Four companies talk about their predictions for organic, recycled and ethically-produced garments in 2024 – and how to sell more of them

As Prama Bhardwaj of Mantis World points out, this year has been a very unpredictable one, and next year is facing similar challenges.

“Geopolitical headwinds – including the ongoing war in Ukraine, a new war in the Middle East, high interest rates, a climate emergency and the cost of living crisis – will continue to create challenging economic times.”

Despite this, consumer interest in organic goods continues to grow, notes Prama, who is CEO of the company that has been creating “responsibly produced” garments since 2000, adding: “They are also increasingly focused on product longevity and value for money, which is common in times of economic difficulty – not to mention good news for brands like Mantis and Babybugz that have been advocating sustainability and quality for some time.”

The figures from workwear, activewear and leisurewear manufacturer Result reflect this continuing support for items that fall under the ‘sustainable’ category, as long as they are priced properly, reports managing director David Sanders-Smith.

“We are very aware of how sensitive the end user market is, which is why Result Recycled styles are offered at the same price as conventional fabric alternatives. We have seen in the past three months an 80% growth in our recycled range, which we link directly to its price matching.”

While the cost of living is a serious problem for working people, says Jay Kerr from No Sweat, which sources its garments from unionised factories and uses the profits to fund the fight against sweatshops, he is still seeing an appetite for ethical clothing.

“The protests around climate change over the past few years have had the impact of making people fully aware of the damage that is being done to the planet and the need to change things now, not in the distant future. And, even though people are struggling with the cost of living, the support for the strikes over the past year or so have proven that people know workers need to earn a wage they can live on, and this is as much the case for the garment industry as it is for any other industry. So, ecowear still has a future and the industry should be embracing it.”

With 2023 on track to be the hottest on record and climate change events happening all over the world “almost on a daily basis”, Tracy Richards of sustainable apparel and accessories producer Neutral believes the ecowear sector is set to continue to grow.

“We are seeing that it important for businesses to their sustainability aims and what they are doing about them.” Her hope is that all brands, not just the ‘green’ ones, will look at their production chain and “become as eco-conscious as possible”…

Read more industry advice on producing and selling organic, recycled and ethically-produced garments in our December 2023 issue here