Focus on Eco Clothing

Eco, eco, eco S

We are now living in a world where sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. From the banning of plastic straws to environmental campaigns such as Veganuary (look it up!), it seems you cannot avoid the subject. With regards to eco clothing, it is estimated that this industry is now worth $5 million a year, but why should you care? We speak to the industry experts to find out more.

ustainability is very much a buzz word at the moment, says Kirsty Macdonald, brand manager at Mantis World. With online searches relating to sustainable fashion up 66% this year (data compiled by fashion search engine Lyst), a massive increase in the media reporting on the environmental impact of textile production and fast fashion, and major high street retailers committing to addressing their eco footprint, itʼs safe to say weʼre seeing a critical change in the way fashion is viewed. The view point of the garment manufacturers is that sustainability has never been higher on the consumersʼ agenda. “Social pressure for sustainability has never been higher and

itʼs rising all the time,” suggests Clare Dwyer, product manager at Kustom Kit. “Fast-fashion in particular, has drawn bad press in recent times, as this unsustainable business model has serious long-term implications for the environment.” Jada Simone Li, brand marketing and business development at Continental Clothing Co. continues this line of thought: “As consumer awareness grows, the demand for eco-friendly clothing is growing much bigger. The future of the printwear industry will be much greener.” Coming from a distributorʼs point of view Larissa George, field sales executive at PenCarrie, says that although a lot of their clients are still focused on price, she has seen more enquiries for bamboo-based products, organic cotton and recycled clothing. “Promotional T shirts will always have a place in the market, however smaller online traders are wanting to push eco clothing and have a responsibility to know where and how the product was produced and the impact it has on the environment.” Larissa states that while out on the road she has started to see larger clients that are becoming concerned with eco clothing. Nikki Webb, account manager at The Outdoors Company sides with this view point. “We have seen a sharp increase in demand for clothing for corporatewear, uniform, workwear and promotional use that is sustainable and ethically manufactured.” She adds that businesses from across the industry, including the automotive sector, financial and IT services, travel providers, media and entertainment agencies and logistics companies are all requesting clothing from premium brands that invest heavily in the design and manufacture of clothing that is kind to the environment, kind to people and their communities.

Choice, choice, choice

And, when it comes to eco clothing, there has never been so much choice. “Many brands have now found it more prudent to offer eco styles within their ranges and have made commitments to increase their positive social and environmental impacts,” explains Teri-Louise Deegan, marketing executive at Prestige Leisure.

The fact that brands such as Écologie by AWDis, Continental Clothing Co. and Mantis World, that have committed fully to sustainability, exist in the marketplace proves there is a consumer demand for eco clothing. There has also been a steady increase in the number of brands offering eco styles. Russell launched the Authentic Tee Pure Organic (108 and

| 28 | July 2019

Women’s Organic Crop Vest (M127) from Mantis World

108F) earlier this year, while Asquith & Fox released a dual style Organic Crew Neck Sweatshirt (AQ078 and AQ079) into the market. “This proves that there is enough desire from the brands to create sustainable products to match this wave of the environmental nouveau riche buyer,” adds Teri-Louise.

Why, why, why? But why should you offer eco clothing to your customers? Perhaps a better question should be why wouldnʼt you want to offer this to your customers?

With such a sea change happening right now in the industry, those who present eco clothing as an option to their customers could be perceived as being forward thinking and responsible, which could be beneficial when dealing with customers such as charities, schools or businesses with a history of social and environmental consciousness. Andreas Gauer, trade marketing manager of Russell Europe, adds: “Shoppers do not distinguish between brands they buy at

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