The COVID-19 crisis hit the global fashion industry hard but also creates new opportunities for eco-friendly fashion. Consumers are demanding more sustainable and fairly produced clothing, as shown by recent studies.
We are on the verge of a global environmental, social, and economic crisis. It's now more important than ever to rethink the way we produce and consume clothes.
Luckily, sustainability has become more present in the mind of consumers to reduce waste, pollution, and carbon emissions, according to the McKinsey COVID-19 consumer survey.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, consumer behavior is changing. Many people have been concerned with sustainability during the crisis and subsequent lockdown.
Fashion lovers are becoming more conscious of their wardrobe impact on people, animals, and the planet. They are looking for more fashion brands that are completely ethical and sustainable.
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Increased sustainability interest
The CGS 2020 Sustainability and Retail Survey reveals that consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom are willing to spend more on sustainable products.
McKinsey also noticed a similar regained interest in sustainability in their April 2020 survey in the United Kingdom and Germany. Consumers significantly changed their behavior to reduce their environmental impact.
"Engagement in sustainability has deepened during the COVID-19 crisis, with European consumers wanting fashion players to act responsibly and consider the social and environmental impacts of their businesses. [...] That presents an opportunity for the fashion industry to reiterate its commitment to sustainability. Moreover, now could be the moment to drive less seasonality in the fashion system."
- Anna Granskog, Libbi Lee, Corinne Sawers, Karl-Hendrik Magnus, McKinsey associate partners
67 percent of surveyed consumers look for sustainable materials when buying eco-friendly clothing. They expect fashion brands to promote sustainability, take care of their employees, and workers in supply chains.
Sustainable fashion has been trending long before the COVID-19 crisis. And consumers' interest in eco-friendly clothing is now stronger. They want to buy longer-lasting fashion items that they will eventually reuse, repair, repurpose, recycle, or upcycle.
Eco-friendly fashion future
Consumers' rising interest in sustainable fashion won't go away in the future. They will buy more and more eco-friendly clothing as it becomes more accessible and prices go down.
Consumers also expect fashion brands and retailers to become more transparent, sustainable, and accountable. They need to do business while improving their social and environmental impacts.
The fast-fashion business model will reach its limits in the coming years. Conscious consumerism is on the rise, regardless of age, gender, location, or income.
It's time for the fashion industry to clearly show consumers what it's doing to ethically create more sustainable products.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.