A study explains that ‘the image of fashion is improving’

The second edition of the IFM (Institut Français de la Mode) – Première Vision study on the sustainability of the fashion system reveals that something is improving. More clarity on the sale, more attention on the purchase. But the road is still long. Very long indeed


For 8 out of 10 Italians, a fashion product can only be called sustainable if it is completely made in Italy. And, when buying it, customers pay more attention to the materials it is made of. These, together with the quality of the workmanship, determine its durability, a fundamental characteristic of sustainability. These are some of the indications that have emerged from the new edition of the study carried out by IFM (Institut Français de la Mode) – Première Vision, which interviewed 5,000 people in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the United States. This study was first published in 2019 and released again this year, revealing that “the image of fashion is definitely improving“.

The image of fashion is improving

The image of fashion is definitely improving. The efforts made by brands, especially in terms of information and transparency, are being noticed,” is the comment of Gildas Minvielle, director of IFM’s Economic Observatory. This second edition of the study is especially useful to observe how the consumer has evolved and the changes taking place in society. The most important is the fact that items defined as eco-responsible are considered compatible with trends and elegance. In fact, in the five countries surveyed, 9 out of 10 people consider sustainable products to be fashionable. Another change concerns information.

There is more information

Consumers in 2022 are better informed than those in 2019. The preferred information channels are the garment label and information obtained at the point of sale at the time of purchase. The brand’s website, media or social networks are considered less reliable. But this thirst for precise and reliable information has yet to be truly quenched. Consumers, ‘burnt’ by greenwashing, are now demanding clarity and reliability on how the products they are about to buy are made. It is difficult when, today, there are over 400 labels that call themselves eco-responsible and, with their sheer numbers, fuel significant confusion among consumers.

More is spent on the green

Another development from 2019: the spending budget for buying eco-responsible products has increased. Moreover, in 2022, 46.5% of Europeans and 50.4% of Americans said they purchased ‘sustainable’ items. Inverted commas are a must. Because, to date, it is risky to define a product as completely sustainable. But some green characteristics are certain and clear. First: durability. Second: the study tells us that consumers are paying more and more attention to the materials a product is made of and its quality. A parameter in which leather is a champion. In France, 37.7% of respondents cite materials as the first parameter of eco-responsibility. Third: repairability so that it will last longer if it breaks. By 2023, as many as 82.4% of Italian respondents said they had repaired at least one garment.

Furthermore, consumers believe that the sustainability of the product depends on where it was made. In Italy, 79% of Italians think so. In Germany, almost 7 out of 10 Germans believe that a garment made in Europe also offers guarantees of environmental responsibility. A concept that is less widespread in the USA. Because they are a country with low fashion production, but in the States, the concept of second-hand has become more widespread than elsewhere. More than one in two people bought second-hand clothes in 2022, mainly in search of cheaper prices. Without asking, however, (as we did here), whether resale is really a practice that benefits the environment.

(Massimiliano Viti)

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