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Just 17% of Londoners think organic materials are key to sustainable fashion

today Oct 1, 2019
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Fashion brands are accelerating their efforts to offer more organic cotton, wool and silk products, but new research suggests that ethical and fair trade practices play a bigger role in people’s perception of sustainability.


A survey of 1,000 people conducted by KPMG for British online marketplace Onbuy.com has identified the key features Londoners think best define sustainable fashion.

For 48% of Londoners, ethical and fair trade/labour practices are the most important attributes of sustainable fashion, surpassing the 31% who think eco fashion should entail the use of no hazardous chemicals and pollution-free production.

Another 30% think high quality/durable products and biodegradable/sustainable packaging embody their idea of sustainable fashion. And notably, just 17% consider the use of organic materials like cotton, wool and silk as a key component, the survey revealed.

“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 may be 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,” said Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com.

“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”.

Despite many brands investing in take-back programmes, just 6% of Londoners value these initiatives and a mere 2% associate sharing schemes and rental services when they think of sustainable fashion.

The findings also highlighted that 57% of shoppers in the capital would pay more if they believe the products represent good value for money.

Of the shoppers, 49% would be influenced to buy more if the items are of good quality, and 28% are happy to spend more if the materials are eco-friendly. In contrast, only 25% said the environmental friendliness concept/message of a brand played a role when deciding whether to shop more with a brand. 

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