Sustainability has always been a concern in regards to designer fashion. Although the topic is now actively spoken about, turns out that the concept remains elusive to many shoppers. The primary cause is lack of trustworthy information of what, in the brand’s perception, makes the brand sustainable.
In the U.S. a survey has been handed out to 2,000 teenagers and adults to measure consumer’s awareness and behavior based on sustainability in fashion. According to its findings, 86% of consumers agree that sustainability is a goal designer fashion should pursue. 48% noted being unsure of where and how to find sustainable clothes. The true shocker, however, became the 42% who have expressed confusion over what makes clothes sustainable at the first place.
The overall awareness regarding sustainability issues in designer fashion industry proved to be relatively high. 72% of the survey participants have expressed having some degree of knowledge regarding the environmental effects of fashion such as carbon emissions, water pollution from dye processes and carbon footprint.
Apparently, growth of awareness happened largely during the pandemic. 38% reported only becoming aware of the issues over the past year. Half of the participants have also expressed that in their opinion Americans’ clothing purchases are responsible for a big part of the substantial greenhouse gas emissions.
The issue this survey has highlighted is that the consumers are open to invest into more sustainable designer fashion clothing. They are, however, stopped by the fact of being unsure whether their choice would truly be sustainable. Half of the questioned said they were trying to make conscious clothing choices, whereas the other half said they want to but often surrender to convenience instead.
Another issue that became apparent is that the lines of what makes a designer brand sustainable are very blurry. As the consumer grow more conscious and willing to pay for more ethically sourced clothing, they are starting to question brands on their claims.
Greenwashing was voted to be common in a designer fashion industry which makes the consumers wary of trusting the brands immediately. Instead of being told the products are sustainable, 55% expressed a desire to be educated by the brands on what makes their clothing sustainable. Lesser numbers wanted identifying labels or clearer information on sustainability features that would convince them it’s worth paying for.
The industry started creating sustainable ranges and collections as the demand rose and for some time this seemed to keep the consumer happy. However, realistically everyone understands that sustainable clothing is more expensive to produce and as designer pieces of brands that claim to be sustainable keep on rolling out at the same speed, naturally, some questions arise.
The next logical step would be educating the consumer on how the clothing, especially labelled sustainable, is produced. This would make it easier for them to choose brands they have affinity to, make conscious choices and build loyalty-based relationships with designer fashion brands they trust.
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