As fashion brands and companies around the globe begin to develop their sustainability strategies to tackle increasing climate challenges, how can they inspire and motivate long-lasting consumer support?
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword or a trend within the fashion industry - it is a must. With increasing issues on the horizon, ranging from climate and ecological changes, finite resources and the living standards of the thousands of workers and communities, leading fashion brands are rethinking their business strategies to make sustainability a key priority. Many are implementing more sustainable production practices, which range from using more eco-conscious materials and seeking to produce less waste while using less water, chemicals and energy. Others are developing ways to ensure their products have a longer life-cycle and using methods such as recycling and upcycling to make new garments.
At the same time, environmental and social concerns are becoming a leading purchasing decision for many consumers. Shoppers are more likely to buy from a brand they know shares their values and responsibly produces their products. Keen to tap into the rise of conscious consumerism, fashion brands from Shein and Boohoo to H&M and Levi's are launching campaigns to share more information regarding their sustainable initiatives and strategies.
However, for fashion companies that have built a business on promoting newness to drive more purchases, a public-facing campaign regarding their sustainable practices may do more harm than good. Rather than solely promoting a collection produced with more sustainable materials, fashion companies should aim to empower and educate their consumers. Authentic sustainable claims are transparent, specific and honest and ultimately assist consumers in making even more informed decisions with their purchasing power. By sharing knowledge and becoming more sincere about their own practices and supply chains, fashion companies are more likely to develop a sense of trust and loyalty among their consumers. For example, outdoor brand Patagonia launched a campaign in 2019, entitled "Everything But the Teeth," highlighting their sustainability journey and the work they still had to do before the advertised jacket could be fully recycled. Rather than just trying to sell their jacket, the brand was transparent and aimed to educate its consumers, a move that paid off.
Another fashion company with a long history of running successful campaigns that educate both consumers and other businesses is fibre manufacturer, Lenzing. Through its TENCEL™ brand, the company aims to define a new standard regarding sustainable production while aiding other fashion brands and stakeholders in their sustainability journey. Its #MakeItFeelRight campaign is a global movement designed to raise awareness among consumers who may not know much about sustainable practices but are keen to learn more. #MakeItFeelRight encourages people to share their sustainable fashion journey by joining the movement and actively sharing content online on Instagram and Tik Tok. Supported by sustainable information powered by Lenzing, #MakeItFeelRight encourages people to use their voices and power to help shift purchasing preferences. The movement offers insights on everything from care labels to recycling to benefits of second-hand shopping, sustainable brands, eco-conscious fibres, how to prolong the life of garments and more. The movement also inspires consumers to support brands that are actively paving the way for a sustainable future and highlights the strength of partnerships by working with other brands and influencers. For example, a crucial part of the #MakeItFeelRight campaign is its partnership with One Tree Planted. A tree will be planted for every pledge that a consumer makes to aid the global reforestation effort to combat climate change.
By creating thoughtful, honest and educational campaigns, fashion companies can start to have a conversation with their consumers and educate them on their sustainability practices. As with the #MakeItFeelRight movement, it’s important for both brands and consumers to take action and pledge to make the world a greener place!