New research released today (21 November) shows that consumers across the five largest EU markets want to know more about the social and environmental impacts of their garments when shopping for clothes – and they expect fashion brands and governments to be doing more to address these issues.
The research, conducted by Ipsos Mori for the Fashion Revolution movement, polled 5000 people across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It found the majority believe fashion brands should reduce their long-term impacts on the world by addressing global poverty, climate change, environmental protection and gender.
Environmental factors were considered most important with 85% listing climate change and 88% environmental protection in order of importance. Social issues were not far behind – 84% believe it is important for fashion brands to address global poverty, and 77% said gender inequality is important.
On top of this, 68% said the government has a role to play in ensuring that clothing, shoes and accessories are sustainably produced.
They also agreed that fashion brands should be bound by law to respect the human rights of everyone in the supply chain; protecting the environment at every stage of making their products; provide information about the social and environmental impacts of their business; and declare if they are paying workers making products a fair, living wage.
Generation Z and Millenial respondents (aged 16-34) – the latter being the group considered to have the biggest spending power this year – said they consider social impacts when buying clothes. 66% want to know about wages and working conditions of people in supply chains, while 70% want to know how brands apply socially responsible practices.
“The pace of change by the fashion industry simply isn’t moving fast enough, and we can see this reflected in consumer attitudes,” says Sarah Ditty, Fashion Revolution policy director. “People have an urgent, emotional desire to know more about how their clothes are made, and that they haven’t harmed the environment, the people who made them nor were tested on animals. And they want governments to hold brands and retailers to account to ensure this happens.”
Consumers are also calling for apparel brands to be more transparent. The survey found 67% want to know where the materials that have gone into creating a garment have come from, while 77% of consumers said packaging should detail where the garment’s materials, ingredients and components are sourced from as well as who manufactured it. And 80% of consumers think that fashion brands should publish the factories used to make their clothes.
“We’d like the general public, companies and governments to use our research to help drive change in the fashion industry, to better influence their peers to care more about social and environmental issues in fashion and start asking vital questions about the impacts of our clothing,” adds Ditty.