Project JUST - A Wikipedia For Sustainable Fashion
Posted on 25 March 2017
Ever wonder how your clothes were made?
Nowadays, it seems like every other brand claims that it is eco-friendly, ethical, or “made with conscience”. Basically, we’re surrounded by ubiquitous do-gooders with whom you should feel confident and comfortable replenishing your wardrobe (despite the fact that some brands still equal “social responsibility” with an employee "community day", a.k.a a picnic at the park.)
Along with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wave, many brands started engaging in green washing. For branding purposes, companies had a tendency to claim that they were far more sustainable than they actually are. But how responsible are companies really? What does Everlane mean when they say that they are “Radically priced. Ethically made”? What does a brand mean when it claims to be transparent? With so many definitions and mixed messages, it is confusing for consumers to navigate this diluted landscape.
Project JUST offers the solution: they tell us the story behind our clothes. The idea is simple: you search a brand in their catalog and they tell you how that specific brand is doing. The platform provides an easy to digest, yet holistic overview of how a fashion brand is performing in terms of sustainability. By analyzing the supply chain, and looking at a company’s practices in relation to labor conditions, environmental issues, business models, management, and even intentions, Project JUST does the work for us and requires minimum effort from the reader. Like Wikipedia, it gives a quick and basic understanding of a topic, while providing links and resources if you wish to dig deeper.
Project JUST empowers shoppers with a fantastic tool to understand how sustainable a fashion brand really is. Natalie Grillon, co-founder of Project JUST, told us that the platform already has over 25,000 users since the launch in December last year. They are growing rapidly and many are repeat visitors, meaning that there is a clear appetite for this type of brand transparency among shoppers and fashionistas.
The initiative is now developing a series of guides for selected clothing categories to help shoppers make conscious choices based on style, ethics and sustainability. They make data available for download so brands can search for partners that meet their standards and expectations. Suppliers will also be able to report on their working conditions by submitting information directly on the platform. And as a user, I can contribute by sharing my own experiences with a specific brand. If a brand is not listed I can simply send a request and the company will be added to their catalog (we recently submitted Club Monaco and the company was indeed listed shortly afterwards!).
If we are going to succeed in making the fashion industry more sustainable, consumers have a crucial role to play. So how can we become more conscious consumers? Natalie shared some of her advice with us.
How can I become a more sustainable shopper?
- Buy vintage. Vintage clothing is often higher quality and cost less. By doing this, you are reusing rather than using new resources.
- Buy quality. High-quality pieces might have a higher price tag, but it will save you money and time in the long run as it will last longer. Avoid fast fashion if you can.
- Buy consciously. Know your brand and where your clothes come from. Project JUST can help you understand if a brand’s practices align with your values. Buying from shops or platforms that sell sustainable fashion will also help you become a more conscious shopper.
What are some of your favorite brands, sustainability and style considered?
“I thrift and buy vintage mostly, but when I do add something to my wardrobe it is from Kowtow, Reformation, Everlane, Nisolo and Alternative Apparel. I love Eckhaus Latta and Maiyet for inspiration. I also really love supporting small upcoming designers. For the men in my life, Brave GentleMan, Ministry of Supply, Apolis, Alternative Apparel are my go-to’s", says Natalie.
Ready to check out how sustainable your favorite brand really is? Click here.