why deadstock sucks (and is kind of just greenwashing)

Hi internet  ❤

Ruby here, the founder of girl of the earth— Spoiler alert from a sustainable fashion expert: deadstock is kind of just greenwashing.


Have you heard about 'deadstock'? Fun fact about me: I wrote my uni dissertation on deadstock clothing at London College of Fashion!

Deadstock refers to over-ordered fabric that wasn't used or didn't sell, that supposedly would end up in a landfill or burned, if not "rescued" by "eco-friendly" brands. These days, sustainability in fashion is becoming really hip. Don't get me wrong— that is a great thing! But it arrives alongside a lot of greenwashing (aka misleading or exaggerated information in attempt to market "eco-friendly" products that are not eco-friendly at all).

So why do I think deadstock is greenwashing? Deadstock fabric is actually quite a traditional part in the fabric production process (like a typical food chain). As much as brands would like you to believe it's a new thing, it's truly ancient. Mills manufacture fabric and then sell their excess to fabric stores, often called jobbers. Where else do you think your grandmother has always gotten fabric for sewing club? Deadstock is unfortunately just a long-established point-of-sale in the traditional textile supply-chain that's now being marketed to us in a new way.

With that being said, if you're wondering where this sustainable view of deadstock came from, it's because the industry has established that using already-made fabric is much better than manufacturing fabric from scratch to make clothing.

Meanwhile ... most mills are in not in the US or Europe (even US/EU-made clothing is usually made with fabric manufactured in China or Bangladesh). These impossible-to-regulate mills frequently decide to over-produce even MORE excess fabric because it's cheaper than shutting off expensive machines once an order is filled. Yup. Additionally, sustainable brands have now hyped up deadstock so much, that particularly immoral mills are overproducing fabric just to sell it marketed as 'deadstock'. A synonym for deadstock fabric is SURPLUS fabric-- which makes this concept easy to remember, understand, and see the train-of-thought of genius marketing execs who branded 'deadstock.'

We must examine why throughout this process, manufacturing fabric from scratch claims all the dirty stuff, and deadstock gets away scot-free. Brands using deadstock are often buying into this lie.

My point is, deadstock is only as 'sustainable' as an outlet store. Yuck.


I do not call any girl of the earth fabrics deadstock. Our pieces are made from truly vintage fabric remnants, meaning materials which environmental impact was written off 20+ years ago. The concept is much closer to upcycling (and some of our pieces, like our cashmere, are straight-up upcycled). Read about my entire process here. Not to be dramatic, but this (and vintage) is the most eco-friendly way to shop. You’re not shopping— you’re recycling <3


shop vintage fabric womenswear ❤

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