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Fashion & Retail Sustainability

Consumer behaviour, fast fashion, and sustainability

Fast-fashionThere are some habits that turn into an addiction and those could be destructive and dangerous. Such phenomenon is visible in America and European fashion retail market through the last few months. For the sake of maximizing the profit and fulfill sensual pleasure, some of the world’s fast fashion retailers made ‘fancy taste consumers’ in the fashion market so that nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made. It was disheartening news for the designers. It happened not only for low fashion products it also happened for high-end design products.

There has been a very embodied relation with upcoming design and designers, but now reality is quite different. For the fulfillment of fast fashion, consumer demands the fashion designers are working under pressure to produce new design overnight. So the designers are losing creativity. People are expending a huge amount of money to buy new fashion clothes every weekend or every month. A heart-breaking statistic came from a McKinsey & Company October 2016 report titled “Sustainability & Resource Productivity.” The report showed that the number of garments produced annually became double since 2000 and exceeded 100 billion pieces for the first time in 2014: nearly 14 new apparel items for every person on Earth.

For a nice and wishful cloth when you can use a long time and that could be called sustainable fashion and it is possible that those clothes can go beyond the latest trend. Latest trend creates an unfair competition to show up who is nobler lineage, modern and rich. However, they cast in the shadow and lose the substance that also creates the environmental crisis.

Sierra Club, Earth fast, Greenpeace, and 1% of the plant also other international and national organizations are fighting against the fast fashion. They are trying to create demand for eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. On the other hand, the fast fashion stores multiplied by churning out new fashions at a dizzying pace, as often as twice a week. So, the consumers are either throwing out the garments in the landfills or donating clothes to charities.


In New York, Fashion Week in 2018, one of the great designers, Nicholas K, Alejandro Jodorowsky said with environmental concerns, “Fall/Winter 2018 Peruvian-inspired collection reflects the brand’s desire that “creativity should be an elevating force” and sustainability part of the company’s “conscious design.”

A recent Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated Global Environment research showed the result as figure 1. The figure shows sustainability or environmental concerns do not dominate consumer-buying decisions.

Figure 1: Factors affecting consumer behaviour in different countries. Sustainability is not as considered as other factors.
Figure 1: Factors affecting consumer behaviour in different countries. Sustainability is not as considered as other factors.

However, consumer awareness for sustainable products is increasing day by day. The research also said that in the U.S., which generates 70 percent of its economic growth through consumer spending, just 55 percent of consumers reduce their consumption of goods and 65 percent uses recycled clothes or textiles as part of their environmental practices, which is lower than the UK where 61 percent are reducing consumption and 73 percent are using recycled apparel. However, the better position griped by India, Mexico, and China, where 78 percent are reducing consumption of goods and 79 percent uses recycled garments.

Figure 2: Market leader in Fast Fashion (FF) brands and market share of Fast Fashion in the corresponding country.
Figure 2: Market leader in Fast Fashion (FF) brands and market share of Fast Fashion in the corresponding country.

According to the research, as explained in Figure 2, the most fast fashion popular sellers of the world are Uniqlo (21%), H&M-Zara (18%), US Gen Z Shoppers (16%), Millennial (11%), Gen Xers (2%) and Boomers (1%). On the other hand, When country-wise market share of fast fashion is considered, the USA is number one, 88% people of the USA like to use fast fashion, 49% of Italian prefer fast fashion, 46% of Europeans’, 27% of Mexicans’, 25% of Indian and 21% of Chinese. China, India, and Mexican people are more concern about the environment rather than Europe, Italy & USA. The USA is a nation of self-interest, they never care about the environment so that the US consumers are showing lowest interest to buy sustainable apparel than other countries like the UK.

Now-a-days when sustainable fashion is becoming a major issue in the fashion market, the use of natural fibres like cotton, wool and silk is increasing and playing an important role in countries like India (89 percent), Mexico (84 percent), Italy (83 percent), China (73 percent) and Germany (70 percent) fashion market. This percentage and awareness will be increased day by day to make a sustainable greener world for the fashion lovers.

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