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Sustainability in focus at Fashion Summit HK 2018

By Patrick Scott 22 Aug 2018 (Last Updated August 22nd, 2018 11:39)

Almost two-thirds of consumers in key markets around the world say a sustainability score or labelling system would encourage them to purchase sustainable fashion, according to a new survey commissioned to tie in with next month's Fashion Summit HK.

Sustainability in focus at Fashion Summit HK 2018

Almost two-thirds of consumers in key markets around the world say a sustainability score or labelling system would encourage them to purchase sustainable fashion, according to a new survey commissioned to tie in with next month’s Fashion Summit HK.

The Global Sustainable Fashion Consumption Survey taps into some of the key themes that will be discussed during the 2018 edition of Fashion Summit HK, which looks set to be Asia’s largest sustainable fashion conference.

With a focus on the theme of ‘Circular Economy,’ this year’s event hopes to catalyse industry collaboration and to raise public understanding of the role the global fashion industry can play in sustainable development, its organisers say. It also aims to inspire and nurture consumers to develop a sustainable fashion mindset.

Full findings from the new survey, which has been sponsored by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and carried out by KPMG, will be revealed at the summit on 6-7 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The study surveyed over 5,000 consumers in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, New York and Tokyo (at least 1,000 respondents from each market) assessing their views and consumption habits on sustainable fashion, as well as analysing the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

First results show:

  • In terms of their understanding of sustainable fashion, consumers in Asian markets focus more on environmental matters, while those in Western markets have a more holistic view of both environmental and social aspects.
  • 78% of all respondents say they are concerned about the environment, pollution and waste – but only 64% of the surveyed consumers regard themselves as supportive of sustainable fashion.
  • 60% of all respondents would buy sustainable fashion only if its price is the same as normal fashion. But in Shanghai, 22% of surveyed consumers say would pay a higher price for sustainable fashion.
  • 64% agree that a sustainability score or labelling system would encourage them to purchase sustainable fashion.
  • When clothes come to the end of their lives, over half of the consumers in Western markets donate them to those who are in need. Hong Kong consumers have developed a similar donation culture (41%).

“Our survey finds that a large majority of consumers in Hong Kong and mainland China are supportive of sustainable fashion,” notes Pat-nie Woo, partner, business reporting and sustainability, KPMG China.

“This demonstrates a real opportunity for local and international manufacturers to explore this market. More education on the topic, as well as higher transparency in the manufacturing process can help consumers understand the importance and value of sustainable fashion, and its implications for the environment and workers in the industry.”

The two-day Fashion Summit will bring together over 50 international experts, policy makers, academics, fashion industry and NGO leaders from 10 countries and regions to discuss fashion industry sustainability from the point of view of innovation, manufacturing, design, branding and consumer initiatives.

Day 1

The first day (6 September) features keynote speeches and panel discussions on topics including ‘Sustainable manufacturing and supply chain,’ ‘Sustainable fashion evolution,’ ‘Innovation and inspiration,’ ‘Exploring fashion for circularity from the designer’s perspective,’ and ‘Who takes the role in consumer education.’

Participants include executives from YGM Trading, Wal-Mart Stores, HSBC, Hanbo Enterprises, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, TAL Apparel, HKS Group International, Fashion Revolution, Hap Co and Avanti Inc.

Keynote speakers include Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, who will share his views and expectations on Hong Kong’s development of sustainable fashion.

Sun Huai-bin, vice chairman of China National Textile and Apparel Council, will discuss how Hong Kong and mainland China’s textile industry can collaborate to look for overseas investment opportunities through “One Belt One Road”, as well as incorporating innovative technology such as artificial intelligence and big data in sustainable development.

And Jacob Duer, chief of the chemicals and health branch in the economy division of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), will talk about global challenges and how health, nature and economic growth are intertwined.

Day 2

The second day (7 September) will be given over to the annual Innovation and Technology Symposium organised by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA). Here the focus will be on ‘The Re-imagination of Our Industry – Building on Our Heritage for Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs,’ providing a platform to inspire ideas and share the latest technology developments and innovations about sustainability for the fashion industry.

Panel discussions on ‘Closing the Loop,’ ‘Smart Technology for Future Manufacturing’ and ‘Fashion Future – Innovative Start ups’ will feature speakers from Esquel, H&M, Lane Crawford, KTC, Bluesign, Cradle to Cradle, Future Tech Lab and Fashion for Good.

The Fashion Summit (HK) is funded by Create Hong Kong and jointly organised by seven organisation: Clothing Industry Training Authority, Office of the Hon Felix Chung Kwok-pan, Member of the Legislative Council (Textile and Garment Sector), Hong Kong Design Institute, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, Redress, Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium and WWF-HK.

Click here for more information. And click here to register online.

To coincide with the two-day symposium a number of new HKRITA-led projects are being unveiled across the territory in September, including a recycled yarn mill – the first mill to be set up in Hong Kong in 50 years; a ‘hydro-thermal’ blended fibre separation process being scaled up to an industrial level; and a new space that will demonstrate to consumers the entire garment to garment recycling loop.

For an exclusive just-style report on how Hong Kong is taking shape as the centre for the apparel and textile industry’s latest innovations around recycling and circularity, click on the following link: Why Hong Kong is the new hub for sustainable innovation.