Whenever the word fashion comes into someone’s mind, it comes with a lot of shine, glamour, and style. Over the years fashion has changed itself customarily. People follow fashion and presently they are following sustainability but what exactly sustainability mean in fashion?
Sustainable fashion is the perspective in regards to sourcing, manufacturing, and conspiring designs of clothes which increase the well-being of the industry and the society at maximum and in parallel reducing the carbon footprint and encouraging the go green concept. And why sustainability in fashion is important?
Sustainability is good for the environmental atmosphere. Fashion manufacturers utilize detrimental chemicals for growing cotton and toxic chemicals to dye fabrics simultaneously which in return have a large influence on the environment.
Clothing manufacturing creates over half a million tons of micro-fiber pollution that ends in the oceans. Half a million tons of micro-fiber are equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles, each year.
As per the report by UN Environment Programme, “10 percent of global carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry”.
Quoting that this is more than all international flights and maritime shipping. The production and distribution of the crops, fibers, and garments used in fashion all contribute to different forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil pollution.
Fashion brands are now focusing on trending pieces in consumer’s wardrobes with responsible and ethical choices. The consumer is making conscious buying decisions keeping the organic and natural brand value of the retailer in mind, as the same reflects their personality too.
There is a huge increase in search of ‘sustainability-related keywords’ as per the report by Lyst, which include searches like ‘recycled polyester, ‘vegan leather’, ‘organic hemp’ ‘Econyl’, ‘organic cotton’, ‘modal’ and many more. Though the retail fashion industry is known for trends and fast fashion, there is a shift seen in the popularity towards sustainable fashion and eco-friendly shopping.
Fashion brands are ready to change the game with the ultimate goal of ‘good for people and the planet’. “The global ethical fashion market is expected to grow to $9.81 billion in 2025 and $15.17 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 9.1 percent,” as per the numbers by sustainable fashion industry statics.
There is a huge shift observed in consumer behavior during a survey made by Mckinsey towards sustainability goals. Consumers are more conscious in terms of their lifestyle to lessen the environmental impact, they are looking for more for recycling of the product and even expecting environment-friendly packaging too. Thus, sustainability is going to be on top of the mind of consumers and brands in the coming future by building emotional attachment and delivering end-to-end sustainable brands.
Elisa Niemtzow, VP, Consumer Sectors & Membership at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) mentioned, “Consumers’ growing interest in ‘zero-waste’ and ‘no buy’ in fashion and beauty signals growing sensitivities in consumers to question their purchases and align them with their values.”
A meaningful change is expected if consumers, businesses, and brands align their functions with SDGs for everyone with everything on it.
The emotional connection with sustainability is also reflected in purchase preferences. Overall, 79 percent of consumers are changing purchase preference based on the social responsibility, inclusiveness or environmental impact of their purchases.
Of those who have changed preferences, the primary motivations are: wanting to make a difference in saving the planet for future generations (80 percent), concerns about fair workforce treatment (77percent), and concerns about issues like poverty and hunger (76 percent). Increasingly, organizations are also offering products that directly address consumers’ sustainability preferences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added a safety dimension to sustainability that consumers and organizations must now balance. The COVID-19 situation has heightened consumer preferences for health and safety practices.
The research on impact on consumer behavior due to COVID-19 highlighted that 77 percent of consumers will be more cautious about cleanliness, health, and safety in the post-pandemic era; and 62 percent of consumers will shift to brands and retailers who continue to exhibit higher levels of product safety. The trend of focus on safety is validated.
Consumers are putting a safety lens to a few sustainability initiatives in the short run and we see implications both positive and negative with respect to sustainability.