Direct To Consumer – Another Way To Shop Sustainable

For those of us interested in sustainable fashion, another aspect of conscious consumerism is reducing our carbon footprint.

A good way to do this is to look at where are clothing is made, where it is shipped for retail sale, and how we can minimize the supply chain to save energy and resources.

This is wise because in the supply chain is where we can find some of the problems with clothing manufacturing – unfair labor practices, unsafe work conditions and the use of chemicals.

An option to reduce our carbon footprint is to buy direct to consumer. To understand the value of this practice, it helps to understand what direct to consumer means.

Clothing supply chains consist of components that bring a garment from fabric manufacture to construction.

A designer creates samples and invites buyers to their showroom or present their collection on a runway. Buyers place orders and the designer either makes the items or sources out the construction to a manufacturer.

Once the order is completed, the clothing is shipped to the buyer that stocks the clothing and marks up the price to make a profit.

There are other aspects to this process, but there’s another way to buy from the designer and not only cut out part of the supply chain but save money energy.

This is called direct to consumer shopping.

A designer that chooses to sell direct to consumer is selling their garments direct from their showroom. They may sell clothing directly from a boutique or online.

Buying direct to consumer has several benefits.

Profits go directly to the designer. A dress make cost the same whether buying direct from the designer or a department store, but the profits go direct to the designer. This is an important way to support designers that create sustainable garments.

Minimize the supply chain. Buying direct to consumer means there’s more transparency about how and where the garment was manufactured. It’s easier to track a smaller supply chain then some of the fast fashion retailers.

Markup is decreased – There’s less of a markup with direct to consumer since the costs associated with retail stores, overhead, advertising don’t exist. There are costs associated with running a boutique or an online site, but they are less than the bigger retailers.

Less shipping and carbon impact. A direct to consumer approach means clothing is shipped and travels less distances than larger retailers that outsource to factories half way around the world. Sustainable fashion often uses local providers of materials, local labor and has a clear and transparent supply chain. The time and distance that clothing is shipped to the consumer is reduced.

Direct to consumers shopping is a different option for clothing shopping but it has a downside, also.

Clothing shopping online can be tricky. Buyers for larger stores inspect samples and garments to make sure they are of good quality. With direct to consumer, you are essentially the quality inspector. Larger chains can also provide larger collections, faster shipping and at times, easier return policies. Buyers do the heavy lifting of inspecting garments for quality and vetting designers for consistent quality.

For direct to consumer, there are brands that are tried and tested by other direct to consumer shoppers. Here’s a list of reasonably priced designers. The plus side is that designers rely on their customer base and their reputation. They are more likely to make it right if something goes wrong, but with smaller collections they may not win your business back if you get totally burned.

Direct To Consumer Brands:

Have you shopped direct to consumer? Share your experience with us below!

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