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‘Sustainable brands need true beliefs-based marketing’

While flicking through April’s issue of Vogue, I came across a special feature on Alexa Chung investigating ethical fashion.

While flicking through April’s issue of Vogue, I came across a special feature on Alexa Chung investigating ethical fashion. Such coverage is positive, but fashion producers ‘with a conscience’ still represent a tiny proportion of the global market.

However, things are moving on from the World Wide Fund for Nature’s 2010 report Deeper Luxury, in which 10 of the biggest publicly listed luxury brands were graded in 50 eco and ethical categories and none got higher than a C+.

Organic cotton, recycled fabric and natural dyes are making their way into mainstream fashion outlets like H&M. But to become sustainable, brands need to embed a true beliefs-based system into their marketing to encourage consumers to learn the real value of a garment. People are responding more to the heritage behind the clothes. 

There are businesses that are conveying strong beliefs in conscious consumption. M&S’s Shwopping initiative and Patagonia’s Common Threads – which asks customers to reduce unnecessary consumption of its own products – means they are likely to attract more customers by embodying strong beliefs, which leads to greater loyalty and greater profits. Rewards are out there for those that take the lead.

  • Elly Woolston, Founder and chief executive of marketing agency United

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