“Our futures are woven together,” reads Gap’s sustainability webpage. “Look good, do good, feel good,” declares H&M. And Reformation, a Los Angeles-based brand, gets cute: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”
Fashion companies’ websites are a rhetorical jungle of vague, virtuous-sounding self-description. As they boast of “ethical sourcing” and “positive impact,” the companies seek to reassure consumers and investors of brands’ commitments to “transparency” and “sustainability” — two of the most fashionable buzzwords in modern marketing. Some flaunt complex graphics purporting to lay bare their global supply chains. Others display undecipherable legends of icons signifying their sustainable attributes.