It’s been a difficult year for sustainable brands. Hands up, who else has spent less on sustainable fashion, beauty, and travel this year? Me too. With a drastic economic downturn led by Brexit and the covid pandemic, the cost of living has risen sharply in the last few years, and has continued to reduce how far our money goes.
For many sustainable brands, this has cut two ways: first, in increasing the already high costs of labour and materials, which when sourced ethically, reduce profit margins; and second, in reducing custom from shoppers who can no longer afford to buy better when a regular grocery shop costs 10% more than in previous years.
At Sustainably Influenced, we’ve seen many of our favourite sustainable brands close their doors this year. And so, I wanted to write a tribute to the brands that we loved and lost in 2023.
Rather morbidly, I kept a list of ‘obituaries’ on my notes app this year. It started after my best friend saw her old workplace close down, and from there, I saw more and more Instagram posts and newsletters with bad news and broken heart emojis. It’s been genuinely startling to see so many of my favourite places to shop close down, but more than that, it’s been a hard realisation to see sustainable businesses close their doors due to the current economic climate.
In times like this, it makes it all the more clear that our economy and its free market rules are to blame for the exploitation of people and planet, and for many, they have to do so simply to survive.