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‘We’ve seen unprecedented coverage for sustainable fashion’

Through my day-to-day work I speak to audiences about fashion and sustainability and I often ask audience members to raise their hands if they are confident of the meaning of the term ‘sustainable fashion’.

Through my day-to-day work I speak to audiences about fashion and sustainability and I often ask audience members to raise their hands if they are confident of the meaning of the term ‘sustainable fashion’. Invariably, only a handful of arms are raised. However, since H&M has launched a multimedia campaign about its Conscious Collection, I’ve added another question: ‘How many people here are aware of  H&M’s new Conscious Collection?’  Each time, between two thirds and 100% of hands are raised.

The past few weeks have seen unprecedented media coverage for sustainable fashion collections, with prime-time TV advertising by H&M and also from M&S, which grabbed attention for its Shwopping campaign. Yet sustainable fashion initiatives are estimated to make up less than 1% of the value of the fashion sector as a whole. In the case of H&M, mass-media coverage of the Conscious Collection has led to accusations of greenwash fashion, given it represents a fraction of H&M’s operations.

However, research by Mintel has proved that an increase in the perceived availability of sustainable fashion can increase demand.

H&M’s Glamour Conscious Collection has proved that sustainability can be glamorous to the high street consumer.

  • Tamsin Lejeune, Managing director, Ethical Fashion Forum

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