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Three customer benefits from sustainability

Consumers can benefit from buying sustainable fashion, but they need to be made aware of the advantages, leading industry experts argued today.

Speaking at Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2019, Lucy Shea, chief executive officer of Futerra, Thomas Berry, global director of sustainable business at Farfetch, artist Wilson Oryema and H&M’s sustainability manager for UK and Ireland, Giorgina Waltier, discussed how consumers can benefit from purchasing fashion sustainably.

Better choices

“As brands, we have a duty to produce clothes responsibly, so that when customers want to come and buy our products, they know they have been made in the best possible way,” argued H&M’s Waltier. “What’s in it for the consumer is that the more we communicate with them about sustainability, the more empowered they are. They can make decisions about which brands to support, which is what they’re doing when they come into our store and buy something. These kind of lifestyle choices are currently a lot more available in other industries than they are in fashion. We’re giving them the option to make choices. By communicating what we’re doing, consumers can decide whether or not they trust H&M.”

Better quality

“We’re all citizens of the world, so broadly consumers benefit from sustainability because it creates a better, healthier planet,” said Farfetch’s Berry. “Brands and retailers can also offer consumers the tools they need to be able to buy better things and set the standards of what those better things are. Buying better things should have benefits for consumers and make them feel good about what they are wearing – better style, better quality, better price. I believe there are ways to drive sustainability into all the key drivers of consumer behaviour, but we need to meet consumers where they are.”

Better planet

Wilson concluded: “We know that the planet is not going to last forever if we keep ignoring sustainability. Consumers paying attention to how their clothes affect their environment is one way we can help the issues facing the planet. Brands should be promoting their sustainable initiatives more. I don’t think customers are prepared to pay a premium for sustainability, but brands could also be doing more to show how long their clothes can last and how customers are interacting with items that they’ve had for a while, and if they stand the test of time.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • How about the industry take on specific tasks, one at a time? For example, remove single use plastic from online delivery packaging. Set a date. Make it an event. Make those who don’t comply stand out.

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  • The problem is brands make more product than there is demand or need. That is the issue.

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  • Would be nice if Drapers moved towards a dissolvable plastic bag for sending out there mag!!!

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  • Hi, we are investigating plastic bags at the moment. Our current research indicates that the compostable bags currently available are less environmentally sustainable than was first thought. The PPA recommendation at the moment is to continue using standard polythene bags because they can be recycled via Sainsbury's and other supermarkets. We're keeping an eye on how the research develops and any further suggestions for the most sustainable options are welcome.

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