Sustainable fashion isn't the most natural pairing, especially with seasonal trends urging shoppers to purchase new looks constantly, while eco-friendly living asks them to choose the more minimalistic route.

Numerous fashion labels are tying environmental sustainability into their brand; for example, both Patagonia and Reformation are centering their marketing around how they're bettering their business and the world with eco-conscious practices.

With so many consumers reprioritizing how and where they spend their money, they're the ones steering the retail industry toward sustainability, demanding change and voting with their wallets while retailers respond in an attempt to stay relevant.

The problem is that sustainable fashion isn't always affordable.

Fast fashion, and cheaper brands like H&M or Forever 21 are incapable of applying sustainability-related messaging considering their huge inventories and large brick-and-mortar footprints.

So the question being raised is how can the average retail brand seize on skyrocketing interest in a sustainable fashion without stepping into "greenwashing?"

Tierney Wilson, senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at January Digital says real action on the sustainability front begins at the top, and for the environment to become a true business priority, retail executives have to commit to the cause and lace it into every level of the company's operations before it becomes the centerpiece of a marketing campaign.

"Opting for slightly smaller inventory may allow for the use of smaller retail spaces, lowering operational costs. Even the seemingly smallest changes can add up over time and across the board, especially at the scale of global companies. The key is to take stock of a retailer's practices, commit to small, realistic steps and succeed at them, as overpromising and under delivering violates consumer trust," says Tierney Wilson.

At the end of the day, it's the little things that end up amounting to make the biggest differences.