LifestyleSustainability's Role: Connecting Consumers and Brands in Fashion

Sustainability’s Role: Connecting Consumers and Brands in Fashion

eco-friendliness pushes brands to prioritize sustainable practices.
Environmental concerns drive a significant sustainability trend: Reformation is the leading example of it.
  • Rising Sustainability Trend: Environmental concerns drive a significant sustainability trend in the packaged goods and fashion. Consumers’ increasing focus on eco-friendliness pushes brands to prioritize sustainable practices.
  • Projected Market Growth: According to Nielsen, the U.S. sustainability market is set to reach $150 billion by 2021. This projection underscores the substantial market potential and consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Reformation and Beyond: Experts are analyzing Reformation clothing as a case study to examine the appeal of the sustainability movement and determine why consumers are attracted to it. This analysis sheds light on how other brands can actively foster sustainability.

A quality product is insufficient in the modern marketplace to win consumer favor. Today’s shoppers seek more than excellence – they crave alignment with personal values in their chosen products and brands.

This inclination might seem logical – why support a brand financially if its social and environmental values don’t resonate? As climate change looms, many individuals are willing to scrutinize the impact of their shopping behaviors.

The fashion industry is one of the chief culprits for environmental pollution. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a staggering 26 billion pounds of textiles go into landfills annually. Yet, it’s pragmatic to recognize that most won’t abruptly abandon shopping or forsake fast-fashion. Nonetheless, a significant portion of the population supports changes.

Dr. Matt Johnson, a professor at Hult International Business School and the founder of Pop Neuro, highlights a compelling trend. He asserts, “Increasing evidence indicates that consumer choices are influenced by brand-perceived sustainability. Moreover, consumers are willing to pay a premium for products originating from sustainable brands, even when compared to non-sustainable competitors.”

While value and ease remain pivotal in buying decisions, sustainability is gaining ground. A 2019 survey conducted by Hotwire revealed a striking statistic – 47% of global internet users had discarded products and services linked to brands that clashed with their values. Topping this list of values is environmental preservation.

significant sustainability trend in the packaged goods and fashion
Recent years witness the Global Climate Strike all over the world.

The fashion industry now uses the same vocabulary as grocery aisles about “organic” and “sustainable-grown.”

While sustainable fashion seems to be at odds with fashion’s trend-driven nature that forces us to buy new items every season, more and more brands are integrating eco-friendly practices into their operations. This trend is led by brands such as Reformation.

Founder and CEO Yael Aflalo has worked in the fashion industry for years and “really dislikes some harmful industry practices.” She mentions overprinting lookbooks, tossing 80% of them, and throwing yards of leftover fabric away.

On my trip to China, I witnessed alarming pollution levels. This experience compelled me to initiate a transformation and cease contributing to fashion industry waste,” the individual shared.

The label’s collection includes flowing dresses, elegant tops, snug sweaters, jeans, and more, all cherished by the “it-girl” community. Their commitment to sustainability sets them apart – every element, from fabric selection to production methods and even the in-store hangers, reflects a deliberate effort to minimize their carbon footprint.

The Reformation proves sustainability and style can coexist seamlessly without compromise. The keyword here is “without sacrifice.” Aflalo aims to showcase the ease of embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. She elaborates, “The triumph of our sustainability endeavors lies in their effortless integration. We commence with small, manageable solutions that individuals can seamlessly incorporate into their daily routines to effect change. We emphasize the broader impact of these modifications.” Opting for ethically crafted, eco-friendly clothing that aligns with your preexisting preferences is sustainability-made and uncomplicated. It involves no drastic behavior changes, just a straightforward choice that holds substantial change.

Even if personal sustainability isn’t a top concern, purchasing purchases for positive impact appeals to many shoppers.

Dr. Johnson says that pricier, environmentally friendly items can offset guilt stemming from indulgent spending. “While we may feel a twinge of remorse for splurging on something like the Prius, the eco-friendly angle of the product eases that sentiment.”

For many shoppers, choosing sustainable products is a personal priority, and they aim to broadcast this intention. Social Signaling explains how our purchases convey messages about us to our social circle. People acquire designer bags not solely for their aesthetics but for the statement they make and the social status they confer.

The environmental realm follows a similar pattern. Dr. Johnson illustrates this with a new Prius. “Buying a Prius was partially motivated by its association with environmental consciousness,” he says. Social motivations surpass practical factors like fuel efficiency. A 2007 survey revealed that Prius owners preferred the statement it makes about their identity and care for the world’s perception.

Reformation clothing as a case study to examine the appeal of the sustainability movement
Sustainability, a big part of Reformation’s branding, particularly on social media.

Sustainable development relies on cost-effectiveness to ensure access to all.

Aflalo aims to dispel the notion that sustainability equates to higher costs. She clarifies that it’s fundamentally tied to reduced waste and material usage, often leading to savings. Although some responsible manufacturing and superior materials might incur slightly higher expenses, the plan is to enhance accessibility, passing on efficiency gains to customers.

While a $28 Reformation tee might contrast with fast-fashion prices, the sustainable fashion movement prompts us to factor in environmental impact, not just immediate expenditure.

Numerous brands capitalize on this wave. Everlane stands out with its “radical transparency” approach, spanning pricing to innovative recycled materials. Naadam redefines luxury through eco-friendly, cost-efficient cashmere, benefiting both the environment and workers.

The movement isn’t confined to startups; major retailers adopt sustainability. Sephora’s “Clean at Sephora” initiative showcases eco-friendly beauty products. Target strives for 100% sustainable, organic cotton across its in-house brands by 2022. Nordstrom’s updated Sustainable Style section simplifies conscious shopping.

These endeavors attract a sustainability-focused demographic bolstered by marketing tactics. Dr. Johnson notes that authentic sustainability attracts partnerships, boosting credibility.

Reformation’s sustainability profoundly influences branding.

“Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”

Beyond the playful slogan, Reformation takes transparency seriously. Initiatives like RefScale and sustainability reports educate consumers on fashion’s environmental impact. The brand’s site offers insights, including comprehensive sustainability reports.

Recognizing the challenge of transitioning to another system, Aflalo advises starting small. Brands can prioritize sustainable materials and transparent manufacturing processes, initiating gradual, impactful change.

Likewise, as consumers, we can contribute. While not all embrace minimalism, simple actions like carpooling, meatless days, or choosing sustainable materials can collectively foster positive change.

Nathan Enzo
Nathan Enzo
A professional writer since 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, Nathan Enzo ran the creative writing department for the major News Channels until 2018. He then worked as a Senior content writer with, including national newspapers, magazines, and online work. He specializes in media studies and social communications.


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