British online marketplace OnBuy.com has found that few Londoners view biodegradable and organic materials as important to sustainable fashion.
In a recent study, KPMG surveyed 1,000 Londoners to identify the features that most align with their definition of sustainable fashion. Analysing these findings, OnBuy.com found that 48% ranked ethical and Fairtrade labour practices as the key components of sustainable fashion, with only 17% considering the use of organic materials, such as cotton, as the definition of eco-friendly fashion.
In the survey, 31% of Londoners perceived sustainable fashion as the use of no hazardous chemicals, as well as a pollution-free production process, while 30% deemed high quality/durable products and biodegradable/sustainable packaging as being of equal importance to their understanding of what sustainable fashion entails.
Only 12% of Londoners believed the harnessing of upcycled materials – where old, worn out or damaged materials are converted into new pieces of clothing – embodied their idea of sustainable fashion, and just 6% a take-back programme, where retailers provide their customers with a small incentive, such as vouchers, when they drop off unwanted clothing for recycling.
Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, said: “Sustainable fashion is now more than a fancy buzzword. Retailers are making a conscious effort to reduce the negative environmental impact different parts of their operations/processes maybe causing. Likewise, brands are actively introducing various initiatives to encourage and help their customers to become more environmentally friendly.
“Despite this, people still have varying perceptions of what sustainable fashion truly is. This research certainly highlights the actions taken by brands which consumers most regard to be under the umbrella of sustainable fashion – with some very surprising outcomes.”
OnBuy.com also revealed the factors that would most encourage Londoners to buy more or pay more for sustainable fashion, with 57% willing to do so if they believed the products represent good value for money, and 49% if they were of good quality.
Only 25% were said to contemplate the environmental friendliness concept or message of a brand when deciding to purchase and/or spend more on sustainable fashion.
The company also found out how many times per month, on average, Londoners search on Google for key terms associated with sustainable fashion. From highest to lowest, the results were: sustainable fashion (1,900), ethical clothing (720), sustainable clothing (480), ethical fashion (390), eco-friendly clothing (210), eco fashion (110), eco clothing (110) and eco-friendly fashion (40).