An article in the San Francisco Chronicle sparked off a debate on whether ecologically friendly can be mainstream, whether customers will switch from traditional to eco-friendly fashions and if so, when. There is the view that eco-friendly products are necessarily niche and cannot match up in fashionability and affordability to ‘mainstream’ products.
I don’t think it is an either/or choice between styling and eco-friendly. To sell, eco-friendly merchandise absolutely MUST be comparable to or better than eco-unfriendly merchandise, both in style and quality.
Pricing is another story. The article also quotes Joslin Van Arsdale (founder of Eco Citizen, a San Francisco boutique devoted to Earth-friendly clothing) as saying, “When it comes to buying green or price, the general public will more likely choose the cheaper item on anything, whether it’s fashion or tomatoes.”
While most consumers will not willingly pay higher prices for eco-friendly merchandise, that may change as the cost of being eco-unfriendly goes up through awareness and legislation. There was a time when safety belts in cars were optional at an extra cost. No one would argue against paying the extra price for safety today.
Perhaps many of us would rather trash the planet cheaply because we may not feel the heat within our lifetimes. That is no reason that others, who feel more responsible, will allow that to happen indefinitely.
One way or the other, eco-friendly merchandise will compare in price, too.
Some of the parity will come from reducing the cost of eco-friendly stuff, but the bulk will probably happen because the cost of being eco-unfriendly will go up.
The original article is here – “Green fashion has new cachet“.