Infographic – Sustainable Fashion: Key stats and trends

By Katerina Mansour - 12 October 2020

The appetite for sustainable fashion is growing rapidly among consumers as awareness of the environmental impact of this industry becomes widespread. Here we highlight key trends, numbers and startups fuelling the transition towards greener fashion.

The damaging effects of fast fashion on human lives and the environment are no longer up for debate. 80 billion new pieces of clothing are consumed each year worldwide, only under 2% of garment workers earn a living wage and 80% of all clothing sold in the EU ends up in landfills.

Activists in the field and documentaries like The True Cost (2015) have helped consumers better comprehend how their purchasing habits and choices affect the planet.

Because of this increased awareness, consumer demands are shifting. For example, a Nosto survey showed that 52% of survey respondents wanted the fashion industry to become more sustainable. For French consumers, animal welfare, working conditions and the environmental impact of transportation are among the top priorities when purchasing sustainable clothing.

However, it is worth noting that while the demand for sustainability in fashion has increased, many are still reluctant to purchase from sustainable brands. One of the key reasons for this is the price. Indeed, Nosto’s survey showed that despite more than half of respondents saying they wanted more sustainability, only one-third were prepared to pay more. A worldwide survey by KPMG showed that 60% of consumers in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, New York and Tokyo would prefer sustainable fashion if the price were the same as “normal” fashion. Only 13% were willing to pay a higher price.

Beyond grappling with the pricing dilemma, fashion brands also need to beware of marketing strategies that might be perceived as greenwashing. In an attempt to respond to increased demand for sustainability, large fashion brands have faced backlash for making misleading claims regarding the eco-friendly nature of their products. H&M is the most notorious example of corporates experiencing continued controversy for greenwashing.

Ultimately, if one is prepared to do the research and sometimes pay the higher price, there are countless brands out there providing sustainable alternatives to fast fashion. Many startups have entered the scene. They tackle a variety of issues, from materials used, to supply chains, to changing consumption patterns by making the economy more circular.

Check out our infographic to learn more about some worthwhile projects to look into.

All articles