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Asos Lets Eco-Conscious Consumers Filter for ‘Responsible’ Products

Asos has launched a “responsible edit” of more than 3,700 clothing, shoes and accessories made using recycled or sustainable materials.

The filter, which replaces the British fashion e-tailer’s former “eco edit”—and before that, its capsule-like “Green Room”—includes not only pieces from environmentally forward brands such as G-Star Raw, Monki and Nike, but also myriad styles from Asos’ in-house Asos Design and Collision ranges.

Its roundup of private-label items features underwear derived from recycled plastic bottles, jean leggings made from Better Cotton Initiative-sourced cotton and maxi skirts blended with linen.

The “responsible edit,” Asos said, is meant to give customers the “confidence to shop with both sustainability and style in mind,” though not all product pages make explicit why a certain garment made the cut. The description for a daisy-print mini-skirt, for instance, only notes it incorporates 96 percent viscose—a potentially problematic fiber if injudiciously sourced—with no further explication.

This may be the result of growing pains, however. Asos itself admits it regards sustainability as a “journey” and that the vertical is “just the beginning of what we’ll be offering as a business.” Already, the company has banned mohair, silk, feathers, cashmere and bone after pressure from animal-rights activists, though some quarters have questioned whether the move will do more harm than good.

Indeed, “responsible” is a term ripe for interpretation.

For Asos, it refers to the products on its website that “have been produced with the environment in mind,” it wrote in an FAQ. “These products are demonstrations of what we can do as a company, sourcing and designing products that reflect our ambition to be more sustainable and helping our customers to shop more sustainably.”

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A future iteration of the filter, it noted, will encompass “ethically conscious” products.

The popular marketplace isn’t the only one taking a curatorial approach to sustainability. Just last month, Net-a-Porter debuted its own dedicated platform for “brands, products and content driven by a desire to make fashion more sustainable.”

In a similar vein, H&M recently rolled out product transparency for all garments and most H&M Home interior products sold on, supplying not only details like production country, supplier names and factory addresses, but also the number of workers the facilities employ.

“We are so proud to be the first global fashion retailer of our size and scale to launch this level of product transparency,” Isak Roth, head of sustainability at H&M, said in a statement in April. “By being open and transparent about where our products are made, we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices.”