You may have heard of sustainable clothing recently, as the term has become popular among fashionistas globally. What exactly is sustainable clothing, you may be wondering. In short, sustainable clothing is designed, manufactured, used, and distributed in an environmentally friendly way. Here are a few common misconceptions about sustainable clothing that are floating around on social media.

a) Misconception #1 - Buying clothes from "sustainable" or "eco-conscious" brands will help you cut down on your fashion footprint.

The single best way you can cut down on your fashion footprint is by buying fewer things. You can alter or mend old clothes, trade items with friends, restyle your old clothes completely. In short, buy fewer new clothes.

b) Misconception #2 - Fast fashion is less sustainable than luxury fashion.

Fast fashion has come to mean low-quality clothes are made in sweatshops in non-environmentally friendly ways. A misconception floating around is that fast fashion is less sustainable than luxury fashion. But just buying from a luxury fashion house does not mean you are getting access to sustainable clothing compared to fast fashion. Some popular fashion brands have signed a UN charter for climate action and have collectively pledged to reduce carbon emissions substantially by 2030. But, in reality, the fashion shows held by famous international brands emit a massive carbon footprint in terms of attendees (both designers and buyers).

c) Misconception #3 - Sustainable fashion brands are expensive and hence less likely to exploit workers.

In reality, many premium brands manufacture their clothes in similar factories to the ones that fast fashion and discount brands do. What this means is that worker's rights, the conditions they work in may be exploitative for both premium brands and discount brands. Also, remember that labour costs are a small fraction of total costs in producing clothing. What is the solution to overcoming this misconception? Sustainable brands should be more affordable.

d) Misconception #4 - Renting designer clothes is just a fad and does not mean that you are being environmentally friendly.

Fashion rental companies have become popular in the last couple of years. But, many people have the misconception that the disadvantages of fashion rental (such as shipping, packaging, and dry-cleaning) outweigh the perceived environmental advantages such as reduced waste, spending less, and having a lower carbon footprint. However, this is not true. If you hire designer clothing from a reliable brand it will help you reduce your carbon footprint and save money in comparison to following a buy, use, and throw philosophy.

e) Misconception #5 - Repairing cheap clothes is not worth it.

Repairing a fast fashion item may mean spending as much, or at times, even over and above what you originally paid for it. However, rotating the same clothes can help you cut down on your carbon footprint. If you learn to do minor repairs at home (such as fixing broken zippers, replacing buttons, etc) you can keep your expenses down.

f) Misconception #6 - Donating your old clothes is a way to clean out your clothes in a sustainable manner.

Thrift stores and charities do sell or give away some of the clothes that are donated to them. But, in reality, the clothes you donate may be shipped overseas to developing countries to be resold there or discarded in landfills. For example, in Kantamanto, one of Ghana's biggest second-hand markets, more than 15 million items are unloaded weekly. Out of this, 40 per cent of the clothes in each bale are dumped into landfills or burned.

g) Misconception #7 - Clothes returned online are sold to other customers.

It is usually cheaper for online companies to dispose of returned clothes rather than repackage them after inspection. The fact is that there is a significant likelihood that your returned clothes may end up in landfills or be incinerated.