Customers are getting smarter and more aware of the environment. Searches for green fashion surged by 47% last year as per Lyst’s 2018 Year in Fashion (I highly recommend you read it). So what does all that mean for the green fashion space?
1. Imitation is not always a sincere form of flattery
Here’s the sobering part. Now that more companies are aware that the green fashion segment is not a passing fad, we are going to see a surge in “green” fashion. That is a lot claims of labels like “natural”, “green”, “vegan”, etc. with no real claims to back up. If you’re interested, you can play greenwashing bingo: just shout bingo every time you see one of the 7 sins of Greenwashing on a fashion brand’s site.
2. The big wigs are going to enter, and it won’t be pretty
Let’s face it, large fashion brands are not exactly risk takers. Now that the pioneers have proven the market, the bigger fashion houses will begin the arduous task of rebranding themselves green. This is going to take some time, and these brands will make a lot of mistakes. A lot of smaller brands will get crowded out, but hopefully this does lead to a greener supply chain over the next 3-4 years.
3. Vague green on the rise
Speaking of ugly, vague terms in green marketing will be stronger than ever. Watch out for celebrities endorsing brands made of “natural” fibres or are “eco-friendly”, without any data to back up why they’re green. Consumers will push back eventually, but for most deep green brands, this is a wave you’ll need to ride out. Start engaging with the broader, non-deep green audience to educate them on this.
4. Demand for authenticity
We have seen this over and over again, when Europe banned the incandescent light bulb in the 2000’s, when organic foods were trending 5 years ago (and are not established in the main stream), imitators flood the market, consumers get confused and the brands that stay authentic win the market. Transparency is key here. As an authentic green fashion company, you should be speaking to your supply chain and the numbers behind it (a lifecycle analysis is a good place to start). This is something inauthentic brands won’t be able to imitate.
5. Lack of a credible label will be brought to light
Like the organic food movement before this, the green fashion movement suffers from the lack of a centralized labeling authority. We will see this emerge hopefully through wider adoption of ISO practices or if the Sustainable Apparel Coalition finally steps up. Personally, I think true transparency and engaging with your customers on the metrics (what I like to call eco-calories), would be even more credible than a label.
6. More data, a lot more data
Finally, and most importantly for us nerds, we’ll get a lot more industry data on sustainability. Apart from a few reports by the Textile Exchange and some forward thinking green fashion companies, the supply chain impacts of fashion has not been well mapped. It’ll be great for the industry, and we’ll love it!
If you’re curious about the impacts on your green fashion brand, and want to chat more, give us a shout!
If you want some hacks on starting you on your journey, read our handbook on green marketing.