The fashion industry — especially fast fashion — is responsible for massive damage to our planet. Many consumers become aware of the negative environmental impact and are shifting to more sustainable options.
Fashion brands — still too few — follow that trend and launch sustainability-minded marketing campaigns, and push for more sustainable clothing and production processes.
If you work in the fashion marketing and are looking for inspiration, or are a conscious consumer just looking for eco-fashion brands:
This entertaining top 10 list of creative fashion marketing campaigns will do the job for you.
Whether these brands and companies just try to greenwash their image or are seriously about saving the planet: decide for yourself.
Table of Contents
- 1. Levi’s: Buy Better, Wear Longer
- 2. Jigsaw: For Life, Not Landfill
- 3. Everlane: Warming Jackets
- 4. Levi’s: Water<Less
- 5. Who Made My Clothes?
- 6. Lacoste: Save our Species
- 7. Patagonia: Don’t Buy this Jacket
- 8. Vision Direct: ReefCycle sunglasses
- 9. H&M: Go Green, Wear Blue
- 10. Adolfo Dominguez: Old Clothes
- 11. Patagonia: Worn Wear
- What makes a good sustainable fashion marketing campaign?
1. Levi’s: Buy Better, Wear Longer
The 2021’s global ad campaign titled ‘Buy Better, Wear Longer’ focuses on creating quality clothing that lasts not only for weeks or month, but for generations. To archive this, they employ sustainable production practices and invest in alternative materials and technology.
For this campaign, they cooperated with 6 young activists and celebrities from around the globe. You can learn more on Levi’s sustainability website.
However, the debate on this fashion campaign was controversial. People blame the fashion company for selling more and more clothes and continuing to damage the environment, while trying to shift the responsibility onto the consumers.
2. Jigsaw: For Life, Not Landfill
In 2015, the British luxury woman’s fashion label ran a campaign, messaging “For Life, Not Landfill“. It was created to make people think about the hidden costs of low-quality, mass-produced clothing.
The campaign not only criticized fast fashion — it also was a huge marketing success. (Usually, that’s the goal of any marketing campaign, being green or not.) According to the creators, the ads brought many new customers in the stores and made the brand visible on social.
3. Everlane: Warming Jackets
The outdoor fashion brand Everlane creates puffer jackets from recycled plastic water bottles. One jacket is made from 16 discarded bottles. With their ad message “Warming the planet. Warming you.“ they highlight this fact.
So simple, yet so powerful.
4. Levi’s: Water<Less
Instead of pretending to do an awful lot of eco-friendly activities, Levis chose a different approach. They don’t pretend to be a part of some type of environmental movement. However, they choose to spend a lot of marketing money on an environmental campaign with the hashtag #doingyourpart.
In a cooperation with water.org, they were challenging people across the world. They were asking them to make a few small changes to their everyday life to fight the Global Water Crisis:
- SKIP THE SHOWER: Pick one day a week to go shower-less and save 121 liters of water.
- GO WASH<LESS: Wash your jeans once every 2 weeks instead of once a week and save over 19 liters of water.
- LEAVE THE FAUCETS ALONE: The average person uses almost 20 liters of water a day. Can you cut back?
- REUSE AND RECYCLE: Refill the same water bottle, or better yet — use a glass.
It may not seem like much, but when people make conservation a habit, everyone can make a huge difference.
In 2012, people in more than 1300 cities across the world joined the Levis Water challenge. These were the results:
- 1,207 people went shower-less for one day per week
- 1,850 jeans weren’t washed
- 714 faucets went untouched
- 1,374 water bottles were reused
- 1.82 billion liters of water were saved
5. Who Made My Clothes?
This is not a marketing campaign, but a movement. It was launched in 2013 after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, where more than 1,000 cloth makers died and around 2,500 were injured.
Their mission of “Who made my clothes“ is to inspire and foster change in the fashion industry and to raise awareness of the industry’s common issues — and all that without the typical blame game.
You can read more about the movement and their manifesto here.
If you don’t remember the clothing factory collapse in 2013, here’s a news video about it:
6. Lacoste: Save our Species
With this campaign, Lacoste wanted to spotlight species that are threatened for extinction. They produced a limited number of polo shirts and swapped the logos, each representing an endangered species, like turtles, dolphins, or rhinos.
To illustrate that there are few species left, only 3,500 shirts were sold in total. The profit was shared with a non-profit organization. For Lacoste, the campaign was a success, too: it was literally mentioned in all major online newspapers and blogs.
7. Patagonia: Don’t Buy this Jacket
If you tell a child that he or she shouldn’t eat up his fish: the child will do it. The effect is called reverse psychology.
I am not sure whether Patagonia was looking for this type of effect when they launched their “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, applauding a minimalistic lifestyle.
It was a very simple ad that they featured in various newspapers. However, Patagonia themselves published a press release just after the ad was live. In the press release, which you can read here, they claim that they wanted to “address the issue of consumerism”.
Frankly, I believe this is a genius ad in many ways.
8. Vision Direct: ReefCycle sunglasses
98,228: that’s the estimated number of sharks, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and sawfish caught by commercial gill nets on the Great Barrier Reef each year, according to WWF.
WWF Australia bought one of these huge nets, and upcycled it 100%. Together with Vision Direct, they developed the ReefCycle sunglasses collection: They’re made from the recycled gill net.
Now, it can never do any harm to the marine creatures, it will never waste the sea, and it protects the eyes of fashion-loving and eco-friendly people. A percentage of the sale went to save animal species in Australia.
This is what I call a perfect example of a modern, but classic sustainable fashion campaign, and definitely a win-win situation.
9. H&M: Go Green, Wear Blue
In 2014, H&M launched a collection for women, men and kids, created from more conscious materials, like recycled and waste textiles, and produced with more sustainable processes. The main goals were to minimize energy and water usage.
The message “Go Green War Blue“ refers to the deep Indigo tones of the jeans and streetwear collection. To create conscious fashion, H&M used criteria from Spanish denim consultants Jeanologia.
10. Adolfo Dominguez: Old Clothes
In 2020, the Spanish fashion brand Adolfo Dominguez featured old items in a sustainably-minded marketing campaign. It encourages people to purchase timeless and durable clothing rather than buying fast fashion.
What was special about this campaign? The brand asked customers to return between 20 and 40 years old clothes. These were refurbished and remodeled and showcased in the campaign, in ads like the one you see above, saying: “This coat is 30 years old“, accompanied by the tagline ‘Buy clothes that last longer than trends’.
See what they did in this video:
11. Patagonia: Worn Wear
Okay, it’s already the eleventh item on this list, and it’s not even a marketing campaign. And it’s Patagonia again — I guess they are seriously about sustainability.
I could hold back adding this one: Worn Wear by Patagonia is a permanent collection of clothes which have flaws or are made from materials and clothes from the landfill, sewn in Los Angelos, USA:
You can buy them in their shop; it’s not a one-time campaign to become a greener image. The principles of re-using old clothes and not buying new clothes if you don’t need them have become part of the identity of the outdoor fashion brand, and they live up to it.
That’s why I think this example is great to end my top list with.
What makes a good sustainable fashion marketing campaign?
I’m glad you asked.
After a combination of study and work, my suggestion is that a successful sustainable fashion marketing campaign should include at least some of these elements:
- Cooperation with a non-profit environmental organization
- Be transparent about why the product/service is eco-friendly
- No greenwashing
- Be clear on what type of eco-friendly initiative the product will help against (saving water, using less electricity, reduce food waste, etc.)
If you want to know more about how we successfully introduced some bamboo sunglasses on the global market, you can read my story by clicking here. I would go so far as to say that it’s a “must-read” for anyone owning a company selling eco-friendly merchandise.