marketing ploy to get people to spend more money. Give me a break people. My “cheap” clothing don’t fall appart after two washings. I think there is an excecutive somewhere in his expensive very NON Eco-Friendly home , with his NON eco-friendly Hummer in the driveway laughing at all the dopes who bought into this. Lets put our extra spending money into environmental concerns that are REAL.

Brandy on


bre on

i’ve done way to much research into goodwill and many other second hand clothing stores and i have to tell you, maybe 1/20th of the clothing we donate actually goes into the stores- thats right 1/20th. the majority of the clothing is bailed and sold to bulk brokers that then send it to other countries that either utilize the clothing or have to deal with it as garbage. wether eco or just good quality- the longer something has value, the longer we can put off having to deal with whats left of it.

Tayme on

I think having something to save the quality of the environment is important, but you’re asking me to spend MORE on Eco-Friendly clothes. Now how can you ask so many people to change with time, but spend more? If you are gonna put something on the shelves that is gonna be environmentally friendly, why not make it something we all could afford? So many people wanna make a change and do the best for our planet, but so many are asking for a lot more than what should be asked for. So NO, I won’t pay more for echo-friendly clothes, only because this isn’t about saving Earth, this about the money. If you want everyone to change with time, you have to make it equal to all. Lets level the playing field, not everyone has a lot of money, some of us can deal with shopping at Sears, JC Penny, Wal-Mart or Target. You may not have a name brand Versace purse, but I can definitely find something in my price range at Wal-Mart and it would look 10x’s better. No I would not do rental clothes and yes, I would change my closet for the sake of me and others to living longer on Earth, but not something that is gonna bust my pockets. That’s just my opinion.

Michelle on

One of the concepts of sustainability is affordability for the masses. Eco-friendly clothing and accessories should be affordable. We should all be more concientious of minimizing waste as well as aware that when we buy items made overseas as opposed to US produced items we are then contributing once again to non-sustainable practices. Also, just because an item is eco-friendly doesn’t mean it lacks good design. So, yes, I would buy eco-friendly clothes!

Janice on

Did it ever occur to anyone that the reason why ‘eco-friendly’ clothing is so expensive is becasue of the lack of demand? Producers cannot manufacture in high volumes because no one wants the stuff – but they try to market it anyway becasue it is the right thing to do. If people would understand that and get behind the effort, then prices would come down over time. But people don’t want to pay or sacrifice the look or feel of traditional clothing so this won’t become a trend anytime soon.

Janice on

Did it ever occur to anyone that the reason why ‘eco-friendly’ clothing is so expensive is becasue of the lack of demand? Producers cannot manufacture in high volumes because no one wants the stuff – but they try to market it anyway becasue it is the right thing to do. If people would understand that and get behind the effort, then prices would come down over time. But people don’t want to pay or sacrifice the look or feel of traditional clothing so this won’t become a trend anytime soon.

K on

Yes I would pay more. For now. Because, as Janice says, it’s more expensive now because the demand is not yet high enough. If Target sees that its consumers want “eco-friendly” clothes, then they will make them available. Same with JCPenneys and even, eventually, H&M!! It’s important that we grow aware of WHY we need to buy eco-friendly clothing to understand WHY we might pay more. If you buy a $4 shirt, how much do you think the person who made that shirt was paid? I – though I do not make much money – would gladly pay more if I could ensure that the people creating my clothing were receiving a reasonable wage.

Eddy on


I can see that everyone talks about the new trend on eco-friendly clothing but I see that everyone forget that friendly clothes already exist way before all this polyesters and all these chimically fabrics were produced.
We have natural products made of Cotton,Wool…etc,etc,etc. that are natural and not spensive…We just have to stop buying all these products that aren’t helping the environment…and stop carrying so much plastic to your home that end up in a land field and earth can not absorb at all.

Laura on

I think environment clothing is a great idea. I love shopping but recently its come to my attention that the harm some of my favourite brands may cause the environment. I belive people deserve the option and it would be a gret away to make saving the enviroment sylish :)

Coral on

Yes, I do pay more for Eco-friendly clothing. I try to choose products that use sustainable materials like organic clothing or hemp fabric and things that require the shortest transportation distance. I used to buy from VS a lot but that has changed. Now, I really investigate the store’s environmental stands and if they have none, I stop buying from that store.

Sonya Zlotnik on

Very nice post, i for certain love your website, keep on it.

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