Blockchain of Fashion
Sustainability in Clothing Production - Do Customers Really Care?
It is a question asked by the founder of WHo CAREs!?, a New York-based international caring initiative and Blockchain Fashion Council member, Nora Gherbi asks a lot.
So, what is sustainable fashion? Essentially, it is a vision of clothing and accessories that do not pollute the planet through toxic chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, or waste. The ide has matured from having a hippie reputation to become a popular and sexy topic.

Lily Cole, model and socially conscious entrepreneur, certainly believes so and expresses her optimism saying she feels optimistic: "in the last 10, 15 years there's been a seismic shift…in the consumer's interest and awareness of this issue". It was a view she expressed along with other fashion industry luminaries such as Stella McCartney at a Copenhagen Fashion Summit panel this month. The panel brought together industry insiders committed to working out how to deal with the mess the fashion was making of the planet. "We have to have this conversation and we have to be held accountable," McCartney reiterated.


Cole said she had founded companies and worked with companies that put social responsibility and sustainability as a priority: "in every instance, it's been a conflict and battle how to communicate that, if to communicate that."
The question about how to start the conversation about sustainability with consumers weighed heavily over the summit, and there were two panels devoted to this topic.

No one, it seemed, could provide an answer, least of all did answers come from summit co-sponsor H&M, which endured thinly veiled jabs from panellists for the frequent sustainable marketing campaigns it held in the past five years.

"(Brands believe) this forgives the worst of our behaviour," Paul Dillinger, Levi Strauss & Co vice president and head of global product innovation and premium collection design, said. "If six out of 10 garments we produce end up in a landfill or incinerated within the first year of production, should we have made those six?"

It is not only mass fashion conglomerates that seem to be lost. Smaller and medium-sized companies are struggling also. Several company founders expressed their confusion about how to communicate to their customers about the topic of sustainability and even if it was worth communicating at all.

Cole said she had founded companies and worked with companies that put social responsibility and sustainability as a priority: "in every instance, it's been a conflict and battle how to communicate that, if to communicate that."

It should not be difficult. Marketers note surveys where millennials state they would pay more for sustainable products, making it a tantalising marketing ploy.

However, there is no research or data that shows consumers follow through with their claims. Research shows people decide to forget about child labor in order to buy whatever they want. While another survey showed when it comes to purchasing decisions, consumers of the millennial generation almost everything else - ease of purchase (95% of those surveyed), value/price (95%), product uniqueness (92%), brand (60%) - ahead of sustainability (only 35%).

So if a company has a marketing plan to place their product in before the customer and then lists all the ways it is sustainable, the company will fail. "We have found the more data you give, the more you overwhelm and alienate," Cole said.