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Study: Oeko-Tex

Consumer Trends: Textile Sustainability

Ellen Karp presents the Oeko-Tex study “The Key to Confidence: Consumers and Textile Sustainability – Attitudes, Changing Behaviors and Outlooks”

Four out of ten people worry about harmful substances in clothing. The same number of consumers (42 per cent) would “like to know the values and principles of the fashion brands that they buy”. 38 per cent “want to know what steps – even small ones – brands have taken to become more sustainable”. These are just a few of the findings of the large-scale consumer survey carried out by The International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology, Oeko-Tex, in commemoration of its 25th anniversary. Its study titled “The Key to Confidence: Consumers and Textile Sustainability – Attitudes, Changing Behaviors and Outlooks”, canvassed the opinions of more than 11,000 consumers from all over the world.

What do consumers worldwide think about sustainability, climate change, harmful substances in textiles and certifications? What are their attitudes on the social welfare of textile workers? The renowned researcher Ellen Karp, with her company Anerca International which specialises in market research and consumer strategy, was commissioned to implement the project by Oeko-Tex and presented the most important findings of the study on 17 January 2018 at the FashionSustain conference in Berlin. These included e.g. that consumers strive to live more sustainably and that their concerns about the textile industry are growing. 70 percent stated that they are committed to a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly lifestyle – although this is not fully reflected in their behaviour. Karp concludes in her presentation: “It’s an aspiration nowadays to live sustainably.”

Karp was surprised by the high percentage of consumers – 4 out of 10 people – who worry about harmful substances in clothing and home textiles. This makes only a 20-point difference between the concerns about harmful substances in food and in clothing or home textiles. For the researchers, this is an indicator that the image of the textile industry might be changing.

“The quantitative findings derived through The Key to Confidence study should serve as a call to action for the textile industry”, says Karp. “Consumers are fast learning that their textile buying decisions impact not only their families but also their communities and beyond. Brands, retailers and manufacturers need to be ready for this awakening. It is definitely coming.”

Interested parties were also able to find out about the findings of the study at a presentation by Marc Sidler, Group CMO at the Swiss Textile Testing Institute Testex AG, at the Heimtextil Frankfurt.

Further information is available here:
Video of Ellen Karp’s presentation at FashionSustain

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