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The future of fashion is sustainable

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The 2012 Edelman Good Purpose report surveyed 8,000 consumers in 16 countries and discovered that 80% of Chinese respondents and 71% of Indian respondents said they were willing to pay a premium for brands with a social or environmental commitment, compared to 28% in the UK and 40% globally.

In 2014/15, UK retailer Marks & Spencer reported a £160 million net benefit from their sustainability efforts, outlined in their Plan A 2020 Vision. On a smaller scale, Los Angeles based brand Reformation has seen some impressive success – tripling its sales year on year since launching in 2009. Reformation has sustainability built into its brand DNA. Reformation is a vertically-integrated operation, meaning almost everything happens under one roof — its management office, factory, studio, warehouse and logistics. And they source everything as locally as possible — using almost exclusively deadstock fabrics, repurposed vintage clothing and sustainable natural fibres.

In 2012, a Harvard Business Review study found that ‘resource efficient’ companies (those that use less energy and water and create less waste) tend to produce higher investment returns. While the Institute of Business Ethics also found that companies with strong ethical commitments have historically outperformed the average on the Standard & Poor 500 and FTSE 100 every year from 2005 to 2010.