In 2020, we saw conscious consumers beginning to shape the future of sustainable fashion and the industry as a whole. According to Lyst Insights, the term slow fashion has been responsible for over 90 million social impressions. Suggesting that people are interested in sustainable clothing brands with core values of doing good for the planet, people, and animals.

With insights from ethical fashion experts and studies on sustainability in the apparel industry, we tried to answer these questions: how will conscious consumers shape the future of fashion, what sustainable innovations are rising, and how to market sustainable fashion in 2021?


How will conscious consumers shape the future of fashion?

Online Shopping

In the midst of the pandemic, fashion brands had to shift. Rather than looking at online shopping as something complimentary, it is now the full experience. Because of these changes, e-commerce sales have increased by 76%.

Even though e-commerce sales are up, Vanni, Founder of VALANI, says, “Competition is fierce. Big brands are driving up customer acquisition and spending lots of money on ads. To market sustainable brands, companies need to connect with customers on a personal level.” Tap into this by building a campaign that allows customers to meet the men and women who make the clothes.

Because shoppers can’t try things on while shopping online there is a higher risk of returns. Bobby Banafsheian, Founder of People of Leisure, says, “Being clear of fit and size will make sure customers feel completely committed to purchasing before they do so.” As a result, we’ll see sustainable fashion brands incorporating digital try-on tools that show you how their clothes fit on different body types. Moreover, this will help slow fashion brands manage their carbon footprint.

Repeating Outfits

Bobby explains, with financial uncertainties still high, “shoppers are buying less and investing in garments made to last.” In other words, we expect to see consumers building capsule collections.

Vanni adds, “Consumers are leaning more towards the high quality basics. Clothes that they can layer, wear for more than one season, and restyle.” As a result, sustainable clothing brands will start showing shoppers how to wear and re-wear their pieces in every season.

What sustainable innovations are rising?

Transparency

Last year, we saw companies start to open up and tell their customers about their sustainable materials and ethical ethos beyond a surface level. “No longer are consumers content with buying a simple t-shirt. They want to know who made the shirt, the materials used, and where their money went,” says Bobby. 

In 2021, Bobby adds, “Transparency should be at the head of a brand’s standards. Offering their customers a clear view of the business. Giving their customers a walk through the process. This goes for how brands are hiring and how they treat their employees once hired. Transparency offers a trickle-down effect that generates credibility.” 

We’ll expect slow fashion brands to dive deeper into conversations about where their certified organic cotton is farmed, give consumers behind-the-scenes tours of their factory, or the importance of paying living wages. 

Slow Fashion Influencers

It’s not enough for consumers to know what is wrong; they want to learn how they can be a part of the solution and the slow fashion movement. So, where do millennials go to learn? From influencers on social media.

As fashion influencers focus more on sustainable collections, they will inherently teach traditional shoppers how to be eco-fashionistas. Sustainable lifestyle influencers will also be pivotal leaders for purpose-driven shoppers as they know how to engage their followers with entertaining yet informative content.

Third-Party Accreditation

As consumers become wary of greenwashing, it’s not enough to just say a fashion brand is sustainable. To know if the company they are supporting is truly aligned with their values, a ton of research is involved. To make shopping for sustainable fashion effortless, third-party accreditations like Butterfly Mark, Good on You, or GoodHuman reduce the amount of time shoppers spend researching a brand. Third-party accreditors do the research for shoppers and make building a trust-worthy brand easier.

White dress made with sustainable fabric
@shopvalani

The takeaway

All in all, we’re looking forward to seeing how sustainable fashion evolves and being a part of the movement. Contact me at jade@cadaconsult.com to explore how we can work together to elevate your company’s impact.