Sustainability is becoming a must for UK fashion retailers

A new study suggests that sustainable fashion is fast becoming a must for UK fashion retailers.

Analysis by Drapers questioned 372 fashion business leaders and professionals and found that 92.2% felt there is now a commercial necessity to become more sustainable. 91.6% of respondents to the Drapers Sustainability Survey said their customers were showing a growing interest in sustainability and 59.9% thought they were willing to pay more for that.


The primary barrier to becoming sustainable are costs, according to 60.3%. However 36.2% said there was a lack of consumer demand, or that customers were not willing to pay. 34% said there was not enough knowledge and skills in the business. However 80.5% said their business’ leadership team was supportive.

Most respondents demanded government support to become greener, agreeing with the recommendations of the Parliamentary environmental audit committee that retailers should have mandatory targets (94.9%) and zero emissions targets (96.4%).

They also wanted to see investment in recycling infrastructure (84.1%), the outlawing of unsustainable practice (71%) and taxes to encourage sustainable consumption (58%).

“Retailers and brands are demanding government support for innovative new business models and practices and with communicating the necessity of sustainability to the consumer,” Drapers editor Keely Stocker said. “Doing nothing is no longer an option.”

The study came soon after a study from personalisation and AI specialist Nosto suggested that consumers wanted more sustainable fashion, but were not prepared to pay extra to get that. Rather, they would be more likely to keep clothing for longer.

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Tags:sustainability, sustainable fashion, UK fashion, retailers

About the Author

Silvia Kabaivanova

As the founder of Be Global Fashion Network and several other fashion websites, Silvia has been working for more than 20 years covering fashion industry trends and news. With a passion for the fashion business, she focuses on sustainable fashion and innovations, custom fashion and print on demand services. Silvia is a Chairman of Bulgarian Fashion Association. You can reach her at

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