Greta Thunberg Brands Ethical Fast Fashion as "Pure Greenwashing"

Ethical fast fashion, according to Greta Thunberg, is "pure greenwashing." Greta Thunberg, a climate activist, used an interview with a leading fashion and culture publication to criticize fast fashion businesses for "greenwashing." Thunberg spoke out against the conflict between mass-produced fashion and sustainability in an Instagram post to accompany her appearance on the cover of the inaugural edition of Vogue Scandinavia.

“Many are making it appear as though the fashion industry is beginning to take responsibility,” Thunberg said, “by spending fantastical sums on ads where they depict themselves as ‘sustainable,' ‘ethical,' ‘green,' ‘climate neutral,' and ‘fair'.” “However, let's be clear: This is nearly always genuine greenwashing. As the world is now constituted, you cannot mass create fashion or consume ‘sustainably.' That is one of the numerous reasons why a system overhaul is required.”

“Not to mention the numerous people and communities that are being exploited throughout the world in order for some to enjoy quick fashion that many consider as disposable(s),” she said, “the fashion business is a significant contributor to the climate-and-ecological emergency.”

“The last time I bought something new was three years ago, and it was secondhand,” she revealed in an interview with Vogue Scandinavia. "I just borrow from individuals I know.” Thunberg went on to say that there was a misunderstanding about activists' attitudes.

“There's a misperception about activists, particularly climate activists, that we're all negative and pessimists who simply whine and try to create fear, but that couldn't be further from the truth,” she added. “We are doing this because we are optimistic, optimistic that we will be able to make the required changes.”

When asked about those people in power who do not agree with her point of view she said this "You have to see it from a larger perspective. Why are they writing these kinds of things? It’s because they feel that we are being too loud and they want to silence us, whether it’s by scaring us or intimidating us or to spread doubt about us so people won’t believe what we are saying, so people won’t take us seriously. And that they do by spreading lies, hate, mockery, and so on. So that’s, in a way, a very positive sign we are having an impact. They are not evil, they just don’t know better. At least that’s what I am trying to think."

She also mentioned "Something that at least I thought a lot about at the beginning of the pandemic was that you suddenly saw world leaders and very powerful people say, 'We will listen to the science, we will not prioritize economic interests over public health, we will do whatever it takes because you cannot put a price on a human life'," adding "Just by saying those words you open up a whole new dimension. If you just apply that for any other issue—the climate crisis is just one example—that puts everything upside down completely."

Photographer Alexandrov Klum captured the activist in a wooded environment for the magazine's cover image. Rawdah Mohamed, the first hijab-wearing woman of color editor of a western fashion magazine, edits Vogue Scandinavia.

The interview was published after the release on Monday of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which showed a critical global heating threshold of 1.5C may be breached far earlier than previously expected, potentially within a decade.