Pulse of the Fashion Industry: Consumer Sentiment

by HULA , October 18, 2019
Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 Update, courtesy of theindustry.fashion

We’ve touched on Kering’s initiatives to go carbon neutral. While it is important to have fashion brands and retailers pledge to make a difference in their business practices, a sustainable future of the fashion industry would be incomplete without the consumer side of the equation.

Published by the Global Fashion Agenda, in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Pulse of the Fashion Industry
 is a report that explores the global fashion industry and its effort in solving imminent environment, social and ethical challenges. This article brings forth a focus on the key findings of the report on consumers’ sentiment about environmental responsibility in the fashion industry.

The report presents figures that seem to suggest an attitude change in consumers’ expectation towards brands’ commitment to sustainabilityOut of all respondents, three-quarters of consumers see sustainability as a paramount topic, more than a third reported they have switched from their preferred brand to another due to their sustainability practices. The statistics also showed that more than half of the surveyed consumers plan to switch brands in the future if another shows signs of acting more socially friendly. If we dive a little deeper and further question the actual action steps taken by consumers in terms of shopping sustainably and responsibly, it is a little less optimistic than the figures have portrayed. 

Even in the landscape of the secondhand market, as we can see below, sustainability is hardly the driving force that dictates consumers’ purchase decision, whereas more than half of the surveyed consumers buy secondhand goods due to affordable price. 

Image and data courtesy of Vogue Business via CBN (2018).


Serves as a warning and a factual statement, the “Pulse of The Fashion Industry” report boldly and blatantly affirmed that “the industry cannot wait for the consumer to lead this movement—it is up to fashion leaders to take bolder moves today to transition to a sustainable industry.”


In what ways can consumers can be more conscious about how their purchasing decision has a direct effect on the environment and more importantly, contribute to the fashion revolution you may ask. We have rounded up some palpable and achievable action steps for everyone here:

  1. Remember the 3 Rs principle? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle can be equally powerful when enacted on your shopping habits. 
  2. Reduce: Buy what you love, and love what you buy. Reduce waste by only purchasing items that you know you will treasure.
  3. Reuse: Shop pre-loved items and sell your unwanted items to save materials from going into the landfill. (According to a study funded by the UK government, 300 thousand tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year and 20% of this gets sent to the landfill and 80% get incinerated.)
  4. Recycle: Upcycle your unwanted items and turn them into something you will find use in. Brush up your sewing techniques and start creating! 
  5. Read up on news about sustainability: Keep a clear and informed head when it comes to the wellbeing of our planet. Explore ways that you can help with the environment by keeping up to date with how businesses are interacting with sustainability.

    Here are some to start with: