Sustainability is in the spotlight in the fashion industry at the moment, and for good reason.
Australians are the second biggest consumers of textiles worldwide. We throw more than 500,000 tonnes of clothing item into landfill every day. On average we only wear our garments seven times before throwing them away and still buy an average of twenty-seven kilograms of new clothing each year.
To put that into context, a typical t-shirt (of conventionally produced cotton) sold today is expected to be responsible for around 15kg of CO2 over its lifetime. This is sufficed to say the way we currently shop is unsustainable.
A Neilsen study carried out across 30,000 consumers in 60 countries concluded that an overwhelming number of consumers are more than willing to pay more for a sustainably produced product.
Analysis from Lyst, a global fashion search engine, stated that there was a 66% increase in searches for sustainable fashion or related keywords since 2018. Similar studies also revealed that as many as 60% of Australians targeted say they are interested in sustainable-certified clothing.
This is echoed by the ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry’ 2019 update report, which reveals that 75% of consumers value sustainability as either important or extremely important.
But this isn’t a new phenomenon. The problem for consumers has always been identifying which brands and stores are working towards being more sustainable.
Research by Nosto, an e-commerce and retail AI platform, has shed some light on things brands and stores can do to illuminate their ethically responsible items in the eyes of consumers shopping online:
- 74% wanted to see clothes clearly labelled when they are made in sustainable ways
- 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
It is down to retailers and brands to support the industry in making more sustainable manufacturing choices. These businesses are the key to solving this problem, not just in Australia but also worldwide.
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.
Stopgap Consultant Noreen Quaid spent nine years working in the retail industry and believes that the spotlight on sustainability will only continue to grow;
"Awareness is key in retail as thanks to the internet there is nowhere to hide anymore; consumers want to know everything about the clothes they buy from where and how they were made to who made them.
In the last retail business I worked with, we prided ourselves on equipping both our staff and customers with the relevant information on where exactly their clothes came from. This was further supported by participation in the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign which meant that if a customer came in and asked where their clothes were made, we could tell them exactly
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