17 Jun 2019

The pressure to produce huge amounts of cheap, fast fashion is having a shocking impact on people and the planet.

Every minute in the UK we buy almost two tonnes of clothing. That’s the equivalent of 15,760 T-shirts. To produce that amount of clothes requires around 4.7 million litres of water and 59 tonnes of CO2.

Suffice to say, our appetite for fast fashion is leaving a bad taste in many consumers’ mouths.

More than half of UK and US consumers want to see the fashion industry become more sustainable.

A survey by e-commerce personalisation and retail AI platform Nosto found that when it comes to fashion, environmentally-aware consumers know what they want. Many are calling for less packaging (75%), fair pay and good working conditions for workers (74%), using more renewable and recyclable materials (73%), and making clothes that are designed to last longer (71%).

Worryingly, 45% of consumers feel it is difficult knowing which fashion brands are committed to sustainability.

The study also revealed that 57% of those questioned try to keep clothes for longer because they know it is better for the environment. Among women specifically, that figure rises to 60%. In addition, 29% said they were willing to pay more for more sustainably-made versions of the same item.

This sentiment is backed up by the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 Update report, which revealed that shoppers are increasingly interested in fashion brand’s eco-credentials. According to the report, 75% of consumers see sustainability as either extremely important or very important to them.

According to a recent study by Lenor, 43% of UK consumers throw away clothes after fewer than ten wears, with 70% putting this down to the fact that items lose their fit, colour and feel after fewer than five washes.

The Nosto study also highlighted what retailers can do to encourage consumers to buy more sustainable clothes when shopping online.

  • 74% wanted to see clothes clearly labelled when they are made in sustainable ways
  • 62% thought more sustainable clothing ranges should be discounted
  • 62% felt retailers could better advertise and promote sustainably-made clothing
  • 54% want to be able to trade-in their used clothes and get discounts on new items
  • 43% believe consumers should be shown more sustainable alternatives to the items they are viewing online

The fashion industry knows that the voices behind the issue of sustainability are only going to get louder. Retailers are undoubtedly part of the solution to greater sustainability in fashion. It is up to them to support the industry by making it easier for consumers to get hold of sustainable fashion and make more sustainable choices in what they wear.

As Jim Lofgren, Nosto’s CEO explained: “Although brands are aware that consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability in the fashion industry, they need to be more transparent and get better at communicating how they’re addressing it.”

He continued: “For example, only 23% of consumers we questioned agreed that they generally have a good idea what fashion brands mean when they say they are committed to sustainability.”

If you’re a marketer already working in fast fashion, making sustainability the cornerstone of your future marketing campaigns, and highlighting your company’s eco credentials, could well be the key to long-term success.

If you want to stay ahead of key trends in the retail industry or take the next step in your retail marketing career, get in touch today. 

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