As a sustainable fashion expert I am always looking for better fashion labels and shops. And by better I mean more sustainable. But what is that exactly? And do we really have a common understanding of a sustainable product?
The most descriptive definition is the triple P approach. The triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – makes it easy to formulate the right questions to check the sustainability performance of a company or product.
Such as: Does the company offer good working conditions to their own staff and at their suppliers’ factories abroad? Does the company respect the environment and make responsible use of natural resources? Are they transparent about their environmental and social practices?
4th P of Sustainability
So far about the hard facts. But I am looking for more. I am looking for the fourth P of sustainability expressing the soft side of sustainable fashion.
Googling the term ‘4th P of sustainability’ I found several P’s such as perspective, politics or pro-activeness. They are all good and very important indeed, but they do not at all express the idea I am looking for.
My fourth P describes special properties of a product and only becomes apparent in the hands of the consumer.
My fourth P defines the quality and beauty of a piece of fashion and how it makes us feel good and comfortable.
Good sustainable clothes according to my definition should convince us by their intrinsic qualities, they make our lives better and more beautiful. Like that dress that you still love years later, the shirt you always wear when you need to feel confident or your very favourite lounge pants for a lazy Sunday. It is the opposite of fast fashion and the thoughtless throwaway society but it is also the opposite of unfashionable, grey eco fashion. And it implies a responsible consumer.
Good questions to check my fourth P while shopping are:
- How many times will I wear this item?
- Does it make me feel better and more beautiful?
- Is the quality good enough so it will last longer than this season?
But how can I express this idea with only one accurate P-word?
The best I could come up so far is PRIQUAB meaning Perfect fashion for a Responsible consumer looking for Intelligent design and good QUality to feel Awesome and Beautiful.
Any better ideas? Don’t hesitate to get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org
Katharina Andrés is a sustainability consultant. She is a passionate, quickly understanding and empathic person with high motivation to support companies and initiatives in the context of sustainable fashion and lifestyle. Her services include strategic advice, interim management and research as well as customer service and marketing for sustainable brands.