Statistics show that consumers love environmentally conscious fashion brands

The fashion industry is seeing its consumers make a major shift towards valuing things like sustainability and environmentally friendly manufacturing and shipping processes.

With climate change becoming an ever-increasing problem, consumers have become increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of just about everything they buy or use. Electric cars are becoming the norm at a far more rapid rate than anticipated, and tech companies now see carbon neutral status as a key selling point. It is no surprise then, that the fashion industry is also seeing its consumers make a major shift towards valuing things like sustainability and environmentally friendly manufacturing and shipping processes. This is especially prevalent in Gen Z consumers, the youngest adult consumers who would traditionally be the most concerned with trends and the biggest target market for less environmentally considerate aspects of the fashion market like fast fashion retailers.

Here we look at some of the stats that show why fashion brands will need to make eco-friendly choices if they want to keep their footholds in a consumer market that is rapidly changing its priorities:

The Fashion Industry’s Impact on the Environment

The fashion industry isn’t exactly transparent, and it can be hard to ascertain exactly what its global impact on the environment actually is. However, an estimate by McKinsey on the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the clothing industry puts it at 4% of all emissions worldwide. That may not sound all that big a number, but actually, it means that the fashion industry as a whole puts as large a quantity of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere as the entire countries of the UK, Germany and France put together. Naturally, this means it is an industry where there is significant room for improvement.

Environmentally Friendly Approaches to Fashion

When it comes to how consumers try to move towards making more environmentally friendly fashion purchases, there are really two main approaches, with many people using both. The first is purchasing secondhand items or clothing that has been upcycled. This is great for consumers but isn’t really something the fashion industry itself can control or profit from. The second is seeking out companies that offer the style and quality they want, but which do things like use recycled or upcycled materials and have eco-friendly policies on things like packaging and shipping. A good example of the latter is Danish designer label GANNI. GANNI dresses, coats, boots and other clothing is designed and made with both environmentally and ethically conscious approaches, and are designed to last a long time, which makes it more appealing for savvy shoppers to invest in GANNI dresses than cheap fast fashion.

What Most Influences the Fashion Purchases of Environmentally Conscious Shoppers?

A recent survey by consumer insights company GWI showed what consumers currently think are the biggest factors when choosing environmentally friendly purchases. The most important, tied at 59%, was the use of organic or natural materials, and that no harmful chemicals are used in production. Next came reusability at 54%, recycled materials being used in manufacturing at 53%, durability at 51% and sustainable packaging at 50%. With half or more of the over 10k consumers surveyed valuing these things highly, these are certainly what the fashion industry should be focusing on.

The move towards shoppers being concerned about the environmental impact of the fashion they buy is one that is only likely to continue, so it will be interesting to see how the industry changes and innovates to satisfy their markets.