jeudi 3 avril 2014

Conscious Consumerism // Once again environment is on the front of the stage

It is really funny that my last post was talking about H&M Conscious collection and high-street brands commitment into environment issues. Because these last days I see so many articles in the press talking about that! 

It seems that ecology in fashion is at the center of the industry right now.
Then, it is always the same question : should it come from the brands in a proactive behavior, or in a reactive strategy taking into account the rising awareness of consumers and their taste for ecofriendly products?

This is what I read in the last article of Business Of Fashion, titled Julie Gilhart on Conscious Consumerism.

Business Of Fashion first quotes Ever Manifesto publication (I told you about this in my last post), which is going to be launched with the goal of increasing awareness about the need to develop a more sustainable system in the fashion industry and in our consumption.
Source : Ever Manifesto publication 01

Then, they interview Julie Gilhart, a very famous fashion consultant "on why sustainability matters and why conscious consumerism will define the future of fashion retail."

She highlights that this interest has been first brought by major and high fashion designer such as Stella Mc Cartney (with totally vegan collections and a major part of her ready-to-wear collection is ecofriendly). 

Now the high street brands such as H&M and Zara have to serve as examples too and to make affordable this ecofriendly fashion to the people. You can read my last post, but I also read today about a new initiative of the two giants of the industry : with the purpose of protecting the environment, H & M and Zara have banned wood from ancient and jeopardized forests to manufacture their garments containing viscose. The clothing industry represented 70 millions trees last year, and most of them come from jeopardized forests such as tropical forests in Indonesia or boreal forests of the Far North .
H&M even stated that it will do everything it can to avoid these textiles within three years.

As we told many times before, the consumer is changing everyday and has new concerns. He is more exigent, want to know how is made his shirt, by who and where. He has access to social media, which brings him a great transparency, and informs himself so quickly about everything.

" (...) Customers “will not just be seduced by the ‘fashion’ but also by how the fashion is made.” " 
"(...)The way the product is made adds value. The mindset of the consumer is changing in the sense that they are becoming more aware that buying a product that has no regard for environmental or social impact is no longer attractive to them."
"XC: And do you believe this change will come from customer demand, or should brands be leading the way?JG: The responsibility lies with both, but at present, brands should be answering the call. Consumer thoughts in this arena are changing quickly. If I were a brand, positioning myself now… I strongly believe that when this consumer awareness becomes more prevalent, brands will be forced to change. In fashion, the ones that lead and innovate are always the ones, that if managed correctly, are the most successful."

Julie Gilhart also underlines the fact that the retailers have now access to big data new technologies and then can easily understand the demand, allow them "the clever interpretation of shopping habits, needs, wants, and more". By using in a clever way this data, retailers can prevent waste thanks to more flexible, accurate whole-sale order/and thus production.
"It will be so fun and sexy, that anyone who is not participating in this way will look out of date and won’t be able to make their business work. They will be forced to change."
And I think that we should end by these words :

"Conscious consumerism is a reminder that consuming affects humanity and the world at large. We need to remember our purchases have power to express our beliefs."
Source : Ever Manifesto 01

We are not powerless : our shopping basket is our power. If we want bullshit, the industries produce bullshit. If we want pink, they will produce pink. And if we buy organic, they will have to produce organic.
(By the way this theory works for every type of product.)

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